“Whereas United had not lifted the English title for 18 years when [Alex] Ferguson was appointed in November 1986, [David] Moyes’s job was to take command of the juggernaut that his predecessor had built. Ferguson hoped the structures he had put in place would allow Moyes — who failed to win a trophy in his 11 years at Everton — to slot seamlessly into place, thereby enabling United to maintain a tradition of appointing promising, hungry, British managers. It was for these reasons that United opted for Moyes, rather than a brash upstart such as José Mourinho, but the former Everton manager’s subsequent failure laid bare the shortcomings in their recruitment process.”
I wrote a piece for AFP on how the David Moyes affair exposed the fallacy of the club’s attachment to tradition, and you can read it here.
“Liverpool, United Kingdom (AFP) – Philippe Coutinho’s 78th-minute winner gave Liverpool a crucial 3-2 victory over Premier League title rivals Manchester City on a day of raw emotion at Anfield on Sunday.”
My AFP match report on an emotional and unforgettable afternoon at Anfield can be read here.
“London (AFP) - Łukasz Fabiański saved two penalties as Arsenal beat holders Wigan Athletic 4-2 in a shootout at Wembley on Saturday to reach their first FA Cup final for nine years.”
My AFP match report on the season’s first FA Cup semi-final can be read here.
“London (AFP) – Demba Ba scored in the 87th minute to give Chelsea a last-gasp 2-0 win at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday that swept them into the Champions League semi-finals.”
My AFP report on a night of knife-edge tension at Stamford Bridge can be read here.
“Manchester (United Kingdom) — Under-performing Manchester United produced a vastly improved display to hold defending champions Bayern Munich to a 1-1 draw in the home leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.”
My AFP report on a night that stirred old passions at Old Trafford can be read here.
Newcastle United fans, look away now. If losing Yohan Cabaye was painful, it probably won’t help to learn that he’s not even getting in the Paris Saint-Germain team at the moment.
As one of the stars of Lille’s 2010-11 double-winning team and a core member of the France side that engineered November’s famous comeback against Ukraine in World Cup qualifying, Cabaye is not short of admirers in his home country, but he is not playing for PSG for the simple reason that he is not Marco Verratti.
Since swapping the Bigg Market for the Champs Elysées in January, Cabaye has made only four starts. Instead, he is becoming the player that Laurent Blanc turns to when Verratti needs a breather, starting in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 encounter with Bayer Leverkusen (after PSG had put the tie to bed with a 4-0 victory in the first leg) and coming into the team for Friday’s 1-0 win at Nice, when Verratti was rested ahead of this week’s meeting with Chelsea.
French pundits believe that PSG’s neatly balanced midfield trio of Verratti, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi will give them the edge in their quarter-final against Chelsea, and if Motta supplies the brains and Matuidi the lungs in that triumvirate, Verratti is the wildly and erratically pumping heart.
“Manchester (United Kingdom) — Manchester City snuffed out Manchester United’s recent revival and closed on Premier League leaders Chelsea as Edin Dzeko scored twice in a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford on Tuesday.”
My AFP match report on a night when the mood changed at Old Trafford can be read here.
“The 2003-04 ‘Invincibles’ season was the stuff of legend, as a team spearheaded by [Thierry] Henry cut elegant swathes through the Premier League to complete the first unbeaten top-flight campaign since Preston North End in 1889. Legendary former Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough — never one to mince his words — described Wenger’s team as “nothing short of incredible”.”
My AFP profile of Arsène Wenger, who takes charge of Arsenal for the 1,000th time on Saturday, can be read here.
Related link: Five classic Arsenal matches under Wenger
“Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Robin van Persie scored a hat-trick as Manchester United kept their season alive by storming back to beat Olympiakos 3-0 and reach the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.”
My AFP report on a memorable European night at Old Trafford can be read here.
“Manchester (United Kingdom) — Steven Gerrard scored two penalties as Liverpool closed to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with a 3-0 win at beleaguered rivals Manchester United on Sunday.”
My AFP match report on a memorable day out at Old Trafford for Liverpool can be read here.
“City’s games in hand — away to United, and at home to Sunderland and Aston Villa — will also be complicated by the pressure of knowing that Chelsea have already bagged the points that Manuel Pellegrini’s side are trying to make up. Furthermore, whereas only half of City’s remaining 12 league games are against teams currently in the bottom half of the table, Chelsea will face teams in the bottom 10 in seven of their last nine fixtures. For both Arsenal and second-place Liverpool, meanwhile, only four of their 10 remaining opponents are in the bottom half.”
I’ve written a piece for AFP on why the fates may be conspiring in Chelsea’s favour in the Premier League title race. You can read it here.
“London — Sensational quick-fire goals by Yaya Touré and Samir Nasri inspired Manchester City to come from behind and beat Sunderland 3-1 in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.”
My AFP match report on a Wembley afternoon illuminated by two magnificent strikes can be read here.
“PIRAEUS, Greece (AFP) – Manchester United were shunted towards an unscheduled exit in the Champions League after crashing to a shock 2-0 defeat at Olympiakos in their last 16 first-leg match on Tuesday.”
My AFP match report on yet another bleak night for David Moyes and his team can be read here.
“MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) – Goals by Lionel Messi and Dani Alves saw Barcelona take control of their Champions League last 16 tie against Manchester City with a 2-0 win in Tuesday’s first leg.”
My AFP report on a night of regrets for Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium can be read here.
“London — Arsenal set up an FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Everton after overcoming Liverpool 2-1 in a feisty and gripping fifth-round match at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.”
My AFP report on an absorbing FA Cup tie in North London can be read here.