Will the Red Devils' ho-hum midfield be the undoing of United?

Ferguson's reluctance to acquire a player of the type of Luka Modric, Joe Cole, Deco or Stephen Ireland – not to mention any of the clusters on show at Barcelona or Arsenal – is particularly odd since the man he most regrets failing to acquire during his time at Old Trafford is Paul Gascoigne.

EPLTalk offers fantasy advice:

West Ham have spent big on a new striker from Italy, Alessandro Diamanti. They’re desperately short of fit strikers, so he should get some action up front and might be a surprise signing if you want to take the risk.

Nate @ Oh You Beauty performs that rarest of feats in footy commentary -- meaningful statistical analysis!

So, through four games, Liverpool's conceded seven goals. All seven have come from set plays (if we count Ashley Young's penalty). Zonal marking has been a scapegoat since Benitez came to the club, so it's worth a look at the proportion of goals Liverpool's conceded that have come from set plays over his five seasons.

Hooligan Talk discusses the impact around Europe of the Dutch evictions from Real Madrid:

Indeed, only days after the move, The Adventures of Bayern and Robben have begun. In this season’s first episode, the Dutchman was brilliant. As Bayern Munich took on Wolfsburg, Robben entered the game as a second-half substitute and in only a half-hour’s time, netted two goals, both of which were assisted by Ribery.

Speaking of Madrid, The Offside has a great write-up on the debut of Galapagos 2.0:

Alonso had less of an impact on the game then Lass did, which to me is not acceptable considering his talents. Few cross field passes and accurate long ball switches today, but it was the first game, and his laid back, almost anonymous approach to the game is sometimes hard to keep your eye on.