Weekend review

The talking points from the weekend with Fernando Torres, Leroy Fer and Jose Mourinho in the headlines.

Last Updated: 28/10/13 at 13:28

Fernando Torres: Flying high once again

Fernando Torres: Flying high once again

Team of the Week

Luis Suarez spearheads the attack after the Liverpool striker notched a magnificent hat-trick - his first at Anfield - in the 4-1 demolition of West Brom.

Fernando Torres also earns his place in the side after his goal and goal assist in Chelsea's 2-1 win over Manchester City, while Wayne Rooney completes the front three as his resurgence continued at Manchester United, scoring to help his side notch a crucial 3-2 win over Stoke at Old Trafford to keep up with the pace setters.

In the middle of the park, Andre Schurrle gets the nod after scoring against Man City, Jack Colbeck played his part as Sunderland pulled off a great 2-1 derby win over Newcastle to climb off the foot of the table, and Lucas returned to the Liverpool side and produced an assured display to keep the Baggies at bay.

At the back, Southampton's fantastic start to the campaign continued with another clean sheet against Fulham - meaning the Saints have conceded just three goals in nine games - and Nathaniel Clyne and Luke Shaw take their place in the side in recognition of this. Winston Reid is in after West Ham notched another clean sheet - their fifth so far - in the goalless stalemate at Swansea, whose Chico was outstanding at the back and threatened the Hammers' goal at set pieces.

Tim Howard takes his place between the posts after he pulled off some fantastic saves to keep Aston Villa at bay in Everton's 2-0 win at Villa Park.

Terrific Torres

Fresh from his brace in the 3-0 UEFA Champions League win at Schalke in midweek, Fernando Torres looked back to his best in the Blues' 2-1 victory over title rivals Manchester City to help his side climb to second in the table.

Although he missed a sitter early on, the Spain striker did not let that affect his confidence and he looked up for the battle throughout.

He was strong and pacey and ran at defenders, proving a real handful to the fragile City defence. He went on to provide the assist for Schurrle's tap-in, hit the crossbar after tearing the City defence apart and then notched the late winner - never giving up to capitalise on Joe Hart's mistake.

While previous boss Rafa Benitez was brought in to get the best out of Torres last term, it seems the striker has responded to the return of Jose Mourinho to the club, establishing himself as the clear number one in the Portuguese coach's front line. Mourinho will be delighted with this return to form as a fully fit and firing Torres will strike fear into every defence.

City frailties

Manchester City's defensive frailties continue to seriously hamper Manuel Pellegrini's title aspirations. Without skipper Vincent Kompany, the City back-four look all at sea and again leaked goals at Stamford Bridge - their sixth successive failure to keep a clean sheet in all competitions.

Their vulnerability had been exposed by the route one goal conceded against CSKA Moscow in midweek and Pellegrini responded by drafting in Martin Demichelis for his first start to try and shore up the back line. But Torres tore City apart time and their cause was not helped by another howler by keeper Hart, whose defensive mix-up with Matija Nastasic cost his side a valuable two points.

While the City boss must be desperate for Kompany to return and add some much needed order to his back four, he must surely be tempted to use Joleon Lescott once again.

The England defender languished as an unused substitute on Sunday but tellingly, in the five games he has played this term, he has helped City keep three of their five clean sheets and must come into the reckoning once again.

Super Saints

While the City defence continues to cause concern, there are no such problems down on the south coast for Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentine coach, himself a defender in his playing days, has organised his side in such a way they have conceded just three goals in nine top flight games. Their defence starts from the front with the Saints' pressing game, the constant closing down and harrying of their opponents, with Fulham the latest side unable to cope with their high tempo as they easily won 2-0 at St Mary's.

Nigel Adkins' sacking last season was bemoaned by many - myself included - who thought he deserved to stay at the helm after guiding the Saints to successive promotions.

But the owners' judgment has proved correct and Saints fans must be in dreamland having seen their side go from League One just four seasons ago to sitting in fifth in the Premier League.

Mourinho madness

Jose Mourinho is never far from the headlines. Fresh from a £8,000 fine after admitting a breach of Football Association rules during last weekend's clash with Cardiff, in which he was sent to the stands, he was back with the supporters again on Sunday - but this time by his own volition.

After Torres' last-gasp goal, the Chelsea boss ran into the crowd to celebrate, entering the section of support behind the away dugout, where he says his son has a season ticket.

He said he meant no disrespect with the celebration but Manuel Pellegrini was incensed and refused to shake hands with Mourinho at the final whistle.

The City boss stated: "I didn't shake hands. I didn't want to shake hands. I don't expect anything different from him. It's normal."

Common sense prevailed

Leroy Fer caused controversy at the end of the goalless draw at Carrow Road between Norwich and Cardiff when, in stoppage time, Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall had thrown the ball out due to an injury to Norwich midfielder Alex Tettey.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel's subsequent throw-in went to Fer, who rolled the ball into the empty net as Marshall awaited a return pass, sparking an unseemly on-pitch fracas.

While referee Michael Jones defused the situation by ordering the re-taking of the throw and immediately blowing for full-time, Cardiff boss Malky Mackay was pleased common sense prevailed.

"Immediately Colin (Calderwood) and Chris (Hughton) came up and said if Mike Jones gives it we will let you walk it into our net. There was complete calmness from both benches," said Mackay.

"The boys on the pitch were obviously a little bit more heated but I think common sense prevailed. In this day and age what you saw today was something that is not good for the game.

"Like I say at the time I didn't think he meant it but if he did and wanted to win the game then he needs to take a long, hard look at himself because that is poor sportsmanship."

Fer has since said he has no regrets and insists he would do the same again but he will find few who would agree with him, including his own manager.

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Readers' Comments

A

ndros f***ing Townsend, really Roy? ...was also by first thought. Followed closely by where have all the defenders gone? , and Jesus, that midfield looks weak .

al4monkey
England call-up for Clyne

T

he 'where does it end' argument is an absurd one and completely misses the point of the Rooney Rule, which applies to all minorities. It doesn't force any team to appoint anyone, it merely requires them to interview at least one minority candidate.

foreverlostsoul
No Good Reason Not To Try The Rooney Rule

Y

ou make a lot of good points, but I still find myself instinctively against anything that makes it easier for Paul Ince to get managerial roles

stevenjameshyde
No Good Reason Not To Try The Rooney Rule

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