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Ten things the new football season has already taught us; easy RPSPORT 101 BRUCE MILLINGTON The Thursday column.

1 Kit clashes are alive and kicking It's not difficult. Just get the two teams out on the pitch wearing kits that can be easily differentiated. But still it's beyond some teams and officials to make it happen.

Watching Man City versus Swansea was a monumental nuisance, with City clad in an extremely pale blue and the Swans in white. It was like trying to follow two teams wearing kits that had started out as white, with Swansea's having been washed in a high-quality powder and City's with an inferior product.

It's totally unacceptable that fans and TV viewers should have to put up with this kind of nonsense.

2 The Championship is impossible to work out Everyone's beating everyone else, except Southampton and Derby. Palace are doing well. There are untold draws. I just don't know what to make of it all. Tread carefully punters.

3 Jose Mourinho is an irritant A breath of fresh air has become a stench of bad breath. Go away, you attention-seeking little bore.

One of the many superb things about Barcelona's dominance in Spain and beyond is seeing how much it's hurting Mourinho, whose antics at the end of the second leg of his Real side's Super Cup clash with Barca were simply embarrassing.

Charisma has been replaced by charmlessness and it cannot be too long before Real decide to end the pantomime and start again.

4 Commentators are still moaning about refs... With depressing predictability, the penny failed to drop over the summer that referees will always make mistakes until they are allowed access to video replays.

Guy Mowbray, the BBC's dubious choice as No. 1 commentator, could not originally tell what had happened when Sebastian Larsson blocked Joey Barton's header on Saturday.

Then, having seen a replay, he started yelling about how it should have been a penalty and a red card. Does he not think arbiter Howard Webb would have made the same decision if he'd seen the same footage of the incident? 5...

and still moaning about linesmen...

Liverpool's opener against Arsenal might just have been offside. You couldn't tell. But that didn't stop Sky analysing it as forensically as one would a triple murder, as if by proving the attacking player was a centimetre offside the ref would call the players back out of the showers and order them to replay the match.

It doesn't matter. Mistakes happen.

Accept it. Analyse something more interesting instead.


and I'm still moaning about moaning about officials Yes, I know I am. And I'll go on doing it until the multitude of imbeciles who expect perfection from referees, despite it being a sometimes nigh-on impossible job, finally wise up and shut up. Which will probably never happen.

7 The new Match of the Day highlights clock Blimey, what's this? Is it good or not? I can't decide. In days of old you knew which half a piece of action took place in, and if the crowd were whistling like boiling kettles you were aware time was nearly up, but apart from that you didn't have a clue.

Now, up by where the scoreline is, a little panel pops up with "47mins" or whatever. On the one hand it's nice to be aware of the precise chronology of the highlights from each game but on the other do we really care? Somehow it's ruined the illusion that you were watching an actual match, one that was deftly and seamlessly boiled down into whatever length it needed to be by a Beeb editor.

What we're left with is the feeling we're watching a staccato collection of clips that have lost their flow. Maybe I'll neck a few more cans of cider before next week's transmission in the hope I won't notice the new feature.

8 Soccer Saturday's full screen further enhances the show It's hard to believe Soccer Saturday, which is the best television programme ever, could get even better but it has. Now, as the halftime and full-time whistles sound, the goalflash ticker expands so you can see far more scores as they come in. It's an excellent innovation.

9 Theo Walcott is destined to disappoint Searing pace is all well and good but Walcott's legs move significantly quicker than his brain.

Blind alleys, balls played at the wrong time, with the wrong foot, in the wrong direction. They're all part of his repertoire and it's becoming crystal clear that the player won't cut the mustard at the highest grade.

He'll drop down to a level where, in away games at least, he's playing for a side who are on the back foot for most of the time, thus allowing him to find room to cause problems with his speed. But if you're a fan of Arsenal or England and are hoping Theo's the future, you're going to be out of luck.

One of the few good things Capello has done as Three Lions boss is to see through Walcott.

10It's a Manchester thing in the Premier League You know it. There's no point looking beyond United or City for the title. Arsenal versus Liverpool was a game that barely looked like a battle for seventh let alone fourth and Chelsea just don't appear to have the pace to trouble their north-west foes.

You can follow me on Twitter @brucemillington
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Article Type:Column
Date:Aug 25, 2011
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