Tactical Breakdown – West Ham’s Away Plan

With four games played, two at home and two away, this is West Ham’s record: Home matches: Played – 2, Lost – 2, Aggregate score – 4-6. Away Matches: Played – 2, Won – 2, Aggregate score – 5-0. The discrepancy becomes even more astonishing when you factor in the standard of the opposition; with […]

O90 – Analysis – Arsenal 0 – 2 West Ham

West Ham travelled North for their 2015-16 season opener having not won at the Emirates in eight years. But with industry and neat finishing, they left with a 2-0 victory, leaving Arsenal to wonder where, outside of Alexis Sanchez, a cutting edge for them might lie. Slaven Bilic’s side set up to pack the midfield, […]

Arsenal 4 – 0 Aston Villa – FA Cup Final Player Ratings

Well, that was very un-Arsenal. Even last season, when Arsene Wenger’s band of merry tip-toers won the FA Cup, they did so after going 2-0 down after 20 minutes. And this year’s… a 4-0 victory? Yes, very unlike them indeed. Satisfyingly so, for all those involved wearing red and white. So, who were the star […]

West Ham forced to wait and see with Song and Jenkinson

Two vital players, both only at the club temporarily. As is always the case in football, the paperwork is causing all the headaches here. Sam Allardyce might not be employed in East London next season, but that, it seems, is the least of the club’s problems. Carl Jenkinson and Alex Song have been highly influential […]

All the goals from this round of Champions League fixtures

It was a week of poor results for the English teams left standing in Europe’s premier competition. Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Schalke ended up being the best English result, as Arsenal and Manchester City again reasserted the blundering and shuddering incapability they both seem stricken by at this level, losing to Monaco and Barcelona respectively. […]

The ethics of the top EPL shirt sponsors.

It now seems utterly unremarkable, as much a part of the make up of the game as the ball, or the shin pads, or the hair gel. But when you think about it, having the name of a corporation emblazoned across your chest does seem a little strange. Grand old teams in the Premier League […]

Why can’t Aston Villa score?

The situation at Villa is becoming nearly unbearable. With every soul-destroying display of attacking incompetence, with every passing goalless minute, the fans’ souls wither, cough and keel over just a little more. It is now well over a month (46 days, actually, at the time of writing) since Paul Lambert’s team scored a Premier League […]

The Secret to Greatness? Availability.

Any footballer can have talent. Most of them do; you can’t reach the higher tiers of the sport without it. Slogging through youth systems, taking your chance at scouting meets, or catching the eye of a visiting luminary is next to impossible without a hefty serving of aptitude. Sure, having truckload of natural ability is […]

Champions League: The best goals and misses this week

Liverpool laboured again against supposedly lesser opposition, prompting some very perturbed looks to ripple around the Kop. Madrid eventually overcame Ludogorets, who have been much stiffer opposition than many thought they would be, despite losing twice. Dortmund and Arsenal rollicked to victory, and PSG and Roma each forced through one-goal wins for themselves against tough […]

Arsenal return to Chelsea, wounded and fearful

This weekend sees the return of Arsene Wenger and his band of fragile, ferreting footballers to Chelsea and Stamford Bridge, the scene of the most brutal defeat they have suffered in recent memory, except perhaps the 8-2 to Manchester United in 2011. The 6-0 walloping that Mourinho’s team dished out last season was one of […]

Key Player Focus: Ramsay v Aston Villa

With Sanchez a late withdrawal from the starting XI and Mesut Ozil in ho-hum form and under fire, Aaron Ramsay arguably stands as Arsenal’s most important attacking player. This isn’t really saying much, he generally is crucial to the success of Arsene Wenger’s team, providing sensible passing, elusive touches, turns and dribbling, and garnishing it […]

Champions League Round up – All the Goals

A stroll for Real Madrid, a last minute penalty for Liverpool on their Champions League return, losses for Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, and wins for the rest. It was an action-packed evening in Europe’s premier club competition, and all the goals from all the matches are embedded below. Goal of the night honours resulted in a […]

Defensive paucity could derail United and Arsenal

There is an American sporting expression ‘offence wins games, defence wins championships’. The idiom was typified to a degree perhaps never achieved before when the impregnable, stoic Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl last season. That season theirs was a story of success that had been built upon the most formidable defence in recent league […]

Is Falcao Arsenal’s Final Step?

First Mesut Ozil, a coup by most accounts. Then Alexis Sanchez, exciting and bristling with energy. And now, possibly, Radamel Falcao, one of the best goalscorers in Europe. Arsene Wenger was coy after Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City when he was asked about the possibility of bringing in a new striker. After briefly flitting […]

The Opening Premier League Weekend: 5 Talking Points

Van Gaal and Manchester United should be offered no sympathy for a lack of creativity Most Red Devils fans will take Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Swansea as a good omen, keeping in mind David Moyes’ 4-1 victory over the Welsh team on the opening day last season. Van Gaal however will not be one […]

Oh Captain, My Captain

The hysteria surrounding the appointment of the ‘right’ captain, certainly in the context of the England national team, is a well known and often counter-productive phenomenon. The issue that has ‘plagued’ (and yes, it is an imagined malady) England’s senior side is one that most dismiss when the results are also consistently underwhelming; the feeling […]

Theo in the Middle

Arsenal ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in yesterdays FA Community Shield. Manchester City, their weakened and disinterested opponents, were brushed aside with relative ease and, though any conclusions drawn from the result would be as tangible as a sub-Saharan mirage, the promising signs were there for Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey looked confident and hungry. Alexis Sanchez […]