Paul Parker

  • FA need to take firmer stance

    I can't help but feel both Gary Neville and Craig Bellamy
    have got away with their respective indiscretions during the Manchester derby.

    Neville was not even involved in the game, in terms of
    playing, yet he still thought fit to celebrate in front of the City fans, a
    decision that understandably angered the visiting support.

    United's club captain should know better. Celebrating big
    goals is natural, but to do so in that manner, especially so soon after the
    Emmanuel Adebayor controversy, was silly.

    It was a dramatic late winner from Owen, but it is not as if
    United won the title with that goal

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  • Focus on football, Rio

    Match of the weekend: Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur

    This is a real test of Tottenham's
    ambitions. They have a bigger squad than Arsenal and more strength in depth,
    but lack individuals with the quality of Andrei Arshavin or Cesc Fabregas. Arsenal
    have started the season well, but they have frailties in defence and you worry
    about their durability. They will always outplay teams while still giving them
    a chance. It should be a great game; you know both sides will attack and there
    should be goals. Tottenham have injury problems with their centre-backs, and
    desperately need to get two of them

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  • London calling for title

    With just under a third of the
    season gone, it looks like the Premier League title could be heading down south
    to London.

    Arsenal have played the best-looking
    football so far and I would love to say they were my favourites to win the
    league, but that label has to go to Chelsea.

    Carlo Ancelotti's side have lost two
    away games, one deservedly at Wigan and one unluckily at Aston Villa, but they have
    been the most consistent.

    They put paid to their away hoodoo
    with a 4-0 win at Bolton, and they have been scoring plenty of goals and
    killing teams off. Even when they are not at their best they seem

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  • Parker: Don’t blame Henry

    Thierry Henry has insisted he is no cheat and that he was acting purely on instinct when he handled the ball in France's controversial World Cup play-off with the Republic of Ireland, and I can understand his point of view.

    In the heat of the moment, with the ball coming at you at pace amid a crowd of bodies, it is easy to react in the way that Henry did. And I don't think too many other players would have done differently.

    As for him confessing to the referee immediately after William Gallas headed over the line, that course of action is unlikely to have helped the Irish. The referee had

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  • England shortage exposed

    I'm not a fan of mid-season friendlies at the best of times, but England's money-spinner against Brazil in the Middle East
    is plain crazy.

    And I imagine that's the view of most Premier League managers too, who will
    be spending this weekend fretting over those players who have travelled to the Middle East.

    There are no footballing reasons to travel so far to play, even if it is
    against Brazil.
    It's purely about plumping up the FA's coffers and building the Premier
    League's image abroad.

    Fabio Capello will learn little from the trip, although what he will already
    have gathered is that he is

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  • Parker: Pressure suits Liverpool

    MATCH OF THE WEEKEND: Manchester City v Liverpool

    It's another big game for Liverpool and one they should be able to raise their game for. They proved against Manchester United they can perform when the pressure is on, and with the spotlight still firmly on Rafa Benitez, the situation is no different for them this weekend.

    It's a good time for Liverpool to face City, who are struggling to meet expectations so far this season. Mark Hughes has spent heavily but it is clear that his team is yet to gel properly.

    Sparky needs to start winning games instead of drawing them if City are to be taken

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  • United targets over-priced

    The big question this summer centres on how Manchester
    United should spend the money they are to get from the sale of Cristiano
    Ronaldo to Real Madrid.

    £80 million is a huge amount
    of money but such are the inflated sums demanded once selling clubs know it is
    United who are interested, it is difficult to name a single player linked with
    a move to Old Trafford who is actually worth what he is being offered for.

    Take the £40m price tag that has been slapped on Karim
    Benzema's head. Surely the Lyon striker cannot
    be worth that much? For that kind of money, you expect a proven world-class
    player,

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  • Johnson must be allowed to attack

    Glen Johnson may well be the best English right-back around
    at the moment, but he's not worth
    the reported £17 million
    Liverpool are about to pay for him.

    Having failed to make the grade at Chelsea,
    he cost Portsmouth
    £4m just two years ago.

    And while he has undoubtedly come on as a player during his
    time at Fratton Park, it's difficult to justify how he
    is £13m better.

    That said, Liverpool
    certainly needed to address that area of their team. Both their full-back positions
    proved to be serious weak spots for them throughout last season.

    The signing of Johnson will help in that department, but

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  • No rest for Prem stars

    Players return from their summer holidays this week,
    some barely a month after their last game, but all will be expected to hit the
    ground running.

    Considering the brevity of their breaks - and the
    shortness of the leashes they are kept on by their clubs - most players should
    not be too unfit when they arrive back.

    During the off-season, a top flight
    player's every move - including what
    he eats and drinks - is monitored by his club and scrutinised by the press in
    equal measures.

    As such, Premier League players' fitness levels, already incredibly high, have barely had a chance to
    drop off,

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  • Room for optimism at Anfield

    Match of the weekend: Liverpool
    v Manchester United

    Liverpool versus Manchester United is the biggest game of the
    season for both teams, and this time there are even more reasons to get
    excited. You have to go back to 1953 for the last time Liverpool
    lost five on the bounce, and a defeat on Sunday would increase the pressure of
    Rafa Benitez to almost unbearable levels. The club's
    fans have focused their anger on the owners, but they are starting to realise
    it's what is happening on the pitch
    that is the problem. That said, I feel a Liverpool
    win could change everything. I think this will be a

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