Pitchside Europe

Facts: 7 Premier League Truths – Adebayor, Mackay and the virtues of diving

1) Malky Mackay smells like roses - Cardiff claim their manager will not be leaving the club 'for the foreseeable future'. But, no matter when things boil over between Mackay and Vincent Tan, now the chairman is very much the villain of this saga in the eyes of the majority.

Mackay has already vowed not to walk out of the position. If and when he is canned, he will be paid off handsomely. His reputation, meanwhile, will remain strong: Mackay has done great things at Cardiff, and even though they're losing more than they'd like to, their style of play remains resolute.

Many potential employers will chalk up results like the 3-1 reverse at Liverpool to the supreme Luis Suarez, and the pressures put on Mackay by Tan. From the moment Iain Moody was replaced by a 23-year-old, this was only going one way.

2) There's more competition for a top-four finish than meets the eye - Perhaps the media quota for 'overachiever' stereotypes has been fully used up by Everton, but Newcastle have also had an excellent first half of the season. They now sit level with Tottenham on 30 points after a professional 3-0 win at Crystal Palace.

Between some of the shock results we've seen so far in 2013-14 and the fact Alan Pardew's men are no strangers to putting together a great run of results, as shown by their perfect November, it's not impossible that they could end up reeling in one or two of the top five.

3) Emmanuel Adebayor is the smartest man in football - Look, we don't mean to pour cynicism all over Adebayor's fantastic week of Tottenham redemption post-AVB, but it's fair to say that this boy has cried wolf more than once in the past. The striker's sudden bursts of form (and more tellingly, of work-rate) are frustratingly convenient and remind his team's fans all-too-painfully that he could and should be doing this week in, week out.

Some houseowners only bother giving their property a proper clean when they are ready to sell it for as much as possible. Adebayor has managed to turn that mentality into an extremely lucrative career for a fraction of the effort of many of his Premier League peers. He'll probably stop caring again soon.

4) Sam Allardyce’s reputation is keeping him in a job - Manager sackings are rife and seldom easy to fathom. And yet, every passing week the current West Ham coach saunters through an abject performance, a fair tally of bad results and a strained relationship with his own supporters without anywhere near the speculation over his job as half of the top flight bosses.

It would seem that the Hammers' cup run and just enough victories to stay out of the bottom three are keeping 'Big Sam' off the radar. He made a name for himself by embarking on cup runs and keeping clubs away from the drop. Those two qualities have masked his unpopular brand of football for years, and are set to keep him in a job longer than many would have expected.

5) Diving soothes a footballer's soul - Apparently, players should be ashamed for trying to simulate fouls. And yet, such a reprehensible habit seems to have a strong correlation with great form elsewhere on the pitch.

Manchester United's Ashley Young admitted that he will do what he has to do, and it's up to others to deal with his actions. Since then, he has arrested a slump that made an Old Trafford exit seem inevitable with a week every bit as good as Adebayor's. Now Adnan Januzaj is getting in on the act. But perhaps it isn't so much a disease as it is the cure for frustrated footballers.

6) We are going to hate Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana come August - Fair play, both men had excellent weekends for their respective clubs. Those performances, combined with equally-impressive recent form, has everyone mentioning their names with regard to England's squad for the World Cup in Brazil.

But stop us if you've heard this one before: young Englishmen do well for their clubs, are selected in England's starting XI for crucial games off the back of said form, fail to replicate those performances, England go out after a miserable showing, and said young Englishmen become villains. We hope we're wrong, but the vicious cycle has stood the test of time.

7) Martin Skrtel would be a huge success in the NHL - The Liverpool defender was, at one point, one of the best centre-backs in the division. We're not suggesting that he never will be at top form again, but lately he appears to be auditioning for a different career altogether.

In the win over Cardiff, Skrtel was lucky not to concede a first-half penalty with a blatant shirt pull on Steven Caulker. He then picked up a yellow card for cynically clattering Craig Noone to prevent a breakaway. Such naughty moves are far from rare in football, but if Skrtel ever wanted to, he could become a great dual-sport star by signing for an NHL side as their enforcer. Y'know, that member of the squad who starts fights and sends opponents flying into the glass barriers purely to take the other team out of their gameplan.