Stories about soccer

The reluctant Louis van Gaal

For over two decades, Manchester United ruled over English football. We have seen them win titles with both extraordinary and, at times, the most ordinary of squads, all under Sir Alex Ferguson. But now, things at Old Trafford have changed rather dramatically. The stories of a late Manchester United comeback and the myth of ‘Fergie time’ are all well and truly preserved in the past. The question here is what was the secret behind Manchester United’s ultimate dominance for so long? It sure had nothing to do with the transfer market; the reason, in fact, is way too simple to guess. The Manchester ...

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An Ángel in disguise for Manchester United

Much has been said about Manchester United’s transfer policy for the last two years, the majority of which is negative. Last season, United had to replace two individuals, who have been part of the fabric of the club, for a good part of a decade, regardless much was expected. What ensued was a virtual train wreck; without completing even one season, David Moyes was given the boot. The chief executive of the club, Ed Woodward, also had to shoulder a great deal of the blame due to his failed exploits in the transfer window. Fast forward one year: Manchester United is in the hands of the experienced Louis Van ...

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Mourinho: The man bringing Chelsea back

Nestled between the abandoned cotton mills and rows of tightly packed terraces, in this small pocket of East Lancashire, Chelsea taught Burnley a harsh lesson in what to expect on their return to the Premier League.  “We give the players a lot of education. I’m not a nightclub bouncer, I just look like one,” said Sean Dyche before the game. But none of his teachings can match the manner of Chelsea’s 3-1 victory for thoroughness. It started so well for Burnley, when Scott Arfield rifled them into the lead in the 14th minute. As his teammates stepped out from a corner, John Terry was caught daydreaming, allowing Matt Taylor to ...

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Four ways Pakistani cricket is like Argentinian football

I was barely six-years-old when Diego Maradona’s individual brilliance almost singlehandedly won the World Cup for Argentina in Mexico. For a boy watching the event with his sports crazy family, the event was electric, with the iconic images of Maradona dancing through the opposition, and eventually lifting the trophy, forever imprinted in my brain. Equally iconic were the images of Maradona crying four years later, after his side was cruelly penalised by the referee in the final against West Germany. Even later, when Maradona shed tears after struggling with substance abuse, I shared his pain, and supported my hero, ignoring the fact that he ...

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Brazil: More than just soccer, samba and sandy beaches!

Soccer, samba, and sandy beaches – I hate to admit it, but those were the three images that came to my mind when I was first informed about my move to the world’s largest Lusophone nation. Alongside many other individuals, I knew little about Brazil itself apart from the hype surrounding its football, economy, and beaches. That is probably what made my fifth country of residence all the more appealing to me – my home for over a year now. Life in Brazil can almost be classified as an art. The appealing climate does have an instant relaxing effect on ...

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English Premier League: Predicting the final league table

Like every year, we are in for a great end to the English Premier League saga. With clubs competing at several avenues this year, it will be a rather stressful, nail-biting finish to see which of these secure elite positions at the league table. The big spender Manchester City is trying to shift in top gear after securing a win over Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium. This is being done in an attempt to bridge the gap between them and their namesake, leading Manchester United. The table leaders, Manchester United, have only lost one league home game (against Tottenham Hotspur) this season and are in ...

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English Premier League: Manchester City or Manchester United?

I’m sure all the avid lovers of the English Premier League (especially Manchester United) think that they have already won the crown of the English Premier league for 2012-2013. However, there are still 12 matches to be played by 18 teams and anything can happen. Manchester United seems to be in a very strong position; 12 points above the second place team (Manchester City), and 16 points over third place (Chelsea). Sir Alex Ferguson’s team has the best lead since the 2000-2001 season and their next five matches are against Queens Park Rangers (QPR), Norwich City, West Ham, Reading and Sunderland. They look ...

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PTV learns on the job with Euro 2012

After realising the money in broadcasting sport events last year and in spite of still not knowing enough about the sport, the state-owned channel PTV has coveted the exclusive rights to air the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, commonly known as the Euro 2012. Everything seemed to be running normally during the opening ceremony of the Euro 2012; not very sharp picture quality, but nothing one couldn’t live without. The opening match, however, was an entirely different story as it brought with it a shock that was not part of the actual match. Confused? There was no scorecard displayed on the screen ...

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Finally, Chelsea!

It took nine long years, eight different managers (and more than £60 million in compensation for the termination of their respective contracts), innumerable player signings worth millions and several occasions of heartbreak, but at long last, Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea have finally gotten their hands on the European Cup. A penalty shoot-out victory over Bayern Munich ensured the illustrious trophy went to Stamford Bridge (or indeed any London club) for the very first time. The talismanic touch of interim coach Roberto Di Matteo worked again as his team defied the odds to win ...

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A summer of change for Manchester United

The summer of 2011 promises to be one of major changes for Manchester United. Having finally displaced Liverpool as the most successful side in English League history, United are now set to begin the new season with a different and somewhat inexperienced squad to the one that recently lifted a record-breaking 19th league title in May 2011. Long-serving defenders John O’ Shea and Wes Brown have both joined Sunderland while the retirements of Paul Scholes and Edwin Van Der Sar in addition to the retirement of Gary Neville in February has left the English champions short of experienced players to ...

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