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 By Michael Cox

Sanchez, Kane, De Bruyne, Salah: Top players must have the ball to lose it

Craig Burley and Alexis Nunes take a look at the European Golden Shoe race and debate whether Mo Salah will win it over Leo Messi.
The FC panel answer your tweets on why Alexis Sanchez has been so poor for Manchester United, if Jose Mourinho is the second best manager in the Premier League and more.

Football has always been about statistics. The concept of a top scorer, for example, has been established for decades and yet is essentially a statistical irrelevance, given it almost always has no bearing upon the destination of a league title. That example, though, proves the statistics debate is nuanced.

It's not about whether or not you use figures, but about what you record and how you interpret the numbers. Even the now-established idea of the assist was only formally defined in the 1990s...

 By Michael Cox

Mourinho not finished at Man United, but not proven, either

Throughout his first two seasons at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho has regularly faced criticism for being too defensive. Although it's an issue that's dogged him throughout his career, it's arguably only been problematic at two clubs, Real Madrid and Manchester United, whose supporters believe their club boasts a proud tradition of playing attack-minded football.

At Porto, Chelsea and Inter, Mourinho often played defensive football without much dissent from fans largely because he led them...

 By Michael Cox

Man City chase Premier League record while playing beautiful game

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane reflect on their comprehensive win over Arsenal as they go 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Pep Guardiola still sees room for improvement despite Manchester City's 3-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley compares Arsenal's consecutive 3-0 defeats at the hands of Manchester City to a couple of friendly matches.

When looking at the fixture list in August, this weekend's clash between Manchester City and Chelsea -- the title favourites against the title holders -- appeared crucial in determining the destination of the Premier League trophy.

Instead, it's anything but a six-pointer: City are way out in front, while Chelsea are merely chasing Champions League qualification after a wretched couple of months. But also in the sights of Pep Guardiola's side is the Premier League all-time points record, the holders...

 By Michael Cox

Chelsea's struggles at both ends largely due to growing pains of Alvaro Morata, Andreas Christensen

Former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley assesses whether Antonio Conte will still be at the helm in mid-March by the end of their brutal run of upcoming fixtures.

It's been a peculiar and somewhat unusual week for Chelsea -- two good performances in tricky contests against Barcelona and Manchester United, but little to show for their efforts. Having opened the scoring in both matches, Antonio Conte's men will feel disappointed not to be taking a first-leg lead to the Nou Camp, and underwhelmed at being defeated 2-1 at Old Trafford.

It's rare to be speaking about Chelsea in these terms, because this is a club that has spent much of the last 15 years doing...

 By Michael Cox

Alexis Sanchez looks to buck the trend of big-money failures at Man United

Steve Nicol explains why Manchester United's purchase of Alexis Sanchez could prove to be a conundrum for Jose Mourinho.
ESPN FC's Rob Dawson and Mark Ogden assess what Alexis Sanchez has to offer after sealing his move to Man United.
With the Alexis Sanchez and Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap confirmed, Craig Burley and Alexis Nunes break down the deal from both sides.

Despite their status as the world's richest club, confirmed in the most recent Deloitte figures, successful Manchester United sides throughout the Premier League era have rarely been based around multimillion-pound signings and genuine superstars.

In fact, when United have attempted to introduce recognised world-class players, they've often struggled to incorporate them into their tactical system. In 2001, for example, Juan Sebastian Veron was a British record signing, but Sir Alex Ferguson didn't...

 By Michael Cox

Walcott's new start after an Arsenal career that peaked in the middle

With Theo Walcott looking set to join Everton, the FC crew examine whether a change of scenery can help the out-of-favour Arsenal forward reach new heights.
ESPN FC's Stevie Nicol has his say as to whether or not Theo Walcott's time with Arsenal has been a success, amid rumours of a potential move to Everton.
Arsenal's Arsene Wenger paid an emotional tribute to Theo Walcott after his Everton switch.

The careers of many legendary footballers have been effectively defined by World Cup years: Think Pele, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo or Zinedine Zidane.

Theo Walcott has not attained the status of the aforementioned quartet, but Everton's new signing is another whose career has worked in this manner. The exception is that the 28-year-old never actually played a minute at the World Cup, yet the key watersheds in his career have nevertheless been 2006, 2010, 2014 and, now, 2018.


It goes without...