Smudger Smith: The journeyman pro

Blues and long faces, but why the long coat?
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The Independent Football

In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon "Smudger" Smith has played for over 67 clubs and has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper.

After months of speculation, one of the world's most exciting managerial talents has finally announced his next job, and it's a slight curveball that will doubtlessly disappoint some Chelsea fans. Still, I think Gordon Strachan is a great fit for the Scotland team.

An even greater number of Chelsea fans will be saddened that Pep Guardiola has gone to Bayern Munich. Lots of people are saying the role of coach will mean less responsibility that will allow the Spaniard more time to focus on the football. I still think he should have gone to Chelsea, though, where he wouldn't even have been burdened with picking the team.

The FA Cup replays gave no shocks and it was a controversial decision at Old Trafford that led to Man United triumphing over West Ham. Few agreed that Fergie should have started Giggs but, boy, did that pay off. Arsenal also went through after a 1-0 win over Swansea and rumour has it Arsène Wenger celebrated by walking into a bar. The barman asked: "Why the long coat?"

Jonathan Walters had a shocker last weekend with two own goals and a missed penalty, but, like a goofy teenager, came good thanks to a brace and helped Stoke go through over Crystal Palace. It takes real guts to prove your critics wrong, especially on the most challenging, high-profile stage of them all: a wet Tuesday night in Stoke.

If Guardiola's move to Bayern eased some pressure on Benitez, his side's 2-2 midweek draw with Southampton heaped it back on. It was a huge disappointment for Rafa to throw away a 2-0 lead but he needs to look forward and just get back on the horse, much like any Tesco burger enthusiast.

Follow me on @smudgersmithpro

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