Tag: Manchester United

Liverpool Edge The Clash Of The Titans

One nil to the Liverpool. For the third consecutive time this season Liverpool won by a single goal in the Premier League, but these three points may well prove to be worth more than the other six were. Manchester United, albeit a flat, lifeless Manchester United playing in the manner of a facsimile of the team that cantered to the Premier League championship last season, were the vanquished team this afternoon, ending a run of four matches without a win in this most vituperative of local derbies and providing a glimpse of one team that finally seems to be turning a corner and one that showed an unnerving lack of conviction for a match of such importance. The goal that settled the match came early, and was scored by one of the greenest shoots of Liverpool’s season so far. After just three minutes had been played, a corner from the right was headed goal-wards and Sturridge, displaying both presence of mind and intelligence, flicked the ball between the two defenders on the goal line and in to give Liverpool the lead. After such an opening and such a trail in the days building up to the match, we have expected further fireworks, but this was a game that never caught light and at full-time the volume rose from the crowd to a crescendo as much from a sense of...

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Liverpool & Manchester United: A Tale Of Two Cities

Tomorrow afternoon at Anfield, Liverpool and Manchester United will take the pitch for their first meeting of the season. When broadcasters talk in cliché about the passion and suchlike of the game in this country, it is for these matches that the volume levels reach their apotheosis and for the two clubs to be meeting this early in the season will show a global audience a visceral edge to the Premier League that we haven’t yet seen this season. But over the last couple of decades this rivalry has at times become something more poisonous. A swivel-eyed minority with a tendency to shout the loudest have frequently come to hijack the narrative of a fixture which carries a subtext that reaches far beyond the mere watching of a sport. Liverpool versus Manchester United is a story of two different cultures that grew both together and apart out of the crucible that was the industrial revolution, but it’s also a story of two football clubs that have as much in common as they have differences. These are two of the great institutions of English football, with stories stretching back to the nineteenth century which touch upon both triumph and tragedy, at different parts in the history of our game, they have dominated the landscape like behemoths, breaking records and holding their own amongst the very best in the world. And...

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That’s Entertainment – Or Not, As The Case May Be

For the modern football supporter, there are two types of investment associated with their role in going to matches. The first is emotional, a desire to win, a bond with the team or with the club. The second is, in the modern game, financial. Attending a football match is, for a majority of supporters these days, no longer a matter of pitching up at five minutes to three on a Saturday afternoon with a handful of coins and paying an insignificant amount of money for a couple of hours’ cheap entertainment. There are logistics to take into account, and then there is the small matter of the fact that, in the Premier League, a season ticket is a sizable investment against which supporters might hope to make some sort of return. Last night at Old Trafford, both Manchester United and Chelsea failed in their quest to entertain, but as professional football increasingly becomes part of the entertainment industry it becomes easier to forget that this concept of “entertainment” remains riddles with qualifiers in sport. As we are perpetually reminded, professional football in the twenty-first century is a results business, and neither Jose Mourinho or David Moyes will have emerged from last night’s match considering the result to have been disastrous. But that small matter of entertainment – especially in an era during which it has clear that the interests...

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The 200% Premier League Pre-Season: Manchester United

With the joy of achievement comes the burden of expectation, and there at few football clubs on the entire planet at which that burden is higher than Manchester United. Over the last twenty-one years, this club has enjoyed a period of success unprecedented in the entire history of English football, and unlike other periods of dominance at other clubs in the past, this one has been cemented in place by the reliance on ready money that professional football now requires and the lopsided nature of the distribution of that money, both through the Premier League and the Champions League, this one seems unlikely to end at any time in the foreseeable future. And yet, and yet. Those who have hoped and prayed for an end to Manchester United’s dominance of the Premier League always had one moment upon which their hopes were pinned. All of United’s success had come under the managership of Sir Alex Ferguson, but he would have to retire one day. What then? Well, now that day has come, and we will find out. Ferguson’s retirement from the managerial position at Old Trafford was the biggest single football story of last season, and the second biggest was that of who would replace him. That burden has fallen upon the shoulders of David Moyes, of course, and the level of scrutiny that Moyes is under is already...

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