Just to fire off some key points quickly:
- I watched the second half of the Dortmund friendly and thought we defended very poorly. Dortmund moved the ball too quickly amongst our defenders. Pablo Zabaleta and Kolo Touré were appalling.
- I saw all of the Valencia game and thought we were excellent. The first thirty minutes, with Carlos Tévez and David Silva dropping off Adebayor was the best we've played all pre-season. It was fluent, imaginative and full of promise for the season. We lacked a bit of coherence when they went off but SWP and Adam Johnson were both impressive on an individual level.
- The failure to sign James Milner and Mario Balotelli is frustrating. I think Milner will come after the England friendly tonight, while I just don't know what's going on with Super Mario. I'd be surprised if either starts at White Hart Lane. (I have a ticket for the game on Saturday and I'm so excited I can barely breathe, more on that later though.)
- It seems certain that Nedum Onuoha will join Sunderland on loan for the season. I think that's it for him. Any hopes that he's going for experience which will allow him to fight for a place in 2011/12 - the eighth season since his debut - seem fairly implausible. But more when it happens.
- Stephen Ireland is said to be in talks with Aston Villa, as part of the Milner deal. This made more sense with Martin O'Neill in charge, as his motivational style is exactly what is needed to get the best from Ireland. On the other hand, his rigid adherence to 4-4-2 is not. But I don't know what's going to happen here.
- Craig Bellamy has said he doesn't think he'll get in our 25 man squad. I don't think he will either. Not that I don't think he's among our 25 best players, but I think Mancini's personal authority would be better off with Bellamy elsewhere.
More later today.