With the Premier League on shutdown for an international break lets look at a few of the games talking points to fill the void.
Raheem Sterling to delay contract talks until the summer.
News broke over the last week that representatives of Raheem Sterling have put new contract talks off until the summer. So far he has turned down £100,000 per week but allegedly asked for £150,000 per week. There were a number of views over the weekend as to what this means to his future. Matthew Le Tissier/Paul Merson both shared the view that from their experience there was only one reason and that was that the youngster and his agent had their eyes on a move away from Liverpool with Manchester City the new leading likely home.
I'm not sure if I agree waiting to the summer is in the interest of anyone apart from a buying club. It seems to me to way to let a player like Sterling leave is to get him to sign a new deal in the spring thus increasing his price/value and sell him on at this increased price come the summer (see David Beckham, Patrick Vieira, Cristiano Ronaldo etc etc). Sterling benefits with the move he wants and all that extra money in the months to the end of the season. Not fair on the fans but more sensible business sense than letting go below his maximum market value.
The news he has refused to accept the deal on the table has upset some Liverpool fans but should he get his requested £150K per week I'm pretty sure 99% of the fans will be happy when he signs.
I don't blame Sterling, supply and demand and all. If my MD offers me such obscene money not to join a rival tomorrow I'd be liar to say I wouldn't accept it. My problem is to keep these wage increases going the average working class fan is being pushed further and further away and I'm not sure the money men care.
Lionel Messi earnt almost a million pound per week in 2014
Keeping with the topic news that Messi earned just under a million pound a week last year may see Sterling look like he is being ripped off.
Sure the worlds best or second best player but a million a week for playing football? madness.
Fraser Forster is out for the season with a broken knee cap
Southampton has been this blog's second team this season. Forster himself has been one of our favourite fantasy picks in 2014/15. It's such a shame with the Saints still in the Champions League race that the big fella is out until next season.
Its also a big shame for England. Forster's momentum was building pressure on no1 pick Joe Hart, something Hart really needs after a number of unconvincing performances.
Get well soon Fraser.
Gareth Bale learns what playing for Real Madrid is really like.
It all went well in his 1st season and ended with him scoring the match winning goal in the Champions League final. This season though he has been accused of being greedy in possession, over rated and has seemingly upset both star man Ronaldo and many of the Madrid fans.
Ronaldo has resulted in a teenage strop, refusing to celebrate with Bale and the fans when he scored a match winning goal a couple weeks ago. Instead he headed off down the tunnel. There is a large political problem here and one it's hard to see Madrid not siding with Ronaldo on.
The fans have booed Bale plenty but after a poor performance against Barcelona in El Classico the fans went further attacking Bale's Bentley. In a poll 70% of fans think he should be dropped which is something of a turnaround for the welshman. Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague is adamant Bale won't be leaving Madrid in the summer and he needs to work harder. I'm not sure Bale will put up with the constant abuse and if the likes Manchester United/Manchester City go spending in the summer Madrid may be willing to cash in on Bale with Marco Reus believed to be arriving at the club.
Oh and a very average Man Utd side played very well for 45 mins at least and won 2-1 at Anfield, WHOOOOOHOOOOOO.
Against Spurs the week prior I felt it was more about spurs failures than Utd's play. This time Utd did play well. LVG stuck Juan Mata over Angel Di Maria and was rewarded big time.
What was it with pool though? They had played such good football in the week prior and had dominated a superior Man City side. The Steven Gerrard moment happened after they had been dominated for the 1st half so I'm not pointing to that. Did pool miss his experience in that 1st half? What happened to Jordan Henderson to turn him back into the player of a couple years ago. Was it the missing underrated Lucas Leiva that was the key missing player?
Part of the problem may have been Brendan Rodgers tactics. Last week in the 5 questions post I pointed out the strengths of the Daley Blind, Ashley Young and Mauleon Fellaini left hand side play and whether Sterling was the best pick at right wing back. While the goals came from the other side of the pitch thanks to two defensive errors by Alberto Moreno it was at the other end of the pitch the team selection mattered.
As a Utd fan I was delighted to see Sterling picked in a defensive position. What I didn't want to see was twinkle toes Sterling running directly at stand in right back Valencia let alone nervy CB Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. When pool went down to 10 men they played their most dangerous football with Sterling paired with Daniel Sturridge.
Regardless I was a happy man last Sunday.