Stories about football

Did Louis Van Gaal’s failed philosophy cost him his job?

Almost two years ago, Louis van Gaal (LvG) was the centre of attention at the biggest football event on the planet – the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In the build-up to Netherlands crucial semi-final game against Argentina, BBC Sports justified Louis van Gaal being labelled as the tactical genius. No one would have thought that in two years’ time, the same man would be heavily criticised and eventually sacked for the very tactics that were once glorified. France’s 2-0 friendly win over the Netherlands in March prompted a tactical rethink by Van Gaal.Photo: Getty Images Van Gaal’s announcement as the new Manchester ...

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90 minutes to La Liga glory

For me personally, there is only one thing worse than watching either Barcelona or Real Madrid lift the La Liga trophy and that is to watch any one of these clubs winning a rather predictable two-horse race of a league at a canter. It’s like watching a glorified Scottish Premier League. For “Los Merengues and Els Blaugrana” read “hyped-up Celtic and Rangers”. With the notable exception of 2013-14 Atletico Madrid under Diego Simeone, a Rafa Benitez led Valencia in 2001-2002 and 2003-2004, and Deportivo La Coruña once at the start of the current millennium, no team other than Real and Barca has won the Spanish first division title in the last 20 years. And ...

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Which of these giant teams will not make it to the Premier League top four?

Imagine hiring, arguably, the best football coach on the planet and instead of handing him a Champions League berth as a welcome gift, you saddle him with an unwanted distraction of a tournament that is the Europa League. Well, that’s precisely what Manchester City is close to doing to Pep Guardiola, following their failure to beat Arsenal in Manuel Pellegrini’s final home game in charge. But the worst part, this isn’t even the worst case scenario. This nightmarish situation of finishing outside the top four and failing to qualify for the Champions League could reach gargantuan proportions because it is ...

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Quaid-e-Azam inter-provincial games: A light at the end of Pakistan’s barren sports tunnel

What is it about Lionel Messi that excites fans as he dribbles the ball across the field? What gives players like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic the ability to hypnotise fans as they compete on the court? Is Usain Bolt’s speed really a big deal, after all, he did only run a 100-meter race at the Olympics. It seems as though for the average Pakistani, everything that is remotely foreign seems to be infinitely more appealing, but does that really come as a surprise? Pakistan’s football team is ranked 190th in the world, we are still raving about Aisamul Haq’s success ...

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And the underdogs claimed the Premier League crown

The beautiful game of football showcased yet another memorable entry in the books of history as Leicester City won the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League. Some say, “75 per cent of the earth is covered by water; the rest is covered by Leicester City’s N’Golo Kanté.” Leicester City. Champions of England. pic.twitter.com/WRwfysTn2N — Leicester City (@LCFC) May 2, 2016 They also say, you only need the right ingredients to stand out from a proportion of competition to bag a spectacular feat, and those ingredients are sportsmanship, integrity, character and daring to dream, with a mix of leadership initiated by the right leader. Jamie Vardy celebrates ...

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Mighty Red Machine all set to sink The Yellow Submarine

Football has never been associated with music particularly. But Liverpool can arguably lay claim to the unofficial title of being the only city in the world that has found global prominence with the pair combined. The Beatles, widely regarded as the most influential act of the rock era along with Liverpool FC, one of the most successful English football club is the sole reason why a small city in the northwest of England is known worldwide. So it’s only apt that Liverpool finds Villarreal, a Spanish club nicknamed after one of the most popular tracks by the Fab Four, in between themselves and their first European ...

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Does Chelsea fear losing its trophies more than being caught for match-fixing?

Professional football is fast turning into a theatre, with protagonists, antagonists and anti-heroes all vying to be at the forefront of this multibillion dollar industry. Would Zidane have retired a tragic hero had he been on the pitch to slot the winning penalty for France? Would Maradona be adored if he had not followed up his “Hand of God” with the greatest goal in history only minutes later? Diego Maradona tips the ball over England’s goalkeeper Peter ShiltonPhoto: Rex Arguably no club epitomises this quite like Chelsea. A club which for decades was another middling English club ...

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Had Arsenal signed Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain or Edinson Cavani they might have won

For an average Arsenal fan, this season is characterised by a number of vacillations. Cautious optimism in September followed by a false sense of superiority over other teams in January that was swiftly followed by a cruel realisation of another season of ‘what-ifs’ and regrets over what could have been but didn’t materialise in the month of April. It appears that the team doesn’t have the winning mentality, no real leaders in the squad, too many injuries at crucial stages, no adequate investment in the transfer window, a manager who is past his sell-by date, and the list goes on ...

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Can Leicester City, the underdogs, take the Premier League crown?

If there is a term that sums up the Premier League this season, it is unequivocally ‘unpredictable’. The club which currently is in pole position happens to be the very same team which improbably escaped relegation last season. While all the cynics believed they would fall-away in the race by this stage, they continue to defy the collective football world with their results week in, and week out. Will this Leicester City romance end with them winning the ultimate prize or just falling short of the elusive premier league crown? If you look at the potential qualities of previous champions, ...

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Has Manchester United fallen from grace?

The great Manchester United, a club which has won a record; 13 titles in the Premier League era that hasn’t been equalled by any other team to date,  achieved under the managerial reign of the imperious Alex Ferguson, who arguably is, the best manager in the history of professional sports. In the title run-in, his teams were always competing if not winning the Barclays Premier League (BPL) crown. Photo: Reuters When he announced his retirement in 2013, the football world was left in shock and knew one of the greatest football minds would be bidding farewell to the club he transformed ...

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