Alex Chick
  • Vidic leaves worrying mess behind at Manchester United

    Manchester United won't miss Nemanja Vidic's influence on the pitch when he leaves Old Trafford.

    Not because they have a ready-made replacement for their imposing captain, but because they are already missing him.

    A fateful knee injury sustained in Basel in 2011 reduced him to a cruel parody of the man who formed, with Rio Ferdinand and Edwin van der Sar, a defensive barrier formidable enough to keep the Somerset levels bone dry.

    Although he seemed more likely than Ferdinand to adapt to his new physical limitations and maintain his influential presence - as John Terry has done at Chelsea -

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  • Manchester United – worse than Mrs Brown’s Boys

    Trying to pick the worst aspect of Manchester United latest slump in form is like selecting the least amusing scene from a Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special.

    There is much to choose from, and in many ways there's no wrong answer - in the end it's all part of the same desolate, depressing spectacle.

    [MATCH REPORT: Sunderland inflict more woe on United]

    Still, at least people actually seem to like Mrs Brown (and if you're one of them, you can stop reading now). There might have been people laughing last night, but none of them supported United, whose fanbase has been sucked into a collective

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  • This blog won't argue that Joe Hart is in the form of his life. Anyone with eyes knows he isn't. His errors against Bayern Munich continued a worrying trend of high-profile mistakes.

    However, despite the drop in his performance level, the Manchester City goalkeeper remains England's best and should play the World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.

    This week's trendy pretender is Celtic's Fraser Forster, who put in an admirable display in the 1-0 defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday.

    He's already been in the senior England squad and you can make a strong case for him to win his first cap.

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  • Did Manchester United get the wrong man?

    I hope Manchester United manager David Moyes and chief exec Ed Woodward were watching Jose Mourinho's post-match interview on TV last night.

    That, gentlemen, is how you conduct your transfer business in public.

    Mourinho's recent utterances on Wayne Rooney have been a study in masterful duplicity.

    Last week he reassured United that, out of respect, he wouldn't make another bid for Rooney until after they played Chelsea on Monday.

    Translation: We'll definitely bid again. But not now - we'd rather leave it hanging over you for a while so he’s still in limbo when we play you.

    Last night he

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  • It’s Christmas morning for football fans

    It's Christmas morning for football fans.

    From wide-eyed kids to hard-bitten hacks, we've all got that giddy feeling of anticipation as we prepare to tear into our presents.

    Inside the stocking marked 'Premier League 2013/14' are 380 little gifts. And as with Christmas, it's almost more fun to think about what they might be than to rip open the wrapping paper to discover yet another pair of grey socks (this increasingly tortured metaphor's version of Fulham 0-0 Stoke).

    Look, the Premier League has its bad points.

    It rarely lives up to the hype; it's amoral at best, immoral at worst; it rips

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  • Will Wayne Rooney play? Why England-Scotland is huge for Moyes

    If there are other reasons to care about tonight's England versus Scotland game than Wayne Rooney, I certainly don't know of any.

    At a different time of year - say, not three days before the start of the Premier League - and in a competitive setting, you could present a case for the fixture carrying some of the old Home Internationals' sporting and cultural significance.

    But not tonight. All anyone wants to do in an international friendly is not get injured, and you won’t see a clearer example than at Wembley this evening.

    So thank heaven for Rooney, whose will-he won't-he drama looks set to

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  • Why Hull City Tigers is a grrrrrreat name

    Assem Allam's decision to change Hull City's name to Hull City Tigers has been met with predictable dismay within football.

    Here's a flavour of the reaction.

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  • Have Liverpool only just realised Luis Suarez does bad things?

    "There has been total disrespect of the club ... I will take strong, decisive action, absolutely ... My job is to fight and protect the club ... (An apology is) something I will ensure before anything happens in the future."

    Strong words from the Liverpool manager.

    - Might they have come in October 2011, when Luis Suarez's melodramatic shrieking got Jack Rodwell sent off in the Merseyside derby (a red that was later rescinded)?

    - Or how about in December 2011, when an FA independent regulatory commission found him guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra and banned him for

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  • Sir Andy Murray: greater than Redgrave, Hoy and Wiggins

    Let's just get the formalities over with and give Andy Murray that knighthood right now. Why wait until the New Year?

    The Scotsman has achieved feats every bit as skyscraping as Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Steve Redgrave.

    In fact, Murray has surpassed that remarkable trio, and should go down as the greatest British sportsman of the modern era.

    Let me explain, for this is not simply the knee-jerk reaction of a blog drunk on emotion and Pimm's.

    Though he is still ranked number two, Murray looks very much like the best tennis player in the world. He holds two Grand Slams plus the

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  • Where can Rooney go next?

    Where Wayne Rooney wants to go and who actually wants him are not the same thing - despite the England striker's global profile and 214 career goals, the world is not quite his oyster.

    A combination of huge wages, a poor 2012/13 season and over 10 years of wear and tear make him a gamble for potential buyers.

    So where will he end up?

    Bayern Munich - 5/4

    The Bavarians have been installed as short-priced favourites as incoming manager Pep Guardiola looks to spruce up his strikeforce. Rooney would certainly represent a major coup, but with Mario Goetze already signed and Robert Lewandwoski

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