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Paul: Torres was an expensive gamble

AC Milan

Stoke to unsettle United

Betting Blog

Real Madrid vs. AC Milan in Dubai

50-50 Challenge

Heroes and Villains: Arsenal show some grit, Roberto Martinez in trouble

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno explains Arsenal supporters should be asking for their club to win the league, and Shaka Hislop agrees that Arsenal need to address their defensive midfield issues in order to press for a title.

Arsenal were the only member of the current top six to win this weekend, but is it a conspiracy against Chelsea? Jose Mourinho thinks so. Welcome to the latest edition of Iain Macintosh's Heroes and Villains...


Writing Burnley off is proving to be a hazardous pastime. Manager Sean Dyche, quite at odds with his contemporaries, chose not to moan about the fixture pile-up, picked exactly the same XI that performed so well in the narrow 1-0 defeat against Liverpool two days ago and subsequently...

Sumeet Paul blog profile  By Sumeet Paul

Fernando Torres was a gamble that never paid off for AC Milan

Atletico Madrid have confirmed they will sign former striker Fernando Torres on loan from Milan.

Fernando Torres has proven to be an expensive gamble that has failed to pay off for AC Milan, with the out-of-sorts striker moving back "home" to Atletico Madrid in January.

In turn, this has paved the way for Atleti to allow Alessio Cerci a move back to his homeland as well, with the Rossoneri set to land him in an exchange deal that suits everyone.

Cerci moved to Madrid last summer after impressing for Torino, but he has found his opportunities limited in the Spanish capital while Torres scored...

Betting Blog: Back Stoke to upset Manchester United

Check out the 10 most memorable moments of 2014 in what was an unforgettable year in football.

A New Year brings hope for some and expectation for others, starting with New Year's Day and another packed programme of Premier League matches.

Stoke to upset Manchester United

Stoke have made a habit this season of raising their game against the top sides and they have a golden chance of taking another victim by beating Manchester United at at the Britannia.

United have performed better than most expected after a poor start to the season under new manager Louis van Gaal and their side is full...

50-50 Challenge: Real Madrid and AC Milan in glamour friendly

The ESPN FC crew debate the 2014 coach of the year, as Steve Nicol chooses Carlo Ancelotti, Alejandro Moreno and Stuart Holden agree on Diego Simeone, and Craig Burley chooses Joachim Low.

La Liga and Serie A's winter breaks give clubs a chance to work on their fitness and take stock of the campaign so far. Real Madrid and AC Milan face each other as 2014 comes to a close, and Nicholas Rigg (Madrid) and Sumeet Paul (Milan) preview the action in Dubai.

What shape is the team in ahead of this friendly?

Nicholas Rigg: The shape of world champions. Although plenty doubt the credibility of the FIFA Club World Cup, few can dispute Madrid as the best club side on the planet currently.


Premier League players missing for Asian Cup and African Nations Cup

Man City's talismanic midfielder Yaya Toure will be away with Ivory Coast.

Many Premier League clubs are going to see their resources tested in the new year when two major internationals kick off. The Asian Cup begins in Australia on Jan. 9 and runs through Jan. 31. And the African Nations Cup starts on Jan. 17 in Equatorial Guinea, with the final on Feb. 8.

Here, we run through a club-by-club guide of which Premier League players could be missing for a month.

Aston Villa
Chris Herd (Australia)

Crystal Palace
Yannick Bolasie (DR Congo)
Adlene Guedioura (Algeria)

Fernando Torres' return good for him, but what do Atletico Madrid get?

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe is at a loss for words with the rumours Fernando Torres may be returning to his boyhood club of Atletico Madrid, as he questions if he will ever escape from his poor form in recent years.

Seven years since "El Nino" left home for the bright lights of England, Fernando Torres is back where it all began, rejoining Atletico Madrid on loan after signing for AC Milan permanently from Chelsea just a few days earlier.

Not so much a kid anymore -- Torres will be 31 in March -- but still possessing the boyish good looks that earned him the nickname in the first place, it is a sentimental homecoming that has got the Vicente Calderon faithful excited. But why?

What is there to actually get giddy...