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Top 5: First XI costs in Premier League

Transfers 8 hours ago
Read
Oct 12, 2008

Fifth official: The last look at the weekend

Few of us like Monday but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a five-star weekend.

Iwelumo makes an instant impact

Only one place to start my friends and that is with a certain Scottish chap by the name of Chris Iwelumo. If you don't know who he is, type his name into any video-sharing website, sit back, relax, pop yourself a cold one and prepare to chortle until your eyes hurt. His miss against Norway on Saturday was HILARIOUS.

Now, I actually feel sorry for the lad, but then you don't tune into The Fifth Official for empathy do you? Right, so let's take the mickey out of him. How can you miss from three yards with not an opposing player in sight? Don't forget goals are SEVEN METRES WIDE. It wasn't even as if the cross was travelling that fast, the big man just got his feet in a muddle and ended up looking like a prize turnip. It was such a seismic shocker that both commentators and crowd were forced into complete silence as they tried to figure out what had just happened. A truly stupendous miss.

Cole gets a shoeing

"Crazy," screamed the FA. "Immature and ignorant," railed Rio Ferdinand. "I don't understand it," pigeoned Fabio Capello. I don't see what all the fuss is about to be honest. If people want to boo Ashley Cole they should just go right ahead. His atrocious back pass that gifted Kazakhstan a 68th minute goal at Wembley is incidental by the way. The abuse teeming down from the Wembley stands was more of a verdict on his character than anything else and I'd like to applaud the boo-ers.

After all, this is the very same 'Cashley' Cole who stropped about only being offered a measly £55,000 at Arsenal until he got his mega-money move to Chelsea, the same player who displayed a blatant, and unforgivable lack of respect towards referee Mike Riley last season by turning his back, and the same whiney left-back who broke the heart of our nation's Geordie goddess, Cheryl Cole, after cheating on her with a perm-a-tanned hairdresser. Then tried, in typically uncouth style, to hush up said snipper.

Poor old Ashley? Do me a favour.

The Gerrard and Lampard expriment: Episode 1,345

Can they? Can't they? Will they? Won't they?

Yet again an England manager is befuddled by the devilish predicament of what to do with Mr Steven George Gerrard and Mr Frank James Lampard Jnr. Yes, we've had all the platitudes about what great players they are, how all great players enjoy playing together, blah blah blah, but Capello seems just as confused as anyone about what to do with them. On Saturday Gerrard was sulking, banished out of the middle and into a vaguely right-wing position where he proceeded to look complete rubbish. Lampard, for a change, was actually rather better.

The way I see it - therefore obviously the correct opinion - is that Capello should employ a stringent new team selection technique based loosely on the stone-paper-scissors game. Or get a big paddling pool in the dressing room and let them have a jelly wrestle to see which one will play.

Shall I go on? No, thought not.

Anyone for Svennis? In Mexico?

Just be thankful Svennis isn't still in charge of England's national team. He's currently tearing up the script in Mexico. I wonder what attracted him to a job in a sub-tropical climate for boatloads of cash? Anyway, I digress. The genius that could be Mr Burns somehow managed to send out a team that wasn't even capable of talking a point off Jamaica at the weekend.

That isn't to detract in any way from a quite brilliant effort from the Reggae Boyz - who were a big hit at France '98 I seem to remember - and the nation's equivalent of David Beckham, Stoke City's Ricardo Fuller, who notched the winner.

Oh no, it is merely to point in puzzlement and wonder at the reason Eriksson has gone from two high-profile European jobs to being the boss of Mexico, who'll be an outside bet at best if they even manage to make it to South Africa in 2010. I wonder if cash had anything to do with it?

D-day for Domenech, the dead man walking

We at Soccernet like Raymond Domenech, for it is akin to watching a comedian corpse on stage or a particularly nasty car crash - excruciating but hard to take your eyes off. We've been making the most of it this weekend before he meets his fate on Wednesday in the shape of a meeting with the France Football Federation - who are already loading their gun with a P45-shaped bullet.

The man has lost plenty of football matches he should have won, has been defiant in the face of a tidal wave of criticism from the press, and reacted to France's humiliating exit at the group stages in Euro 2008 in the most spectacular way – by proposing to his girlfriend live on tele.

Imagine an Iwelumo-sized silence as millions of footy loving Frenchies stared at their screens with mouths wide open, rendered completely agog by the sheer pottiness of the man. She didn't even say yes, choosing to look horrified instead.

Raymond Domenech, we salute you.

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