Louis van Gaal has blamed 'luck' and the lack of a 20-goal-a-season striker for Manchester United's poor performances. After limping to victory over Sunderland, when will the excuses run out?
As Tottenham prepare to face Chelsea, Adam Bate looks at how Mauricio Pochettino has changed Spurs. There's a massive emphasis on tackling and energy...
Want to get on TV? Want to look big and clever in front of your friends? Want to humiliate a public personality? Want to get arrested for acting the giddy goat? Transfer Deadline Day is your chance.
TDD comes but twice a year, and both occasions are big dates in the Nitwit Calendar. For one day every January and August, the nation's youths somehow haul themselves off the back seat of the bus where they had been playing UK Grimegarage at large volume over a tiny mobile phone speaker and assemble in front of football clubs. A bit like zombies staggering towards the smell of human flesh, they are drawn to the lights and the irresistible sight of a man in a suit and tie delivering an outside broadcast about Peter Odemwingie's movements.
It is fair to say that the young lads gathered outside club training grounds or stadia are not the best and brightest that Britain has to offer. But why should they have all the fun? Should you wish to join them, you will need to observe a few simple rules.
Firstly, dress. The TDD looky-lou pays close attention to his appearance, and so should you. Sports clothing is essential, even though you have never played any sport and will never do so, except possibly in the jail exercise yard. Sports clothing is cheap, comfortable and allows you to get your pants down quickly in order to impregnate a teenage girl. It also ensures that you look like everyone else around you, which can come in handy in certain police-related situations. A tracksuit is a vital part of your identity, even if you're not sure why. If it looks very likely that you might have shoplifted it from a Sports Direct, so much the better.
Secondly, remember never to close your mouth. Slack-jawed is the must-have look for TDD. Remember, you haven't a clue about anything and merely respond like Pavlov's dog to the sound of the name of your club being uttered. This response must only be in the form of animal noises or chanting. Opt for words with no more than two syllables.
Thirdly, and most importantly, whenever the Sky Sports reporter starts speaking, you must leap up and down like a monkey that has been fed LSD. You must also annoy the reporter so much that he begins to twitch. If you can get him to physically assault you, you have hit pay dirt. Have an ambulance-chasing lawyer on speed dial and sic him on the now insane reporter. Your social worker can help you with some of the legal groundwork beforehand.
Treat the TV camera as though it is the instrument of wonder, sent down by the Gods. Make it your day's mission to make the clean-shirted presenter regret the day he ever set foot within a hundred miles of your town. Hell, even make bunny ears behind his head if you have to.
This is the time when a dumb teenager, without parental guidance but with a large bottle of white cider, can become a celebrity for a minute or two purely by behaving even worse than his peers. And what is modern life about if it's not about that? The assembled Transfer Deadline Day gawpers, v-sign flickers, presenter-baiters and chanters are at the forefront of British televisual entertainment. This is their time.
John Nicholson and Alan Tyers
Read Johnny's book, 'The Meat Fix' here
Alan's football and cricket books are all in one place here
Follow Alan on Twitter here
or Johnny here