The Soccer Saturday panel look at Chelsea's victory at Sunderland, Arsenal's win at home to West Brom, Southampton's home success against Reading and Wigan's clash with QPR...
Last Updated: December 9, 2012 3:54pm
Charlie Nicholas on Chelsea's 3-1 win at Sunderland
"It was certainly the best signs I've seen so far [of Fernando Torres getting back to his best]. There have been a few false dawns. When people are watching Football First to see his finishes they'll say to themselves 'maybe his confidence is returning'.
"He didn't come and link up too much today, he played higher up the pitch, threatened on the shoulders of the defenders. He produced a very, very good finish for his first goal, getting in between two centre backs and steering Eden Hazard's cross beautifully into the goal. His second was his first penalty in England. He took the ball off David Luiz and said 'I'm taking it'. It's a lovely controlled finish in the corner.
"And he was unlucky not to get a hat-trick. At the start of the second half there was a bad mistake from Phil Bardsley and Torres smashed the loose ball from 15 yards out, it came back off the bar and Juan Mata tucked it in.
"Chelsea now go away on this trip for the Club World Cup. There was some nice stuff from Hazard, Mata and Torres today but this is still not a team which looks like champions, I'd say.
"Sunderland weren't great today going forward, although I have to say I thought Connor Wickham did quite well standing in for Steven Fletcher. But there was a crazy moment from Sebastian Larsson to give the penalty away just before half-time and that made it difficult for them.
"Adam Johnson got a consolation goal which bent into the far corner - although Petr Cech looked like he pulled his hand away."
Phil Thompson on Arsenal's 2-0 home win over West Brom
"The two penalty decisions were dreadful decisions. Ref Mike Jones was involved in the sending off of Maynor Figueroa, the Wigan player, last Monday night. I believe he got that wrong and I believe he got two massive decisions wrong in this game.
"Santi Cazorla turns Steven Reid in the penalty box for the first one, there's an air-kick which doesn't get anywhere near him. But Cazorla jumps in the air and winces and holds his leg. He's not got anywhere near him! It's a blatant out-and-out dive and Mike Jones has been sucked into it and given a penalty. The West Brom players are furious. You can tell straight away [it was a bad decision] because Cazorla is very embarrassed about it. But Mikel Arteta scores it and it's 1-0.
"In the second half the ball comes in, Goran Popov is going for the ball, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain puts his arm round him, catches him and Popov goes down. The referee gives nothing. Oxlade-Chamberlain races into the box, Chris Brunt puts out his leg and yes, that's a penalty. But my goodness it's a free-kick before it.
"Arsenal, in general, were good. West Brom are a decent team away from home. Arsenal passed it well but there were no great chances - except for Gervinho's mis-kick in front of goal and Lukas Podolski putting it over from six yards.
"I was a little disappointed by West Brom. They seem to have lost a bit of confidence. It just wasn't the same from them. Even their possession football wasn't there and that's what will disappoint them most."
Paul Merson on Southampton's 1-0 win over Reading
"Southampton were quite comfortable in the end, bar Hal Robson-Kanu hitting a post with a header and Adam le Fondre having a good chance Reading didn't make any opportunites. Brian McDermott will think they were pretty poor today. Considering they were playing Southampton, who are down the bottom, they didn't give themselves much of a chance.
"Southampton didn't create loads but they forced Adam Federici into a few saves. They scored a good goal - very good build up play by Rickie Lambert, nutmegs the lad, puts it to Nathaniel Clyne who plays it into Jason Puncheon and he scores. That was it, it was comfortable. I didn't think Reading would get back into the game.
"Southampton aren't as gung-ho as they were at the start of the season. Then it was like 'you have a shot, we'll have a shot, and we'll go down in a blaze of glory'. Now they've caught on, they're very tight, they get back into a shape and he keeps Lambert on who knits everything together. It's a massive win for them."
Matt Le Tissier on Wigan's 2-2 draw with QPR
"QPR really need to start winning games and they'll probably never have a better chance to get that first win, when you see the defensive players that were missing for Wigan today and they still couldn't take advantage. They got themselves in the lead at the end but managed to keep hold of it for just two and a half minutes. That would have dismayed Harry Redknapp.
"It was end to end stuff and there was loads of space to play in. On the balance of play a draw was probably the right result but a point isn't ideal for either of them.
"Ryan Nelson was outstanding all afternoon and he got the equaliser from Adel Taarabt's corner but James McCarthy was the outstanding player on the home side's team today. He got both of their goals, the first a decent volley, just deflected past Rob Green and the second was a really good finish from 12 yards.
"When Wigan get their injured players back they'll be ok but QPR will be looking to add to their frontline in January. Jamie Mackie is an honest boy and he'll work for you all day but will he get enough goals for you to stay up? I'd say no."