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Blog - Marcotti's Musings

Questioning FIFA's TV rights decision

World Cup

Europa League suffers in Champions League's shadow but it can be fixed

ESPN FC's Janusz Michallik and Steve Nicol discuss the Europa League and while Steve doesn't like watching it, he does fancy Sevilla to make the final.

The Europa League is a bit like a relationship with a significant other who adores you but whom you take for granted and would secretly love to dump for someone better-looking. And so you call them a nag and point out the ways they annoy you. Yet at the end of the night, if you can't do any better, you settle.

That's the struggle the Europa League faces. Clubs in it would rather be somewhere else and when they perform poorly in their day job (their domestic league), it's the Europa League's fault....

Oscar hit raises concussion issue,
Bayern clinch title, fan unrest in Turin

The ESPN FC crew review Everton's comfortable 3-0 win over Manchester United, as Paul Mariner explains Manchester United's leaders did not perform to the best of their abilities.
Referee Michael Oliver had a busy day at the Emirates on Sunday, but the bigger issue involved Oscar's treatment.

Chelsea captain John Terry celebrated at the final whistle Sunday as if the Premier League title had been secured right then and there with that scoreless draw vs. Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. Arithmetic says otherwise, but maybe it had been. There's a moment when you know you've won even when, theoretically, your rivals could come back.

Ultimately though, it was a game that will be remembered more for some controversial refereeing decisions than for the football itself, which was OK in the...

Chelsea go substance over style in win, Barca avoid trap, Tuchel's task at BVB

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol says Manchester United were not fantastic, and Jose Mourinho did what was necessary to get the points.

The title race in England (assuming we ever did have one) is over following Chelsea's 1-0 win over Manchester United on Saturday. No, mathematically they won't win the title for a couple of weeks. But if somebody else wins the Premier League this season, it won't be a race, it will be a total and vertical collapse.

Jose Mourinho didn't just park the bus against United; he positioned the Millennium Falcon, Titanic and Orient Express in front of Thibaut Courtois' goal.

Kurt Zouma (tasked with neutralizing...

Chelsea's UEFA Youth League triumph brings development debate into focus

Chelsea won this season's UEFA Youth League but how many of their players will make the first team?

On Monday, Chelsea won the UEFA Youth League, beating Shakhtar Donetsk in the final 3-2. The competition is sort of like a junior varsity Champions League: the 32 clubs who participate in the group stage of big boys' competition send out essentially an under-19 team composed, this season, of players who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1996.

Chelsea do extremely well in youth competitions. The UEFA Youth League has been running for two years and before that, for two seasons you had the NextGen series,...

Van Gaal gets Man United clicking, Yaya Toure's form, Barca drop points

A big weekend in the Premier League saw Louis van Gaal and Manchester United take another step closer toward a top-four finish, a masked Cesc Fabregas lift Chelsea at Loftus Road, Tim Sherwood victorious against his former team and much more.

There's a temptation (perhaps understandably) to ascribe deeper meaning to the outcome of a football match. In this case, United's 4-2 thumping of City in the Manchester derby is hailed as some sort of passing of the torch -- or, Sir Alex Ferguson might say, a resumption of normal service -- with the blue half on the slide and the red half on the rise.

Did the 90 minutes reflect that? Yes.

You can point to City dominating the early exchanges and taking the lead. You can note how United's equalizer...

Arsenal progress, Sterling saga, Pep's experiment, a French Classique, more

The ESPN FC panel speak about Arsenal's current league position, praising their current form and blaming them for starting their season poorly.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol assesses Brendan Rodgers' notable transfers, while Alejandro Moreno questions his tactics in regards to playing the likes Jordan Henderson in wide positions.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Arsenal's dominant 4-1 performance against Liverpool, securing second in the Premier League.
The ESPN FC crew discuss Arsenal's dominant 4-1 performance against Liverpool, securing second in the Premier League.
Arsenal handed Liverpool their second consecutive loss with a comprehensive 4-1 victory at the Emirates.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley is full of praise for Arsenal while saying Liverpool are in danger of not even making the Europa League.

Maybe Arsenal's season will end on a low.

Maybe Reading will knock them out of the FA Cup. Maybe Chelsea will beat them at the Emirates or they'll lose to Manchester United and drop points foolishly against the likes of Hull or Sunderland or Burnley. Maybe they'll barely scrape into the Champions League, leaving the commentariat to chuckle and poke each other in the ribs as they point to Arsene Wenger's "fourth-place trophy".

Perhaps all that will come to pass.

But if it does, you can't accuse Wenger...