England have been usurped at the top of the UEFA coefficients by Spain, while Germany are not far behind. That's fine, says Philip Cornwall, as long as TV money is spent wisely...
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...
You'll probably know all about Pavlov's dog. If not, the short version is that a Russian physiologist called Ivan Pavlov basically conditioned dogs to associate a ringing bell with food, so when the bell would sound, the dogs would salivate. Pavlov called it a 'conditioned reflex'.
If dogs - who, with respect to all you canine-lovers out there, are not the brightest creatures to walk this earth - can be conditioned in this way, can't footballers too?
I like Vincent Kompany. He's a fine defender and seems like a decent guy, so much so that I'm perfectly prepared to ignore his cringe-inducing appearance on Match of the Day.
However, he only has himself to blame for his sending off against Arsenal. And the worst part is, he's been in almost exactly this position before.
Whether his challenge on Jack Wilshere warranted a red card or not is debatable (which, as we all know, is a vaguely clever way of taking the coward's way out and not expressing an opinion either way). You can make reasonable arguments for each conclusion, and plenty of others have done just that, ranging from the 'Man's game, contact sport, never a foul' group to the 'Dangerous, off the floor, out of control, that's how people get hurt' camp. You've all seen it, so can make your own mind up whether Kompany really put Wilshere in any danger and deserved to be dismissed.
However, what is certain is that the red card was Kompany's fault. He jumped into the challenge with both feet off the ground, which is usually automatically deemed to be a reckless, out of control tackle. He knows this. You know how he knows this? Because he did the same thing against Manchester United in the FA Cup last season, when he left the ground for a two-footed challenge on Nani.
It wasn't an identical challenge, but there are similarities and the result was the same - on that occasion Chris Foy produced a red card, this time it was Mike Dean. Both times, opinion was split, but both times I had little sympathy with the big Belgian because he gave both referees the opportunity to dismiss him by leaving the ground.
Some will argue that it is difficult in some circumstances not to jump into tackles like that, but it's not impossible - plenty of players put in plenty of tackles every game and manage not to.
There is no specific mention of leaving the ground in the laws of the game - the closest to that is direction that a player should be sent off if he 'lunges at an opponent...with excessive force and endangering the safety of an opponent'. It's left up to the interpretation of the referee as to what constitutes such endangerment, but players know that leaving the ground is one of those things.
The frustrating thing is that such challenges are ultimately pointless. A player doesn't need to leave the ground to tackle an opponent, and they all know this. If they haven't already had it drilled into their brains by managers or referees, they've been sent off for it before. Kompany knows this more than most, so it was especially irritating to see him repeat his mistake.
Perhaps we should just ring a bell every time an attacker approaches. It worked for the dogs.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter