Declan Rice: West Ham’s wonder kid and now the future of England’s midfield

By Lauren Savage

The long-awaited decision has finally come. Declan Rice has pledged his international allegiance to England over the Republic of Ireland, despite already earning three caps for the men in green. Continue reading “Declan Rice: West Ham’s wonder kid and now the future of England’s midfield”

Inside Bloomfield Road: what’s happening with the Blackpool boycotts?

By Joe Davies

It is a rare thing in football that an away support outnumbers the home fans in a stadium. As I failed to establish the chant ‘Woah Lacazette-y, Aubameyang’ (to the tune of Black Betty), it occurred to me that without a home chorus to contend with the incentive for away fans to stand up and sing is dampened somewhat. While Gooners have been criticised for their lack of home atmosphere since the ‘Highbury Library’ days, you really could hear your own voice echo as Arsenal beat Blackpool 3-0 at Bloomfield Road. The magic of the FA Cup this was not.

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The renaissance of the English 4-4-2

By Joe Davies

English football was once a game of partnerships. Big man, little man – one guy to hold it up, one to work the channels and play on the shoulder – was the dominant strike pairing across all British sides. Managers lined their teams up with two pacy, outside wingers, and two box-to-box midfielders in the middle, with one going while the other stayed and vice versa. In defence, you would have two imposing centre-halves, one covering while the other marked tight, and full-backs would adopt a similar strategy to the central midfielders in order to make sure there were always three staying back in possession. This is the way all English school kids grew up playing football on the weekend, and is still the dominant shape in Sunday-league football today. Football was simple.

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Glenn Murray, the plasterer who turned into a Premier League poacher

By George Carden

From being forced to play left-back to spending six-months in Carolina through a career that has seen him rise from the seventh tier of English football all the way to the glamour of the Premier League – Glenn Murray has experienced it all. Continue reading “Glenn Murray, the plasterer who turned into a Premier League poacher”

Advent Day 18 – Jermain Defoe, always 18 never the nine

Always the bridesmaid and never the bride. There’s something particularly apt about Jermain Defoe’s long association with the number 18.

Clearly a box player in the mould of a classic centre forward, on leaving West Ham in 2004, Defoe relinquished the number nine shirt settling for its less prestigious multiple due to Freddie Kanoute’s presence at White Hart Lane. Jermain and the 18 have been inextricably linked ever since.

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Advent Day 16: Sergio Agüero-ooooooooooo and the greatest moment of Premier League history

By Lewis Steele

The Italian Mario Balotelli has the ball on the edge of the box. The brains of Manchester City fans have delved through the archives of cliché’s about ‘Typical City’ – the club that always builds up to let fans down. It was happening again. Roberto Mancini’s side have never won a Premier League title, but a recent surge of money has led City right to the top. But, not quite, ‘Typical City’ have surely messed it up again – all they had to do was beat Queens Park Rangers to guarantee a first Premier League title, but the score is 2-2. 93 minutes and 15 seconds are on the clock, it’s surely over – how would City fans ever be able to show their face in the office? Will this go down in history as the worst failure of Premier League history?

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When a celebration overshadowed the glittering career of Nicolas Anelka

There’s an old saying that has become fairly cliché in the English language: ‘calm before the storm’. Nicolas Anelka’s career was pretty much the polar opposite, and instead, it started as a stormy beginning hitting the highs of European football to a calm and mundane ending, where Anelka retired from the playing game as a villain off the field, and not a great player on it. To describe the ending as calm is probably to be misleading, as Anelka was subject to widespread debate, and despite his career going in the way of a stormy beginning followed by a slow ending, one moment was the opposite…

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