A leading figure in the game is talking strikers and says Sergio Aguero is better than Luis Suarez.
Manchester United fans may raise an eyebrow or two at quotes from David Moyes, while Ryan Giggs is fired up for Sunday’s big game with Arsenal.
There’s also plenty of transfer talk, while Eden Hazard suffered a trial by TV.
It may be the weekend, but the news keeps on flowing and we’ve got it all covered in Saturday’s edition of the Paper News and Gossip Roundup.
Jamie Carragher’s Saturday column in the Mail is always an entertaining read and this week he focuses on the forwards making the Premier League so entertaining.
Carragher rubbishes suggestions that the Premier League has lost its pulling power, following the summer moves of Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani to Ligue 1, and says Sergio Aguero is the cream of the crop.
The former Liverpool and England defender says Luis Suarez runs him close but feels the Manchester City man just has the edge.
In his piece, Carragher writes:
The Premier League has the best strikers in the world. Whether it’s Spain, Germany, France or Italy, none of those leagues can hold a candle to England’s strength in depth. Spearheaded by Sergio Aguero and Luis Suarez, we are witnessing vintage forward play.
Let’s start with Suarez. I played with some brilliant strikers for club and country, but none was better than Luis. He has done things I’ve never seen before, like a 50-yard lob at Norwich, the ‘chest control’ goal versus Newcastle and the bamboozling of Manchester United’s defence in March 2011.
But then there is Aguero. He has taken his game to a different level this season and his performance against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League this week was mesmerising; the little Argentine, like Suarez, deserves to be bracketed in the top six in the world at this moment.
Who comes out on top in the shootout between Aguero and Suarez? I’d have to choose Aguero simply as he has not had any aberrations; you can almost guarantee he will be available for all games. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to say the same about Luis.
Something else tips the balance in Aguero’s favour. He has scored 43 times in the Premier League since joining Manchester City—currently one fewer than Suarez’s Liverpool tally—but is averaging a goal every 121.4 minutes, compared to Suarez, who scores every 160.5 minutes.
Carragher does add that for all Aguero’s quality, he feels the striker still has some way to go to match the brilliance of Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Mesut Ozil joined Arsenal in the summer and his arrival has coincided with the Gunners rediscovering their best form.
Ozil and Arsenal face Manchester United on Sunday, but it could have been different as Red Devils boss David Moyes has revealed he was offered the chance to enter the bidding for the midfielder in the summer.
Moyes, though, reveals that he did not feel Manchester United required a creative midfielder.
The Mail’s Ian Ladyman has the quotes:
As regards Ozil, we weren’t close to buying him but something was mooted (to us). We didn’t need that position at the time. It was put to us and it was just something at the time we didn’t need.
We had Shinji Kagawa and Wayne (Rooney) and people of a similar ilk so it wasn’t quite what we required at that time. We were looking at different positions.
Manchester United entertain Arsenal on Sunday and Ryan Giggs has dismissed the notion that the Red Devils go into the game as underdogs, reports the Mail’s Ian Ladyman.
Arsenal have made a sizzling start to the season and head into the game with an eight-point advantage over United.
Arsene Wenger's Gunners will also head to Old Trafford high on confidence, having beaten Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League earlier in the week.
It was put to Giggs on Friday that United are underdogs going into the game. And it was something the Wales great dismissed.
In Ladyman’s piece, Giggs said:
Man Utd v Arsenal at Old Trafford and we are underdogs? I wouldn’t say we were underdogs.
It is going to be tough but we feel we can defeat anyone at home.
Giggs has been impressed with Arsenal but warns that it is too early to dish out awards. He said:
I think the turn of the year is the time when everyone looks at each other and takes stock of where you are in the league and where you are in the cup competitions and then just kick on from there really.
That’s what we have done historically and that is what we want to do this season. We’ve not got off to a great start but slowly we are trying to find a bit of form.
Jose Mourinho has gone into detail on the reasons why he dropped Eden Hazard for Chelsea’s win over Schalke.
Hazard was a surprise absentee for the Champions League game and Mourinho revealed following the match, per Sky Sports, that it was because he missed training on the Monday before the game.
In his press conference ahead of Chelsea’s game with West Brom, Mourinho has spoken about the affair. He revealed Hazard apologised, that the matter is over and that the Belgian lost his passport.
The Mail has the quotes:
He has reacted well because he apologised to me and to the club. Of course the apology wasn't accepted because it was something I couldn't accept, but it's over.
He is ready to play and has appetite to play. I'm happy he is back.
There are no more consequences, the consequence was not to play and that as the worst thing for a player.
He is a very good kid. He went to a foreign country when he shouldn't have gone—and on top of that he lost his passport.
David Woods of the Star has another angle on the story, revealing that Mourinho only found out Hazard was out of the country when he spotted him on TV at the game between Lille and Monaco.
In Woods’ piece, Mourinho said: "I found out when I saw him on TV, when they kicked off and he was waving!"
Dive or no dive? That was the debate following Ashley Young’s tumble in the box to win Manchester United a penalty at Real Sociedad.
The incident whipped up a Twitter storm, while Young came under fire from a string of pundits—Ray Wilkins among them.
Widespread reports in the press, such as David McDonnell's piece in the Mirror, said Moyes would speak to Young and warn him that his Manchester United career was on the line.
That would appear to be wide of the mark after Moyes came out and put the focus on the referee and not Young, reports the Star’s Jeremy Cross.
In the Cross piece, Moyes said:
I thought it looked a penalty kick. So I think the attention should be on the referee and not Ashley Young.
I think you should be saying the referee, who refereed the Champions League final, was two yards away from the incident.
The referee was as close as anyone could be and it was his choice to give the penalty kick.
If it was retrospective and they (the authorities) thought it was worth taking action then I’d be the first one to say ‘fine’ and if Manchester United found something happened in that way then we’d accept it.
But I think you’ve got it wrong. I don’t think it’s Ashley Young, I think it’s the referee.
The Star’s Nick Lustig reports that Arsenal and Manchester United have been given hope that Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan is still available.
Reports in Spain had suggested the midfielder had reached an agreement with Real Madrid, but Lustig picks up on quotes from the player’s father who says no deal has been done.
Per Lustig, Gundogan senior said: "There is no agreement between Gundogan and Real Madrid."
The player’s father also adds that there is the chance his son could sign a new deal with Dortmund.
In the face of all the conflicting reports, Lustig claims Gunners boss Wenger and his United counterpart Moyes are keeping close tabs on the situation.
Wilfried Zaha could be on the move
Newcastle and Everton are battling to sign Wilfried Zaha from Manchester United, reports the Mirror’s Alan Nixon.
Olympiakos’ Konstantinos Mitroglou is a January target for Liverpool, writes the Mirror’s David Maddock.
Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been in focus in recent weeks, following the publication of his book.
He touched on a range of subjects but did not mention that he sometimes picked his team by the flick of a coin. This snippet has been picked up by the Mirror’s David McDonnell in an interview with Ferguson’s former assistant, Mike Phelan.
Manchester City have been rocked by the news David Silva is facing a month on the sidelines due to a calf injury, reports the Star’s Nick Lustig.
Hulk has put himself in the frame for a potential move to Tottenham by revealing he wants to play under Andre Villa-Boas again, according to Metro’s Jamie Sanderson. The Zenit St Petersburg forward was with the Spurs boss at Porto.