Sam Wallace: Never doubt the enduring class of Crouch


If you have followed Peter Crouch's career closely, his goal against Manchester City on Saturday was not that much of a surprise. He scored Mark Hughes-style volleys twice for Liverpool against Galatasaray and Bolton. The third goal of his hat-trick against Arsenal at Anfield in 2007 was not too shabby either.

Crouch has always had to live with being underestimated but it would be extraordinary if the new England manager omitted him from the Euro 2012 squad. Andy Carroll and Bobby Zamora are not in the same class, and their form is nowhere near that of Crouch who has 12 goals already this season. As for 22 goals in 42 caps, that speaks for itself.


Loose lips sink ships: and they could cost City

It was Patrick Vieira who called it on with Manchester United last week over their "desperate" decision to bring back Paul Scholes, a move that will look increasingly wrong-headed should United win against Fulham tonight and open up a three-point lead at the top.

Roberto Mancini has generally been unflappable in his approach to Sir Alex Ferguson and other rivals. Vieira is City's football development executive as well as a kind of club ambassador (despite everyone associating him with Arsenal) and now, it seems, the resident pre-bout trash-talker. One comment does not decide a title race but it can contribute to a mood around a club, a mood that Mancini had been trying to keep as low-key as possible.