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John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

The Premier League relegation battle is intensifying already

Swansea's Garry Monk, left, and Eddie How of Bournemouth, right, are both facing relegation battles.

With 13 matches having been played, over a third of the Premier League season has now gone and, as a hectic December approaches, the relegation battle is taking shape.

Aston Villa's encounter with Watford on Saturday looks like the first of a series of "six-pointers" that also includes Villa's trip to Newcastle on Dec. 19 for a meeting of two traditionally big clubs, who are currently in dire trouble.

If Chelsea, currently 15th, are to be removed from the picture on the grounds of the sheer unlikelihood...

 By Chris Wright

Justin Bieber forms unlikely alliance with Southend United

Justin Bieber is the unlikely inspiration behind a League One player's scoring spree.

Having failed to trouble the scoresheet in his 17 previous outings, Southend United midfielder Ryan Leonard has cited an unlikely source of inspiration for his sudden return to scoring form -- Justin Bieber.

Indeed, Leonard has now notched three goals in his last four appearances for the Shrimpers, and has openly admitted that he has his new-found faith as a Belieber to thank.

"Since we started playing Justin Bieber (in the dressing room), I've starting scoring again," he told the Southend Echo.


 By Nick Ames

Modric, Pogba and Suarez shine in Champions League TOTW

The ESPN FC crew look at whether anyone can stop Barcelona right now.

With the penultimate Champions League group stage matches done and dusted, it's time to look at the best XI this week ...

Champions League Team of the Week
ESPN FC's Champions League Team of the Week.

Goalkeeper: Matz Sels, Gent

Group-stage debutants Gent are on the brink of a remarkable place in the last 16, an achievement made possible by Kalifa Coulibaly's dramatic goal with the very last action of the game in Lyon on Tuesday. That 2-1 victory was something of a smash and grab and owed plenty to the form of Sels, who reacted sharply to deny Alexandre Lacazette and Rachid...

 By Lee Roden

Neymar must continue inspiring Barcelona with Lionel Messi back fit

The ESPN FC crew look at whether anyone can match Barcelona right now.

When the dust had only just started to settle on Barcelona's 4-0 win over Real Madrid last weekend and with Luis Enrique in full flow in his postmatch news conference, one of the more light-hearted moments of the night occurred.

Attempting to find a worthwhile line of questioning amid constant praise for the away team's performance, one journalist asked the coach if he would have a problem reintroducing Lionel Messi to a side that was flying so high with Neymar as its central figure.

Before the...

Tottenham vs. Chelsea shows differing fortunes of Harry Kane, Diego Costa

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol and Alexis Nunes debate who will finish higher this season - Tottenham or Chelsea?

They represented the odd couple in an imaginary team. When the PFA polled its members to determine who figured in their team of last season, two strikers secured the most votes: Harry Kane and Diego Costa. They can be portrayed as opposites in almost every respect, bringing the smile and the snarl respectively. It is just as well they are rivals when Tottenham host Chelsea on Sunday; it is hard to imagine two such diametrically different characters in harness.

They are also players whose fortunes...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Gary Cahill's Chelsea future in doubt, Man United renew Hummels interest

Gary Cahill is facing a race against time to agree a new long-term contract at Chelsea.

The winter window draws closer with each passing day, and the transfer rumour mill is starting to pick up steam. As always, Transfer Talk has the latest and greatest. See all the summer deals here.

TOP STORY: Cahill's Chelsea future in doubt?

Gary Cahill's future at Chelsea could be in doubt, according to The Times and The Sun.

Cahill will celebrate his 30th birthday next month, and Chelsea have what The Sun calls a "strict over-30s rule" that means the England international effectively has...