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England U21s -- Strength in depth

Tactics And Analysis Oct 17, 2014
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WhoScored: Welbeck a finer scorer than Mario

Tactics And Analysis Oct 3, 2014
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Whoscored: Pleasant early Prem surprises

Southampton Sep 26, 2014
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WhoScored: Cesc driving Chelsea on

Tactics And Analysis Sep 18, 2014
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 By Michael Cox
16 hours ago

The challenges awaiting City and United in the Manchester derby

ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes looks back through Wayne Rooney's career against Manchester City as the Red Devils prepare to take on their rivals.

Manchester City and Manchester United have shared the last four Premier League titles, but both have major problems ahead of this weekend's derby. City have gone three games without a victory while United, though they are certainly improving, still aren't entirely convincing under Louis van Gaal.

Here are three pressing concerns for either side.

Manchester City

Injury worries

David Silva and Yaya Toure are doubtful with knee and groin problems, respectively, and, while the loss of either would be...

19 hours ago

Leighton Baines' astounding offensive exploits have been overlooked

Roberto Martinez hails Everton's patience and composure in their 3-1 defeat of Burnley.

When it comes to streaks in football, very few tend to be overlooked nowadays, be it from a team or individual's perspective.

The two that perhaps stand out in the Premier League right now involve goal-scoring exploits. West Ham's Diafra Sakho has scored in each of his six league starts this season while Aston Villa, as a collective, have failed to score in five. Elsewhere in Europe, see Cristiano Ronaldo, who now scores in every game that he plays.

It's goal-scoring, or a lack thereof in the...

 By Michael Cox
7 days ago

Angel Di Maria and Juan Mata set for reunion with Mourinho

Louis van Gaal believes Manchester United can still win a Premier League title. The ESPN FC panel think otherwise.

Manchester United have broken their record transfer fee twice in 2014, with vastly different levels of success. Juan Mata has rarely sparkled since his 37.1 million-pound move from Chelsea in January, but Angel Di Maria has been in impressive form, having been signed for 59.7 million pounds in the summer. Jose Mourinho, who visits Old Trafford with Chelsea this weekend, might have predicted how things would go.

Mourinho, of course, has coached both, and his perception of the duo tallies closely...

7 days ago

Sam Allardyce has ushered in a new system and a new team at West Ham

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce speaks to the challenge of hosting champions Manchester City in their upcoming Premier League tie.

It's difficult to truly believe how attractive a team West Ham now are given how insipid they were only last season. After a summer of shrewd signings coupled with some rather surprisingly versatile tactical shifts from manager Sam Allardyce, the team's reliance on the combination of Andy Carroll and Kevin Nolan has dissipated into thin air. Flying high in fourth place this season, they take on Manchester City this weekend as one of the Premier League's in-form teams.

Three wins from their last...

 By Michael Cox
Oct 21, 2014

Liverpool and Real Madrid's midfields have evolved since their last meeting

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers addressed Mario Balotelli's goal-scoring slump and says it's only a matter of time before he starts turning them in.

Liverpool's 5-0 aggregate victory over Real Madrid in the 2008-09 Champions League was arguably the genuine highlight of Rafael Benitez's six-year reign at Anfield.

OK, it didn't involve actually winning a trophy, like in the 2005 European Cup final, but as an exhibition of pure footballing brilliance, it was unparalleled. Even the most ardent Liverpool fan recognises Liverpool were far from brilliant in 2005, but defeating Real Madrid 5-0 was truly extraordinary.

The two performances were notable...

Oct 17, 2014

England under-21s could be title contender at Euro 2015

England World Cup players Luke Shaw, left, and Raheem Sterling, right, could end up featuring for the Three Lions at next summer's Euro 2015 Under-21 championships.
England World Cup players Luke Shaw, left, and Raheem Sterling, right, could end up featuring for the Three Lions at next summer's Euro 2015 Under-21 championships.

The international break is over, but it has not left as many people thinking "Thank God for that" this time 'round, with a number of shock results enough to keep the neutrals suitably entertained and, in many cases, amused.

The likes of Germany, Spain and Netherlands all lost European qualifiers, while Italy laboured to narrow victories over Azerbaijan and Malta, and England likewise against Estonia. However, it wasn't just the senior superpowers that were underperforming in the most recent hiatus...