Merse repeats, Charlie lost in Europe, Cottee bored, Dan in Leitrim spot on.

With no gossip at his disposal now that footballers are afraid to tell him anything, Lawro’s latest trick is to predict the unpredictable:

“They (West Ham) are unpredictable and that’s the way they will be for the rest of the season.”

Shades of Gazza’s classic: “I never make predictions and I never will.”

SO GOOD HE SAID IT TWICE

Expecting one prudent view on Middlesbrough’s problems from Paul Merson was a stretch in itself, but two was always going to be a big ask:

“That’s down to inexperience and not having enough experience in the team.”

***

HOME FROM HOME

“How does Steve Bruce sell Wigan to these South Americans?” wondered Jeff Stelling. Lack of access to an atlas didn’t deter Charlie Nicholas for a moment:

“He tells them we’re right in the hunt for Europe so you won’t be far from home.”

***

NOTHING TO SEE HERE

It wasn’t clear quite what a disappointed Tony Cottee expected during his visit to Villa Park on Saturday:

“Last 15 minutes, not a lot’s happened Jeff. They’ve just been playing against each other.”

***

SCHOOLBOY DEFENDING

Good to see a long-awaited reappearance from Ger Canning’s “amateur whistlers” as the Emirates crowd became nervy during the final minutes on Saturday. Credit too to Ger for quickly spotting where the Bolton rearguard were going wrong:

“What was the defence doing, trying to play onside?”

***

BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

Now we’re beginning to understand why Wayne Bridge has always been regarded as an honest lad. Not many professional footballers would go the extra mile like he does:

“I like to keep myself fit.”

***

EMIRATES DOWNTURN

Pat Dolan identifies another casualty of the economic crisis:

“Wenger has been a victim of the credit crunch. He’s had so much credit he believes his is the only opinion and the crunch time is now.”

***

TIGHTLY-KNIT DRESSING ROOM

Who says Phil Scolari isn’t close to his players?

“I know my players love me, because we’ve had situations where it is possible to know this.”

***

EYES FOR A PASS

Gol TV’s Ray Hudson believes having peepers made of coloured refractions of light will help you pick out Thierry Henry in the box:

“He sees his target. Kaleidoscope eyes from Xavi.”

***

LOW BLOW

Friday’s damp squib Late Late GAA special was enlivened only by Eamo’s curious tribute to Kilkenny’s King Henry: “In Henry Shefflin, we have our very own Ronaldo.”

A puffball, a petulant brat, an impersonator, a clown, a self-indulgent idiot?

***

HEADLINE OF THIS OR ANY YEAR

“Banning girls would be absolute disaster says Dan” – The Leitrim Observer.

Ostensibly a stark warning to those charged with legislating the Leitrim under-12 football championship but surely Dan’s message cannot be lost on any of us in these troubled times.

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