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 […]

Premier League managers find fortune fickle

How we would have laughed in November if we’d been told that, just a few months later, Brendan Rodgers would be breezily having to quash rumours linking him to the Manchester City managers position. How Manuel Pellegrini would have laughed along with us, back in those breezy, rose-tinted days of late 2014. Today, however, it […]

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 […]

The Big Money Benchwarmers

Let’s wind our minds back to the moments before the opening game of the 2014/15 Premier League season, those fabulous days of yore where possibilities were endless and potential was tantalisingly unrealised. Hull City’s strangely flamboyant playing roster was immediately going to click, Southampton were bracing themselves for a certain relegation scrap, and Liverpool and […]

Raheem Sterling: About a Boy

In most of the articles written about Manchester United’s 3-0 victory over Liverpool, much has been made of the marked difference in the quality of the two teams’ finishing. Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata, all seasoned goalscorers of proven pedigree in this league, made sure that Manchester United, still so perilously lopsided […]

The 2014/15 Premier League So Far Awards: Part 2

Welcome back, and in the time we’ve been at break, Chelsea unbeaten run has indeed ended, Sergio Aguero has indeed been cut down by a serious injury, and, with that sort of prophetic start, I think we can safely assume that Roberto Soldado has started banging in the goals, let’s just check Spurs’ latest results… […]

The 2014/15 Premier League So Far Awards

Certainly, it would be a misstep to construct too loquacious a narrative while only a third of the way through this current Premier league season. Even more misguided would be to conduct a fictitious awards ceremony at this point; it would be silly in the extreme to do this, to figuratively present some small, gold-plated […]

This year’s sack race open to all

Usually, by this point in the Premier League season, if a manager hasn’t already been shown the door, we at least have some forlorn figures that we can just about nail on as being ripe for the sack. Last November, Ian Holloway and Paolo Di Canio had already been disposed of, and by the time […]

Magic Beans: Liverpool’s transfer failings

When he traded his family’s cow for that fabled bag of beans, walking home even gullible Jack must have been developing that sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. The cow, beloved but no longer lactating, was gone and all he had gotten in return was a pouch filled with these pills of uncertainty. […]

The best goals from this week’s Champions League

The results of this week’s Champions League fixtures made for fascinating reading. There was a night of synchronous thrashings, handed out with relish by Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Shakhtar Donetsk. There was a wholly expected (yet still agonisingly confusing) lukewarm draw for Manchester City, whose inability to perform in Europe continues. There was the inevitable […]

VIDeconstruction: Zamora vs Liverpool

The ending was farcical, the result incredible, and Harry Redknapp was beside himself after the final whistle. Two own goals, including one in the final seconds, handed Liverpool victory at Loftus Road, and kept QPR rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table. An interesting battle was occurring in the midsts of this ridiculous […]

Concerns for both sides of the Merseyside Derby

Everton and Liverpool roll into this season’s first Merseyside derby on Saturday, and both managers are preparing for the match with brows furrowed, casting perturbed looks at each of their respective defences. Both Liverpudlian clubs have opened their Premier League campaigns in very lukewarm fashion, largely because of the alarmingly sieve-like efforts coming from the […]

5 things we learnt from the Premier League weekend

1. Mourinho can handle the cat-calling, and so can his team. This was to be Chelsea’s first elite test. After strolling through their first four games, Mourinho’s team were yet to face a title contender. City are certainly that, and in their own ground they exploded out of the blocks. Aguero, Silva, and Dzeko were […]

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 […]

The Curious Case of Daniel Agger

Between the ages of 28 and 33, give or take a few years depending on the individual, lie the peak years for a central defender. Centre back is a position that is less demanding on a player’s mobility and pace, and one that rewards virtues like composure, experience, the ability to read the game. A defender reaching their peak age […]

Steven Gerrard: Liverpool’s Beloved Liability

In the first half of Liverpool’s weekend match against Tottenham, Steven Gerrard, the captain, the club legend, the very embodiment of the club’s modern spirit, gave the ball away, by my count, 7 times. Two were from his famous (now infamous?) ‘Hollywood’ passes, a couple of sweeping diagonal balls, that both went badly astray. You […]

The Nomadic Superstar

Mario Balotelli’s impending transfer to Liverpool is a striking development (pun tally: 1), in more ways than one. First and foremost, the price tag just screams “bargain!”; the £16 million fee Milan are likely to accept for one of the most talented under-25 strikers in European football seems incredibly good value, only £4 million more […]

Moving on after the World Cup

There is always an inherent risk in buying a player that’s coming off a good World Cup. Few things can sway a scout more than a blinding tournament performance, but the clubs looking to snap up the star performers from Brazil 2014 may want to curb their enthusiasm. One month’s worth of quality play won’t necessarily transfer over […]

Wanted: One World Class Striker

Suarez has gone, the saga is over for Liverpool. A £75 million deal with Barcelona has been arranged and, pending a medical, the Uruguayan will be on a jet plane flying away from Anfield in no time at all. It ends a turbulent 3 years at Liverpool, and the controversies don’t need to be repeated. […]

The Great Leap Backward

A few months ago I wrote an article that looked at Liverpool’s remarkable improvement this season, which I paralleled with Southampton’s progress this term that, though less dramatic, was nonetheless impressive. It was titled “The Great Leap Forward”. In it, I also postulated whether Southampton, building on the solid, mid-table foundation they established this season, […]