Football

Manchester divided: young and English versus older and foreign, so far

By Brian Sears 12 September 2014 It may all change when Louis Van Gaal finally unleashes his new-look starting XI against QPR at Old Trafford on Sunday but his starting XIs so far in this nascent Premier League season have been among the youngest in the division and among those with the most English players on average. Their 16 different starters in the league have had an average age of 26.3 years and they have used seven different English starters - bettered only by Burnley's nine and QPR's eight. Across Manchester, United's rivals City have fielded the team with the fewest English starters:...


Radamel Falcao: a symbol of Uefa shackling Manchester City in the FFP era

* By Ian Herbert 5 September 2014 Why didn’t Manchester City buy Radamel Falcao? It’s one of the unexplained mysteries of the transfer market. They admire him. They would have leapt at the chance of buying him last summer. And now they go into the season with only three strikers, after letting Alvaro Negredo leave for Valencia on deadline day. It would have been one striker out; one striker in. Why not? City were certainly interested, interested enough for their director of football, Txiki Begiristain, to have discussed the Colombian with the selling club, Monaco, when he arrived in the principality for the Champions League...


Tottenham’s handling of Liverpool a barometer of Pochettino’s top-six capability

By Brian Sears 29 August 2014 Played two, won two, scored five, conceded none, and both games in challenging London derbies. Tottenham's start to the Premier League season under new manager Mauricio Pochettino could not have gone better. Wins over West Ham then QPR leave them top of the table before the third round of fixtures, in which Liverpool visit White Hart Lane on Sunday. Spurs in the Premier League era have moved from being a club who finished, on average, just outside the top half of the table for the first half of the League's existence, to being a top-six side, for...