SEVEN DAYS IN SEVEN POINTS
If Liverpool can keep Sturridge fit they should finish in the top 4
Liverpool’s midweek demolition of Southampton was not only a sign that the Reds are improving under Klopp, but also an indication of how much damage a fit Daniel Sturridge can do. His problems with injury are no secret – he’s missed almost as many games as he’s played in the last two seasons – but during those spells when he is playing football he gives Liverpool another dimension. He terrorises defences and seems to be able to score almost at will. Whether his injury woes are at an end is yet to be seen, but if Liverpool can get him playing regularly until the end of the campaign, they could very well finish in the Champions League places.
Burton Albion’s habit of producing brilliant managers continues
First there was Nigel Clough, then Paul Peschisolido, then Gary Rowett, and now Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Four managers that took the helm at relatively unknown Burton Albion and helped to boost not only the club’s fortunes, but also their own. Clough was hired by Derby, Rowett by Birmingham and Hasselbaink by QPR. The message is pretty simple; if you want a Championship job, go and manage Burton for a season or two.
Is Zlatan on his way to Chelsea?
This rumour, along with the obligatory Zlatan to Manchester United one, has been going around for a few years. Chelsea are struggling up top this season, which is something that 12 months ago would have been unthinkable given the club’s fire-power, and there is certainly room for another experienced striker. Ibrahimović, 34, would only be a short-term solution to Chelsea’s striking woes, but he guarantees goals. I can see this happening.
Gary Neville’s Valencia appointment is bizarre
When Phil Neville moved to Valencia in the summer to become number two a few eyebrows were raised, but Gary Neville’s appointment as club boss – his first ever managerial position – seems incredibly odd, if not downright ridiculous. Gary loves football and knows that game inside out – that’s undebatable – but what has he done to earn the right to be Valencia boss? He doesn’t know the area, nor the league, barely knows the team, has never before worked in Spain, and has openly admitted he doesn’t speak Spanish. He seems to have been hired solely because of his close personal relationship with the club’s owner, which is nothing short of adopted nepotism. Should he be a success then I’ll eat my words, but I can’t see him being Valencia’s boss in 12 months.
Do Spurs need Saido Berahino?
Berahino, who looked set for a move to Spurs in the summer, has been a shadow of his former self so far this season. Whether that’s because the young lad lacks confidence, is still hoping for a transfer or is simply not performing to the standards we know he can is unclear, but what is becoming increasingly obvious is that Tottenham don’t need him. With the emergence of Ali, the fine form of Son, Lamela and Eriksen, and the perennially impressive Harry Kane, there simply is no room in Tottenham’s front line for Berahino. And, given his tendency to moan and gripe when decisions don’t go his way, it’s really no big loss for the White Hart Lane faithful.
Manchester United interested in Fulham’s Dembele?
If any Championship player, especially if they’re young, has a half decent start to a season then they will undoubtedly be linked with Premier League clubs. Usually it’s all speculative chatter, but I think this rumour could have legs. Dembele is a class player, and is without a doubt too good to be plying his trade in England’s second tier. LvG has made clear that his aim is to build a squad for the future that he can subsequently pass on to the next Red Devils boss, and Dembele certainly fits with the sort of player he likes. I expect this one to happen next summer.
How long can Brighton keep their unbeaten league run going?
Brighton, unbeaten in their first 18 league games, are having a season that very few would have predicted before the campaign kicked off. They finished 20th last season – only 6 points above the drop zone – and were given very little TV coverage, let alone hope of promotion, during the summer. To my mind Brighton are not the best team in the league, not by a long shot. I don’t think they’re even top six. I expect them to beat Charlton this weekend, but I think their first defeat will come against Derby the following Saturday, and from then on they will begin to slide down the table. Get your bets on!