‘Premier League’

Analysis: Man United break with tradition in Moyes sacking

“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.

Profile: How Moyes shrivelled beneath the United spotlight
Analysis: Five issues for Moyes’s successor to address
Profile: Studious Giggs set for another reinvention

Report: Liverpool beat Man City in title crunch clash

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.

Reaction: Tearful Gerrard calls for Liverpool focus

Football: Džeko downs United to give City derby spoils

“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.

Reaction: Rebuilding United will take time, warns Moyes
Analysis: Moyes faces backlash after United derby woe

Profile: Arsène Wenger, Arsenal’s professorial pioneer

“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

Report: Title-chasing Liverpool sink sorry Man United

“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.

Analysis: Stars align for Chelsea and José Mourinho

“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.

Report: Arsenal, Man United keep each other in check

“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.

Reaction: Moyes looks to past for United inspiration

Report: Chelsea raid robs Man City of home comforts

“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.

Reaction: Mourinho talks down title chances for ‘little horse’ Chelsea

Report: Eto’o hat-trick sees United sink deeper

“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.

Reaction: United won’t give up on title, vows Moyes

Feature: Ferguson exit sparks England’s year of change

“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.

Analysis: Five problem areas for Tottenham to address

“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.

Analysis: What’s gone wrong for Manchester United?

“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.

Report: Deulofeu late show stops Arsenal pulling away

“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.

Reaction: Wenger feels Arsenal merit title recognition

Report: Rooney gets United out of trouble at Spurs

“London (AFP) – Wayne Rooney scored a brace as Manchester United twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Tottenham Hotspur in an entertaining Premier League encounter on Sunday.”

My AFP match report from White Hart Lane can be read here.

Reaction: Villas-Boas rebukes reporter after Spurs draw

Analysis: Mourinho still searching for winning formula

“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.

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