Pardew hubris well earned as Liverpool crash out to West Brom

Alan O’Brien 

With characteristic hubris, Alan Pardew was quick to laud his own “bravery” after this pulsating cup tie. Short of reprising that Wembley dance, the West Brom manager could hardly have reveled more in this famous Baggies victory.

But he had a point: to field a 4-4-2 at Anfield, while sitting second-bottom of the league, is certainly courageous. To not only survive a thrashing, but win, is undoubtedly a feat worth bragging about. Continue reading

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Ascendant Arsenal pierce Palace lines with ease

Alan O’Brien 

It took 30 harrowing minutes for Roy Hodgson to give up the 4-4-2 ghost here. Four goals down when the stable door was finally closed, the Arsenal horse had already bolted, lived a full life in the wild, and expired of natural causes. Continue reading

Opinion: McDonald departure furore misinforms and misses the bigger picture

Alan O’Brien 

The simplest explanation is usually the correct one: so contends Occam’s Razor, a widely-cited philosophical principle. But, in the poisonous realm of Limerick football, where codology reigns over philosophy, its loudest empty vessels make their own rules. Continue reading

Central midfield chasms result from Wenger’s latest bout of Conte copying

Alan O’Brien 

Back in August, Antonio Conte deviated from his title-winning 3-4-2-1 system for a big game just like this one. Tottenham Hotspur were frustrated, and bested, by a more conservative Chelsea 3-5-2. Its inception was designed to ensure greater defensive security against stronger sides. Yet, on Wednesday night, in another London derby, it achieved anything but. Continue reading

Burnley and Liverpool role reversal inspires late Clarets defeat

Alan O’Brien 

There was more than a touch of poetic irony about Ragnar Klavan’s late winner here. Burnley, not Liverpool, were punished for a late lack of restraint. Liverpool, not Burnley, turned aerial supremacy into unlikely glory. Continue reading