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 By Rory Smith

Micah Richards a case study in football's move away from versatility

Micah Richards has had a curious career in the minds of some critics. Is it because he plays multiple positions?

Above all else, it is important not to feel too sorry for Micah Richards. It is a decade now since he first burst into the Premier League, bristling with promise, a career that will have made him a very rich man indeed.

Richards has played 245 times for Manchester City, 13 times for England and even has a handful of appearances for Great Britain, an honour reserved only for a couple of dozen players in the last half-century. Then there are the awards: Richards has won all three of the domestic...

 By Ian Darke

Premier League season preview from Arsenal to West Ham

In an exclusive interview with ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says letting Petr Cech go to Arsenal was tough but Thibaut Courtois is one of the top three goalkeepers in the world.

Until the transfer window shuts, it is hard to get too dogmatic about how the Premier League season will unfold. But right now Chelsea look solid bets to retain their title. Manchester City are always more dangerous when fighting to regain the crown, but is their defence good enough? Arsenal should get closer with their array of creators. Yet somehow they always hit a bad patch and fail to sustain a challenge. Signing Petr Cech in goal will not on its own change that. Manchester United have splashed...

Garry Monk, Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew: Is mid-table an achievement?

All three managers will have similar ideas of success this season.

If there is a fine line between success and failure, a manager in search of a stress-free life might be looking for the elusive area between underachievement and overachievement. Underperform and his position comes into question. Exceed expectations and he is challenged to do even better. Even repeating his earlier exploits can bring suggestions his side have not progressed.

Such are the problems that confront Garry Monk, Tony Pulis and Alan Pardew this season. They have set the bar high. In their...

 By Chris Jones

Steven Gerrard, from Liverpool to L.A., is still just a boy who loves football

Hollywood-style start: Gerrard scored on his MLS debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy against the San Jose Earthquakes on July 17.

STEVEN GERRARD TAKES his seat in the front row of a private box at StubHub Center and settles in to watch his first game as a stateside member of the Los Angeles Galaxy. It's July Fourth, and the stadium is sold out, 27,000 strong and festive. The Riot Squad, one of the more notable L.A. supporters groups, has been well-refreshed by the truckload of California beer that Gerrard bought them for their tailgate -- veteran move, that -- accompanied by a hand-signed letter: "I look forward to meeting...

Mourinho's monumental task: Helping Chelsea retain the Premier League title

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says his Premier League rivals are now the ones attempting to buy their way to glory, a charge that used to levelled at the Blues.
The ESPN FC panel answer your tweets, including whether or not Chelsea are still favourites to defend their Premier League Title.

It might have been an underhand trick to undermine a rival, it might have been an attempt to hide his genuine concerns about the move or it might just have been honest analysis. Either way, Jose Mourinho refused to evade questions about former Chelsea attacker Kevin De Bruyne's anticipated move to Manchester City in the way the Portuguese might have.

The 24-year-old Belgian left Stamford Bridge for Wolfsburg just a few months after Mourinho's return in 2013, and did so after making just nine first-team...

Champions League qualifiers already facing high stakes

The ESPN FC crew preview the Champions League odds for this upcoming campaign, but Craig Burley is not having it with these early predictions.

For many of the teams entering the Champions League in this week's third qualifying round, the domestic season is yet to start. Prepared or not, though, a clutch of teams entering the league route part of the draw will see a large part of their seasons hinge on the next two games.

Shakhtar underdogs against big-spending Fenerbahce

Few ties are bigger than the one commencing in Istanbul on Tuesday between Fenerbahce and Shakhtar Donetsk. Returning after a two-year ban from UEFA club competition, Fener...