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2 hours ago

New chapter added to Van Gaal's fluid football vs. Mourinho's pragmatism

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says his team are prepared to play Manchester United this weekend.

Louis van Gaal had only been Barcelona manager for a few months and, although he already knew the young Jose Mourinho offered much more than just being a translator, he hadn't realised just how much. That would come, but thanks to an unlikely source.

It was September 1997 and the Catalans were preparing for a Champions League away match with Newcastle United. Before the game, Van Gaal's then assistant, Gerard van der Lem, had been discussing the English side's attack, and was rather dismissive....

 By Rory Smith
7 hours ago

Does a rising sense of fan entitlement devalue football loyalties?

Supporters can get quite upset when they spend plenty of money on a ticket only to watch their team sustain a lopsided loss.
Supporters can get quite upset when they spend plenty of money on a ticket only to watch their team sustain a lopsided loss.

It could happen this weekend, though the fixtures do not really suggest it. It could be at Tottenham, theoretically, or at Southampton again. If not, then it will only be a matter of days: Arsenal next week, perhaps, or Stamford Bridge or Selhurst Park. It will happen, though, and soon, and then one group of fans will have a choice to make.

The choice is this. Your team is losing. Badly. They are four goals down, maybe five, and there is still half an hour to play. It is an age-old question,...

9 hours ago

Mario Balotelli shirt storm, Neymar case dropped before Clasico

ESPN's Fernando Palomo highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each side ahead of El Clasico.

TOP FIVE STORIES

1. Neymar case dropped (Monday, Oct. 21)

In between all the post-weekend analysis, previews of a Champions League week and pre-Clasico build-up, the news that the Barcelona member who brought legal proceedings against the club for allegedly concealing the true cost of signing Neymar had dropped his case was buried somewhat. Jordi Cases' accusation -- that Barca hid payments over and above the official 57.1 million-euro fee -- led to an unprecedented opening up of the books on the...

9 hours ago

MLS Western Conference analysis: Under-the-radar players to watch

MLS commissioner Don Garber explains that the competition in the professional divisions of the United States is heading in the right direction, but he still sees areas for improvement.

In my previous Eastern Conference feature, I looked at some of the players who might not be as well known as some of their teammates, but who could be set to make a mark in the playoffs. Today I look at the West, with the help of fan reps and bloggers for each of the teams still in contention for a playoff spot, going into the final weekend.

Seattle Sounders

Opponents who focus on stopping Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey will find themselves burned by Lamar Neagle.

Last weekend's game showcased a Sounders player following a blueprint the opposition could appreciate. As Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey...

10 hours ago

Luiz Adriano full of ambition for Brazil and Shakhtar Donetsk

It was goals galore for Shakhtar Donetsk and Luiz Adriano who tallied five goals, four of which were in the first half against BATE Borisov.

Mention Luiz Adriano to any Shakhtar Donetsk fan or keen observer of the UEFA Champions League and they would invariably show bemusement over the bagel-shaped number of national team call-ups the striker had until Thursday when he was handed a maiden Brazil call-up by manager Dunga.

There are several explanations for this absence, the most important one being the obscurity of the Ukrainian Premier League and Shakhtar's iron grip on their domestic league in the last five seasons. One could also...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
12 hours ago

#FCdebate: Real Madrid or Barcelona -- who will win El Clasico?

Real Madrid? Barcelona? Draw? What do you think? Vote now!

The biggest game in club football is upon us. On Saturday, at noon ET (6 p.m. local time), the players of Real Madrid and Barcelona will step onto the Bernabeu pitch to compete in the 229th edition of El Clasico.

Both teams enter the game in prime form. Real Madrid have won five straight league games, scoring 25 goals in the process, while Barcelona have dropped just two points through eight games and have yet to concede a goal.

Who will win El Clasico?

And then there are the players ... Gareth Bale will miss the game...