Arsenal have “no bite, no edge, no urgency” – Tony Cascarino

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “I don’t know what he was thinking but he jumped on my chest. I don’t know why but I think he was a little bit frustrated. But I don’t understand it because they were playing good football and the score was 1-1 at the time. Anywhere else but here and it would have been a red card. But the referee didn’t say anything. I think referees are frightened to punish players at Old Trafford, and especially players like Rooney. But I can see the marks on my chest – big marks. He’s apologised, so that’s OK. But there was another incident too when he used his arm to hurt one of our players. I don’t think it looks good on television.” – Kasper Risgard.

Runner-up: “For me it’s not even an issue. I have only just arrived here, I’m a Liverpool player, and I intend to be for a long time, not just five months. In life sometimes things don’t go as well as you’d like. But I’m not just going to throw in the towel and accept it, you have to get out there, show what you’re made of and put in performances like the one against PSV. I know I have got a future at this club. I don’t want to see the headlines saying ‘I’m staying’ because that has never even been a question. I am staying because I have just arrived, I want to be part of a Liverpool side for the future and I want to be a big player for this club and I will keep working hard to try and make that happen.” – Robbie Keane.

Today’s overview: Arsenal are once again put through the wringer this Thursday, following their Champions League defeat at Porto.

Arsenal suffered another difficult evening last night in the Champions League losing at Porto, David Hytner critising Arsenal’s lacklustre performance “riddled with defensive holes and a lack of penetration further forward.” William Gallas is singled out by the former Arsenal captain made defensive mistakes the likes of which would not look out of place on Hackney Marshes. Come back Philippe Senderos, all is forgiven.”

Glenn Moore suggests that a host of Arsenal youngsters could be loaned out the club this January, while observing that “of last year’s eight loanees only Johan Djourou has since started in the League.” Shifting the dead wood may spark the Gunners into life, with hey have become a team who look like they treat every game as a friendly match. There’s no bite, no edge, no urgency. And without Theo Walcott yesterday, no width or pace.”

Sam Allardyce’s candidacy for the Sunderland job is chewed over by Lawrence Donegan, who argues that his “utilitarian style of play he has championed through the years, might not be the preference of football ‘modernists’ like Niall Quinn and Ellis Short.”

Felipe Scolari is planning his moves in the transfer market with Jason Burt writing that Chelsea are tracking £6m-rated Amr Zaki after agreeing “a £4m deal to sign the promising striker Orlando Sa” from Braga. However Kevin McCarra urges the Blues to do more with their current strikers, placing the onus on Scolari “[to] let loose the complementary Drogba and Anelka as outright attackers.” But it’s not all good news for Chelsea, Ian McGarry quoting Brazilian defender Alex saying “I told Chelsea a few days ago that I wanted to leave. There are many options. But I have to think them through and see if Chelsea will let me leave in January.”

Rafa Benitez is compared with the legendary Bob Paisley and Bill Shankly by Benitez’s win percentage – 56.98 – from 265 games is better than that of Paisley, who won 275 of 490 games at a win percentage of 56.12 and Shankly, who won 393 of 753 matches, a win percentage of 52.19.” However one manager failing to get any love in Gianfranco Zola, as Steven Howard is criticial of how “West Ham panicked and jumped in, desperate to make a high-profile, and cheap, appointment. The result? Two wins in 11 games, four goals in 10 as Zola continues to stand on the touchline with the startled look of a rabbit caught in the headlights.”

In other Premier League news, the Daily Mail write that “Manchester City have admitted that midfielder Michael Johnson is having problems adjusting to the mental challenges of the game [after] Johnson, 20, has had his head turned by the Manchester social scene while he has been out of action with an abdominal problem.”

After sauntering in to his new job at the Bernabeu, Cameron Macphail reports that Juande Ramos’ first transfer target is Didier Zokora. Other transfer speculation includes David Anderson’s suggestion that “Mark Hughes has been put on alert by West Ham’s decision to offload Craig Bellamy for £6million.”

Lastly, the Daily Mail publish findings of their survey that shows “apparently 13 per cent of fans choose their team based on ‘a history of success,'” while Richard Bright reports on how Argentina will use a vanishing spray in first division games in 2009 in an attempt to stop defensive walls from creeping forward at free-kicks.