Stories about season

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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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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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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Living in the era of Lionel Messi

It seems almost superlative now to add to the tally of articles and tributes that have rained down on the diminutive Argentinian since last Saturday. However, acknowledging the unlikelihood that any of us will witness the level of skill, precision and magic that he has brought to us in our generation again, I suppose ‘enough’ could never be said. In a week dominated by headlines that Lionel Messi, despite his contract tying him to Barcelona till 2019, was “unhappy” with the club, he went back to doing what he does best against an excellent Sevilla outfit. He scored a hatrick; displaying each of the attributes previously ...

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The colours of Kashmir

The harud (autumn) is when the hustle and bustle in Kashmir villages begin with the season of harvest. The green turns to gold and then to russet and red; leaves fall to melodious cracking sounds under the feet of passers-by beneath the shades of the Chinar (maple) trees. Autumn, the indication of a long winter season in Kashmir, is marked by a crimson yellow on the Chinar trees. In Kashmir, the season in September, October and November can be dry, wet or windy. With the decrease in temperature, it’s the season when the maple trees turn into bonfires and leaves start falling from them. [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Will Real Madrid survive this international break?

As the international break starts, club football fans are going through a period of frustration and agony, particularly those who follow Real Madrid. Real Madrid has had an incredible run of form in the past couple of months – winning every game they’ve played since the loss against local rivals Atletico Madrid on September 13, 2014. Their unbeaten run in the past 13 games include matches against other football giants such as Barcelona, Liverpool and Villareal. What’s more amazing is the absolute dominance Real Madrid has on the field. From an impeccable mid-field to an ever improving defence, the team keeps getting better at each aspect of the ...

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Two and a Half Men and my list of expectations from the final season

Two and a Half Men premieres its 12th and final season on October 30, 2014. Twelve seasons. Even comedy giants like Seinfeld and Friends didn’t make it this far, getting nine and ten seasons respectively, clearly showing how successfully this show has been received by the audience. A lot of the fame can be attributed to the star-studded cast the show has; with the controversial yet famous Charlie Sheen being in the lead role for the first eight seasons, to getting Ashton Kutcher taking over “the ashes” of Sheen. Meanwhile, many huge celebrities also made regular appearances on the show, some prominent ones being Sean Penn, Megan Fox, Steven Tyler and Mila Kunis. Despite the ups ...

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At Old Trafford, do as the Dutch do

As the English Premier League season has started, and looks very exciting already with the clubs and respective fans eagerly waiting to have a look at the new signings, Manchester United fans might be most anxious about the new season. United’s seventh position in last season’s league, their lowest ever in EPL history, and the sacking of former manager, David Moyes, hasn’t helped them in regaining much of their glory. But with Louis Van Gaal taking the hot seat at Old Trafford this season, after a successful World Cup campaign with the Netherland team, glory seems hopeful (a tad bit). Van Gaal looks ...

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Premier League rollercoaster: Who will lift the cup?

With the FA Community Shield behind us, it’s time to gear up for the new Premier League season. Those who followed the world’s most competitive football competition were left stunned at the pleasant unpredictability of the season. Week in, week out, the league table would morph completely. It went all the way down to a nail-biting end; and Manchester City took the title on the basis of a great attack and some major inconsistencies of their rival clubs. Looking at all the major contenders for the coveted top four Champions League spots this upcoming season, one can’t help but get a little giddy ...

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My love affair with Sindhri mangoes

Yesterday, I tasted my first mango of the season. It was like falling in love all over again. I was sitting on an elaborate dastarkhwan on a 10th floor apartment’s spacious balcony in inner Karachi. “Saroli is the most amazing mango, is it not?” asked the elderly host. I sheepishly begged to differ. I am a biased Sindhri lover. Every year, the sweltering May heat that becomes unbearable as June comes closer, is a blessing for Mango lovers. “Ramazan will be unbearably hot this year. But chalo, at least there will be mangoes in the fruit chaat.” This sentiment resonates inside so many of us. And of all varieties of this ...

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