Thank goodness the P Lge is back. Wow, do we miss it when we break for internationals. For me (sorry Alan Hansen, your phrase I know!) it's like the start of a brand new season every time we get going again. It's one of the best reasons I can think of for a long overdue winter break. We could spend a week looking back on the season so far and two weeks building up to the re start. It'll come, just as the 39th game will come, trust me. The price will be the removal of FA Cup replays. that's the only way to make room in an already congested diary.
United resume with all sorts of problems, in a game that once used to decide the title, against Arsenal. I fear it will be some time before either challenges for it again.
Liverpool's troubles are far worse. No Daniel Sturridge for six weeks. Another calf injury, picked up in a training session at Melwood. The ninth in the same area we're told. No news of an apology to Roy Hodgson yet though by Brendan Rodgers, who fell out with the England boss over the original injury. Original? I think Hodgson was at Inter when he got that!!!
Rodgers is now talking about extended runs for Borini and Lambert. Well they certainly can't do any worse than Balotelli. I wonder if Rodgers is wishing he'd spent differently in the summer, jadding just two really good players for another tilt at the title, instead Liverpool's transfer policy being driven by Brendan-nomics? Some call it moneyballs. Or did we get a hint of his real problems attracting talent to Anfield when he said recently that if a a player wants to go to London there's nothing Liverpool can do about it. Well that didn't used to be the case.
Good to see Richard Scudamore talking today about the P Lge tackling the often outrageous ticket prices next. But did he really mean it when he suggested he wanted to see four different teams in the C Lge places? What about the co-efficient Richard? Four would soon become three I suspect if teams weren't prepared for the rough and tumble of that competition. Just look at how Liverpool have struggled. Still, Southampton fans must be champing at the bit to get going again. Might they soon be joined by Swansea? Well played Gary Monk on a terrific start. And Big Sam. Palace need a result. So do Hull. And can Burnley put a run together?
Martinez and Keane have had a swipe at each other. Adebayor has talked himself Into a bit of a mess. Baldini, at last, might pay the price for wasting ALL the Bale money (I was told recently that the Spurs' owner Joe Lewis told the coaching staff that they didn't need to sell Bale. He said he'd bankroll 100m for a tilt at the title anyway) and 'Arry has waded Into the debate over Malky Mackay
It's not often I find myself agreeing with 'Arry but I'm with him on this one. Malky was daft. He said some daft things and he knows it. I've spent a lot of time with him out here in Doha and there's a lot more I could add if the matter wasn't under investigation. But he's apologised, paid a high price, and learnt. I have no defence of Dave Whelan though. The last thing anyone in Wigan needed was Dave wading in as he did.
Join Andy and myself on BeIN Sports tonight in Indonesia, Singapore, MENA, USA, Canada and Puerto Rico. Oh, and Australia next week!
We're joined by Rafa, who'll be talking about a reported return to Anfield. By Gary Monk and Arsene Wenger. Mark Hateley will also be talking about the Milan derby.
In town this weekend, for the biggest football show on the planet. Saturday, Ruud Gullit, Marcel Desailly and Trevor Francis.