Belfast Telegraph

Beacom on Monday: Our man's verdict on weekend football

By Steven Beacom

Beacom's verdict on the fantastic four and the woeful one: What is it with Aston Villa and Anfield these days? They are unbeatable in front of the Kop. Put that down to Paul Lambert, who now has two wins and a draw at Liverpool as Villa boss. On Saturday night Lambert's tactics were superb and while Gabriel Agbonlahor's winner was scrappy, the visitors deserved their 1-0 victory against a desperately out of sorts Liverpool team.

Hey Scholsey, Jack's alright 

Once lauded as England's great white hope, Jack Wilshere has become more like the great white dope lately with numerous pundits, most notably Paul Scholes, lining up to have a pop at the Arsenal midfielder. Wilshere hit back in style, scoring a beauty and creating another for Alexis Sanchez in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Manchester City. You're alright Jack.

Leonardo's a cunning fox

Forget DiCaprio and Da Vinci, there is a new Leonardo to cherish, especially if you are a Leicester City fan. Leonardo Ulloa, who joined the Foxes in the summer from Brighton for £8m, has been a top flight star so far, perfectly illustrated by a clever finish in his side's surprise 1-0 win at Stoke.

Messi magic is back

Good to see Lionel Messi back to his breathtaking best after a disappointing World Cup final. Argentina's Messi created two goals for Brazilian Neymar, another whose World Cup ended painfully, as Barcelona overcame Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to top La Liga. And they still have Luis Suarez to come. Talk about a fantasy forward line.

Axe should fall on Pardew

Quite a few contenders including the Liverpool team for their poor performance against Aston Villa, but the Woeful One this week is Newcastle boss Alan Pardew following his side's embarrassing and error strewn 4-0 loss at Southampton. The club is going nowhere under Pardew. Owner Mike Ashley has to put the Toon Army out of their misery and sack him.

Saint is a class act

Sometimes we take Steven Davis for granted. He's the Northern Ireland skipper who always turns up and more often than not shines in a green shirt. He's classy and consistent for Southampton too, as outlined in Saturday's 4-0 hammering of Newcastle. New Saints boss Ronald Koeman is already a big fan of Davo. No wonder.

Brendan's boys must up the pace

Great weekend for Manchester United. Words you have not heard very often in the last 12 months.United beat QPR 4-0 yesterday, following Arsenal and Manchester City's draw at the Emirates and Liverpool's defeat to Aston Villa.

United may be seven points behind league leaders Chelsea, but they are now only two points adrift of City and one behind Arsenal and Liverpool.

Brendan Rodgers will be a touch concerned that the Reds are the only side in the top 10 of the Premier League to have lost twice just four games in. Without the injured Daniel Sturridge and with Raheem Sterling on the bench, Liverpool lacked pace in their play and penetration in a laboured display.

Rodgers will demand huge improvements when Liverpool return to the Champions League tomorrow.

Lukaku is a good man to own

When Romelu Lukaku netted for Everton in their 2-0 success at WBA on Saturday, it was his first Premier League goal for a club that owns him. The 32 he had scored previously came when was out on loan. Just thought you should know.



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