Tottenham and Liverpool are well-matched in skill and ambition and their managers are seeking to construct futures that will end obsession with the pastMauricio Pochettino loves a hug. The pre-match handshake may be no more than a glazed formality for …
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/oct/21/tottenham-liverpool-mauricio-pochettino-jurgen-klopp-past-future
Özil has been accused of not running enough or working hard enough but after four years at Arsenal he remains basically the same player with the same skillsYou’d have to try pretty hard not to like Paul Merson as a TV pundit. Even if you insisted on ma…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/13/why-curiosity-was-never-going-to-kill-mesut-ozil-arsenal
Liverpool are a better side than they were at the end of Brendan Rodgers’ reign but a rampant Manchester United visit Anfield on Saturday and will be 10 points ahead of their rivals if they winWelcome back, then, the Premier League. Now. Where were we?…
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/oct/12/jurgen-klopp-liverpool-how-much-progress-manchester-united
The England manager could do a lot worse than take a tip from Pep Guardiola and put as much energy as possible into wringing the most out of John Stones
This time. More than any other time. We’re going to find a way. Find a way to express key drivers of our unique but non‑prescriptive footballing DNA under a holistic development pathway. Getting it all together. We’re on our way!
Well, that’s all done now. England will be present at Russia 2018 after a room temperature qualifying campaign reached a grippingly dull resolution against Slovenia at Wembley. And really, it is worth remembering that for those who follow England these are the good times. With a place in the velvet ball bag assured we have a small interlude to purr at the prospect of wandering around the vast city-scapes of Europe’s great alien superpower worrying about Gary Cahill’s minor calf strain; to argue with doltish enthusiasm about tactics and selection; and above all to dream a little. Although if you believe the publicity it seems likely Gareth Southgate and his team of FA wonks, hangers-on and brochure‑wanglers are just as likely to spend the next few months worrying about the wider existential questions that have preoccupied the current FA.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/06/gareth-southgate-john-stones-england
He may be only 20 and not really a No9, but the Brazilian showed at Stamford Bridge just why he could prove so crucial in his first full season for City
Gabriel Jesus will have more spectacular games than this. He will no doubt make the highlights reel more often and contribute more eye-catching moments of skill and craft than he did in Manchester City’s 1-0 victory at a relentlessly boisterous Stamford Bridge.
This, though, was something else, a performance of deeper attacking gears from City’s inside-forward, turned-false-nine, turned out-and-out central striker. Up front on his own, Jesus played with real heart and skill at the Bridge, never faltering in his energy and movement, never letting his levels drop, and doing just enough at just the right time to help nudge this match Manchester City’s way.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/30/chelsea-manchester-city-gabriel-jesus-sergio-aguero
The only two players signed by the Scot during his disastrous tenure at Old Trafford have defied all expectations to remain among the star-studded cast assembled by José Mourinho
In the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall a phenomenon bubbled up in Eastern Europe called “ostalgie”, or nostalgia for the old east. Seized with ostalgie, citizens of the new world found themselves tiring of the glories of capitalism, with its treacly soft drinks, unfettered access to soft-rock music and a natureless ecstasy of identical consumer products; and yearning instead for the old certainties of communism, the gulag and mass-produced cardboard trousers. As recently as last year a majority of Romanians said they missed the murderous despot Nicolae Ceausescu. Presumably, again, because you knew where you stood and the statues were nice.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/29/david-moyes-manchester-united-mata-marouane-fellaini
The Bosnian represents an echo of the powerful, hard-running players who characterised Arsène Wenger’s best title-winning teams
One thing you often lose watching a football match on television is the sound levels. Not just the noise of the crowd but the noise of the players, a scale of collision and opposing force that means certain incidents, and indeed the careers of certain players, can have an entirely different register in the flesh.
David Luiz’s red card against Arsenal on Sunday was one such case. Replays and stills will show a raised foot but really this was a red card you had to hear. So profound was the thunk of contact those nearby knew instantly the challenge went beyond necessary force and into the realms of dangerous excess.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/18/sead-kolasinac-arsenal-missing-muscle-arsene-wenger
The former England manager, now 70, will be desperate to erase memories of Euro 2016 and will look to imitate the simpler days of West Brom and Fulham
Welcome back, then, Roy. And rejoice Croydon, for he has returned. The news that Crystal Palace will turn to Roy Hodgson to replace the departed Frank de Boer is perhaps unsurprising given the background noises of the past few months. For all that there will still be a tendency to roll the eyes, to mock the sudden shift in footballing direction – from the Ajax Way to Purley Way – and to point out that Hodgson is 70 and hasn’t had a club job in five years.
This is undoubtedly a little unfair. In isolation Hodgson to Palace makes plenty of short-term sense. Plus it would be foolish to underestimate Hodgson’s determination to prove a point, his popularity with players and his vast experience. And yet there is no escaping the wider sense of dissonance here. Even in a league defined by its habit of vacillating comically between methodologies and personnel, the lurch from De Boer to Hodgson is one of the more bizarrely abrupt about-turns in Premier League history.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/11/roy-hodgson-crystal-palace-total-croydon-farewell
Sadio Mané’s red card was not bad luck but bad judgment and Liverpool’s resultant collapse allowed Manchester City to show their best side
If you can meet a 5-0 thrashing and a messy 1-1 draw and treat those two impostors exactly the same; well, there is a fair chance you will be a testy, process-obsessed Catalan super-manager, my son. Six months ago Pep Guardiola described Manchester City’s draw with Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium as “one of the best moments of my career”. Fast forward to Saturday lunchtime and City’s 5-0 shellacking of the same opponents on the same ground left Guardiola a little restless, a little cagey in his judgments.
City’s manager was pleased and talkative but still rueful over the opening half-hour when Liverpool perhaps shaded it and when, if you had had to bet on a player being sent off, it would surely have been Nicolás Otamendi, whose performance combined ponderousness with a blind scything violence whenever he got near the ball.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/10/manchester-city-liverpool-pep-guardiola-jurgen-klopp-ederson
Less than a year ago, Renato Sanches was the toast of Europe. On Sunday he will make his Swansea debut. So what went wrong for him at Bayern Munich, and how good can football’s captive prince still become?
Football has always tended to eat its young. Although not, perhaps, with such gleeful, richly rewarded haste as this. The ballad of Renato Sanches, European football’s great invisible wonder kid, is set to enter its latest phase on Sunday afternoon as Swansea City take on Newcastle United in their first game since Sanches joined on loan from the dingiest corners of Bayern Munich’s Säbener Strasse training complex.
From obscurity to celebrity to entropy to the Liberty. And all in less than two years. It is now 23 months since Sanches made his first-team debut for Benfica as a thrillingly ragged, thrillingly high-grade 18-year-old from the tough side of Lisbon. The timeline of that career parabola bears repeating.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/sep/10/renato-sanches-wonderkid-celebrity-swansea-city