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    The Curious Case Of Michel Vorm: The Reserve Goalkeeper In His Prime

    This weekend saw a highly unusual Premier League occurrence. Two reserve goalkeepers (Michel Vorm and Kelvin Davis) were introduced within the space of five minutes, replacing the injured Hugo Lloris and Fraser Forster. Opta statistics show that during 2013-14, substitute goalkeepers were used in just 2.3 percent of the 380 Premier League matches. They’re like buses, it seems. The life of a reserve goalkeeper is a truly odd existence. One must train with as much vigour and professionalism as the club’s No. 1, eternally preparing for a moment that will rarely arrive. You go through all of the groundwork, but experience none of the payoff. It could easily become a lonely and vacuous existence. ...

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    Is Diego Costa’s Latest Hamstring Injury a Blessing in Disguise for Chelsea?

    News of Diego Costa's latest injury crisis was greeted with dismay by Chelsea fans—but might this be a blessing in disguise for the Blues? You would be forgiven for questioning the official Chelsea line, given the magical nature of the striker's hamstring injuries; in the past those strings have been twanged and then returned, quicker than your average guitar roadie manages to say "ONE-TWO." ...

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    A View From The Stands: Man Utd’s Top-Four Prospects, Steven Gerrard’s Stamp & Media Hypocrisy

    Hello! A lot to get through this week, so buckle up and I’m just going to hit the gas. ...

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    Why Southampton’s Ronald Koeman Deserves to Win Premier League Manager of the Season

    Beneath the shiny veneer of the Sky Sports era lies an uncomfortable truth: teams who dare to rise too fast will be picked apart by wealthier rivals and kicked back down the league.  The size of the broadcasting contract means that we are no longer dealing in haves and have nots, but the top of the table is still possessively guarded by a group of sides with an enormous financial advantage. Southampton found that out first-hand last summer.  Their exciting nucleus of talent shone a little too brightly last season and, inevitably, they spent the offseason being plundered by swooping vultures. Transfer requests were made, memes were retweeted, and Mauricio Pochettino, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Rickie Lambert all departed. This may have happened on the south coast, but it could have been anywhere in the country outside of Manchester, Merseyside or London.  It’s a well-established pattern: the more upwardly mobile a side is, the more vulnerable they ultimately become. Southampton touched the fire; they were supposed to recoil and retreat back into the shadows to curse their naivety. But what happened next was heart-warming.  There’s a special place in the British psyche for an underdog and Southampton’s willingness to respond to the adversity made them an obvious neutral’s favourite this season.     ...

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