It was a dull international break, with the usual press euphoria followed by the imminent end of the world as England failed to beat Poland. Wayne Rooney went from hero to zero in less than 90 minutes, such is the nature of the press coverage of international football. England are still long odds on to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, and that is all that matters.
The racism row just won't go away, with Rio Ferdinand being the highest profile player to refuse to wear the Kick It Out t-shirt. And why should he? In my experience racism on the terraces is now virtually non existent, but then that is more or less self policing. On the pitch things appear to be very different as evidenced by the John Terry and Luis Suarez verdicts. It actually made me want to spew listening to Richard Keys reassuring all of his listeners that John Terry does not have a racist bone in his body. Absolute Bollocks. If that was the case he wouldn't have said what he said. Now, he may try very hard to hide his instincts, but in moments of stress people always revert to type, and that would appear to be what Terry did. It was impulsive and he didn't mean what he said. But he did say it. So although it was impulsive it was in his nature to say it. Therfore he does have at least one racist bone in his body. Incidentally, Kenwyne Jones also refused to wear the t-shirt playing for Stoke at Old Trafford, but that obviously does not sell as many papers as Rio, and I don't recall seeing Tony Pulis being interviewed about it either.
Back to the football, and some odd results.
Norwich 1 Arsenal 0
Bit of a shocker. Ive got Norwich to go down and didn't expect them to turn over Arsenal, but that inconsistency shows how far short of top class the Gunners really are.
Fulham 1 Aston Villa 0
I am still waiting for Villa to start their revival with some consistency. I am sure they will though!
Liverpool 1 Reading 0
Liverpool got the three points, but by all accounts it was a struggle. But that is where they are. Reading will be threatened by relegation and may even go down. Liverpool should just about survive.
Man United 4 Stoke 2
We dont make things easy for ourselves, but in the end it was a comfortable victory. Rooney back on form, and RVP looking dangerous every time he gets the ball. Kagawa didnt figure, presumably after international duty against Brazil in Poland (how does that work?), and I have concerns about his ability to sustain his early season performances in a tough Premier League.
Swansea 2 Wigan 1
Swansea finally get back to winning ways against a spirited Wigan side who should have enough good days to survive.
West Brom 1 Man City 2
I thought the Baggies were better than this. A goal up against 10 man City, and they still couldn't seal the deal. City looking like United of old with their late victories against the odds.
West Ham 4 Southampton 1
Bad news for the Saints who are looking like relegation fodder. The Hammers are still surprising a few, myself included.
Tottenham 2 Chelsea 4
Tottenham continue to play good football, but Chelsea look increasingly strong. Not as strong as the press make out - no one wins the title in October!
QPR 1 Everton 1
QPR could have won this one but Everton showed great spirit to get a point. I still think its only a matter of time before Rangers string together a series of results and move away from the relegation zone.
Sunderland 1 Newcastle 1
An honourable draw in the North East, and I don't expect there to be too much between the teams at the end of the season.
I guess there are many of you who put accumulators on the football at the weekend, and it can be frustrating when all of your selections are winning except for one, and they are three goals down with no chance of turning it around. You've effectively already lost! Well, Betfred and Paddy Power, and probably many more, have started offering a better accumulator, on goals scored. If you think both teams will score in a match you select YES, and you can put as many selections in as you like. In the Premier League there were only 2 games that produced a goalless team, and although the odds are often not that great, you are never more than 2 goals away from being successful. Try it - its much more fun.
Europe saw a subdued atmosphere at Old Trafford (as it always is until the knockout stage arrives), and two early goals to the opposition. For once I was not really worried, as I was confident we would get back into it. The fact that Chicarito got two goals was a massive bonus, and lets hope he gets back to the form of his debut season. We are likely to wrap up qualification and probably win the group in the next two away games, so expect a bombardment of emails and advertising for tickets for the Cluj game where the atmosphere will be even worse. Not so good news for the other English teams, with Chelsea losing in Donetsk and Arsenal losing at home to Schalke. Both will probably qualify, but the same cant be said of City. They played a supposedly weak Ajax side and were comprehensively beaten. They took the lead against the run of play, and apart from a ten minute spell when they could have put the game away, Ajax dominated and deserved their victory. It reminds me a bit of comic relief. Get a load of great comedians together and it must be funny, right? Apart from the odd moment of brilliance it is mostly dross, and thats what City in Europe are like.