Four things we learnt from Saturday’s Premier League action: Aston Villa relegation battle; Fulham's thin broth; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Cardiff worry; Manchester United flourishing
Sunday 29 December 2013
Villa are relegation candidates
When Aston Villa lost 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, their manager’s reaction was telling. At least, said Paul Lambert, they had worked hard. Given that last season Villa had the seventh-highest wage bill in the league, owner Randy Lerner may feel entitled to more than hard work. After a lucky 1-1 draw against Swansea, Lambert said: “We are not in a relegation fight”. As they are four points off the drop zone and averaging less than a point a game at home, others may feel differently.
Too many managers spoiling a thin Fulham broth
Nobody was very surprised when, soon after having Rene Meulensteen forced in alongside him, Martin Jol was sacked by Fulham. Alan Curbishley was then added on Christmas Eve as first-team technical director. Now, Ray Wilkins, who worked uncomfortably alongside Kevin Keegan when Mohamed al-Fayed took over the club in 1997, is to join the coaching staff. Given that Meulensteen coached Manchester United to the title, you wonder how much help he actually needs, although after the 6-0 thrashing at Hull, the answer is probably quite a lot.
Solskjaer should beware the view from the directors’ box
Alex Ferguson’s advice when one of his protégés was offered a new job was always to go to the highest point of their stadium and compare it to the new one. The view from the Aker Stadium, lying as it does by Molde’s fjord, is beautiful but the 11,800-capacity, let alone the transfer budget, does not compare to what is on offer at Cardiff. However, before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joins Cardiff, he ought to remember that the Aker Stadium has never seen its owner, Kjell Inge Rokke, boo his team off as Vincent Tan did after the 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
United are flourishing with backs to the wall
When David Moyes said he would be launching one of Manchester United’s most expansive forays into the January transfer market, it came just after Robin van Persie was ruled out for a month. And yet, Saturday’s 1-0 win at Norwich was United’s sixth in succession and achieved without Van Persie or Wayne Rooney. Given how Everton under Moyes almost invariably enjoyed a better second half of a season, United may not yet be title contenders but the vision of them finishing in the Champions League places no longer seems so unrealistic.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
Latest in Sport
Anderlecht vs Arsenal match report: Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski pounce as Arsenal leave it late
Manchester United vs Chelsea: Daley Blind admits United must 'play our best game' to get a result at Old Trafford
Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Was Cristiano Ronaldo the star man? And how did Mario Balotelli fare?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was shirt swapping the real reason?
- 1 As an ex prostitute, I urge all the political parties to commit to the Sex Buyer Law
- 2 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 3 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Couple die within 28 hours of each other after being married for 73 years
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'