Handy Read: Berbed comments, Phil's list & Gunners for hire

HANDY READ! FFT.com's round-up of the best pieces in this morning's press

Times are tough for last season's European champions. Naughty Wayne's stamping his feet again, they've all got to schlepp over to Japan for FIFA's World Club Beanfeast (Waitakere United, that kind of thing) and supporters are asking the Office of Fair Trading if the Glazers are being entirely fair with this Compulsory Automatic Cup Scheme shizzle.

And now, the fans are upset with gleaming new £30m present Dimitar Berbatov. As The Guardian's Daniel Taylor explains, the denizens of the internet are having a right old pop at the languid Bulgarian, using the common complaint that he doesn't run around enough to dirty his kit.

It's an age-old discussion as to which is better: the lazy genius or the sweat-soaked journeyman. Of course, United don't do journeymen (although few would expect the Ballon d'Or to go to, say, Darren Fletcher) and the Red complainants would prefer to see more of the equally expensive Carlitos Tevez.

While Taylor lays out the arguments without revealing his own thoughts on the matter, he does get Paddy Crerand's tupporth: "The supporters need to realise not everybody runs around like George Best or Cristiano Ronaldo". High-quality workhorses they have at OT...

Oh, the agony of choice 

Mind, they should be careful what they wish for. The Times statto Bill Edgar has some interesting facts on how (comparatively) profligate Tevez is, although it's only part of United's surprising inaccuracy: they take almost twice as many chances as Arsenal and Liverpool to score in the Champions League. 

The wrap-up of UEFA's sprawling beanfeast – well, the interminable filter of the group stages, at least – inspires a couple of respected writers to tell us what we have long known. In his usual considered tones, The Guardian's Kevin McCarra complains that the Premier League's pre-eminence isn't helping while The Independent's ever-grumpier James Lawton lays waste to the entire group stage.

Also in the Indy, there's an interesting piece on the possibility of clubs borrowing Arsenal's impressive kids, now starved of first-team action with the League Cup dream squashed by nasty northerners and trophy-shy Uncle Arsene pledging to play a "normal" team in the FA Cup.

Given that Wenger has a history of loaning players out for experience, and jewels like Carlos Vela and Jay Simpson are expected to be on offer, what manager wouldn't be interested in a January swoop? Like Steve Bruce, who did it thrice at Birmingham and may well be on the scrounge again in next month's transfer window...

"Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to Wolves we go" 

Which seems as good a point as any to mention that from next week, technical gremlins notwithstanding, we should be unveiling a new improved version of Talentspotter, complete with blogs and everything. With player profiles, ratings and writings, it's the only place to go in the January shop window, especially now that Woolies is shut.

Speaking of teetering institutions, there's obviously a crisis at debt-ridden Chelsea because they're through the group stages and a point off the Premier pinnacle. Luckily, The Times have issued World Cup-winning coach Luiz Felipe Scolari with a cut-out-and-keep crib-sheet of How To Do Betterer, including practising penalties, keeping players fit and "maintaining width" by playing Deco, Ballack, Mikel and Lamps in midfield. Hmm.

One last thing. This fresh from the Jaw-Dropping News Department, courtesy of Shameless Opportunism in conjunction with Not Reading The Newspapers: Lucas Neill wants a pay-rise. That, dear reader, has broken our spirit, and we're off to make a cuppa with an only-used-once teabag.

Any suggestions for the next round-up? Please send them to FourFourTwo.com editor Gary.Parkinson@haymarket.com


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