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David Hirshey's Best Prem XI, 2013-14

Blog - Kicking and Screaming May 12, 2014
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 Posted by David Hirshey
2 days ago

'Derby Day Dread' hits Arsenal, Liverpool in disappointing draws

The ESPN FC's crew review the weekend results in the Premier League and lament the lack of drama in the latest edition of the North London derby.

On the face of it, Saturday was set up to be delightful for Liverpool and Arsenal fans. The sun was out, the sky was blue and their teams were about to play a fun game of whack-a-mole with local rivals who pop out of their holes twice a year until their tortured psyches scream, "We're not worthy."

Yet as I dragged my bleary-eyed self to the bar of New York's Football Factory at 7:30 a.m., I was filled with an uneasy feeling that I was pretty sure had nothing to do with the two cheese-slathered...

 Posted by David Hirshey
Sep 22, 2014

A big win and their rivals' eye-opening failures gave Arsenal a super weekend

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop and Alejandro Moreno react to Manchester United's 5-3 loss against Leicester City.

As Premier League weekends go, it was one for the ages. I'd like to dip the past 48 hours in Lucite and place them on my mantelpiece next to my daughter's graduation photo and my signed pair of (slightly used) Thierry Henry compression shorts. Simply put, it was more fun than an Arsenal fan is allowed to have.

And I'm not just referring to those 179 seconds of pure Gooner ecstasy that resulted in a 3-0 thrashing of Aston Villa. The Claret and Blue started the day in second place before being struck...

 Posted by David Hirshey
Sep 15, 2014

What the first victory of the Louis van Gaal era says about Man United

Despite Manchester United's thrashing of QPR, ESPN FC's Craig Burley tells us why to not get excited about the Red Devils quite yet.

So all it took for Manchester United to get its first real win of the Louis van Gaal era was about a quarter of billion dollars -- not counting whatever insane amount of money they're paying their Dutch master.

That the breakthrough came in their fifth attempt and against a less-than-fierce opponent should not be held against them. As the saying goes, you can only beat what's in front of you, and United had so far failed to get three points off anybody, including some pretty low-rent competition....

 Posted by David Hirshey
Sep 1, 2014

Say goodbye to 'boring' Chelsea

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti's weighs in on Chelsea and Everton's free-scoring match, which saw some awful defence from both sides.

I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who coined the maxim "In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Having not lived through the Premier League era, Ben can be forgiven for not knowing life's other constant: "Chelsea matches are always boring."

But after Saturday, I can't even bank on that old chestnut anymore. If English soccer continues to be this wild and unpredictable, who knows? Someday Arsenal might even acquire a reliable striker who isn't a Man United cast-off.

...

 Posted by David Hirshey
Aug 25, 2014

Welcome back, Mario Balotelli

Former Liverpool player Steve Nicol expresses his concern regarding Mario Balotelli's move to Anfield.

Dear Mario,

On behalf of ESPN FC, let me welcome you back to the Prem. It's not all that different from the league you wreaked havoc upon during your last visit, except perhaps for the quantum physics anomaly that has Spurs sitting atop it. Fortunately, it is only two weeks into the new season so there's no real danger of Tottenham winning the title, unless there's a somewhat unanticipated asteroid strike that wipes out the 19 other teams.

Oh, there is one other tear in the space-time continuum....

 Posted by David Hirshey
Aug 18, 2014

A deceptive opening Prem weekend

The FC crew breaks down Arsenal and Tottenham's narrow victories.

I hate to be a buzzkill but after spending the past 48 hours in the fever dream grip of the Premier League's opening weekend, here are some things that I don't see happening this season:

-- Manchester United to be relegated
-- Spurs to finish in the top four
-- Sam Allardyce to be hoofed out the West Ham door by Labor Day
-- Liverpool to win the league
-- Yaya Sanogo to lead the Prem in scoring

And yet from my personally engraved perch at the bar of New York's Football Factory, I heard otherwise...