Sligo Rovers 2-3 Limerick: Limerick withstand kamikaze defending to keep great escape dream alive

The great escape is still on. Having spent 203 days in the 12th-placed wilderness, Limerick have finally managed to scale the giddying heights of eleventh – right when it mattered most. Continue reading

Manchester United 0-0 Manchester City: Van Gaal Conservatism Contributes To Dour Stalemate

Manchester City returned to the Premier League summit this afternoon, after a dour scoreless draw against rivals Manchester United – in which both sides’ only effort on target arrived in the final ten minutes. Continue reading

Liverpool 1-1 Rubin Kazan: Klopp Progress Report

Coverage of Jurgen Klopp since his very recent arrival on English shores has been almost universally positive. The gregarious German, who worked wonders at Mainz and Dortmund through the application of his gegenpressing philosophy – essentially pressing aggressively to counter the counter-attack – has been greeted with something of a hero’s welcome by the English media. Continue reading


CSKA Moscow 1-1 Manchester United: Van Gaal risk-aversion almost costs United again

A lot has been written about Louis Van Gaal’s obsession with control. Since his Ajax days, the Dutch coach has espoused a brand of football that seeks to minimise risk – the risk of losing the ball. His is a brand of football where dominating possession is an end in itself, not merely the means to an end.  Continue reading

Arsenal 2-0 Bayern Munich: Wenger bests Pep thanks to new-found tactical pragmatism

Arsene Wenger is not renowned for his tactical flexibility. The longest-serving manager in the Barclays Premier League has long lived by the “we’ll play our own game” maxim, only to be hoisted over and over again on his own petard – most notably in the countless counter-attack inspired drubbings at the hands of Alex Ferguson’s United sides over the years. Continue reading

Swansea City 0-1 Stoke City: Solid Stoke punish Swansea for resting Ki players

Garry Monk may be ruing his starting selection on the drive home this evening. The Swansea manager opted to rest key midfielders, Ki Sung-Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson, tonight. Drafted in in their steads were Jack Cork and the obscure Modou Barrow – making only the second Premier League start of his career. Continue reading

Everton 0-3 Manchester United: Better balanced Van Gaal selection overwhelms loose Toffees

Louis Van Gaal had his fair share of opprobrium cast upon him in the wake of his side’s 3-0 away reverse to Arsenal, prior to the international break. The Manchester United boss’ deviation from his usual midfield combo of restrained passer and energetic runner, through the selection of two of the former (Carrick and Schweinsteiger) was roundly – and rightly – criticised. As was his bizarre decision to ask the German to move way out of position to press Arsenal’s deep-lying playmaker, Santi Cazorla – thus leaving acres of space in front of the left-side of United’s defence for number ten, Mesut Ozil, to exploit. Continue reading