Is David Bentley a Superclown rather than Superman, and did SWP swear at Gareth Southgate?

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “For a club of this size to be in the position we were in when we weren’t scoring goals and there were clearly some issues in the dressing room between the manager and some of the players, we could not allow the situation to go on for long. Some of the players weren’t performing as well as you’d expect. Certain players were perhaps being more publicly vocal than you’d expect. The fact we were getting all those red cards and weren’t scoring, losing games … all those things were having an impact… It was about finding the right individual. It’s nothing to do with the structure, it’s about the people. If we had brought in a different type of manager, a foreign coach for instance, maybe the structure would have stayed. It might yet return. The irony is that, if we had called the sporting director by a different name, chief scout or chief executive, we would not have had the negativity about it.” – Daniel Levy.

Runner-up: “We had a team meeting before the game and Clive Allen actually pointed out that the keeper comes off his line and sometimes right out to the edge of his box. That was still in my head early in the game. The ball sat up and I caught it perfectly… I’m an emotional wreck. I went mad. I get so emotional and that’s why we all play football. Nights like that, goals like that, performances like that – it’s why we all love football.” – David Bentley.

Today’s overview: It’s a difficult Friday morning for Shaun Wright-Phillips, as the Manchester City winger faces an FA punishment for an alleged “V-sign” in the direction of Gareth Southgate (see the picture above).

he form of Luis Fabiano, the Seville striker, had been monitored by Scolari with a view to making a move for the Brazilian in January if Didier Drogba’s injury problems continue.” A similar approach in the transfer market seems applicable to Tottenham, with Sam Wallace writing “Levy did not rule out the possibility that Redknapp may have to sell first to buy players in January, but he virtually ruled out the possibility of the manager going back to Portsmouth to poach Lassana Diarra, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe.”

Staying with Spurs, goalkeeper Gomes is criticised by Gomes is particularly vulnerable at set-pieces, treating walls of bodies as lumps of human flesh to be bulldozed through rather than circumnavigated carefully.” James Lawton then tries to knock David Bentley down a peg or two, arguing that the midfielder has failed to convince “much of the rest of football that just because of one sublime moment he has necessarily shaken off a less uplifting status – the one not of Superman but Superclown.” Simon Cass is far more sympathetic to Bentley, countering that Redknapp “appears hellbent on giving Bentley the chance to turn himself into a White Hart Lane legend. Hair gel and highlights have been replaced by hard graft… and the Tottenham faithful are responding.”

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All is not good at their fellow North London rivals, Henry Winter attacking the Gunners for their lack of on the field leaders – “Arsenal’s problem, and one that Wenger can probably address only through the transfer market, is that few of his many technically accomplished players are natural officer material. One thing is sure: Gallas is (usually) a good defender, but not a good captain.”

Moving onto Manchester United, Jim White celebrated Sir Alex Ferguson’s rant against Real Madrid from earlier in the week noting “Ronaldo may have an ego the size of Madeira, but Ferguson recognises that sometimes it is the very people who you most wish to clip around the ear and tell them to get over themselves that crave reassurance… That is Ferguson’s genius. Far from suggesting the imminent arrival of the bath chair, his remarks about Madrid demonstrate he remains the shrewdest man manager in the game.”

In other Premier League news, Tony Adams is credited for turning his life around by Simon Barnes, with the former Arsenal skipper proving that “if you don’t like your life, you can have another. If you don’t like yourself, you can be someone else. These are intoxicating thoughts: ideas that fly in the face of what we are taught.” And with a large slice of sarcasm, Harry Pearson charged that “Joey Barton and Wayne Rooney stand convicted of the heinous crime of flagrant public badge-kissing.”

Other stories worth a mention include Henry Winter’s report on how England stars are to be placed on a 30-man register to be targeted by UK Sport dope-testers, while Jeremy Wilson claims that Kofi Annan is poised to become an ambassador for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

On the European front, Richard Aikman notes that consecutive goalless draws have undermined Joe Mourinho’s standing at Inter as “the lack of creativity and spark is more symptomatic of Mourinho’s cautious approach than any missing personnel.” And staying with Inter, no matter how good Zlatan Ibrahimovic is, Antonio Labbate urges Jose Mourinho to make peace with his sidelined strikers in the search for more goals.

Lastly, moving even further afield, the Telegraph report on how the Church of Maradona celebrated the god’s 48th birthday yesterday – “Dozens of more members were “baptized” on Wednesday by slamming a football with their hand, in homage to the “Hand of God” goal Maradona scored against England in the 1986 World Cup.”

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