Tag Archive: Manchester City

The Premier League season begins tomorrow, but there will be no Sir Alex Ferguson in sight. Perhaps some journalists, pundits, and fans will be reminded of the late comic, Spike Milligan, who used to end many of his comedy sketches by staring at the camera and asking: “What are we going to do now?”

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Winning start | New Manchester United manager David Moyes has already won a trophy, but the real battle is about to begin. (Image | Daily Telegraph)

Fergie may be gone, but the Premier League juggernaut continues, and it appears that the race for the 2013/14 title will be between three clubs: Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.

United are used to approaching the season under intense scrutiny, but this this time the pressure is different, for other clubs will see the Red Devils as a kingdom without a strong leader.

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It is official, José Mourinho has returned. The man whose first press conference in England saw him famously describe himself not as “the special one”, as the press claimed, but “a special one“.

Back for Mour | José Mourinho is back. (Image | The Mirror)

Back for Mour | José Mourinho signed a four-year contract with Chelsea on Monday to return as manager after a six-year absence. (Image | The Mirror)

However, as Mark Twain said: “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” For Mourinho returning to Chelsea on Monday is a very good story indeed.

As the most successful manager in the club’s history, adored by the fans and one of few men to win the treble, with Inter Milan, and lift the European Cup twice, what could possibly go wrong?

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When Vincent Kompany was sent off during Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat of Arsenal, television pundits immediately registered their disapproval, with Match of the Day seemingly on a crusade to have the red card rescinded.

WORD | Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany scythes into Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere in a tackle that earned him a red card. (Image | Daily Mail)

Wince-nt’s in bad Kompany | Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany scythes into Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere in a challenge that earned him a red card and sparked a new tackling debate. (Image | Daily Mail)

People may confidently claim “he got the ball”, “it wasn’t even two footed” or “that was a standard challenge in my day”, but they are fundamentally ignoring the rules of the game.

These place tackles into three categories: careless fouls, which carry no penalty, reckless challenges for which a yellow card must be issued, and a tackle that is “dangerous” or involves “excessive force” that should result in a sending off.

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Those fond of a bet or two would have been delighted to know that Manchester City had suffered defeat twice in a row against lowly Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland midfielder Adam Johnson celebrates scoring against his former club. (Image | Daily Mail)

Payback | Sunderland midfielder Adam Johnson celebrates scoring against his former club. (Image | Daily Mail)

It would have been an even more pleasant surprise to anyone brave enough to put money on the Black Cats to make it three 1-0 victories in a row yesterday to find that this was exactly what happened.

Far from playing like Premier League champions, the Citizens were sluggish and the result by no means flattered Martin O’Neill’s side, who had several chances to put the game to bed.

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Spellbinding | Ajax’s two mesmerising performances against Manchester City have put Dutch football back on the map after a long spell on the sidelines. (Image | Getty)

This week in Europe may have turned into the week of the comeback for the English quartet, but there can be little doubt, if any lingered, that the Premier League’s finest are no longer Europe’s dominant force.

Remember that spell when there were three English clubs in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League every year between 2008 and 2010?

At this time, footballing knowledge suggested that the continent had been conquered by Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. Well, can you really see that happening this year?

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Not so super? | This could be a regular match-up should the European Super League ever be seriously considered by the powers that be. (Image | Bleacher Report)

The European Super League. It has been talked about for a long time, but will it ever actually happen? Writing in September 2012 and looking ahead, in two years time a European Super League could be on the agenda.

This is because in 2014 the agreement that is in place between FIFA, UEFA and Europe’s leading clubs expires. As the leader of the European Club AssociationKarl-Heinz Rummenigge points out, said teams will be free to do what they want. However, would they actually look to create a super league?

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On the crest of a wave | Could a playoff system work in the Premier League? (Image | TalkSPORT)

The Premier League (EPL) is the most watched sports league in the world with over 4.7bn viewers per year. It is by far the most popular league in Europe – but why is this?

Some argue that it is the quality of the players, others the notoriety of the brand and still more the style of play.

It is difficult to pinpoint a single reason, but what is for certain is that the Premier League, since its birth in 1992, has been able to market itself better globally than any of its European rivals.

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A sparkling array of talent | While some “interesting” moves were made, transfer deadline day is nothing but a sideshow, a time in which misguided decisions are made and money seems to lose all value. (Image | The Telegraph)

Modern football is ostentatious, polished and saturated with money. Transfer deadline day, which is ostensibly just a period of 24 hours, becomes infused with the mentality that probably permeated the city during the last days of Rome. It is the beautiful game at its most unkempt. Clubs flock to the footballing bargain bin and rummage through the morass within until picking out a dead rubber, in this case Richard Wright, who joined Manchester City on the same day as Brazilian international and 2009 Ballon d’Or nominee Julio Cesar moved to Queens Park Rangers, leading to scenes of utter confusion and delirium within the W12 postcode where the west London club are based.

All of the above takes place because, despite having months to begin and conclude negotiations, make enquiries, scout players and build a team, clubs appear to be excessively fond of “leaving it late”. Trouble is, this almost always involves paying through the nose for a player that is subsequently placed under inexorable pressure to live up to their unrealistic valuation. One example springs to mind to support this statement, and it is Andy Carroll. The 23-year-old joined West Ham United on loan as Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers decided that, having made the club’s worst start to a season for 50 years, he didn’t need a striker valued at £30m this time last year.

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Frustrated | Once again Arsenal failed to break down inferior opposition in a pattern drearily reminiscent of previous seasons. (Image | The Guardian)

With one Premier League match played, and football having returned from its slightly shorter than usual summer break, if the season were to abruptly end before tomorrow’s action begins, Fulham would have narrowly lost out on their first ever Premier League title to neighbours Chelsea, while Norwich City and Queens Park Rangers would be heading back to the Championship having failed to find the net in the top flight.

Although, while Cottagers supporters struggle to contain their nosebleeds and Swansea City fans organise an open top bus parade for legendary manager Michael Laudrup, we must remember that there are 37 games remaining (for most sides), and plenty of time for the table to take on a more predictable appearance. However, although it is impossible to assess a side’s ability and probable fortune this early on, it is worth taking a look at what is likely to transpire over the next nine months.

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New order | Borussia Dortmund are just one side to have overcome the traditional “powerhouse” of their respective league, Bayern Munich, and boast some of the brightest young talents in Europe. (Image | Sport Live)

There has been one very evident trend in the 2011-12 football season. European football’s major powers, the teams that you would expect to win their respective league titles, the ones who you would regard as bankers for your betting accumulators, had – by their standards – a fallow season.

Despite winning four trophies, there was a general feeling of ennui around Barcelona. Certain players were felt to have become rather too comfortable by recent successes. Pep Guardiola tried – with mixed success – to integrate new signings, Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez, into the team. The next evolution for what some had declared the greatest side the game had ever seen hit a roadblock. Run down by a formidable Real Madrid, Barca failed to win La Liga for the first time in three seasons. They also found themselves in a supporting role to Chelsea’s extraordinary Champions League story.

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