If we were Alan Pardew, we'd feel a whole lot better if Rafa Benitez took a job far away from the Premier League. He looks the most vulnerable to a Spanish coup...
Although Tony Pulis has been widely criticised for Stoke's style of football, he has also reminded us that there is more than one kind of successful manager...
Ah, calm yourselves down. Sure, it would've been lovely if Luis Suarez had done what Miroslav Klose did earlier this season and owned up to it being a handball, but the reason you've heard about Klose's action is because it's so rare. It's not particularly fair or realistic to criticise Suarez for not doing the extraordinary and unusual. In any case, it isn't absolutely sure that the handball was deliberate - Suarez jerked his arm back as the ball struck it, suggesting that he was actually trying to get the offending limb out of the way, rather than move towards the ball. Given the small amount of reaction time between his original shot rebounding towards him, one cannot say for certain that this was a deliberate act, and therefore cannot say for certain that (in this case) Suarez is a cheat. Anyway, do you really not already have enough reasons to dislike him?
And Brendan Rodgers might actually be grateful to Suarez for making sure that few will talk about Liverpool's second half performance. They should've been comfortable at 2-0, but decided defending from the six-yard line for the last 15 minutes was a sensible policy against a side currently ninth in the Blue Square Premier League. And were it not for some shonky finishing and some careless offsides, it would've backfired.
Pop pop, ya don't stop
Suarez's handball wasn't even the most unpleasant act at Field Mill on Sunday. Yes, Daniel Sturridge. We realise it was your first goal for a new team. We know you're excited about this. But you body-popped after scoring against a non-league team. There is no dignity in this. Most of the blame for this particular 'dance' should probably go to Jonjo Shelvey, who egged the new boy on, but as Daniel's mother no doubt would tell him, 'If Jonjo jumped off a cliff...'
Oh, Robin van Persie
A Manchester United-supporting friend recently declared he realised he didn't know love until Robin van Persie arrived. The glee with which United fans greet his every contribution is probably partly inspired by where he came from, but it is largely of course because he's bloody good. One of the most simple, pure pleasures in football is to witness a perfect first touch - a player bringing the ball down with an ease that sets them apart from the rest and makes the crowd gasp. Dimitar Berbatov does it three or four times a game. Dennis Bergkamp used to do it all the time. And Van Persie displayed the latest example of this piece of footballing art to save Manchester United on Saturday, and by gosh it was beautiful.
Van Persie's goal already has a strong claim to be goal of the season because it was a display of perfect skill. Each of his three touches had to be absolutely perfect, like Bergkamp's against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, or Johan Elmander's spinning effort against Wolves a couple of years back. From the magnificent first to bring down Ryan Giggs's superb raking through ball, to the second which pushed the ball into the perfect position to shoot and one that probably 95% of ordinary footballers would have over hit and lost control of, to the third, the shot, rifled past Jussi Jaaskelainen. The difficulty of the first was exacerbated by the ball travelling at pace from over his shoulder, similar in some ways to the first-time volley he struck for Arsenal against Everton last season, indicating that this sort of thing is not an accident for Van Persie.
It was an absurd goal that only a handful of players around today are capable of. That's what you pay top dollar for. That's why Manchester United will probably win the league this season.
Manchester United still have problems in defence
United recorded back-to-back clean sheets for the first time in the Premier League this season over the new year, but looked fragile against a West Ham team intent on getting the ball into the box. Two simple crosses resulted in two headed goals for James Collins, with the United defence looking statuesque on both occasions. It wasn't their first-choice backline, but Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic are still two of the better central defenders in the Premier League. To be beaten so easily twice is fairly embarrassing.
There's still life in Joe Cole
The midfielder marked his second debut at West Ham with two assists in an energetic display. Perhaps there's something about the Boleyn Ground that gets the best out of Cole - his best performance for Liverpool this season came in a 3-2 victory there in December. If injuries don't prevail as they have so many times in his career, Cole may finally be able to enjoy himself again.
Stop this madness, Arsene
Aaron Ramsey is not a winger. He is not anything close to a winger. He is not a wide midfielder, or a midfielder who can beat a man with a nice jinking run, or a midfielder who can whip in a threatening cross, or a midfielder who can do much of anything at the moment really. So while many Arsenal fans will tell you that Arsene Wenger has a number of faults, near the top of that list at the moment has to be his insistence on playing Ramsey on the flank. He shouldn't need any more proof that it doesn't work, but the game against Swansea should really have provided it. It looks as if Ramsey's legs are moving in slow motion most of the time, typified by one of the few chances Arsenal had in the first half - the Welshman picked up the ball after a terrific slick passing move that felt like it came straight from 2004, had a chance to shoot in the area but was so slow that Chico Flores nipped in to clear. And then he fell over.
It's emblematic of one of Wenger's blind spots, in fact. For a manager who persists with a formation featuring two wingers, he rarely signs a natural wide man. Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho are all more comfortable in the middle, but are all stationed on the flanks. For why...it's unclear. What is clear is that all of them are a better bet than Ramsey.
Newcastle need more strength in depth
Although Newcastle's reserves have performed admirably in the Europa League this season, they looked worryingly out of their depth in the 2-0 defeat to Brighton. "We know we need to get some bigger players who can handle the situation of carrying a Newcastle jersey, whether that's a signing or getting a player back from injury," said Alan Pardew. It was perhaps a hint that several of Saturday's team won't appear again for the Magpies.
Roberto Martinez's reputation is on the line
After being interviewed for the Liverpool job in the summer, Roberto Martinez decided to stay at Wigan owing to his friendship with Dave Whelan and desire to take the Latics forward this season. However, the team are predictably struggling in the Premier League again and, after losing to Bradford on penalties in the League Cup, suffered an embarrassing 1-1 draw with Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Saturday. For how much longer will the illusion last that Martinez is some sort of miracle worker?
Blackburn are not the only Championship team in a mess
Rovers clearly have serious problems under Venky's and bizarre global advisor Shebby Singh but, despite their managerless predicament, the club have won three matches in a row for the first time this season after a comfortable 2-0 victory over Bristol City. Fans of Nottingham Forest, who lost 3-2 at home to League One strugglers Oldham, and Wolves, humbled by Luton, must almost be envious. The appointment of Alex McLeish has been met with, at best, a mixed reception at the City Ground and the new manager will need to improve the team's performances quickly to avoid the discontent that surrounded his reign at Aston Villa. Wolves' reaction to the 1-0 loss at Luton was to sack manager Stale Solbakken - who was only appointed in the summer - but Dean Saunders, who was relegated with Doncaster last season, is hardly an ideal replacement.
Chelsea fans must move on
Perhaps it's no surprise to learn that Chelsea have a better away record than they do at home in the Premier League this season after the reception afforded to interim manager Rafa Benitez. It's difficult to understand why the manager's previous criticism of plastic flags at Stamford Bridge has caused such widespread and on-going anger and Blues fans were quick to slate Benitez with unsavoury chants after Southampton's opening goal on Saturday. But, the shock defeat to QPR aside, Chelsea have been performing remarkably well of late, and the acquisition of Demba Ba should help them maintain their form. There is a chance for Chelsea to re-join the title race this season, but the fans' rejection of the manager is a barrier to that aim.