ANALYSIS: Liverpool punish Pellegrini’s haphazard Hammers

Alan O’Brien 

Manuel Pellegrini got everything he wanted upon assuming the Hammers helm. The Chilean was empowered to rebuild West Ham United’s squad from scratch, without board interference. Armed with his handpicked director of football, Mario Husillos, Pellegrini captured ten signings at a net cost of over £80 million. But two obvious questions resulted: how quickly could the newbies bed in, and how quickly could David Moyes’s boys adapt to a progressive style of football? It’s impossible to answer either just yet, but after Sunday’s opener at Liverpool the early signs are far from promising. Continue reading

Advertisements

ANALYSIS: Prodigal Pellegrini can have no excuses

Alan O’Brien 

In an era of dwindling managerial autonomy, Manuel Pellegrini stands almost alone. Prior to assuming David Moyes’s mantle, the Chilean demanded sole responsibility to remake troubled West Ham United in his own image. Owners David Gold and David Sullivan, still smarting from last season’s unrest, were only too happy to oblige.

Pellegrini was empowered to handpick a director of football, in former Malaga co-conspirator Mario Husillos, who set about dispensing a near-£100-million transfer kitty in the manner of his master’s choosing. Husillos acquired 10 players, of which nine are first-team ready. For Pellegrini, therefore, the heat is on: instant success, of the kind secured at Villareal and Malaga, is a must. Continue reading

Manchester City 1-3 Leicester City: Leicester Destruction Of Manchester City Has Us All Believing In Miracles

Typing the words “a lesson in football” into your search engine of choice yields a YouTube video as the top result. “Manchester United 0-4 Nottingham Forest: A Lesson In Football”  features just over two minutes of highlights from the December 1977 game that turned the many doubters of Brian Clough’s newly-promoted side’s title credentials into true believers. With a devastating display of rapier-quick counter-attacking, Forest ripped apart their more monied opponents with consummate ease. Despite barely scraping promotion from the old Second Division the previous season, Forest went on to wrap up the league in April. United finished tenth. Continue reading

Leicester City 0-0 Manchester City: Ranieri and Pellegrini Both Spring Tactical Surprises

Leicester City will go into the New Year level on points with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, after an uneventful – but tactically interesting – scoreless draw against Manchester City. Continue reading

Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool: High-energy Liverpool press Pellegrini into paying the price of complacency

Here was Liverpool’s first truly Klopp-esque performance. Saturday evening’s 4-1 Etihad rout of Manchester City could easily have been even more emphatic, as the German’s charges swamped their hosts with a breathtaking display of relentless pressing and rapier-like counter-attacking. 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