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Villa trip could be season-defining


Explaining Borussia Monchengladbach's wild season so far

Gladbach have rebounded nicely from their poor start to the season but the upswing might also be unsustainable.

This season has been a long strange trip for Borussia Mönchengladbach and it's not even December. Despite a comfortable 4-2 win against Sevilla this week, Gladbach's Champions League run is over for this year but it looks increasingly likely that they may be back for another run in 2016-17. That's something that seemed colossally unlikely just two months ago.

Right now Gladbach sit fifth in the Bundesliga, just one point out of the Champions League spots and two points out of third place. That...

Mauro Diaz focused on FC Dallas despite interest from abroad

The ESPN FC panel discuss whether or not FC Dallas will be able to overcome their 3-1 first leg deficit against Portland.
Mauro Diaz has enjoyed an impressive campaign for FC Dallas, helping them to the Western Conference Finals.

Mauro Diaz may be a man of few words, but there is no shortage of stories about the FC Dallas midfielder.

There was the time that FC Dallas teammate Ryan Hollingshead gave a postgame interview in which he was effusive about Diaz's performance. When the assembled press walked over to Diaz to get his reaction, the entirety of his reply was, "Thank you, Ryan."

There was also the time that an FC Dallas staffer arranged a meeting between Diaz and one of his sporting heroes, San Antonio Spurs guard...

 By Ben Jacobs

Leicester City's acid test begins with Manchester United clash

Leicester City manager praises his star striker Jamie Vardy ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri was quite right to call Arsene Wenger "a joker" after the Arsenal boss claimed that Leicester City are genuine title contenders.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has since echoed Wenger's sentiments ahead of his side's trip to the King Power Stadium, but there's surely no way the Foxes will top the table come May.

The real acid test starts now: Leicester host the "Gaal-acticos" in Saturday's late kick-off before testing fixtures with Swansea, Chelsea,...

 By Tom Marshall

Tigres' Andre-Pierre Gignac experiment is a huge success

Headlined by France international striker Andre-Pierre Gignac, Tigres are one of the Liguilla favourites.

"Un Big Mac pour Gignac."

That was the taunt used by away fans in Ligue 1 seeking to rile French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac about his weight, back before his move to Tigres last summer. Burger King even used "A Whopper for Gignac" as a kind of reverse marketing campaign, while one satirical French website ran a humorous story stating KFC was sponsoring the French national team, but they were worried about just how much chicken Gignac would eat.

It all painted a picture of a player who was...

Columbus Crew SC deserve status as favorites in second leg vs. Red Bulls

New England's Charlie Davies joins ESPN FC's Dan Thomas and Steve Nicol to preview the MLS conference final second legs.
NE Revolution striker Charlie Davies believes the secret to Kei Kamara's stellar season is how well he gels with the team.

ESPN's Soccer Power Index gives Columbus Crew SC a better than 80 percent chance to advance past the New York Red Bulls in Sunday's decisive Eastern Conference championship match and to the MLS Cup -- stacked odds that should shock no one after the Crew's 2-0 series-opening win at home last week.

It must be said that the league's absurd decision two years ago to adopt the away-goals tiebreaker for playoffs that are tied to a 34-game regular season makes what already would be a difficult task...

Tottenham are Premier League contenders, but caveats remain

Can Mauricio Pochettino's men pose a serious title challenge? Are Manchester United's defenders channeling Martin Škrtel?
Tottenham aim to extend their league unbeaten run against Chelsea, while a resurgent Liverpool take on Swansea.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol and Shaka Hislop believe Tottenham have to focus on their encounter against Chelsea.
Anthony Richardson previews Tottenham's clash against Chelsea, where Spurs sport a 12-match league unbeaten run.

Are Tottenham Hotspur title contenders?

If you'd asked that question at almost any point in the Premier League's history, and indeed for many of its preceding years, you'd have been gently ushered out of the room and advised to take some time off. But after an unbeaten run that stretches back to the second game of the season, more and more people are beginning to wonder if something extraordinary is happening at White Hart Lane. It is, of course, far too early to draw any solid conclusions, but...