Roy Keane is set to walk out on the “Stadium of Plight” & the Abu Derby

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “You can forget about contract talks. I ask myself every single day, before I come to work, if I’m at work, ‘Am I the right man for Sunderland?’ This morning I asked myself and I said I was. I’ll ask myself again tomorrow morning and if the answer is no, then we will have a look at it. And I will have to be honest in my assessment. It’s not what’s best for Roy Keane. It’s not what is best for Danny Collins or Dean Whitehead or Niall Quinn. It’s what’s best for Sunderland Football Club. This is a test for everyone at the football club. I’m the manager of the football club and ultimately I’m responsible. That’s part of being a manager. That’s why I will take full responsibility for today.” – Roy Keane.

Runner-up: “The Premier League is way ahead of the Spanish League, you go to a team in the relegation zone and you find yourself playing on a perfect pitch, with the stands full to bursting and opponents who are there to play football. Even if they lose, the crowd are going to cheer them on until the death. You see this only in British football. It isn’t easy to adapt, but once you have you would have trouble wanting to play anywhere else.” – Fernando Torres.

Today’s overview: With the Manchester derby taking place this Sunday, outshone Ronaldo so far this season and whose goal threat is likely to cause United their greatest concern.”

But Robinho’s participation in the derby is put in doubt by Leo Spall, who reports “Robinho could be a shock absentee from this afternoon’s Manchester derby after he broke down in training with a recurring ankle problem.” Lastly, City legend Mick Summerbee gives his thoughts to Steve Tongue commenting “I have to laugh when I read that you can’t buy success. Six years ago Chelsea were just an ordinary side. Then Mr Abramovich came.”

On United, Duncan White argues that Sir Alex is a long way off leaving his post commenting “if he stays healthy, only a dimming in his enthusiasm would convince him to quit.”

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Ahead of today’s London showdown between Arsenal and Chelsea, Amy Lawerence looks at Nicolas Anelka writing “A goal against Arsenal today would be timely, and might help him in the task of finally shaking off the criticism that he has never quite made the most of his talent.” Ian Hawkey speaks to Michael Ballack, who reveals some doubts over Arsenal’s new captain Fabregas (“You can have everything else but you need experience as a captain.”)

On Chelsea, Andy Dunn suggests that the net is closing in on Felipe Scolari – “Scolari is a hired gun. The bounty is the Champions League and the Premier League … instantly… Scolari was under pressure from the moment he trousered the first of Roman’s pay-cheques.”

Reacting to Roy Keane’s comments above, Simon Turnbull adds some background to why many expect the Irishman to walk from the Mackems, penning “it was Sunderland’s fifth reverse in six League matches and their fourth in a row in all competitions at what is fast becoming a Stadium of Plight.”

Newcastle take up a lot of column inches this Sunday. Bob Cass writes that “Dennis Wise’s fragile hold on his position as part of the Newcastle United hierarchy is close to breaking point.” And Wise is on his bike, because according to John Richardson “Newcastle boss Joe Kinnear has been told that he will not be given any money to spend in the January transfer window.” Other reports on the Toon include James Courage’s announcement that Mike Ashley is set to return to the St. James’ Park terraces for the match against West Ham, and Scott Piecha claims that Obafemi Martins wants out of the Magpies.

On the transfer rumours, the Mail on Sunday link West Ham with Sebastien Giovinco, John Richardson suggests that Real Madrid are closing in on Carlos Tevez, Martin Handy claims “Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City will fight it out for Downing and if they match Boro’s £12million asking fee, will land the 24-year-old.” Andy Dunn reports that “Everton have started moves to bring Lukas Podolski to Goodison Park,” while the shock rumour from Paul Smith suggests that Tottenham are poised to move for William Gallas. On Spurs, Dave Kidd also writes that “Harry Redknapp will step up his bid for Richard Dunne with a £3million offer for the Manchester City defender.”

Paul Wilson looks at whether the Premier League is value for money for fans, noting “tickets are getting cheaper. Most clubs outside the Champions League bracket now have affordable deals on season tickets and many are actively targeting younger supporters with cheap deals for kids.”

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