Shearer says: “If Man City can keep Aguero and Silva fit until the end of the season they’ll have a fantastic chance of winning the title”


Newcastle and England legend Alan Shearer has his say on the week’s footballing topics including Man United and Man City’s title chances, Everton’s woes at Chelsea and more…

Louis van Gaal still thinks his side are in the title hunt but I can’t go along with that

It was a big win for Manchester United at Anfield this weekend. Louis van Gaal still thinks his side are in the title hunt but I can’t go along with that claim. It was a really poor game because the standard wasn’t great but to be fair to Van Gaal, he did bring on an extra forward with 15 minutes to go to try and win the game so he does deserve a little bit of credit He put Memphis Depay of the left hand-side and went with two up front in Martial and Rooney and they got their goal from poor defending.

Wayne Rooney once again picked up the big goal. He is always under pressure because of who he is. He is an England striker and their captain. I know all about being under pressure as the England captain myself. The spotlight is always on you to perform and score goals whether that is domestically or internationally. When you don’t score goals, you come under criticism. Wayne is doing what he has done for a lot of his career. He scores in spurts and he is on a good run at the minute. If he gets the ammunition he will always score goals because that ability never leaves you.

If City can keep Aguero and Silva they’ll have a fantastic chance of winning the title

Manchester City had a comfortable win at home to Crystal Palace on Saturday. If they can keep Sergio Aguero and David Silva fit from now until the end of the season, then they’ll have a fantastic chance of winning the title. Aguero got injured early in the campaign but has been back since November and he has scored five league goals since his return. He looks to be quick and sharp again which is important for City.

The one thing that has let Manchester City down this season is their defence, particularly in Kompany’s absence. Having said all that, when you have Aguero and Silva in your team, you still stand a chance because they are still two of the best players in the world. They spent big in the summer on De Bruyne and Sterling but money does not always guarantee you success. The win this weekend though does keep them nicely poised as they are just one point off the top of the league now.

Arsenal showed a lot of character at the Britannia Stadium

If anyone needed reminding of what Petr Cech means to Arsenal or any top football club, then look at his performance against Stoke. He pulled off two or three magnificent saves. Any team which wins the Premier League will have to have a top quality goalkeeper and he is exactly that.

Arsenal showed a lot of character at the Britannia Stadium. It was a game which could have gone either way. Both ‘keepers deserve a lot of credit for their performances.

I am sure Butland will go to the European Championship as England’s number two. He is pushing Joe Hart all the way. It was widely regarded that goalkeepers did not get into their prime until their early 30s but I think what the Premier League has shown this season is that their role has changed. They now have to become good footballers as they need to be a sweeper and play on the edge of the box. That is why they are athletic and there are more younger ‘keepers around.

I don’t think there is much between Cech, Courtois, Lloris, De Gea, Hart and Butland for who is the best in the league. We are lucky to have so fantastic players in that position.

Everton probably did not get the result they merited against Chelsea

It was a superb performance from Everton to go to Stamford Bridge and score three goals. They probably did not get the result they merited though. It was a 98th minute offside goal from John Terry which denied them. It was a fantastic game for the neutral to watch.

Chelsea still haven’t quite turned their season around. They went to Palace and scored four goals but have been unable to build upon that good win. It is highly unlikely that they are going to get into the top four now. There are just too many teams in the hunt for one of those spots. Some are still saying they could be in a relegation scrap but they have too much quality in their squad for that.

The players Bournemouth have brought in will help them go on a roll

Bournemouth bounced back really well from their defeat to West Ham last week with a solid 3-0 victory over Norwich. Their new signing Benik Afobe was on the scoresheet and that will please the manager. They paid £12 million for him and the sooner you get off the mark for your new club, the better. I think the players they have brought in during this window have been good signings. I am sure we will start to see Bournemouth picking up points in between now and the end of the season on the back of those transfers.

Norwich, on the other hand, will be one of the teams which will struggle in the second half of the season. It looks like they will bring in Steven Naismith but he alone won’t be enough to keep them out of trouble.

Newcastle turn on the style for Ed Sheeran

Newcastle turned on the style this weekend against West Ham for Ed Sheeran who was at the game. He performed at the Ball for my Foundation on Saturday evening and he wanted to come to the game. I thought it was without doubt Newcastle’s best performance of the season. It was a big three points. I’ll try to get Ed there every week now because they really did turn on the style for him.

Big teams are reluctant to let go of their big players in January

We have just two weeks left of the January transfer window now and it has yet to really kick in with any really big signings. We might not get those £50-£60 million transfers this year. The big teams are reluctant to let go of their big players midway through a season, especially if they are still in the Champions League where they need all their squad available and fit when the games come quick and fast.

Of those that have been busy in the window, Bournemouth and Newcastle look to be the two sides which have done the best business. Bournemouth were lacking in goals and have brought in three good strikers to help fix that problem, while I really feel Jonjo Shelvey will prove an excellent acquisition for Newcastle. He had a really good game on Saturday on his debut for the club.

Do you agree with Alan’s views? Then why not head to Coral and place your bets on the midweek FA Cup replays?

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