Mark Holmes talks down Brendan Rodgers' Manager of the Year claims and again calls for action to be taken against divers in his Monday Moan.
Diving is yet again on my agenda this week, but I begin with a question about the praise Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has received this season.
Rodgers achievements not unique
I was discussing Manager of the Year contenders with some colleagues the other day, and one of them believed Brendan Rodgers should be a shoo-in for the award. He's not alone, either.
The bookies make him third favourite for the award behind Sir Alex Ferguson and, bizarrely, Roberto Mancini at 6/1. Alan Pardew is fourth favourite at 8/1 and Paul Lambert is a distant fifth at 25/1.
Now can somebody please explain to me why the job Rodgers has done this season is deemed to be four times better than the job Lambert has done at Norwich? Both have surpassed most people's expectations in keeping newly-promoted teams in the Premier League and, based on previous winners of the LMA gong, 25/1 should be more realistic than 6/1.
After all, it's not unusual these days for promoted teams to survive - two out of three have done it in the last three seasons before this - but none of Alex McLeish, Mick McCarthy, Tony Pulis or Phil Brown were ever serious contenders for the Manager of the Year award.
So while both Rodgers and Lambert have done terrific jobs this season, they have not achieved anything extraordinary. And, although this could change, Norwich are currently above Swansea in the table so there really is no logical reason for Rodgers to be a 6/1 shot.
No, he is deemed four times more likely to be Manager of the Year than Lambert because Swansea are perceived to play better football than Norwich.
For once, I'm not going to get into an argument about that - I've enjoyed watching both sides, for what it's worth - but surely we can all agree that the Manager of the Year should be the man who has achieved the most rather than the man whose side play the most attractive football. Contrary to popular belief, the Premier League is not a beauty pageant.
If the season were to end now, I'd give the award to Sir Alex Ferguson. It's rare that I think the league-winning manager deserves it, but in this case I think Manchester United's achievements truly have been extraordinary.
Same old stories
Aside from 'perception', the topic I have blogged most about this season has been diving. I won't repeat what I have said before, but broadly I believe that the authorities and referees are as much to blame as the players themselves for encouraging them to go to ground under contact and declining to take retrospective action against those that do dive.
It's easy to criticise the players, but they are paid to earn results for their team and if the referees are telling them to fall over under every brush, who can blame them? I'm all for honesty and integrity, but diving will continue for as long as the punishment remains to be a yellow card - at worst.
Serial diver Ashley Young was the latest to 'win' his side a penalty at the weekend and, predictably, the commentators looked for 'contact' in the replays to exonerate the winger from blame. I won't do that. Young cheated, Andy Carroll cheated the week before and hundreds of other players have cheated over the season.
I think the FA are scared to take retrospective action against the likes of Young and Carroll because of this bizarre 'contact' line the sympathisers wheel out every time a player cheats. People will talk about the pace of the game and how the slightest touch can unbalance you...blah, blah, blah.
It's a load of rubbish and the rules need completely changing. If a player does his best to stay on his feet after a touch but is ultimately unable to score, then give the foul. But if a player makes no attempt to stay on his feet after feeling (or even worse looking for) a touch, then book him and hit him with a massive fine.
I don't know a single football fan that likes even their own team's players diving so let's all come together to let the football world know we don't like cheats.
Big clubs DO get benefit
The Young incident has once again led to claims that the big clubs get more favourable decisions from officials. Again, this is something I've written about in the past.
Fans of those big clubs will try to tell you that their team wins more penalties because they attack more, and that is undoubtedly true, and managers of those teams will tell you these decisions tend to 'even themselves out' over a season. That is undoubtedly not true.
Because the latest incident involves Manchester United, plenty of bitter fans are claiming there is a conspiracy and all that rubbish, but I don't honestly believe referees purposely give more decisions to the bigger clubs. It's all in the subconscious.
Most referees are just football fans like the rest of us, and that means they have heroes and they have perceptions. If Robert Huth goes steaming in for a tackle which ends with Wayne Rooney crumpled on the floor, most people would automatically assume Huth had fouled him.
With a matter of seconds and no replays to make a decision, referees too often work on assumption so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the top players get more of the decisions.
The answer, as I have been saying for years, is to hire foreign referees that aren't in awe of the top players and are able to do their job without the effect of perception. Then maybe we'll see the good and bad decisions even themselves out.
Bring in ref justice
Something else that has irked me for years is the fact that officials deemed to have made a mistake in a Premier League game are then 'demoted' the next weekend to the Football League.
Are the rules different in the Premier League, or do the authorities just care less about justice being done in the lower leagues?
I've got a lot of sympathy for referees and believe the standards of officiating in this country are actually pretty good, but there should be a better system in place to punish those who regularly make mistakes. It split opinion at the time, but maybe Tony Pulis' idea about promotion and relegation for referees wasn't such a bad idea?
Balotelli starting to lose me
From the moment he arrived in the UK, I have been a huge Mario Balotelli fan. As a neutral, I want to be entertained by other clubs' players and Balotelli has provided all of us with an unbelievable amount of entertainment, both on and off the pitch.
Because I like him so much, I have often defended him in the past. I came in for a lot of criticism for saying we couldn't be sure whether he purposely tried to stamp on Scott Parker, for example.
It's impossible to defend him for his actions against Arsenal on Sunday, however. I don't believe he's a thug; I think he's just very immature and probably thick, too, but I said on last week's Podcast that Roberto Mancini would possibly be thinking he's now more trouble than he's worth to Manchester City.
There is that same dilemma over many top talents - Eric Cantona, for example, had a nasty streak, but the positives always outweighed the negatives. But Balotelli is not the world's second best player as he believes and City could quite easily buy a forward of equal talent this summer.
Like Mancini, I wonder whether the time has come for them to cut their losses.
As always, let me know your thoughts on my points, and use this opportunity to have a moan yourself.
I'm particularly interested to hear opinions on Sam Allardyce's rant about West Ham fans: I think Big Sam is right that their criticisms have been unjust, but then I'm not sure he has handled the criticism in quite the right way!
Remember, you can also follow me on Twitter to hear me moan from Tuesday to Sunday too!