Paul Parker

  • Brutal De Jong deserves punishment

    I can't
    quite fathom just how Nigel de Jong escaped a card for his challenge that broke
    Hatem Ben Arfa's leg during Manchester City's clash with Newcastle on Sunday.

    It was both
    reckless and dangerous and the FA should retrospectively punish the midfielder.

    I have no
    idea how the referee could deem a challenge like that a fair one; the official
    himself should also face some kind of punishment for missing it.

    De Jong is
    a destroyer and only a destroyer. He has little else to his game, and we have
    seen him making challenges like this before. He just hasn't been able to tone
    his aggression down

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  • Is Hodgson brave enough to drop Torres?

    Under pressure: Arsene Wenger - Chelsea v Arsenal

    Arsene Wenger is under a huge amount of
    pressure following Arsenal's calamitous 3-2 defeat to West Brom at the Emirates
    last week, and there is no tougher place to go than Stamford Bridge.

    The Gunners have to show a bit of backbone
    to be honest and Wenger has to stop whingeing and moaning. In the Frenchman's
    position, he should be whipping up his players to show some guts and fighting
    spirit, not lamenting the physicality of other sides.

    Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the
    season against Manchester City, and that was a poor result.

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  • Rooney under the microscope

    Match of the weekend: Everton v Manchester United

    Wayne Rooney always gets a hard time when he goes back to Merseyside, but he will be in for an especially rough ride at Goodison Park this weekend. It's a fantastic ground to play at because the fans are right on top of you, the atmosphere is so loud and intense. Even when I went there with United the crowd were always up for it, but since Rooney left them for Old Trafford the fixture has taken on extra significance.

    Everyone will be waiting for him to slip up, to lash out or to lose his cool. Even if he has a below-par game, people will be

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  • Sunderland can add to Hodgson’s woes

    Under pressure: Roy Hodgson - Liverpool v Sunderland

    You look at this Liverpool side and they are very ordinary. Fernando Torres isn't firing while Steve Gerrard is having to do it all himself. They were fortunate to get a draw at Birmingham, while the 3-2 scoreline in losing at United flattered them. If Roy Hodgson thinks he can take anything positive from the defeat at Old Trafford, then I'm Polish.

    He told the press he wanted to rest players for the game against Northampton. Didn't he realise his regular players are struggling in the Premier League? The second-string players are probably

    Read More »from Sunderland can add to Hodgson’s woes
  • Villa the winners in Milner deal

    When you look at the number of players that
    Manchester City already have in their squad, especially in midfield, it looks
    as though James Milner will be just another to arrive on big money and not play
    regular football.

    At Aston Villa last season he was one of the
    first names on the team sheet, but it's not going to be that way at Eastlands.

    Milner is highly-praised for his
    versatility, but I can't see him holding down a regular starting place either
    on the wings or in the centre of midfield. Due to their recent signings, City have
    well over a dozen other midfielders in their ranks already.

    Read More »from Villa the winners in Milner deal
  • Villa’s future all bright

    Of the many
    expensively acquired summer recruits to take their bows over the weekend, the
    player who most impressed on his Premier League debut didn't cost his club a penny.

    Albrighton eclipsed everyone around him on Saturday with a superb performance
    on his first top-flight game for Aston

    A product
    of Villa's youth academy, the 20-year-old was the best player on the pitch for
    the 89 minutes he was on it, proving clubs need not break the bank to uncover
    match-winning jewels.

    In all
    likelihood, Albrighton wouldn't have started
    the game if Martin O'Neill were still in charge,
    but the

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  • City missing man in the middle

    Manchester City's failure to score against Sunderland, which ultimately ended in a 1-0defeat for them at the Stadium of Light, is a blow to their title credentials and exposes a big hole in their squad.

    They had plenty of the ball and made several opportunities, most notably Carlos Tevez's shocking close-range miss. They were made to rue those courtesy of Darren Bent's late penalty. 

    That will bother manager Roberto Mancini, and it will certainly bother the people above him at the club that the team passed up the opportunity to take three points.

    Most of the top teams will get something from

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  • Mancini’s conundrum

    Paul Parker fears for Roberto Mancini's future as Manchester City host Liverpool in another six-pointer for the Eastlands big spenders while he is excited about seeing new City signing Mario Balotelli in action against the Reds.

    Match of the week: Manchester City v Liverpool

    You have got to feel for Roberto Mancini at times. With all the money City have spent the onus is on them to attack, to excite, to be positive.

    But with Roy Hodgson in charge, Liverpool are a superior version of Fulham, with similar organisation but better players. They will be very hard to beat and will look to play on

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  • Fulham point against United no surprise

    Fulham's point against another of my former
    clubs Manchester United did not come as any surprise at the weekend.

    Craven Cottage is becoming a bit of a bogey
    ground for United, Fulham having won the pair's previous two league encounters there
    before the weekend's stalemate.

    It can be a difficult place to go to. When
    it's sold out, it can be quite a good atmosphere and other big clubs may
    struggle there this season.

    Mark Hughes's arrival at the Cottage will
    have helped too and the players will have wanted to give their all on his first
    game in charge at home.

    I predicted a draw before the game,

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  • Positive signs for England

    England played well on Friday evening against Bulgaria, but a lot of people are sceptical about them and they still have it all to prove.

    They've seen this before in the qualifiers: positional interchanging and the players doing what Fabio Capello wants them to do, playing in the style he's used to from his time managing in Spain and Italy - with imagination and commitment.

    But you have to remember that the Bulgarians weren't all that good.

    If you're looking to pre-judge what we can expect from England in Euro 2012, when it really matters, you'll get more material from the game in Switzerland

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