Chelsea's November stutter leaves you wondering if they have what it takes to be champions – Martin Lipton

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Even amid the disbelieving delight,

Some, just a few, but still some, ridiculous, boos.

And a growing recognition from many Chelsea fans that winning the title this year would prove Jose Mourinho’s greatest Stamford Bridge feat.

The past week, a defeat at Newcastle, initially and then , has left even more Chelsea fans wondering if there is something in the

Yet the truth is that Chelsea are simply not playing very well, especially when teams say to them: Okay, you can have the ball. Now try and break us down.

The poverty of ambition and imagination on Saturday was evident.

with little more than basic organisation, leaving Mourinho turning to desperation tactics, throwing the ball into the mixer, where Gary Cahill and John Terry had joined the melee.

It did not help that Branislav Ivanovic’s flank delivery was so poor, nor that Cesar Azpilicueta is a right-back playing out of position – although that was evidence that Mourinho is deeply unimpressed with Ashley Cole at the moment.

With Frank Lampard having a dip – the far-less-loved John Obi Mikel is in better form, while Michael Essien may never recapture his pre-injury status – the energy and desire of Youssouf Mulumbu and Claudio Yacob tipped the balance towards Steve Clarke’s side.

In the end, of course, , they got away with it.

But if Chelsea are going to outlast the congested field, the strikers have to start coming to the party.

Of the three Premier League goals Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba have scored between them so far, only one – the Cameroonian’s against Cardiff – was not gifted on a plate by shocking defensive errors.

To be fair, the attacking line behind the lone striker will be a decent source of goals.

Ramires and Frank Lampard – if not, realistically, John Obi Mikel who may have scored his quota for the next couple of seasons – will chip in a few, likewise Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry and Gary Cahill.

Current Liverpool squad is the best I have played with, says Glen Johnson


Glen Johnson claims Liverpool’s current team is the best he has played in since arriving at Anfield in 2009.

feels Brendan Rodgers’ squad has more quality than any of the groups he featured in under Rafa Benitez, Roy Hodgson or Kenny Dalglish.

also playing their best football for years and to move second in the Premier League.

Johnson told "We’ve had some fantastic players in the past that have obviously moved on.

"But in terms of a squad and starting XI, I think it’s the best since I’ve been around."

Johnson was delighted by the character Liverpool showed in recovering so well from their loss at Arsenal seven days earlier.

He said: "Every good team bounces back after a disappointing result. To do that with a clean sheet and four goals is an ideal day.

"We’ve got to make this a difficult place for teams to come and play, and easier for us to play and get the points.

"If we keep working like that, and as we have done in the week, I’m sure we’re going to give every team a good game."

John Powell

Johnson was deployed in a flat back four against Fulham after Rodgers reverted from his wing-back system at the Emirates and the former Chelsea and Portsmouth star says he is comfortable in either formation.

The 29 year-old said:  "I don’t have a preference. 

"Some formations work better against different teams."

"I don’t mind if I’m playing right-back or right wing-back – it’s pretty much a similar job."

for the Wembley friendlies against Chile and Germany and is delighted to be joined by Reds’ team-mate Jordan Henderson.

Johnson added: "He deserves it.

"He has been working very hard, even when he first joined and wasn’t getting as much football as he would have liked, he was still working hard every day.

"His performances now are showing that he deserves to be in the England squad."

Sheffield Wednesday's Connor Wickham to donate £1,700 to Help for Heroes after Twitter plea

Ian Walton

Sheffield Wednesday’s Connor Wickham has said he will keep his Twitter promise of donating £1,730 to Help for Heroes.

On Armistice Day, the England Under-21 striker tweeted on his official Twitter account that he would pledge 10p for everyone who retweeted his post between 10 and 11am.

Following the two-minute silence observed across the UK, Wickham revealed the result, which saw over 17,000 retweets in the hour, meaning he will donate £1,730 to the charity

He responded: "17.3k retweets is amazing..Meaning £1730 to @HelpforHeroes a big thank you to everyone who retweeted."

Wickham had earlier showed his support for the Poppy Appeal and the country’s fallen soldiers, tweeting: "11th minute of 11th hour on 11th day of the 11th month #payRespect @HelpforHeroes"

The 20-year-old is on loan at Hillsborough from Sunderland and scored his first goal for Dave Jones’ side in their win over Reading last week.

He rejoined the club earlier this month after a similar loan spell last season, finding his opportunities limited since his £8m switch in 2011.

after becoming frustrated with his attitude and lack of motivation.

Manchester United gunning for top spot after Arsenal win says Tom Cleverley

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Tom Cleverley says Manchester United are aiming for top spot in the Premier League after their .

at Old Trafford and close to within five points of them through Robin van Persie’s 27th-minute header.

Midfielder Cleverley said now have their sights set on getting up to first place to give themselves every chance of retaining their title.

"Going into the game and seeing the weekend’s results, we knew it was an extra important three points," said Cleverley.

"We managed to grind it out in the end with a great defensive performance. We had some more chances to seal it."

With Manchester City and Tottenham losing, and Chelsea being held at home, beating to claim three points was vital for side.

Asked if that placed extra emphasis on United beating Arsenal, Cleverley said: "Of course, especially as we were playing the league leaders, who were in top form.

"We didn’t want them [Arsenal] to go 11 points ahead of us. It gets us right back in the mix and gets our confidence up.

"This was a big win for us. We’re back in the mix. We are ahead of City and not far behind Chelsea.

"We’ve also played some very tough games out of our opening 11. I’m sure we can get a run together and get right up to the top."

Cleverley admitted United had to in the face of relentless second-half pressure from Arsenal.

"That’s always going to happen against a team like Arsenal," said Cleverley. "When they take a few more risks they start flooding players forward.

"It’s always going to be hard defensively, but we withstood the pressure well."

With just six points separating the top eight teams in the Premier League, Cleverley predicted an open title race involving several teams.

"It’s what everyone predicted at the start of the season," said Cleverley. "Everyone is improving and it makes for a really competitive season."

Was Robin van Persie right to celebrate after scoring against former club Arsenal? Have your say – Darren Richman

Tom Purslow

My family is split in half. My brother and mother support Arsenal, my father and I Manchester United.

My sister, a floating voter in her formative years, tended to cheer on whoever David Beckham played for at the time. Our house was a volatile region during the 1990s.

So I would like to stress from the outset that, as the old saying goes, not only are some of my best friends card-carrying Gooners – a large section of my family are too.

Football needs its pantomime heroes and villains, and Robin van Persie provides a convenient hate-figure for the majority of Arsenal’s fans.

On Sunday, predictably, he was subject to boos from the off. The away fans are completely entitled to vent spleen and their former talisman seemed an opportune target.

ensuring he has now scored on all three occasions in which he has faced his former employers. Last season, presumably out of respect for Arsene Wenger and those who aided his development, his reaction to scoring was muted.

This time, things were different.

Tom Purslow

Perhaps it was the frustration of joining United under Sir Alex Ferguson and ending up with David Moyes, maybe it was down to the club’s relative positions in the table. Possibly he had just had enough of the abuse. All that is certain is celebrated wildly when his header found the target. And it felt like exactly the right thing to do.

Many a modern footballer will claim they refuse to celebrate against their old club out of respect, but if they were so concerned about that then they wouldn’t leave in the first place, would they?

If a player is in a frame of mind where he’s trained all week in the hope of scoring then it’s entirely disingenuous not to enjoy the moment. To remain impassive is an affectation, like Jean Tigana and his ridiculous toothpick.

Is anyone genuinely outraged by a player enjoying scoring a goal? The Arsenal fans will have been disappointed with the result and the scorer but it’s hard to imagine many lost sleep last night because the man responsible followed it up by sliding on his knees in front of the Old Trafford faithful.

And it’s not as if he did the full Emmanuel Adebayor running the full length of the pitch to give it the big ‘un in front of the away support.

Surely it’s time players dropped this phoney show of respect and let the celebrations flow.

What do you think? Vote in our poll and leave your comments below.

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Everton must work harder to break sides down, says Seamus Coleman after Crystal Palace draw

Chris Brunskill

Seamus Coleman believes Everton must be more creative after their .

Roberto Martinez’s side failed to turn their domination into three points against the Premier League’s bottom side and Coleman, , knows they must be better.

enjoyed over 70 per cent possession and the Republic of Ireland defender claims this is not enough on its own to win games.

Coleman told the Liverpool Echo: "You’ve got to keep the ball, of course, and that’s something we do under the new manager. But you’ve got to keep it for a reason and that’s to create chances.

"We didn’t create enough for the amount of possession we had – it’s as simple as that.

"We went to Palace playing well and with confidence so with no disrespect to them, the way we’re playing, we should be coming to these places and getting three points.

"It wasn’t to be though because we just couldn’t break them down.

"They sat behind the ball and were happy with a point.

"We only created a few openings, Bainesy created one in the first half and Jags had that header, which hit the bar in the second half. It wasn’t good enough."

Coleman admitted the latest international break has come at the wrong time for them and they will brood over the result before the Merseyside derby on Saturday week.

"We’re disappointed going into the international break, now," he said.

"I’m sure the manager will look at the videos of the game and see how we can improve and we’ll do that."

Crystal Palace club captain Paddy McCarthy set to return after 18 months on the sidelines


Crystal Palace could be handed a defensive boost with club captain Paddy McCarthy getting ready to make his comeback after 18 months on the sidelines.

hasn’t seen a single minute of first-team action since the final game of the 2011-12 campaign because of a serious groin problem.

Subsequently McCarthy missed the whole of ‘ promotion-winning campaign last term, where they secured a Premier League place with a .

Palace, presently without a manager after the departure of Ian Holloway, have endured a miserable start to their return, losing nine of 11 games, taking just four points in the process.

However, according to caretaker boss Keith Millen, McCarthy could soon be available to aid rock bottom Palace in their fight against relegation.

"Paddy is ready to step up his work," said Millen.

"We are looking at him not being too far away after the international break."