Paul Parker

  • Resilience key to Fergie glory

    To win
    three Premier League titles on the trot is an amazing achievement. To do that
    twice in a decade is nothing short of incredible. Yet
    that is exactly what Alex Ferguson has done, and for that you cannot help but
    stand back and admire the man's

    what Rafa Benitez says; Manchester United
    deserved to win this league title, as would any other club who finish top after
    a long and hard season. And the way United have
    won it has Ferguson's hallmark all over it.

    On the
    way, United suffered a pretty major blip, sparked by the thrashing at home by Liverpool. That was followed by

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  • Birmingham can spoil Chelsea’s Christmas

    Match of the weekend - Birmingham v Chelsea

    Chelsea's trip to Birmingham on Boxing Day should be a great match, and it'd be no surprise to see either team win.

    Birmingham are the form team in the Premier League at the moment. They are unbeaten since they went to the Emirates in mid-October and only saw a run of five wins in a row end on Saturday at Goodison Park. They'll have been disappointed not to carry that streak on, but will be all the keener to get it back up and going again.

    And Chelsea's great strength has always been at home. They were lucky to get the penalty that earned them a

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  • Tough to fill Hughes’s shoes

    Mark Hughes said he didn't see his sacking coming - but just about everyone else did.

    As much as you have to feel sorry for Sparky, it was to be expected.

    He did so well with Blackburn and really earned his chance to manage a big club with a big budget - but everything changed when the takeover happened.

    But all the old rules and expectations about doing the best with limited resources went out the window. In came a new regime obsessed with only two things: bringing in big names and getting instant results. It was always going to be tough for him.

    It's a real shame for Sparky that he's out of

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  • Liverpool cannot win without Gerrard

    If Steven Gerrard's
    groin injury turns out to be serious it could all but kill Liverpool's Premier League title hopes.

    He is so important to the team, even more so now he is effectively
    playing as a second striker, and they just do not have the strength in depth to
    cover for his absence.

    Fernando Torres cannot do it all by himself. He is a
    fantastic player but he needs service and support.

    He began to look a little despondent towards the end of the
    Champions League defeat at home Chelsea, as Michael Essien marked Gerrard into

    Liverpool have done
    exceptionally well to get back into

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  • Now or never for ailing Liverpool

    Match of
    the weekend: Stoke v Liverpool

    Rafa Benitez has had so many 'must-win' games this season - and failed to win the bulk of
    them - we cannot say defeat at the Britannia Stadium would seal his fate. But his
    position looks increasingly untenable after Wednesday's
    defeat to Reading,
    and there is now a chorus of Anfield legends calling for him to go. While they
    are still only five points off fourth place, you have to look at how they have
    been playing, and it is hard to see them clawing back ground on the likes of Manchester City based on some awful recent
    performances. The squad looks thin

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  • Time running out for Benitez

    The appearance of
    that rogue beach ball aside, there
    was little out of the ordinary at the Stadium of
    Light on Saturday.

    Without Steven
    Gerrard and Fernando Torres, not to mention Javier Mascherano
    for the majority of the game, Liverpool
    were as poor as expected and defeat came as no surprise.

    That's four out
    of nine lost so far this season with a game against Manchester
    United to come on Sunday.

    And that's not to
    mention the midweek Champions League clash
    against Lyon.

    Morale is understandably low in the
    Liverpool camp at the
    moment. It's obvious that they are not the
    happiest squad given

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  • Spice added to Merseyside derby

    MATCH OF THE WEEKEND: Everton v Liverpool

    The first Merseyside derby of the season is an interesting
    one, considering the poor recent form of both sides. Neither have got going
    this season and their respective on-field problems have been well documented.

    Everton lost to Hull in
    midweek while Liverpool head into the game off
    the back of their exit from the Champions League, so both teams will be looking
    to bounce back from those disappointments with a positive result.

    At least Liverpool won last
    time out; Everton have managed just one victory in their last 10 outings in all
    competitions. David

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  • Parker: Wenger right to rotate

    the number of youngsters Arsene Wenger sent out against Stoke in the fourth
    round of the FA Cup, a certain amount of criticism directed at the Arsenal boss
    was to be expected.

    have a number of tough games coming up and there have been accusations that by
    resting some of his more senior players, thereby prioritising the Premier
    League over the Cup, Wenger has devalued the competition.

    But Wenger
    knows his squad better than anyone else and if he feels he has to protect
    certain players with such a busy schedule coming up, then he is well within his
    rights to do so.

    Having a

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  • Liverpool still look poor

    Once again we are hearing talk of Liverpool's season being kick started after winning at Aston Villa on Tuesday night but we have heard all this from Rafael Benitez before and I wouldn't be getting too excited if I was a Liverpool fan.

    I watched the match against Villa and they played poorly and needed some luck at the end to get the victory.

    They just have not been playing well enough all season to convince me that they are just suddenly going to turn the corner.

    They seem to win one big game but then they turn out the very next week and lose. It seems to be a case of win one here, lose one

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  • Another test for Spurs

    Match of the weekend: Chelsea v Tottenham

    Tottenham's great start to the new season stuttered last weekend but against Chelsea on Sunday they have the chance to get right back on track.

    Like the game with Manchester United, the Chelsea clash will be a real test of Spurs' ability to mix it with the big boys.

    Last week, they failed as they allowed United to dominate the game at White Hart Lane, but if Harry Redknapp's side can hold their own at Stamford Bridge, they can put the result against the champions down as a blip.

    The intense rivalry between these two clubs already makes this a

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