Bulletproof self-confidence:  Frank Lampard responds to fans after yesterday’s   match between Manchester City and Chelsea. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Steven Gerrard may have had more natural talent, but Lampard has ended up with more goals and more medals

 Jack Wilshere of Arsenal given ‘brutal reminder of how far he still has to go, as Arsenal were flattened by a supposedly understrength but actually superb Borussia Dortmund.’ Photograph:  Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Wenger’s first-choice team undone by understrength but superb German side

Danny Welbeck  during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

At Arsenal, he’ll have a manager who’ll trust him to get on with it his own way, and that could be exactly what he needs. The tran(...)

Republic of Ireland’s Jonathan Walters out-jumps David Kvirkvelia of Georgia European Championship Qualifier, Boris Paichadze National Arena, Tbilisi, Georgia. Photograph: Inpho

If Ireland do qualify for Euro 2016 it will unlikely be by more than the two points that were not lost

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill: “You have to remember what the object is, which is to try and break in and score some goals.” Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

‘Every minute of these matches will be very, very important for us,” says Republic of Ireland boss

West Ham United’s Mark Noble. He is a decent Premier League midfielder who played 20 times for England U21s but never made the senior squad

The news that Mark Noble is seriously considering declaring for Ireland has caused a stir

Everyone agrees Mario Balotelli would be a hell of a player if only he would take the game more seriously. But to do that, he would have to be a different person. Photograph:  Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Anyone hoping the enigmatic forward is about to “grow up” – that is, to start playing with the commitment of a Luis Suarez or a S(...)

Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs speaks to Louis van Gaal  during Saturday’s defeat to Swansea. Photograp: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Van Gaal won’t accept failure to add quality players to squad

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, a key figure in Germany’s triumph,  with  the World Cup trophy after last Sunday’s victory in Rio. Photograph: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Germany’s triumph is the fruit of smart evolution – and sweet vindication for manager Joachim Löw

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