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Blog - ESPN FC United

 By Tony Mabert

Thierry Henry quits, Qatar eyes Prem club, FIFA to publish World Cup report

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti explains that Thierry Henry may be one of the best French players ever, after amassing 20 trophies in a 21-year career.

This week's biggest news stories of the week saw a true great of the modern game bow out, Manchester United step closer to another big-money deal and FIFA and Qatar do yet more wonders for their respective reputations.

TOP 5 STORIES

1. Henry deserves a big hand (Tuesday Dec. 16)

Thierry Henry calling time on his playing career was widely expected, and that allowed him the time to stage-manage his announcement perfectly. The striker picked what could be predicted as a quiet news day to make the...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

#FCdebate -- Should the Premier League take a winter break?

The FC TV panel are fans of the festive tradition. What do you think? Vote now!

The festive season is upon us and, for Premier League fans, it means a glut of games.

From Saturday until New Year's Day, England's top-flight teams will play four times in a 12-day period (they'll also be in FA Cup action the first weekend in January) as the season accelerates to the halfway point and beyond.

It's often said the holiday period can make or break a team's season, but should it be like that?  

Should the Premier League take a winter break?

Elsewhere across Europe, the top leagues take time off. For example, after Friday,...

Inter's Roberto Mancini owes some of his success to former club Lazio

Roberto Mancini has Inter playing at a different pace than under predecessor Walter Mazzarri.
Roberto Mancini and 11th placed Inter travel to Lazio, the club he helped end a lengthy trophy drought as a player and later became a indemand manager.

Roberto Mancini will swear Sunday's game against Lazio is just like any other.

When he re-encountered Lazio for the first time after leaving to become coach of Inter a decade ago, the Elegantissimo (very elegant) Mancio said: "I don't feel anything special on facing my old team and I couldn't tell you if they remember be with more anger or affection.

"I was very happy in Rome and have great memories of that period of my life. But now my mind is on other things. I have to think about winning, not...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Liverpool and Arsenal's defensive issues not an easy fix

The ESPN FC panel answer your twitter questions on Liverpool's top-four chances, Jozy Altidore's future and Chelsea's potential transfer window targets.

Liverpool's lack of attacking quality puts pressure on their defence; Arsenal's backline lets down their all-star attack. Both Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger would paint themselves as devotees of attacking football, yet each manager requires defensive solutions to save his season.

A frail defence cost Liverpool last season's title, as they conceded 50 goals (two more than 11th placed Crystal Palace.) While Arsenal lost any chance to challenge at the top when being thrashed by the clubs that finished...

With Cristiano Ronaldo looming, struggling Mario Yepes faces final test

San Lorenzo's Emmanuel Mas says the team take great pride in reaching the Club World Cup Final, in which they will play Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Is Saturday's Club World Cup final against Real Madrid one step too far in the phenomenal career of San Lorenzo's Mario Yepes? As the legendary 38-year-old Colombian prepares to face Cristiano Ronaldo and company, many San Lorenzo fans think that might be so.

Ever since signing for the club in September following his supreme performances at the World Cup, he has failed to convince and the semifinal clash against Auckland City on Wednesday was his worst game for the club so far.

Critics are merciless....

 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

Saturday
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

Sunday
Newcastle vs. Sunderland
Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Monday
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...