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Boring boring Chelsea? I'll get back to that subject. 

This won't play too well in Coventry, but I couldn't be more pleased for Tim Sherwood right now. He's not everybody's favourite and I'll admit there have been times I've had my doubts, but what a job he's done since walking into Villa Park.

Sherwood isn't short of confidence. His style can easily irritate, but if you're a Villa fan he must be like a breath of fresh air after what was going on at the club before. He's got players believing again, smiling again and winning again.

But what I like most is that he's put his head on the block. Football is in his veins. He isn't sitting comfortably in a TV studio telling everybody else what they're doing wrong. He's out there, putting himself on offer. Backing himself.

I worry that too many of today's retiring pro's are leaving the game. I've said before that one of my biggest disappointments recently was that Jamie Carragher went that route. He's a student of the game and a huge loss doing what he is now. The same applies to Gary Neville. They're good guys doing a very good job, but surely they want to really test themselves at some point? Just like Sherwood is?  Good luck to you Tim.

There's some fascinating developments to come on the managerial front. What are Liverpool going to do? They're three years without a trophy now. Whose fault is that. Is it Brendan Rodgers? Or his players?

I thought Liverpool came up really short against Villa and it seems to me that it happens every time Rodgers is confronted by a big game. Think about it - Lge Cup this season. C Lge in Madrid. Europa Lge. This semi-final against Villa. Go further back - the title decider v Chelsea. It's a worrying recurring habit if you're a Liverpool fan.

This has been a poor season at Anfield. After last season's Suarez inspired excitement they've gone backwards as others have made progress.

Liverpool's obsession with 'moneyballs' or Brendan-omics as I call it, won't bring the results they want. You can't keep signing ordinary players, expecting them to become top players. It's not a policy a club like Liverpool should be pursuing anyway. When Suarez left last season they should've gone for two 'stellar' signings - paying big money and big wages. They would've stayed competitive and attracted better again this summer. But what big names could they tempt now? The 'Dalglish' factor persuaded Suarez. Can Rodgers do that?

West Ham are a mess - again. You've got a manager there who has no idea if he's staying or going. So how is he supposed to get performances from players who have that knowledge and don't care? They have ambition beyond their status. Right now they're top 10 in the P Lge. They're punching at their weight. A word of warning for everybody at Upton Park - be careful what you wish for.....

The same applies at Newcastle. It's a crying shame what's going on there. I'm sure they'll be safe, but after seven defeats in eight - and only two wins in 14 under John Carver - it's going to get scary.

Pellegrini looks like the walking dead. I keep hearing that City are convinced they can persuade Guardiola to take over at The Etihad. But when? Talk to people in Munich, as I have, and they'll tell you he's happy and determined to fulfil his contractual obligations. That means staying one more season at least. His close friends will tell you that he harbours a desire to manage a club with deep traditions and history - in England. Would City make his wish list on that basis? United, Arsenal or Liverpool might. Yes, Liverpool.

If City fire Pellegrini what do they do? They'll be treading water if they wait 12 months for Guardiola - and even then there are no guarantees. So who gets it? Vieira? Maybe. Benitez? Don't rule him out. City need someone like him to sort that dressing room out. I don't believe it will be Klopp. He's got to chose his next job very very carefully.

If he goes to City there's every chance the dressing room could swallow him. I've said it before - it was a mistake to back the players and not Mancini. As my old Mum would say - 'you reap what you sow in life'.

And so to Chelsea. Boring or what? Let's put it like this. Liverpool were terrific last season. We all fell in love with their gung ho style. I would've loved to have seen them rewarded with the title, but in the end their 'adventure' cost them. They won nothing

Mourinho isn't as naive as Rodgers was. If Liverpool hadn't lost at home to Chelsea I'm sure they would've won the title. But they lost a game they didn't have to win. There's no chance Mourinho will make the same mistake.

Chelsea will win the title because they're street wise. United were good on Saturday - had loads of the ball - but no real threat. Mourinho made sure of that. He had everything planned. Do you remember how he made his late substitutions? He made two in stoppage time, but not together. Twice he broke play up in the final four minutes, putting on one, then another. Clever. Very very clever. He doesn't miss anything.

No, Chelsea aren't boring for me, they're pragmatic. They're winners.  And they won't be looking for a new manager in the summer!

 

 

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For the neutrals - and that includes me - it was a terrific Manchester derby. After a weekend of fairly poor offerings right through the P Lge we needed it as well.

I thought United were top class. Full of energy. They moved the ball quickly. They weren't afraid to 'pass' long! They had width and we're always a threat. And a threat from many different areas. 

Van Gaal has talked all season about players and supporters alike getting used to his philosophy. But what is that? Well, at different times this season it's been a back 3. It's been a diamond. It's all been about possession - sideways and backwards if necessary. It's been about him. 

For some time now his senior professionals - and others with 'United' in their DNA - have been trying to persuade him differently.

After the weekend maybe he'll start listening.

Sometimes in football you get lucky. To be successful you HAVE to be lucky as well as good. 

Whose philosophy was on show at Old Trafford this weekend? I'll tell you - Busby's. Docherty's. Atkinson's. Fergie's. United were a throw back. All through the years they've played with wingers. They've played with pace and a threat. They've moved the ball quickly. And they've played with a back 4!! 

More through luck than judgement Van Gaal has got a team that United fans recognise.

Rooney looks happy. Young and Valencia provide width. Carrick has brought stability again. I admit I've never been a huge fan, but nor have a couple of England managers. He doesn't do enough for me. He doesn't get enough goals, but right now he's playing really well and doing all that's been asked of him.

I don't fancy Jones or Smalling long term. I'm certain it's an area United will strengthen in the summer, but it's ok to finish the season with. Herrera looks settled (a deal Moyes had set up by the way!) and Blind (Van Gaal's only signing in the team right now) is a better full back than he is central midfield player. So here's hoping Van Gaal's ego will allow him to accept what's best for United, not him, and we see more of what we did in the derby. My son would love that!

Van Persie, by the way, is finished at United. He'll go this summer. So will Falcao. Di Maria might just be surplus to requirements as well. In fact, I expect the 'exit' door to be swinging quite a lot.

What more is there to say about City that I haven't already? Only this. I'm told that if Pellegrini makes the C Lge he'll be safe. The catch is that he'll have to finish in the top 3. Top 4 might not be good enough. So what then?

City are convinced they can get Guardiola the season after next. If Pellegrini goes, who gets the job?  Well it's not beyond the realms of possibility that Vieira might be asked to fill in - despite the fact that he doesn't have the correct coaching qualifications. He's currently working to get his badges on a Welsh FA course.

Either way City will be treading water for me. And it's a huge gamble. Who'll be buying and selling? 

Day by day the folly of sacking Mancini becomes more obvious. I haven't changed my view on this subject since he left, but I notice others are beginning to change theirs. I'm told there was quite a lively conversation on the subject on Sky's Sunday Supplement. Most round the table are now agreeing with me.  And here's something else I've said since Mancini's left - that dressing room sure knows how to get a manager the sack. 

If you want a good sports book to read try 'Men in White Suits', written by Simon Hughes. There's an extract in The Telegraph today - John Scales talking openly about how the 'Spice Boys' sent Liverpool into decline. It's not much different to the things he told me and Andy about that era when he was kind enough to join us on our TalkSPORT show. The irony for me is that the ring leader of that group now has so much to say about 'everything', as Graeme Souness would say!

Delighted for Tim Sherwood and Villa. Great result. And I called it! In fact I had a pretty good weekend on that front. Check out our column in Sport360. 

But what of Spurs? They're now two points worse off than they were at this very same stage last season. Progress? Not for me. There's never been any really at Spurs during the entire P Lge years. Who do we blame for that - Daniel Levy or Alan Sugar? 

I'm also really pleased to see Leicester making a go of it at the bottom. I like Nigel Pearson and his assistant Steve Walsh (Mickey's brother, not the X-centre half). They're honest guys and they might just get out of trouble.

I'm really concerned about Hull now. They've got a tough finish and they've hit the wall at the wrong time. 

Sunderland are back in trouble. The derby win was timely, and maybe persuaded too many that it was going be ok after all. Wrong. They're in a real battle. The bottom line, of course, is that they're at the bottom because they're not very good and the 'Little General' doesn't have a quick fix. 

What's happened to WBA? It's four defeats in their last five now. They won't go down, but Tony Pulis knows there's work to do - especially at the back.

QPR look doomed. I was gutted for Chris Ramsey. His team had done so well against Chelsea and they deserved better. But, Chelsea did what champions do. They'll win it now I'm sure. In fact, if they win their next three that will do. But I don't think they will. They play Arsenal and Man Utd in that sequence. They don't HAVE to win those games. Mourinho knows he CAN'T lose them, so he'll set up to make sure he doesn't. A lesson Brendan Rodgers would do well to learn in case he finds himself in the situation he was in last season again. He didn't HAVE to beat Chelsea. A point would've done. 

And least surprising admission his weekend? Turns out good old 'Arry didn't leave QPR because of bad knees after all. How do we know this? In case you missed it, he told the BBC in an interview for Football Focus.

He left, he now says, because QPR were a 'circus of a club'. Really? Who was the ringleader of the circus if that was true? Yes - you 'Arry.  Whatever little credibility 'Arry had left is shot to pieces after this. Surely even his most ardent supporters can see that now? And surely he'd be best going quietly into retirement where he can't inflict damage on anymore clubs.

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Every now and again there's what I call a 'wow' moment in our P Lge. They are few and far between. You know what I mean - that moment that gets you out of your seat with pure joy, because you know you've witnessed something really special.

I'll give you a few of mine. Matt Le Tissier against Newcastle. His first of two that afternoon. It's still my favourite P Lge goal of all time. So much happened in such a short space - control - a flick with his heel, up and over Barry Venison, and then a slight mis hit with his side foot past Mike Hooper. I was behind it and came out of my seat in stages - applauding all the way. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Le Tiss, of course, made special his ordinary.

There was Rooney's thunderous volley, ironically against Newcastle! Wonderful - arguing with the ref one moment - cracking the ball past Shay Given the next.

It wasn't a P Lge goal, but Beckham's free kick against Greece, into the same goal, was another. What timing. What drama. What unbelievable execution.

There's Fowler's 3 minute hat-trick against Arsenal. Shearer's powerful finish for Blackburn against United, as he ran away from Gary Pallister, and then hit a screamer past Schmeichel - with his left foot!

As I'm writing I'm remembering others. How about Giggs v Arsenal in the semi-final? I know - it was a Cup game, but it was another that got me out of my seat in stages!

Of course there are more, but not many, across the 22 years we've all been enjoying the P Lge. And my list is special to 'me' because I was there to witness them.

So to this weekend. We got four, which is just pure greedy! What a weekend. I was quickly onto Twitter to ask those who follow me to put them into some kind of order as Defoe crashed his volley in (many publications followed) and I was fascinated by the replies.

We had a very long debate with Craig Bellamy and Clive Allen on BeIN Sports, two guys who know plenty about finishing.

Taking into account intent, guile, execution, rarity, moment and importance Clive put Defoe's top! Both the guys had Adam's 4th on their list!

I wondered about that one at The Bridge. The celebration with Mark Bowen sparked my interest. And a fleeting reference from Mourinho. The Chelsea boss seemed to suggest he'd warned Courtois about that happening to him

Bowen told me that Charlie is always trying 'ridiculous' things like that in training. Bellamy added that Charlie used to do it all the time in matches at Liverpool. He said it used to drive him mad! But here's how attention to detail can really pay off, Bowen told Charlie if ever he was going to succeed with an effort like that it might be against Courtois because he 'stands high' during a game. Bingo!! And therefore the muted but knowing celebration between the two. 

I loved Zamora's finish. That little look - the ball to him helped because the spin took it onto his best foot - but even so, to execute it as he did - stunning.

We've got used to Rooney doing what he did. There's one of those in him every season. That's not to diminish what he did - it was stunning, especially the moment that he realised his first touch had set it up to be hit.

Sunderland fans have been calling for a return to the Quinn/Phillips era of late. Well they got a wonder goal in the derby right from that famous 'pairs' manual! Remember Kevin's volley at the same end v Chelsea? That one was brute force. Defoe's was better - it had to be guided because it was on his weaker side. The timing couldn't have been better, right on half time, nor the importance bigger. Fantastic.

It was a moment to celebrate, not carp on about whether Tim Krul should've left the field discussing it with Defoe. I thought that was a wonderful moment of sportsmanship, as they went doen the tunnel together. Imagine how Krul felt, having just been beaten like that, but still having the good grace to acknowledge it as special?

There's too many people on tv nowadays looking to say something silly for dramatic effort. Too many trying to make a headline. And too many anchors unprepared to challenge them.

Should Robbie Folwer not have admitted his 'clash' with Seaman wasn't a pen? (He should've put it in the North Bank, but that's another argument!)  Should Di Canio not have caught the ball at Goodison? Should Messi not have been applauding Joe Hart DURING and AFTER a stunning performance in the C Lge this season? Should Liverpool fans (arguably the most knowledgeable) not applaud opposition goalkeepers and good play? Come on. What a sad world we could end up in. It was a terrific sporting moment. Well done Tim.

Anyway - I'm sure after all this you're bursting to know my 1-4 this weekend? Thought so.....

Here we go 1. Adam. 1. Zamora.    1. Defoe. 1. Rooney. Sorry. Can't separate them!  Let's just remember a very special weekend.......