Why full-backs are crucial to Pep Guardiola’s style of play

By Lewis Steele

Manchester City lost three games in December, which put a good few nails in their bid to become the first team to retain the Premier League title for over a decade. The reason mooted by many is complacency, the loss of Fernandinho, or simply a bad spell of luck, with many conceded goals being ‘screamers’. Given Guardiola’s meticulous nature, there is no such thing as ‘luck’, good or bad, and the issue always lies deeper. Continue reading “Why full-backs are crucial to Pep Guardiola’s style of play”

Events at the San Siro on Boxing day are symptomatic of the deep-seated issues in Italian ultra culture

On the 27th December, an Inter Milan fan died in hospital after being hit by a van whilst fans clashed before a game between Inter Milan and Napoli at the San Siro the day before. The incident occurred at the end of a fight that involved around 60 people. It was also reported that three Napoli fans were stabbed and subsequently hospitalised.

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What is the Asian Cup and should we care about it more?

By Andrew Misra

The Asian Cup rolls around this January and it’s something that, generally speaking, we know very little about in the UK. As with the Africa Cup of Nations, we’ve only really become aware of it due to the competition depriving us of high-profile players from the Premier League for about a month.

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Football in the UAE: ‘A footnote to society’ growing to become an international force

UAE club Al Ain made the FIFA Club World Cup final on Saturday, where they faced the biggest club in the world, Real Madrid. The score aside, it was a historic day for football in the UAE, and also football in the rest of the surrounding nations. 

For many nations in the world, football is the bread of life. When you think of football in South America, for example, it is easy to imagine children playing football without organisational structure: walking down to the local park with a battered football and playing football, just for the sake of it. Not necessarily with friends, not even with goals, just kicking a ball about, because that’s a way of life. In some Asian nations, it is the same. For football fans worldwide, football is a way in – it allows fans to enter a world that they become embroiled in. For other nations, it is a way out – a way to escape from every day life, a footnote to society.

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Advent Day 25 – Gianfranco Zola, the trendsetter for foreign imports in the Premier League

£4.5m. What would that get you in the upcoming January transfer window? A 34-year-old full-back who has made just one substitute appearance all season at West Ham? A goalkeeper you’ve never heard of from the Greek league? Well, obviously inflation is huge, but even in 1996, Gianfranco Zola was a bargain for Chelsea. In fact, in that year, the Stamford Bridge club could have bought, for example, one third of Alan Shearer, or three quarters of Nicky Barmby. He was a bargain of epic proportions and had a memorable career.

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Advent Day 24 – Tim Howard

By Joe Davies

“Tim, I think I don’t know how you are going to survive the mobs when you come back home man. You are going to have to shave your beard so they don’t know who you are.”

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