Liverpool and Manchester United did the 96 proud, but why did minority spoil it
21:44 GMT, 23 September 2012
Liverpool and Manchester United should be proud at how well the Hillsborough tribute, watched by Kenny Dalglish, was observed before kick-off. But it is such a shame a minority have stolen the headlines. Fans of these clubs should be respectful because of the tragedies they have suffered. I can’t understand such behaviour.
Tribute: Anfield paid its respects to the 96
Per Mertesacker has at times been a laughing stock since he joined Arsenal — I’ll admit I’ve been critical of him. But the German was the best defender on the pitch against Manchester City, reading the game brilliantly and striding out well from the back. It shows what you can achieve with a bit of confidence.
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Demba Ba didn’t score in the final 14 games of last season and had only netted once this season when Alan Pardew dropped him. It seems it was the rocket he needed. Ba scored twice against Everton to earn a point and scored the winner yesterday against Norwich. He has risen to the challenge but credit Pardew. An excellent piece of man-management.
In the blue corner
On the morning of November 19 last season, Everton went into their game with Wolves on 10 points. Now, with Marouane Fellaini leading the way, they are on 10 before the end of September and finished Saturday second in the table. Is this the season we find out how good they are
Head for heights: Everton's start has been far-removed their usual early-season sluggishness
Before kick-off on my debut for Bournemouth, aged 16, I looked across at my opponent and he was eyeballing me and growling, like a dog! He is now top of League Two and doing a fabulous job as Gillingham boss. If you had told me then ‘Mad Dog’ Martin Allen would be a good manager, I’d have said you were barking mad. He is, though.
make no excuse for another mention in this column of Rickie Lambert. I
just like the way he has had to work through the leagues to grab this
chance and, despite Southampton’s rocky start, he now has four goals in
the top flight. Their 4-1 win against Aston Villa might stop some of the
silly stories about manager Nigel Adkins. Get off his back.
Strike force: Rickie Lambert has scored in all four of the English leagues and has four to his name this season
started well last season and then faded away, but this might be their
time. They have the facilities, in Gus Poyet they have the manager and
they have started this season looking like they have the team. When I
went to their ground last season, it had the smell of the Premier
League. I wish Poyet all the best.
Lethal on loan
It isn’t what the loan system was built for but it is working for West Bromwich — and Chelsea. They might seem a little short on firepower at Stamford Bridge but Romelu Lukaku, 19, would have been kicking his heels on the bench there. Now the striker is gaining game time under Steve Clarke and scored a big goal for them on Saturday.
Powerhouse: Romelu Lukaku smashes home West Brom's winner