Tag Archive: Premier League


The Premier League season begins tomorrow, but there will be no Sir Alex Ferguson in sight. Perhaps some journalists, pundits, and fans will be reminded of the late comic, Spike Milligan, who used to end many of his comedy sketches by staring at the camera and asking: “What are we going to do now?”

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Fergie may be gone, but the Premier League juggernaut continues, and it appears that the race for the 2013/14 title will be between three clubs: Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

United are used to approaching the season under intense scrutiny, but this this time the pressure is different, for other clubs will see the Red Devils as a kingdom without a strong leader.

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When the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Premier League team of the year was announced, there was almost universal disquiet at the lack of Michu, Swansea City’s swashbuckling Spanish attacking midfielder, among others.

WORD | Words. (Image | FTB Pro)

Swan shake | Michu took the Premier League by storm last year, but his 18 goals and flamboyant celebration were not enough for the PFA. (Image | FTB Pro)

How, asked many, could a player that scored 18 goals in 35 top-flight appearances, was the lynchpin of a League Cup-winning side, and cost a bargain £2million not be included among the crème de la crème of the Premier League?

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Premier League 2012/13: Team of the year

With the 2012/13 Premier League season over, a campaign in which Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as Manchester United manager and Wigan Athletic triumphed in the FA Cup at Wembley, but still went down, here is the team of the year.

WORDS | Petr Čech has had a superb season in goal for Chelsea during a campaign dogged by uncertainty at the club. (Image | Daily Mail)

Safe pair of hands | Petr Čech has had a superb season in goal for Chelsea amid many changes and continual uncertainty at the club. (Image | Daily Mail)

Goalkeeper | Petr Čech (Chelsea)

It appeared that Petr Čech would never be the same after his horrific collision with Steven Hunt back in 2006. However, he has gradually regained some of his best form, and while not the most eye-catching goalkeeper of the season, Čech been the most consistent.

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It is official, José Mourinho has returned. The man whose first press conference in England saw him famously describe himself not as “the special one”, as the press claimed, but “a special one“.

Back for Mour | José Mourinho is back. (Image | The Mirror)

Back for Mour | José Mourinho signed a four-year contract with Chelsea on Monday to return as manager after a six-year absence. (Image | The Mirror)

However, as Mark Twain said: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” For Mourinho returning to Chelsea on Monday is a very good story indeed.

As the most successful manager in the club’s history, adored by the fans and one of few men to win the treble, with Inter Milan, and lift the European Cup twice, what could possibly go wrong?

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When the rumours about Sir Alex Ferguson retiring first surfaced on Twitter late on Tuesday evening, sparked by Daily Telegraph journalist Mark Ogden, I was sceptical.

CAPTION | Words. (Image | The Guardian)

End of an era | Some commentators have dubbed Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement the “fall of the footballing Berlin Wall”. (Image | The Guardian)

After all, Ferguson had planned to retire back in 2001, only to recant. The venerable Scot was such a fixture in British football that the thought of him no longer prowling the Old Trafford touchline, while incessantly chomping on a stick of chewing gum, seemed a too absurd a prospect to countenance.

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Why are semi-finals, the veritable warm-up before the main event, played at Wembley Stadium, once only a home to winner-takes-all matches such as domestic and European cup finals?

I think we're alone now | Too often in its relatively short life, Wembley has seen swathes of empty seats at major football matches. (Image | The Guardian)

I think we’re alone now | Too often in its relatively short life, Wembley has seen swathes of empty seats at major football matches, a fate which again befell one of the recent FA semi-finals. (Image | The Guardian)

After all, a host of newspapers across all political and style divides have published articles in the past few weeks arguing that it detracts from the final and has a detrimental effect on both domestic cup competitions.

A poll by the Guardian newspaper found that 86% per cent of fans believe that FA Cup semi-finals should not be played at Wembley. That is a fairly conclusive figure by anyone’s standards. So why are they?

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The Premier League recently announced that goal-line technology will be introduced in time for next season. Action came swiftly after FIFA president Sepp Blatter finally reversed his steadfast opposition to technology in football.

Disbelief | Frank Lampard holds his hands to his head as his shot crosses the line against Germany but no goal is given in South Africa. (Image | The Guardian)

Disbelief | Frank Lampard holds his hands aloft in protest as his shot crosses the line against Germany, but no goal is given in South Africa. (Image | The Guardian)

He said that FIFA would appear to be “foolish” if it did not act on a series of embarrassing mistakes, such as the failure to award a goal to England midfielder Frank Lampard during a game against Germany at the 2010 World Cup.

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Few things are more infuriating in football that dangerous tackling. Even more enraging, however, is seeing such conduct go unpunished.

Dangerous | Wigan Athletic midfielder Callum McManaman catches Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara in a challenge that saw the latter stretchered off. (Image | Daily Mail)

Dangerous | Wigan Athletic midfielder Callum McManaman catches Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara in a challenge that saw the latter stretchered off. (Image | Daily Mail)

Like so many in the game, the decision by the Football Association not to take retrospective action against Callum McManaman of Wigan Athletic, for his egregious challenge on Newcastle United defender Massadio Haïdara, left me disgusted.

Personally, I feel the criticism being aimed towards McManaman should focus solely on his challenge. One should look at what the player did, rather than make judgements on him as an individual.

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Every so often a leading Premier League or major European outfit will, in a fit of generosity, offer one of its young prodigies to a lesser club in order to aid the development of their precocious star and equip him with the necessary experience to succeed.

Common sight | Pictured after scoring one of his 13 goals for West Bromwich Albion, Romelu Lukaku has been a revelation at the Hawthorns. (Image | Sporting Life)

Common sight | Pictured after scoring one of his 13 goals for West Bromwich Albion, Romelu Lukaku has been a revelation at the Hawthorns. (Image | Sporting Life)

Many of those loaned out to smaller teams, whether in the top flight or the Football League, perform well and improve as footballers, but every so often, Premier League giants and other European clubs let a genuine star go, for a while.

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There is no doubt that football is an ever-changing, flexible construct, whose trends can change according to the demands of the game. In the Premier League, the place of the central midfielder is part of this.

Innovator | Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele inspired almost a position of his own and a timeless football cliche. (Image | The Guardian)

Innovator | Former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makelele inspired almost a position of his own and a timeless football cliché. (Image | The Guardian)

Players now seldom operate in the so-called “Makélélé role”, named after former Chelsea midfielder Claude Makéléléleft.

Once seen as a must for every top side, it is now conspicuous by its absence. Figures such as Youssouf Mulumbu, Lucas and John Obi Mikel seem to be part of a dying breed in the English top flight.

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