Belfast Telegraph

David Healy: Grand Slam Sunday set to be best ever

We've already had some incredible moments in the Premier League this season.

But this Sunday promises to be the best yet.

Grand Slam Sunday is the way it is being billed by the media and rightly so.

First of all, Liverpool are at home to Manchester United.

Liverpool are on fire at the moment, especially after their European success in midweek.

Rafael Benitez was under pressure just a few weeks ago but he has pulled results out of the hat when it mattered most and I think Liverpool are flying.

Stevie Gerrard is as good, if not better, than he has ever been and I'm sure they fancy their chances against anyone in European football.

When you add that to the poise, pace and confidence shown by Fernando Torres it makes for pretty reading for all Liverpool fans.

At the moment they have the ability to be the best football club in the land.

But facing them this weekend is Manchester United who will fancy their own chances.

They haven't always done it against the Scousers in recent years but in Cristiano Ronaldo they have possibly the most in-form player in the country.

He is doing things at the moment that most of us can never dream about.

Then there is Wayne Rooney.

Wayne has had his problems with injury this season but now he is finding his way back to his best.

I don't think the top flight has seen the best of him so far but this is the perfect occasion for him to run riot in the way we know he can.

I fancy him to run the show and maybe even bag a couple of goals but after Torres' display in midweek its impossible to pick a winner.

For me, this will end in a 2-2 or 3-3 draw.

In the second match of the day Arsenal entertain Chelsea.

Much has been said about the style of football displayed so far this season by Arsene Wenger's men but, let's be honest, Chelsea are no mugs.

Arsenal have all the pace and excitement to make you think they can run away with a victory but somehow I can't see it.

They had a fantastic victory in the Champions League on Wednesday but in recent weeks in the Premier League I believe they have shown they can be broken down.

The one area where I feel they can be penetrated is in defence but, unfortunately, Didier Drogba is injured and that will hit Chelsea hard.

But Avram Grant's men have been written off all season but they have shown they are still very much in the title race.

They still have a lot of quality and with Arsenal below par I fancy Chelsea to cause another shock by putting themselves smack bang in the middle of the title race and causing an upset.

Jose was never going to take the job

So, Jose Mourinho turned his back on England!

Who would have thought it?

Well, everyone. Let's be honest, the Special One was never going to take that job.

Most people in England were praying the Portuguese master would be the man to lead them to the Promised Land but it was never on the cards.

He is one of the top managers in world football and for that reason there is no way he was going to take a job with the English FA when his first competitive match wouldn't be until September.

His agents, or advisors, or whatever they are called these days, never thought he would either.

We all know he wants one of the top club jobs in European football.

Barcelona, Real Madrid or AC Milan are not setting the world alight. There is no doubt in my mind that his advisors were using the FA to make their cause all the better for Jose to take over one of Europe's best.

He is one of the top managers and coaches in world football and I am sure most club sides would fight it out to have him.

At Chelsea he turned a mediocre side into one of Europe's finest and, for that reason, he was number one on Europe's hit list.

When it comes to inspiring players at the top level I don't believe there is anyone like him in world football.

But the dream is over for the English FA and they have settled for the Italian Fabio Capello.

The former AC Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid coach has won everything the club game has to offer and I'm sure he will be a fantastic choice.

In different countries he has made the best of his resources and come up trumps but this might be his biggest challenge yet.

England are at a crossroads. They are under major pressure to show they can still mix it with Europe's best and Capello could be the man to show they still have what it takes to be amongst Europe's elite.

It's been so frustrating not playing from start

At Fulham we've drawn with Chelsea, lost out by the odd goal to Arsenal and survived for 80 minutes against Liverpool.

Then, last week we gave Manchester United a proper run for their money but on Saturday we were defeated comprehensively for the first time this season.

Everton beat us 3-0 and we simply had no answers.

I didn't start the game but that is something I have had to learn to cope with.

Before the international break I was playing most weeks for Fulham but, for whatever reason, since the games against Denmark and Spain I have been forced to bide my time.

And what a frustrating time it has been. The goals have not been flowing as much as we would have liked and I feel as guilty as anyone else in the side for that.

But we have the perfect chance to get our campaign back on track this week against Newcastle United.

Like any other footballer, I want to play in every game but I can understand the manager not picking me in recent games.

That said, I will be bitterly disappointed if I don't start the game this weekend.

We've been struggling to score goals and that is what I am there to do.

I am bursting for my opportunity and, after the feel- good factor of the Northern Ireland games, I want to show I can mix it with the best the Premier League has to offer and give Lawrie Sanchez the win we are all looking for.

Belfast Telegraph


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