Jose Mourinho might be unhappy with the low numbe of goals from his strikers, but Nick Miller argues that he doesn't have to worry, because the goals are still coming...
More on the great Keano debate this afternoon, and who is and who is not bitter and so forth. Plus, a footballer who became a WWE wrestler, and Gaius Julius Caesar...
As Mediawatch noted on Thursday, Jose Mourinho's 'ethical' approach to transfer dealings was at best an innocent but very literal interpretation of what constitutes 'unsettling' a player, at worst a self-serving tactic designed to use these supposed 'nefarious' means to get his own way, while painting himself as a paragon of virtue. Make your own mind up about that one.
Of course, there are very few ethics in the world of transfer dealings, as Matthew Stanger said here, but if there is one thing that all managers can do if they really want to avoid upsetting people, it's just keep quiet. Say nothing. When someone says 'What about this player?', say 'no comment' or some variant.
Mourinho saying Chelsea won't bid for Rooney before Monday's game against Manchester United, but that they definitely would do afterwards, is of course nonsense. How is announcing a bid any different to actually making it, in terms of unsettling a player? And in any case, can a player who has already stated he wants to leave actually be unsettled any further?
Even if the answer to that question is 'No', can Rooney play any part in the game on Monday evening? Can a player face a team who are so nakedly interested in him? Especially if reports this week, suggesting United might be willing to sell as long as they find a replacement, are true? Can a player face a team for whom he might sign for days later?
David Moyes has a pretty tough job already, but this call will be tougher than most.
He really did look terrified last week, didn't he?
I jest, but the source of Moyes' nerves to which I referred last week were not at the Liberty Stadium, but rather this run of fixtures that he felt moved to complain about. Chelsea on Monday, Liverpool next weekend then Manchester City in mid-September - Moyes was contemplating a pretty rough start to his time at Old Trafford, a start that he could have done without.
If Moyes and his team are good enough, they won't have to worry about it too much. Over to them.
While Welbeck is...shall we say, not prolific, but when he does score he often pops up in some pretty big games. One of his few goals last term was in the Bernabeu, while the previous season he scored in two games against Arsenal, once against Manchester City, plus one or two big ones for England.
His brace against Swansea last weekend may have raised some hopes that Welbeck is about to turn into a goal machine of some description. These hopes might be a little optimistic, but with the continuing uncertainty around Rooney, United do need someone to step up with a few goals to give Robin van Persie a hand.
Daniel, tis your time...
"In matches at the Bernabeu, Real Madrid win every match and usually very comfortably," said Mourinho this week. "This is what I missed about the Premier League. This was hard."
Indeed, and it doesn't get a great deal tougher than a trip to Old Trafford.
The thing about Mourinho is that he not only thrives on games like this, but they tend to bring out his most unpleasant side as well. From snipes to eye-gouges, the very biggest encounters are when Jose tends to provide the most ammunition for his detractors.
At the time of writing, he hasn't attempted to undermine David Moyes in any significant way, but it would be a surprise if he doesn't try something at some point.
Erm, anyone there?
At the time of writing, Arsenal's options in central defence are...limited. Of course we knew this would be the case even before Pierre Webo took a chunk out of Laurent Koscielny's forehead on Wednesday evening - Koscielny is suspended for the trip to Fulham anyway due to his sending-off last weekend.
However, with Thomas Vermaelen injured and basically all of Arsenal's other central defensive options sent out on loan, Bacary Sagna will have to fill in. Against Dimitar Berbatov. And perhaps Bryan Ruiz and Darren Bent.
Gooners will be forgiven for being more than a little edgy this Saturday lunchtime.
"This team has shown a lot of mental strength," said Arsene Wenger after Arsenal's gloom-lifting (ish) 3-0 win over Fenerbahce on Wednesday. "I told you that you had forgotten that this team has lost only one game since March under very, very special circumstance."
History (or rather our report from his press conference) doesn't record whether anyone asked Wenger exactly what "very, very special circumstance" Arsenal's defeat to Aston Villa was under. They have won games with ten men before (indeed, one such game was in the run from March to which he refers - against West Brom), so one presumes it can't be that. Aside from Mikel Arteta, Wenger basically had his first-choice team available (if not 100% fit, in the case of Santi Cazorla), a first-choice team that he has of course told us can challenge for the title. There were injuries during the game, but if there is any manager used to dealing with injuries, it is Wenger.
Perhaps he meant the cloud of transfer guff that has been hanging over the Emirates, a cloud that perhaps cleared a little with Thursday morning's gossip regarding Karim Benzema and Angel di Maria. By the time you read this, who knows who they will have been linked to.
Whatever these circumstances were, the mood at Arsenal is still one of uncertainty. The Fenerbahce match was a sticking plaster, and although the fears of one contributor to our Mailbox that Wenger may take it as a sign that everything is OK may be a little pessimistic, they're easy fears to fall back on.
After the shambles of last weekend, Arsenal need some stability in the league.
"We did not come in shaking, but came in resolute and determined and with a desire to take the game to them and overall we were in control," said Wenger. More of that required at Craven Cottage.
After an opening half that suggested a rather chastening welcome back to the Premier League for Hull, Steve Bruce's men actually didn't do too badly at Chelsea, keeping Mourinho's men from making it the rout that it threatened to be. And, realistically, 'not doing too badly' is about the best they can hope for at Stamford Bridge.
A valiant defeat won't do this weekend though, as Hull host Norwich. While of course Norwich are now an established Premier League side who have made some very shrewd additions this summer, these are the sort of games that they have realistic hopes of winning, so really must do so. Particularly when one considers that their next encounter is a trip to Manchester City.
Bad starts are incredibly difficult to recover from in the Premier League - just ask QPR, for whom a change of manager in November and an enormous truckload of cash wasn't enough. Equally, a good start can basically keep a team up - just ask the 2008/9 version of Hull, who won one game after January and survived thanks to the points accrued in their blistering first nine games of the season.
"We have to set our stall out and I think we have to win 10 games. That's got to be our aim," said Bruce before the Chelsea game.
"Win 10 games and they'd be enough to keep you up as you're going to get five or six draws along the way. It sounds easy but as we know - and I know - it's very, very difficult."
Quite so, but the task will be that bit easier if they win on Saturday.
Obviously, one doesn't expect Cardiff to beat Manchester City on Sunday. Equally, one didn't expect them to be quite so spineless in losing to West Ham last weekend.
More is required in south Wales, even if it is just a 'respectable' performance.
Sam Allardyce takes his West Ham team to his former employers Newcastle on Saturday. Say what you will about Allardyce, Gold, Sullivan and Brady, at least there seems to be a common purpose at Upton Park.
The same cannot be said of Newcastle, where Alan Pardew shuffles out every few days to say how confident he is that Joe Kinnear will recruit a few players, with increasingly nervous and skittish eyes. Of course he's doing that when he isn't blaming defeats on transfer bids submitted on the day of a game. Even though it seems Arsenal's offer for Yohan Cabaye was actually made three days before their defeat to Manchester City. No matter.
Pardew is, at present, just about getting away with hiding behind Kinnear, Ashley et al as the villains of the Newcastle piece, but that won't continue for much longer if they get a bad start to the season.
Picture the scene - Kevin Nolan wheels away, chicken-dancing frantically, as police horses all over Tyneside cower. It could get pretty ugly.
"I can only see good things for us this year, definitely," said Matthew Etherington this week.
One of the reasons for his optimism is apparently Mark Hughes' new training methods.
"I can't speak highly enough of the training we've had since we came in for pre-season," he said.
"It's been top notch, real top-class training. I think the longer we go on doing what the manager wants and him drumming it into our heads and implementing it every day in training, we will get better. We passed the ball well at Anfield, but at times we could have used it better."
There were indeed signs of improvement at Liverpool last week, but they still did not take advantage of a rather profligate home side. If there is to be a shift in style, it will of course take time to implement. A win at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday would help that process along rather.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter