Lukasz Fabianski of West Ham United saves a penalty from Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City during the Premier League match at London Stadium. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty

West Ham's Fabianski is the right man in the right place at the right time

Pep Guardiola reacts during the frustrating defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final at the Bernabeu. Photograph:  Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty

What separates the great sides from the very good ones is the ability to perform when the pressure is greatest

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel after the loss to Everton. Photograph: Peter Powerll/EPA

Rash of defensive mistakes has been very frustrating for Thomas Tuchel

Everton’s manager Frank Lampard reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Everton: He seems not to have adapted to the new reality.  Photograph: Andrew Yates/EPA

Lampard’s old school management techniques did little to stave off loss to Liverpool

Burnley’s former manager Sean Dyche was the longest-serving manager in the Premier League at the time of his sacking. Photograph: Getty Images

Burnley no longer ‘tough to play against’ or any of the things people used ascribe to them

“When each looks at the other, he sees someone very like himself. Each has more in common with the other than he does with almost anyone else in the game.”  Photograph:  Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Ferguson-Wenger style spats nowhere to be seen between Guardiola and Klopp

Ireland’s Alan Browne and Will Keane celebrate the equalising goal against Belgium. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Draw against world’s top-ranked side a cause for cheer, but tighter defensive play required

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi at the  Santiago Bernabeu stadium on March 9th. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images

Qatari money has cost the Paris club dearly – no wonder fans are booing loudly

Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe is already being called ‘Beheaddie Eddie’ by some. Photograph:  Adam Davy/PA Wire

Eddie Howe, manager of club owned by Saudi fund, refuses to comment on mass executions

 Harry Maguire: looks dejected after the defeat to Manchester City in the derby  at the  Etihad Stadium. Photograph:  Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

If the club are to close the gap on the likes of City, they need the right captain

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

With oligarchs off the pitch, who will keep the Premier League moneyball rolling?

When you think about how good Romelu “seven touches in 90 minutes against Palace” Lukaku looked in Conte’s team at Inter, you wonder what the ceiling might be for Harry Kane. Photograph:   Stu Forster/Getty Images

Title is still Manchester City’s to lose unless some unseemly off-field antics get in the way

David Moyes was stuck in a difficult decision in how to deal with the Kurt Zouma saga. Photograph:  James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

West Ham boss more comfortable in not letting Twitter pick his starting team for him

Is Roy Keane’s brash punditry style not suited for inside the dressing room? Photograph:  Simon Stacpoole/Getty Images

Brash style that works in punditry is clearly an issue for dressingroom man-management

John Terry is not content to kick back, retweet praise and play golf. File photograph: Getty

When it comes to cryptoinvesting, players on the endorsement trail may need to reconsider

Rafael Benitez was always doomed to failure at a chaotic club like Everton.  Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA

Owner Farhad Moshiri has pumped money into the club with little return to show for it

The gap between football as understood and practised by top coaches like Pep Guardiola, and football as understood and experienced by the fans, has never been wider. Photograph:  Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Money wins titles, but Guardiola’s style lacks excitement that club’s fans – and players – seek

Ed Woodward’s defining flaw was he lacked the football knowledge to independently evaluate the merits of prospective coaches and players. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Woodward’s Manchester United developed an unhealthy fixation on yesterday’s men

Referee Paul Tierney shows a yellow card to Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane  for a foul on Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson    at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Liverpool vs Tottenham: a brilliant game, or an out-of-control disciplinary mess?

 Victor Lindelof receives treatment before having to leave the field against Norwich. Photograph: Rui Vieira/AP

Victor Lindelof breathing issues latest in line of incidents incorrectly linked to vaccines

Referee Felix Zwayer watches the VAR monitor after a handball controversy in Der Klassiker. Photograph: Ina Fassbender/AFP

Jude Bellingham will be punished as he exposes flawed leadership in German football

Chiedozie Ogbene was the type it is hard to remember Ireland scoring before. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Second goal combined rare blend of energy, persistence, intelligence and quality passing

Portugal’s Danilo Pereira and Ireland’s Chiedozie Ogbene battle for the ball during the World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Packed Aviva crowd left wanting more as Ireland come close to victory

Manchester United would be well off remembering that wins are a valuable commodity. Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Commercialising strategy has Netflix and Amazon as bigger rivals than other clubs

Tottenham Hotspur manager Nuno Espírito Santo reacts during their Premier League defeat by Manchester United. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Chairman’s managerial selections since Pochettino sacking have left team in a mess

United’s Cristiano Ronaldo after Liverpool scored their third goal at Old Trafford. Photograph:  Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Manager paid the price for putting off politically awkward but necessary decisions about his team

Newcastle United’s Saudi Arabian chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan (C) and minority owner Amanda Staveley take their seats for the Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at St James’ Park. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images

Any success the club achieves won’t feel like the fans always dreamt it would feel

Callum Robinson celebrates scoring one of his two goals  with Adam Idah and Daryl Horgan during the World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Stephen Kenny’s team has got people interested in what happens next

Liverpool’s Mo Salah celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal during the Premier League draw with Manchester City. Photo: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Mo Salah’s goalscoring rate should be reason enough for Liverpool to renew his contract

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar during PSG’s win against Montpellier. Photograph: Getty Images

Insane intensity of the social media circus surrounds Mbappé, Neymar and Messi

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts during the Premier League draw with Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire

Never before has the Catalan faced a real league title test from as many as three sides

Harvey Elliott of Liverpool lies injured after a dangerous tackle by Leeds’ Pascal Struijk on Sunday. Photograph: Andrew Yates/EPA

Liverpool have shown you can play fast and furious football without endangering players

Ireland’s James Collins and Jayson Molumby celebrate their equalising goal with Shane Duffy. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Manager has opened himself up to ridicule which has stirred feelings in this team

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny’s comments after the game were surprising. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

It felt like this team was ready to shine. Then it just didn’t happen against Azerbaijan

 Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the winning goal in the World Cup qualifier against Ireland at the Estadio Algarve. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

After nearly 90 minutes of frustration, he was still ceaselessly moving in search of an opening

Cristiano Ronaldo during Portugal training in Lisbon on Tuesday. If he scores against the Republic of Ireland  on Wednesday he will become the leading scorer in the history of international football. Photograph: Rodrigo Antunes/EPA

A whole new chapter in his career could start with breaking international scoring record

 A cardboard cut-out of new signing Cristiano Ronaldo is held by Manchester United supporters during the  Premier League clash against Wolves at    Molineux.  Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty

United’s team shape will now be dictated by the massive gravitational field of the star in its midst

  Fans react during the   match between Leeds United and Everton at Elland Road on Saturday. The clubs are among five  who  announced a partnership with Socios.com to market digital Fan Tokens to their supporters. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Some clubs are so desperate for money they are herding their fans towards tokens

 Jack Grealish has become the David Beckham of his generation – by common acclaim, the sexiest, most charismatic English player of the moment.  Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

England midfielder does not address champions’ weaknesses but he gives them star power

England manager Gareth Southgate comforts Jadon Sancho after Italy won on penalties in the Euro 2020 final. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/EPA

Italy were allowed back into the game and ultimately the wrong penalty takers picked

England’s Raheem Sterling,  Harry Kane and  Jordan Henderson celebrate after the semi-final victory over Denmark at Wembley Stadium. Photograph:  Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty

Southgate’s squad full of players who play with, compete against and learn from world’s best

England manager Gareth Southgate  applauds the fans after beating Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.  Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Era of English dominance may come for talented squad and the FA's accidental manager

Raheem Sterling (centre) scoring  England’s  opening goal in  the Euro  championships round-of-16 match against  Germany at Wembley.   Photograph: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Stood in front of bench packed with pouting, brooding genius, for once it didn’t go wrong

Kevin De Bruyne is brought down by Palhinha during Belgium’s win over Portugal. Photograph: Lluis Gene/EPA

Belgium win over Portugal will be remembered for violent play and poor refereeing

Has Alvaro Morata just been the victim of a run of bad luck that is bound to come to an end sooner rather than later? Photograph: David Ramos/EPA

If chances start to go in, they will take some stopping in Euro 2020 knockout stages

Hungary players congratulate team-mate Attila Fiola  after he scored against France at the Ferenc Puskas Stadium in Budapest. Photograph: Laszlo Balogh/Pool

Return of fans to stadiums has inspired players to produce the best football of year

 France’s coach Didier Deschamps greets the fans after his team’s win against Germany at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Tuesday. Photograph: Matthias Schrader/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

If the French cannot play a good game against Germany, can they excel against anyone?

Denmark players react as their teammate Christian Eriksen receives medical assistance during the Uefa Euro 2020 Group B match against Finland. Photo: Friedemann Vogel/EPA

With disbelief suspended football really feels like it matters right up until point that it doesn’t

 Skillzy, the Euro 2020 mascot, photographed in Rome ahead of tonight’s opening match between Italy and Turkey. Photograph: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

That fame trumps sporting excellence is good news for international tournaments

Gareth Southgate will need his captain Harry Kane to be at his best for England this summer. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

All the tournament-winning sides of recent years have had a clearly defined structure and identity

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel celebrates after winning the Champions League final. Photograph: Susana Vera/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Tuchel’s champions showed how best teams have integrated set-pieces into open play

It can’t have been easy for the Ferguson boys to hear people laud the Dad they seldom saw as a “father figure” to a generation of United superstars. Photograph:  Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

‘Never Give In’ traces Fergie’s formative years in Glasgow through to the Treble

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero see his panenka penalty attempt saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy  at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/PA

That City’s great striker felt obliged to apologise for a missed penalty was sad and absurd

Geoff Shreeves reached for the familiar: “This is obviously NOT what we want to see, and the security here at Old Trafford . . . has failed.”  Photograph:  Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Manchester United under Glazer ownership are like a race car dragging a parachute

Manchester United fans during a fan protest against the club owners outside of Old Trafford on Saturday. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

It seems strange that the Glazers did not inform even Ed Woodward of the plans

Uefa have been battling the growing ambitions of  elite clubs for decades but now matters have  reached a tipping point. Photograph: Laurent Gillieron/EPA

Breakaway attempt is a gamble on the nature of fandom across the world

Trent Alexander-Arnold scores Liverpool’s winner against Aston Villa. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/EPA

Liverpool and England fullback might be too good to spend his career on the right flank

Luxembourg players react at the final whistle of the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Instead of raging at losing to Luxembourg we should be reflecting on what we can learn from them

Ireland’s Alan Browne  in action against  Serbia’s Uros Racic  and Sasa Lukic during the World Cup qualifier in Belgrade. Photograph:  Novak Djurovic/PA Wire

Stephen Kenny’s 3-5-2 looks to have more potential than the lifeless systems tried thus far

For now, the best thing Harry Kane could do is accept that he made his bed – now it’s time to lie in it. Photograph: Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Player must live with terrible career decision of signing for six years in summer of 2018

Arsenal’s Cedric Soares  hugs  manager Mikel Arteta as Spurs’s  coach José Mourinho walks off the pitch after his team’s 2-1 defeat in Sunday’s north London derby at the Emirates Stadium. Photograph: Nick Potts/AFP

Spurs suffused with gloom while Arsenal feel like they might finally be getting somewhere

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts during the 1-0 Premier League defeat to Fulham at Anfield which extended the club’s extraordinary losing run at home to six games. Photograph: Phil Noble/PA Wire

Manager long recognised extraordinary demands of season but has struggled to adapt

Dortmund’s  Erling  Haaland: There is an almost unnerving simplicity to the way he scores many of his goals.  Photograph:  Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

Mbappe looks the more complete footballer but the Norweigan has one key advantage

Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona to PSG has had a seismic effect on the Catalan club. Photo: Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

Barcelona’s ballooning debt in the billions just one example of clubs’ struggles

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp after his team’s defeat to Manchester City. Photograph: Getty Images

Have the champions just been really really really unlucky or what has gone wrong?

Frank Lampard: simply lacked the coaching experience to take on the role  at one of the world’s biggest clubs. Photograph:  Matthew Childs/PA

Frank Lampard was never likely to be given time to learn on the job at Chelsea

Mesut Oezil on a plane upon his arrival at Istanbul, Turkey, on January 18th. He terminated his contract with Arsenal in order to complete his transfer to Fenerbahce. Photograph: EPA

Arsenal gave him a huge contract because they were scared how it would look if he walked away

  Liverpool   defender Virgil van Dijk’s absence is causing his side to crumble. Photograph:   Catherine Ivill/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Liverpool have to be more cautious without defender, leading to a system breakdown

Damien Duff: while you can easily imagine why he  might have fallen out of love with the job, walking away after eight months without a clear explanation leaves an  impression of flakiness. Photograph: James Crombie

It’s been a tough enough start for the new Republic manager’s regime without this latest setback

Chelsea’s manager Frank Lampard leaves the pitch after his side lost 3-1 to Manchester City. Photo: Shaun Botterill/EPA

Delusional to think that manager can metamorphose into a Klopp or a Guardiola

Spurs’   head coach José Mourinho looks on as his team lose to Leicester at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. Photograph:  Andy Rain/Pool/AFP

Rather than gripe, the Tottenham manager should ask why Klopp is getting the plaudits

The result will mean further calls for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to go, while doubts will linger that Pep Guardiola has lost “it”. Photograph: EPA

United’s counterattacking credentials ensured City opted for discretion over valour

Millwall players take the knee to signal their opposition to racism before  the Championship match between Millwall and Derby County at The Den. Millwall fans loudly booed the gesture. Photograph: Jacques Feeney/Getty Images

Booing Millwall fans remind everybody what the knee protests are actually all about

Maradona  runs past England  defender Terry Butcher  before  dribbling past goalkeeper Peter Shilton  and scoring the  goal of the century, during the World Cup quarterfinal  between Argentina and England on June 22nd, 1986 in Mexico City. Photograph:  Getty Images

We should be grateful that in 1986 there was no video pedant ordering a free kick to England

  Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho   and his players react after beating Manchester City in London. Photograph:  Neil Hall/EPA

Tottenham showed an intensity in their victory that Manchester City could not match

 David Brooks gives Wales the lead in  Cardiff. Photograph:  Stu Forster/Getty Images

Ireland’s goalless run reached farcical levels in Cardiff but remember this too will pass

England’s Jack Grealish congratulates Jadon Sancho after his goal against the Republic of Ireland. Photo: Getty Images

England’s former Ireland underage midfielder makes his presence felt

Liverpool’s  Jordan Henderson and injured team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold during the match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/AFP via Getty Images

Excitement in short supply as teams run out of steam in second half and settle for a draw

 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: he  struggled to explain why his team had played so badly against Arsenal until the contrast with the Leipzig match was mentioned, at which point he remarked, “maybe that is the reason”.  Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Managers united in condemnation of decision not to persist with five-substitute rule

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has written in The Sunday Times about what he thinks of Project Big Picture. Photo: Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

Contingent of Premier League clubs know leaked plan would come at their expense

Stephen Kenny looks on as Aaron Connoly tries to win possession during Ireland’s defeat to Finland. Photograph: Kalle Parkkinen/Inpho

Former Ireland manager fails to follow Jack Charlton’s example while on co-commentary duty

Ireland midfielder  Jeff Hendrick  holds off the challenge of Wales’ Matthew Smith during the Uefa Nations  match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Two games into this triple header, Ireland have lost 12 players to Covid-19, close contacts and injury

The Ireland players line up during the penalty shoot-oot against Slovakia. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Say what you like about the FAI, they keep finding ways to amaze you

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts during the Premier League loss to Tottenham at Old Trafford. Photo: Alex Livesey/AFP via Getty Images

Manager continues to contradict himself and there seems to be no set plan at the club

Tottenham Hotspur players surround referee Peter Bankes after he awards a penalty against  Eric Dier for handball. As long as there is VAR, these micro-handballs will demand adjudication, and the only way to escape this is to stop using VAR.  Photograph: Andrew Boyers/NMC

Football in eerie, empty grounds has been reduced to a parody of its former self

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz  and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold battling for the ball  at Stamford Bridge, London. Photograph:  Matt Dunham/NMC Pool/PA Wire

Frank Lampard has to play attacking football and must find a way for German to thrive

Spurs manager José Mourinho walking off the pitch after his team’s defeat at home  to Everton. Photograph: Alex Pantling/AFP

Everton should finish ahead of Spurs based on performance of Ancelotti’s new midfield

Ireland’s Shane Duffy attempts a header on Finland’s goal during their Nations League match at  the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Sunday.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Stephen Kenny’s grand ambition to change Irish football’s image won’t happen overnight

Ireland captain Shane Duffy tackles Bulgaria’s Galin Ivanov during the  Uefa Nations League match in Sofia. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA

Shane Duffy left it late to make up for his role in Bulgaria’s goal in Sofia

Street artwork in Barcelona depicting Lionel Messi as Argentinian revolutionary  Che Guevara. Photograph: Pau Barrena/Getty Images

If anyone can maximise Messi’s strengths while covering his weaknesses, it’s Pep Guardiola

 Bayern Munich’s French forward Kingsley Coman celebrates scoring. Photograph: Getty Images

Hansi Flick sticks to his tactics and is rewarded but Bayern Munich ride their luck

Lionel Messi looks dejected as Bayern Munich run riot. Photo: Manu Fernandez/Pool via Getty Images

Allowing the wonderful but slow star to set the tempo for the club has been a disaster

 Cristiano Ronaldo shows his frustration during the Champions League round of 16 second leg  between Juventus and Lyon at the Allianz stadium in Turin, Italy. Phototraph: Antonio Calanni/AP

Portuguese star could win another title and concentrate on Champions League

 Kepa Arrizabalaga: he finished the season at Chelsea with the worst save percentage of all 108 goalkeepers who played more than 1,000 minutes in the top five European leagues. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Arrizabalaga has endured a nightmare season behind a clearly suspect defence

Tottenham’s manager José Mourinho congratulates his players after their 2-1 win over Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. Photograph: Michael Regan/NMC/Pool/EPA

The Tottenham manager’s clear lack of enthusiasm is rubbing off on the entire team

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer congratulates Mason Greenwood after his brace against Bournemouth. Photograph: Peter Powell/AFP/Getty

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have lost fewer matches in the league than Man City

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard with his players after their FA Cup quarter-final win over Leicester City. Photo: Tim Keeton/Pool via Getty Images

Chelsea boss doesn’t seem to like it when the odd pundit questions his coaching credentials

Jürgen Klopp has transformed the global image of Liverpool. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Jürgen Klopp has transformed global image into a team it’s impossible not to like

Nascar driver Bubba Wallace’s car sporting a Black Lives Matter logo at a race in Martinsville, Virginia last Wednesday.   Photograph: Steve Helber/AP

Premier League, Nascar and NFL no longer worried about losing 'traditional fanbase'

More articles