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Blog - ESPN FC United

 By Nick Miller

Brendan Rodgers' management of Mario Balotelli has backfired

The ESPN FC crew respond to your questions in regards to which Premier League player needs to improve, and if Craig Burley will steal Christmas.

"There is no question over his talent -- I have played with him and I know how good he is and how good he can be. It is the job of the Liverpool coach to manage him in the right way. He needs to be loved, he needs direction, but most importantly, he needs to know that the coach believes in him."

-- Andrea Pirlo on Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli spent Boxing Day afternoon on the bench at Turf Moor, as his Liverpool team huffed, puffed and scuffled their way to a 1-0 win over Burnley. And according...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Tottenham, Man United meet on the cusp of achieving their objectives

The ESPN FC panel preview Week 19's much-anticipated match between Manchester United and Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the Premier League.

Very few associated with Manchester United will recall 2014 as their favourite year. It shall be remembered as the year the club came loose of its bearings, abandoned a devotion to slow-burning stability and broke the bank to try to recover.

Two matches against Tottenham Hotspur will bookend 2014. New Year's Day saw a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford end a spell of optimism for the troubled, doomed reign of former manager David Moyes. That evening, a befuddled Moyes was forced to admit his team had already...

 By Kevin Palmer

Three Points: Sanchez inspires, Giroud disappoints for Arsenal

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: Alexis Sanchez (37') Arsenal 1-0 QPR

A trio of observations on Arsenal's 2-1 win vs. Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League.

1. Arsenal's Alexis dependency

Where would Arsenal be without Alexis Sanchez?

The answer to that question hardly bears thinking about for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger or the club's army of supporters, who once again relied heavily on their brilliant and seemingly tireless Chilean to unlock the door to victory.

Wenger continues to insist his side have not become entirely reliant on a player for whom he paid 35...

Reflecting on an exciting first half of the German Bundesliga season

The ESPN FC crew discuss Borussia Dortmund's domestic struggles after a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen, finishing 2014 joint-bottom with Freiburg in the Bundesliga.

"2014 was a year that made all our wishes come true," said German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach this week. But the World Cup party from Germany's win this summer couldn't go on forever, of course. Domestically, the 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign brought more trouble than festive cheer for all but a handful of clubs.

These were the main storylines of the typically eventful, unpredictable first half of the season after "that night in Rio."

1. Borussia Dortmund come off the rails

No other place to begin...

 By Tim Vickery

Will 'Premier League fatigue' ruin the 2015 Copa America?

Midway through the season, the FC crew discuss who will make the top 4 and who won't be in the Premier League next season.

Despite feeling somewhat bloated after the Christmas festivities, South American football fans can crash out in front of the Premier League, pretty much the only football show in town at this time of year. This, of course, is a huge marketing gain for English football but there is a price to be paid, and this year more than any other, South America may end up footing some of the bill.

The intense style of play and the financial strength in depth of the competition make the Premier League a grueling...

 By Nick Miller

Top Tenner: Best Boxing Day clashes

The ESPN FC panel debate whether or not Premier League players should have the holidays off like other top leagues around Europe.

Top Tenner picks out a selection of the best Boxing Day fixtures on offer over the years.

10. Liverpool 3-0 Manchester United, 1978

United became the first English side to do the treble of the league title, the FA Cup and the European Cup in 1999, but Liverpool very nearly managed it 22 years earlier. They were denied by United, who beat them in the FA Cup final through a Jimmy Greenhoff goal, so Bob Paisley's side were out for revenge, and got it 19 months later. United were carved apart...