Belfast Telegraph

Beacom on Monday

By Steven Beacom

Our man's unbeatable verdict on the weekend's football action. You can't afford to miss it...

Daniel uses his head

The Daniel Sturridge success story continues. Three goals over three weekends have led to three Premier League victories for Liverpool, the latest of which came against Manchester United.

He smashed one in from long range against Stoke, showed balance and skill to net against Villa and on his birthday yesterday, used his head to kill off United... and all this without Luis Suarez beside him up front.

Ronaldo revs up for Belfast

Cristiano Ronaldo did what he does best yesterday, scoring in Real Madrid's 3-1 success over Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. The Portuguese superstar is getting geared up for the big trip to Belfast to take on Northern Ireland on Friday in what is a crucial World Cup encounter. Clearly Cristiano is ready. Michael O'Neill's defence must be too.

O'Keefe helps Eagles soar

I believe Crystal Palace will be relegated come May, so the Eagles should savour the glory when it comes along. Saturday was a case in point as Ian Holloway's men beat Sunderland 3-1 at Selhurst Park. Pick of the goals was a beauty from lively substitute Stuart O'Keefe.

Little Ben is right on time

Newcastle have had their issues this season, but they were forgotten when Hatem Ben Arfa scored a stunner against Fulham to give the Toon Army a first Premier League goal of the season to savour. The superb left foot strike also gave Alan Pardew a pressure releasing 1-0 win.

Rio not so grand

For most of the match against Liverpool, Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand looked solid. Criminally though he went to sleep in what proved to be the decisive moment. Defending a corner he gave Daniel Agger too much space to head towards goal with Daniel Sturridge nodding home. It was slack concentration that cost United the game.

High five Billy is in form

Northern Ireland's Billy McKay won't start against Portugal in Friday's World Cup qualifier, but he's certainly in form if called upon from the bench.

McKay scored twice in a 2-0 win over Hearts at the weekend keeping Caley Thistle top of the Scottish Premiership. That's five goals in five league games for Billy.

Main man

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal): Some Arsenal fans have been unable to take to Giroud, but that may change now after his winner against Spurs yesterday. Giroud's left foot finish from Theo Walcott's cross was delightful. Seems a long time since Arsenal's 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa, doesn't it?

Hughes trying to spark Stoke

When I was growing up one of the most impressive footballers to watch was Mark Hughes.

Playing for Manchester United he had strength in mind and body and was capable of smashing home spectacular goals.

Few in the British game have ever hit a volley better.

In management terms though the jury remains out on 'Sparky' after spells with varying degrees of success in charge of Wales, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers.

Now with Stoke City he's trying to change their style of play from getting it into the box as quickly as possible to playing more attractive football.

It's so far so good for Stoke collecting six points from nine, after a 1-0 win at West Ham on Saturday.

Finally, Bale's move has become real

Stand-by for a crazy day and night as the transfer window closes at 11pm.

We'll all be glad to see the back of it signalling the end of a summer of madness, in particular Gareth Bale's finally completed move to Real Madrid.

Talk about a transfer dragging on!


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