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Day: August 12, 2012

The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Manchester City

History, as every third-rate writer already knows, has a tendency to be written by the victors. In amongst the hysteria that accompanied the absurdly tight finish to last years Premier League season, it was perhaps forgotten amongst the celebrations and tears just how close Manchester City came to what surely would have had to be regarded as the failure of not winning the Premier League championship. No-one of the blue persuasion in Manchester probably cared that much at the time. Football may be considered a results business, but it is also an area which excels in providing snapshots mental images for preservation in our memories, and few of these from last season will prove to be more indelible than that of Sergio Aguero forcing the ball into the Queens Park Rangers goal through what seemed at the time like some sheer force of will to snatch the title from the grasp of Manchester United at the very last possible minute. Similarly clichéed is the notion of the “difficult second season.” Winning a title, we are sometimes told, is the easy bit. It’s defending it which proves to be trickier, apparently. Such arguments tend to overlook the psychological hurdle that is overcome with a first league championship win for a long time, as well as the effect that such a win may have upon their opponents. Teams playing against Manchester...

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Match Of The Past: Burnley FC

We continue our series of historical videos of the clubs of the Football League Championship – League One and League Two are to follow – this afternoon with Burnley FC, and six videos spanning the years from 1960 to 1994. The greatest period in the history of this club was largely hidden from the view of television cameras – autocratic owner Bob Lord didn’t allow Match Of The Day cameras into Turf Moor until 1968 – but we do kick off with a short film made for the BBC on the subject of their league title-winning side of 1960, before skipping forward twelve years to follow the Clarets to Craven Cottage for an away league match against Fulham from the start of the 1972/73 season By the middle of the 1980s, the decline of English football was more than apparent. Burnley had last played in the First Division in 1976, but our third match sees them on their travels again, this time to The Baseball Ground to play Derby County in a Second Division match from September 1984. Within three years of this match, however, the club was fighting for its survival in the Football League. With automatic promotion and relegation having been introduced, the club went into its final match of the 1986/87 season needing a win against Orient to cling onto its Football League status – it...

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The 200% Pre-Season Previews: Liverpool

This morning, we are delighted to welcome a long-time friend of this site back to 200%. Here’s Paul Grech with a preview of Liverpools hopes and challenges for the new season. For the third year running, Liverpool start a new season with a new manager in charge.  After the misguided appointment of Roy Hodgson and then the return of Kenny Dalglish, it is now up to Brendan Rodgers to try and deliver the progress that has failed to materialise under his predecessors. Even so, those that he has been asked to fill are pretty big shoes.  Dalglish’s dismissal was messy to say the least.  Having seen the club’s owners getting rid of Technical Director Damien Comolli on the eve of an FA Cup semi-final, Dalglish limped on till the end of the season under a cloud of uncertainty until he was called over to America and told that the manager’s job was no longer his. Not that the dismissal was unexpected. Having spent an excessive amount of money on the likes of Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique, Liverpool were expected to deliver a far better result than the eventual dismal eight place finish. Then again, Dalglish can point to some attractive football played during the season where results didn’t exactly reward the performance. He can also point to a League Cup won (the club’s first...

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