Tag Archive: Manchester United


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 the rumours about Sir Alex Ferguson retiring first surfaced on Twitter late on Tuesday evening, sparked by Daily Telegraph journalist Mark Ogden, I was sceptical.

CAPTION | Words. (Image | The Guardian)

End of an era | Some commentators have dubbed Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement the “fall of the footballing Berlin Wall”. (Image | The Guardian)

After all, Ferguson had planned to retire back in 2001, only to recant. The venerable Scot was such a fixture in British football that the thought of him no longer prowling the Old Trafford touchline, while incessantly chomping on a stick of chewing gum, seemed a too absurd a prospect to countenance.

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With the UEFA Champions League round of 16 fixtures beginning today, and a few of the ties delicately poised, The Armchair Pundits takes a look at the potential fortunes of the teams involved, and offers predictions ahead of kick-off this evening.

Late twist | Borussia Dortmund celebrate wildly after an equaliser from Mats Hummels levels the tie away to Shakhtar Donetsk. (Image | Daily Mail)

Late twist | Borussia Dortmund celebrate wildly after an equaliser from Mats Hummels levels the tie away to Shakhtar Donetsk. (Image | Daily Mail)

Plenty of ties still hang in the balance, including one particularly mouth-watering clash and one giant looking to overcome a deficit…

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People love stories, particularly tales of greatness, and a major reason as to why the London 2012 Olympic Games held such thrall in Britain was the daily accounts of athletes finding the best of themselves.

Enn-chanting | Jessica Ennis storms to first place in the 200m, part of her hepthathlon glory at London 2012. (Image | Evening Standard)

Enn-chanting | Jessica Ennis storms to first place in the 200m, part of her heptathlon triumph at the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Image | Evening Standard)

We had yarns of the woman who grabbed her last chance of glory, Katherine Grainger; the chosen one adored by her public, Jessica Ennis; or the wounded king that ruthlessly crushed those who would usurp him, Usain Bolt. They were the legends of our time, not just athletes.

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As another sporting year begins there may be a certain feeling that nothing could top the unforgettable year of 2012, which saw a magnificent Olympic Games, the European Championships, a British Grand Slam winner after so long and much more.

Mario Balotelli | Why, oh why is it always him? (Image | Manchester City FC)

Mario Balotelli | Having once again hit the headlines after a row with manager Roberto Mancini in training, we ask: why, oh why is it always him? (Image | Manchester City FC)

However, there are more than enough prizes to be decided over the next 12 months, some of which are fairly easy to predict, while others remain very much open to debate.

The Armchair Pundits, therefore, has taken a look at the calendar and pinpointed five “sure-fire successes”, some of which are bound to be as controversial as Mario Balotelli and about as likely as Tom Daley being handed his own diving-themed show on televi… Oh, hang on.

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For the English clubs, the UEFA Champions League knockout stages probably seem as though they are light years away, with some playing up to nine games prior to the round of fixtures in mid-February.

Über alles? | Arsenal face a tricky tie against runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich in the knock-out stages. (Image | Bleacher Report)

Über alles? | Arsenal face a tricky tie against runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich in the knockout stages. (Image | Bleacher Report)

The draw has thrown up a number of mouthwatering ties, one of which will see Arsenal line up against Bayern Munich.

Arsène Wenger’s side last faced Bayern in 2005, losing 3-2, and will do well to get anything from this tie as the German giants are nine points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, boasting a remarkable goal difference of +37.

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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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Obsession | Football is as much a part of the British national psyche as queuing, drinking tea and spending hours in the pub. (Image | The Sun)

It is probably fair to say that if the next national census asked whether people considered themselves to be a fan of sport, and then asked them to specify their favourite, the most popular answer would be football. By popular consensus, football is the national sport.

It is a constant talking point in the media and a regular source of conversation in workplaces and public houses. With this in mind: why do such a large number of people seem to know so little about the game?

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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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