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Blog - ESPN FC United

 By James Dall

Flawed opponents Liverpool, Arsenal yearning for statement of intent

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno, Craig Burley and Stuart Holden are in agreement the pressure is piled on Liverpool ahead of their Capital One Cup match against Bournemouth, with a clash against Arsenal looming.

Premier League Spotlight previews the weekend's top-flight fixtures, highlighting the key points to keep an eye on as the action unfolds.

Weekend fixtures

Man City vs. Crystal Palace
Aston Villa vs. Man Utd
Hull vs. Swansea
QPR vs. West Brom
Southampton vs. Everton
Tottenham vs. Burnley
West Ham vs. Leicester

Newcastle vs. Sunderland
Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Stoke vs. Chelsea

Weekend battle: Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Liverpool face Arsenal on Sunday, the team they have been doing a very convincing imitation of this season: bark without the bite, an at-times invisible goalkeeper, lots of itty-bitty passing, injuries to key players, profligacy in front of goal, slapstick defending, style over substance and a manager who talks a good game...

How are the "U.S. Boys" faring in the Bundesliga so far this season?

ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein reveals how John Brooks is progressing at Hertha Berlin and gives some areas in which he can continue to improve.

With the German winter break almost upon us, it's a good time to look at how the four "U.S. Boys" (as Germans tend to call them) have fared in the Bundesliga. Raphael Honigstein offers the half-season report on John Anthony Brooks, Julian Green, Fabian Johnson and Timothy Chandler.

Anthony John Brooks, Hertha BSC

The past few days sum up the 21-year-old's hot-and-cold campaign perfectly. On Saturday in the 1-0 win over Dortmund, Brooks was the star of the show with an uncompromising, flawless...

Power Rankings: Real Madrid's record winning streak consolidates first place

An overall feeling of approval for Shaka this week - even a round of applause! See if you agree with his top 10 clubs this week.

Can anyone stop Real Madrid? Well, nobody has in 21 games and counting, so they stay top of Shaka Hislop's elite list!

1. Real Madrid (no change)

Did you know that Madrid are one game away from a world championship? The Club World Cup is a curious affair whose worth is debated on an annual basis, but Carlo Ancelotti's side will win it with victory vs. San Lorenzo on Sunday. Regardless of its value, another trophy would cap a fine year for Los Blancos.

2. Bayern Munich (+1)

Sometimes numbers are all...

 By James Young

The problem with Brazilian football coaches? Try the culture around them

Muricy Ramalho partly blames his recent health problems on managing in Brazil. He might have a point.

"I've never had heart problems before ... [the doctors] said that it was caused by stress. My heart was beating in a strange way. It was frightening ... it made me wonder whether all this madness is worth it."

Those were the words of Muricy Ramalho, the Sao Paulo coach who was hospitalised in September and diagnosed with cardiac arrhythmia, during an interview with Brazil's "Esporte Espetacular" TV show back in October. Ramalho, who was one of the candidates to replace Luiz Felipe Scolari as...

Indian Super League countdown: Atletico de Kolkata vs. Kerala Blasters

Kerala Blasters drew and beat Atletico de Kolkata in their two matches during the group stage, with the pair facing one final showdown to determine the ISL winner.

After 10 weeks, 60 matches and record crowds, India's experiment with organised, top level football comes to a close on Saturday when Atletico de Kolkata face Kerala Blasters in the final of the Indian Super League.

The tournament has already been heralded a success, increasing optimism that football will be able to spread its tentacles across this vast country of 1.2 billion people, which claims cricket as the genuine national sport. The football on display has been much better than anticipated,...

 By Nick Miller

Premier League workhorses who don't get the credit they deserve

Blue-collar, work-horses, grafters, 'lunchbucket' players -- call them what you like. The Premier League needs those who perhaps aren't known for their silky skills. Here are ten of the best.

10. Cesar Azipilicueta

Cesar Azpilicueta has become a mainstay on the Chelsea back line.
Cesar Azpilicueta has become a mainstay on the Chelsea back line.

When Cesar Azipilicueta first arrived at Chelsea, there were some doubts about whether he was good enough for a side of their ambitions. He seemed a game but relatively limited defender, but after establishing himself in the side, he most definitely has proved those early doubts wrong,...