“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.
“Arsenal and Manchester United each had cause for regret after playing out an attritional and occasionally turgid 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Wednesday.”
My AFP match report on a night of frustration for both sides at the Emirates can be read here.
“Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Chelsea defied Manchester City’s scintillating home form with a superb 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Monday that injected fresh intrigue into the Premier League title race.”
My AFP match report on Chelsea’s victory at the Etihad can be found here.
“Manchester United’s Premier League title defence died another death on Sunday as Samuel Eto’o's hat-trick earned Chelsea a 3-1 win that left the champions 14 points off the pace.”
My AFP match report on another chastening day for Manchester United and David Moyes can be read here.
“The year had started in familiar fashion, with United romping to an unprecedented 20th league title, but at 09:17 on the morning of Wednesday, May 8, everything changed. A tweet published by the United press office confirmed the jaw-dropping rumours that had first emerged on the Daily Telegraph website the previous night: Ferguson, the father of the modern United, the most successful manager in British football history, was stepping down after 26 and a half record-breaking years.”
My AFP review of the year 2013 in English football can be found here.
“While Spurs demonstrated impressive defensive solidity in the season’s opening weeks, conceding only two goals in their first six league fixtures, they have since shown a worrying tendency to collapse when circumstances conspire against them. They conceded three goals in 13 second-half minutes in a shock 3-0 home defeat by West Ham United in October and went 5-0 down at [Manchester] City after only 55 minutes. The 63rd-minute dismissal of Paulinho against Liverpool, meanwhile, was the catalyst for a calamitous 14-minute spell in which they shipped three late goals.”
I’ve identified the five most pressing issues awaiting attention in the in-tray of André Villas-Boas’s successor as Tottenham Hotspur manager, and you can read about them here.
“Moyes pledged not to tinker with Ferguson’s winning formula, but he has already overseen sweeping changes, notably with the introduction of a completely new set of coaches. Pundits including former United defender Gary Neville have observed that United appear to be taking up deeper defensive positions on the pitch, while they have also become more vulnerable at set-pieces. For his part, Moyes has emphasised that the club are going through a “great transition”.”
My take for AFP on the problems at Old Trafford can be read here.
“London — A fine 84th-minute goal by substitute Gerard Deulofeu earned Everton a 1-1 draw at Arsenal on Sunday that prevented the Premier League leaders from moving seven points clear.”
My AFP match report on an engaging and open-ended tussle at the Emirates Stadium can be found here.
“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.
“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.
“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.