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Blog - Marcotti's Musings

Questioning FIFA's TV rights decision

World Cup
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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...

Barcelona claim Clasico points; Man United see off Gerrard and Liverpool

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno examines Luis Suarez's world-class performance against Real Madrid in El Clasico.

Maybe you can distill it down to some kind of scientific axiom: the greater the number of individual superstars on the pitch, the greater the chance that a moment of genius, magic or what you might otherwise call unaccountable skill will be the difference between the two.

Barcelona and Real Madrid both had spells in which they enjoyed the upper hand in Sunday's Clasico, but only the Catalans had Luis Suarez and the move he pulled 10 minutes into the second half.

The former Liverpool striker ghosted...

Tired Chelsea, Ibrahimovic's rant, Van Gaal's discovery, Bale-Ronaldo, more

Our football experts weigh in on whether or not anyone can challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title.

Chelsea have two wins in six games, following the 1-1 home draw with Southampton, and the fact that their lead at the top of the Premier League table -- courtesy of Manchester City's defeat at Burnley -- has increased to six points is not down to them.

With such a margin and a game in hand, it would take a cataclysm for Jose Mourinho not to win his third league title at Stamford Bridge. With the League Cup already in the bag, it's a successful campaign for the "Special One."

Yet it also might be...

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is not learning from his mistakes

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discusses the relationship between Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and manager Carlo Ancelotti.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discuss the fallout from Real Madrid's 4-3 loss against Schalke in the UEFA Champions League.
The ESPN FC crew analyse Real Madrid's chances of retaining the Champions League trophy following their second-leg loss to Schalke.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti and Alejandro Moreno discuss whether or not Carlo Ancelotti would have lost his job if Real Madrid were knocked out of the Champions League by Schalke.

You've probably heard this before: "Those who don't know their history are condemned to repeat it."

You wonder whether Florentino Perez has. On Tuesday night his expensively assembled Real Madrid team was booed off the pitch at the Bernabeu, following a 4-3 home defeat to Schalke. It was the club's second straight loss (after the 1-0 setback against Athletic Bilbao, which cost them top spot in La Liga) and it marked only the second time in history that Real had conceded four goals at the Bernabeu...