Fergie gives Wenger a lesson in management as Arsenal wilt

Nov 5, 2012

Premier League talking points from the Gunners' capitulation to Liverpool's Messi

IS THE rivalry between Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger finally over? Man United dominated Arsenal on the pitch on Saturday and on the touchline Ferguson gave Wenger an object lesson in man management. The critical moment came midway through the second half when young midfielders Jack Wilshere and Tom Cleverly began to lose their heads. First Wilshere hacked down Robin van Persie and was lucky to avoid a second yellow. Shortly afterwards Cleverley scythed Wilshere but he, too, escaped a second caution. Ferguson's response was to take off Cleverley, and he later admitted he did so to "protect" him. Wenger left an increasingly frustrated Wilshere on the pitch and, sure enough, he was given his marching orders minutes later for an ugly tackle on Patrice Evra. Either Wenger could not see the danger or he did not trust his bench. Neither explanation will give Arsenal fans much confidence. And let's not even mention the choice of Andre Santos at left back.

Luis Suarez saved Liverpool from the prospect of a fifth home defeat of the season with a second half goal to earn the Reds a draw against Newcastle on Sunday. The Uruguayan is certainly earning his corn as Liverpool's only recognised striker and after the game he drew high praise from manager Brendan Rodgers, who took the audacious step of comparing him to Lionel Messi. However, the draw is not good for Liverpool. It's Bonfire Night and the Reds have a grand total of two league wins under their belts so far this season.

Everton produced yet another mouthwatering display of football against Fulham at Craven Cottage, yet the result was more of the eyewatering variety after Fulham salvaged a point with a late equaliser. Marouane Fellaini was in fine form as he scored twice for the Toffees, but he could have had a hat-trick and some of his Everton team mates were equally wasteful. David Moyes' team have laid down a marker this season, and with Arsenal in disarray there is the possibility of a top-four finish, but they need to become a more ruthless outfit. Perhaps they are missing Tim Cahill.

Andre Villas Boas had been doing a pretty good job of winning over the sceptics at White Hart Lane, but that was until Wigan came calling. The Latics played with a panache and verve that Tottenham were clearly not expecting, and any hope they had of repeating the 9-1 thrashing in 2009 soon disappeared. The Spurs fans have not been convinced by AVB's 4-4-1-1 formation, so when Emmanuel Adebayor began warming up after Wigan took the lead they were hoping to see two strikers playing in tandem. Unfortunately it was Jermain Defoe, who scored five in the 9-1 victory, who came off, sparking furious scenes in the stands. AVB once again finds himself under pressure at a London club.

How do you solve a problem like Mario Balotelli? Apparently the answer is not to turn your back on him after substituting him as Roberto Mancini found out on Saturday when he was subjected to a volley of abuse from the misfiring striker, who has yet to score a league goal this season. The latest altercation did not help dispel the rumours that Mancini is running out of time at City, and a goalless draw against West Ham was not what the City faithful have come to expect.

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