On the BBC's 'Match of the Day' this weekend Alan Shearer, pundit, former England striker and Newcastle favourite, who won a Premier League championship medal with Blackburn Rovers in 1995 said, "Ashley Cole is the best left-back in the World."
He was commenting on video footage of Chelsea 7 Sunderland 2 played yesterday. Ashley Cole scored a fine goal by avoiding a challenge and touching the ball past the Sunderland 'keeper with the outside of his left foot in a very tight situation. How would Alan actually know that Ashley Cole was the best left back in the world? Is he familiar with the left backs in the African Nations Cup currently being played in Angola, for instance? Left backs in South America? Even in the Bundesliga? It is the kind of remark you can hear in the pub from someone showing his appreciation of the player. But surely pundits are paid to give informed comment, not pubtalk. It's fun but we get pubtalk free anyway
It is not surprising that Ashley Cole is playing so well. Zirkov is, too, in the few outings he has had with the Chelsea team in recent weeks. And Zirkov is the obvious replacement for Cole.
Everton 2 Manchester City 0 meant that yesterday was the first time relatively new manager, Mancini, had seen his new team beaten. In fact, nobody had seen City beaten since they lost to United on 20th September, 2009. They have had 8 draws: results not good enough to save the previous manager, Mark Hughes.
Two weaknesses led to this loss. The first was in the wall when somebody flinched (moved out of line)and let through a freekick from Pienaar for Everton's first goal. Pienaar is now a genius! Compare this to the solid, flinchless line when Bellamy from a similar position to the Everton success had his kick absorbed by the Everton wall. The other weakness was the 30 million Robinho who came on as a Man City substitute, played for about 50 minutes, and was then in turn substituted (for Wright-Philips) because he had done very little to justify remaining on the field. Will this humiliation get Robinho going? If so, going where?