• Eliot - Claudio Bravo - Manchester City

    Manchester City’s Claudio Bravo Is No Clown

    “You don’t want to play in goal son, being a goalkeeper is a thankless task. You can be a hero for 89 minutes and then you make a mistake in the last minute that costs your team the game and everyone thinks you’re a lemon.” That was my dad’s advice to me back when I was a fledgling young footballer and last week, I was reminded of his words again. It was the 52nd minute of the UEFA Champions League Group C fixture between Barcelona and Manchester City. Barça were leading 1-0 thanks to a first half Lionel Messi goal but the visitors had been knocking at the door and were still well in with a shout. That was until City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo rushed out of his area to sweep up a loose ball, as he’d done many, many times during a two year stint at Camp Nou prior to joining Pep Guardiola’s team. ...

    Read More


    Manchester United Could Be A Work In Progress For A Long Time

    It is, broadly speaking, a mistake to overreact to a single data point. Manchester United's 4-0 loss to Chelsea last Sunday was one bad game. One, incidentally which followed an extremely competent, even polished 4-1 win at home against Fenerbahce some 65 hours earlier. But it is hard to shake the feeling that something is really wrong at United. For those United sympathisers of a certain age, a perennial source of schadenfreude has been the collapse that Liverpool endured at the same point at which United ascended to the top of the English game. With near perfect timing, the balance of footballing power in the country reimagined the M62 as a see-saw, with United finally gaining the weight they needed to take control of the bitter rivalry between the two clubs. Oh how the Red Devils laughed when season after season Steven Gerrard would talk up his club's Premier League chances. ...

    Read More

  • Antonio Conte - Dan Levene

    The Reaction To Antonio Conte at Chelsea Further Betrays The Smug Punditocracy

    At the weekend, while dissecting with his customary insight and joie de vivre Chelsea’s annihilation of a poor Manchester United team, Phil Neville made the following (paraphrased) observation: now that Antonio Conte has guided his team to a 4-0 win over Manchester United, his players will believe in him. Leaving aside for one moment the hubris associated with that remark, as if Manchester United are still the gold standard side that they were when Phil eventually managed to displace an aging Dennis Irwin from the left-back spot, the idea that one Premier League win can convince the Chelsea squad that Conte knows what he is about in the dugout is absurd. ...

    Read More

  • Chelsea v Hull City - Premier League

    The Five Phases Of Chelsea’s Improvement

    As Chelsea found out last season: a winning team can become a losing one overnight, but the opposite journey can take a lot longer to successfully complete. Only now that Chelsea are on the other side of that 4-0 demolition of United, is it possible to piece together the hints Conte has dropped in press conferences to reveal the journey he has taken the squad on – something that can neatly be divided up into five phases. Phase One began back in the summer, and was all about conditioning. If you strip away all of the modern commercial aspects of pre-season, it exists for only one reason: getting the players in shape. Every manager knows this, but in the case of a new appointment, this is slightly nuanced. Longer serving bosses will be able to use the benefit of their squad knowledge to compare each player's pre-season progress with performance at the same time last year. That luxury wasn't available to Conte, who flitted straight from his job with Italy at the Euros to an unfamiliar new league. His first task was to get the fitness and comfort features in place, so that players would actually be in a shape to play their first match on the opening day. ...

    Read More

Show More...