Paul Parker

Is Hodgson brave enough to drop Torres?

Paul Parker

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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. Roberto Mancini's
side are never going to be real contenders for the title because they lack any
creativity and are not remotely exciting to watch. You do not look at City and
think they are worthy of ruling English football.

But it is Wenger who is under the most
pressure of any of the top bosses this week, and he simply has to change his
attitude from being a moaner to a boss who leads a battling team into war. If
he wants to win the title again he must stop looking at other factors and
instead focus on what his players are doing out on the pitch.

The Gunners boss only has himself to blame
for not having a decent goalkeeper and lacking a physical presence in midfield,
and equally he should have given his players a real ticking off after last
week's showing.

Lukasz Fabianski has proved to be a
liability and has cost his side a lot of points: it is not his fault that a
better keeper has not been purchased. Wenger must face the consequences of his stubbornness
in the transfer market.

Match of the weekend: Chelsea v Arsenal

Undoubtedly the biggest match of the
weekend is Chelsea's clash with Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, and I am backing the
Blues to brush aside Wenger's lightweight side.

The Gunners do not have a good record of
late against Chelsea and, with Didier Drogba set to lead the line, the
champions have too much firepower.

The Blues are such a well drilled outfit
and Carlo Ancelotti's side should respond well after their defeat to City last
weekend.

I predict a 2-1 win to Chelsea.

Upset of the week: Liverpool v Blackpool

I can see Blackpool nicking a point at
Liverpool, and you can bet that Roy Hodgson will be very anxious that his side
performs at Anfield.

The Reds have been very unimpressive and
lethargic of late, and their dour goalless draw with FC Utrecht in midweek
showed no sign of improvement.

Blackpool have absolutely nothing to lose,
and Ian Holloway's side will relish the opportunity of coming to Anfield with
everything to gain.

Liverpool have to be favourites, but I
would not be at all surprised if Blackpool grab a shock point to stun Hodgson
and his side.

Player to watch: Fernando Torres

Fernando
Torres is the player to watch, and the Spaniard simply has to perform against
Blackpool. The striker has been very out of form, and he looks as though he
does not even want to be playing for the club at the moment.

If
I were Hodgson I would drop Torres for the match to send the forward a clear
message that, if he is not willing to give his all in a red shirt, then he is
not going to be picked.

The
effect the striker appears to be having on his team mates is very destructive:
if, as a player, you can see that one of the stars is not pulling his weight it
can breed resentment and frustration.

Torres
is at a key stage in his Liverpool career now and it can go one of two ways:
either he has to give his all and show what he can do against Blackpool, or Hodgson
may have to make a very brave call.

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