“Upon returning to Chelsea, Mourinho pledged that he would introduce a more proactive, passing style, but he is struggling to find an alternative to the counter-attacking approach that is his trademark. Chelsea have averaged a healthy 56.9 percent of possession in their 12 league games to date this season, but they seem happier when they have taken an early lead and can pick off their opponents on the break. Of their 12 victories in all competitions, 10 have come after they went ahead inside the first 33 minutes and on the five occasions when they have conceded the opening goal, they have come back to win only once, in last month’s 4-1 win at home to Cardiff City.”
I’ve written a piece for AFP on José Mourinho’s search for a winning formula at Chelsea, and you can read it here.
“London (AFP) – Jack Wilshere scored two goals, the first after only 27 seconds, as Arsenal beat Marseille 2-0 on Tuesday to move to within touching distance of the Champions League last 16.”
My AFP match report on a straightforward night’s work for Arsenal, and another steep learning curve for Marseille, can be read here.
I put on my posh podcast voice to speak to Sportsnet’s Soccer Central podcast about Laurent Blanc’s winning formula at Paris Saint-Germain, Olivier Giroud and Arsenal, Frank Lampard and Chelsea, and David Moyes’s tactical conundrums at Manchester United. You can listen here.
“London — Germany procured a smash-and-grab 1-0 victory over England in a friendly at Wembley on Tuesday, consigning their old rivals to successive home defeats for the first time since 1977.”
My AFP match report on England’s final game of 2013 can be found here.
“London — England’s World Cup preparations began with a whimper on Friday as Alexis Sánchez scored twice to give Chile a 2-0 victory in a low-key friendly game at Wembley Stadium.”
My AFP report on a chastening night for Roy Hodgson’s experimental England side can be read here.
“London — Chelsea shook an unexpected loss to Newcastle United out of their system by overcoming Schalke 3-0 on Wednesday to close on a place in the Champions League knockout phase.”
My AFP match report on a night to forget for Timo Hildebrand at Stamford Bridge can be read here.
Related link: Agüero, Negredo fire Man City into last 16
“As staff wages went unpaid, a consortium backed by former Southampton great Matt Le Tissier failed with a bid to buy the club, but salvation arrived in the form of a Switzerland-based, Germany-born entrepreneur called Markus Liebherr. Liebherr had no previous experience of working in football and promptly sacked head coach Mark Wotte after buying the club, yet his arrival marked a sea change at St Mary’s Stadium. A year later, Southampton won the Football League Trophy and, after securing back-to-back promotions, they returned to the Premier League in 2012.”
I’ve had a look at Southampton’s staggering rise from the verge of bankruptcy in League One to the top five in the Premier League, and you can read it here.
“London — Fernando Torres exploited a 90th-minute horror show from Manchester City to earn Chelsea a 2-1 win on Sunday that sent them up to second place in the Premier League.”
My AFP match report on a potentially significant victory for Chelsea can be read here.
“LONDON — Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson launched his new autobiography on Tuesday, lifting the lid on his relationships with stars including David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney.”
My AFP report on the launch of Alex Ferguson’s forthright new autobiography can be found here.
“Jack Wilshere was initially exiled to the left wing following Özil’s arrival from Real Madrid, but he demonstrated his worth in a central role by breaking the deadlock against Norwich with a breath-taking goal that Wenger described as “one of the best” of his 17-year tenure. Having started the move deep in his own half, Wilshere was involved in a razor-sharp passing exchange on the edge of the Norwich area that went Cazorla, Wilshere, Cazorla, Giroud, Wilshere, Giroud, Wilshere, culminating in the England midfielder volleying past goalkeeper John Ruddy from 10 yards.”
I’ve written a piece for AFP on how Arsène Wenger’s patience finally appears to be paying off for Arsenal, and you can read it here.
“London (AFP) – England survived a night of tension to qualify for the World Cup after Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard secured a 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday.”
My AFP match report on the night England booked their ticket to Brazil can be read here.
“London — Tottenham Hotspur’s Andros Townsend crowned his international debut with a fine goal as England beat Montenegro 4-1 on Friday to close on a place at next year’s World Cup.”
My AFP match report on a night of English breakthroughs at Wembley can be read here.
“The topsy-turvy opening weeks of the Premier League campaign have fuelled pre-season optimism that the 2013-14 title race would be one of the most open in years. With Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all under new management, and a glut of new players having arrived during the close season, the English top flight is in the throes of transition, and the off-pitch upheaval has been mirrored in the results.”
I’ve written a piece for AFP asking if we are set for the most competitive Premier League title race in recent memory, and you can read it here.
“Manchester (United Kingdom) — Defending champions Bayern Munich proved they remain the team to beat in the Champions League with a classy 3-1 win at Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.”
My AFP report on Bayern Munich’s breath-taking performance against Manchester City can be read here.