The Premier League: A Week in Review

Farewell then Slaven, for now at least. In truth, the most impressive aspect of the Croatian’s tenure at West Ham was not that fondest of farewell thrillers against Manchester United at Upton Park or unleashing a season a half of brilliance from Dimitri Payet upon English football. Rather, it was the sheer volume of time the man was able to continue occupying his post beyond the point where his credibility seemingly became as shot as those who put him there. Continue reading “The Premier League: A Week in Review”

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Zidane’s Madrid still trying to prove they’re the Real deal

If you think back a decade, when Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona were at the peak of their powers, the level of fascination his side generated appeared unprecedented. Tiki-taka tickled everyone’s lips. Books were written. Column inches overflowed. Ceaseless debate dwelled upon their place in the footballing pantheon, with many inserting them as the apex XI to ever grace grass. Continue reading “Zidane’s Madrid still trying to prove they’re the Real deal”

Andy Carroll Idiocy Presents Bilic a Shot at Redemption

Andy Carroll has always seemed more horse than man. Often, this is his greatest attribute. There are few more paralysing sights for a centre-half than catching Carroll in your peripheral vision, tongue drooling and eyes bulging with anticipated glory, as he comes galloping in at the back post to meet a cross like a Grand National contender attacking Becher’s Brook. It’s a truly awesome sight and there are surely very few players in the world who are so good at one single element of footballing practicality as West Ham’s centre forward is in such a situation. Continue reading “Andy Carroll Idiocy Presents Bilic a Shot at Redemption”

Lionel Messi Checkmates God

When you hear professional sportsmen being interviewed, in between the rehashed script about “giving it 100%” and “taking things one game at a time”, first on the list of thanks is often the almighty. Every achievement is understood as a blessing from God, every failure a preordained judgement deemed necessary to stiffen resolve, stimulate motivation and push the individual in question towards a higher destiny. As an outsider and an atheist, to hear the seemingly absurdist sporting narrative distilled into an intimate interaction between oneself and the divine is both a fascinating insight into the psychological wiring of elite level athletes and a compellingly alien interpretation of what this writer has always taken to be a wholly temporal pursuit. Continue reading “Lionel Messi Checkmates God”

Intrepid England Boldly Go Where They’ve So Often Been Before

As the final few minutes counted down inside Wembley the crowd was hushed in quiet contemplation. We were going to the world cup, and as the feeling sank in, such was the overpowering swell of emotion, not a soul could think to disturb the moment of collective reflection on the achievement. Those who were able to pull themselves together spoke artistically instead by playfully launching paper planes, poetic symbols of the journey their heroes will now take from these shores next summer to let the lions roar. Continue reading “Intrepid England Boldly Go Where They’ve So Often Been Before”

Premier League Week 7: A Tale of Two Strikers

 

There wasn’t a great deal particularly impressive about Harry Kane’s first goal on Saturday. Two centre backs caught up the pitch, a harmless header into the Huddersfield half, a defensive error and a keeper beaten at his near post. So slapdash was the chance’s conception, and so straightforward its consumption, that it failed to threaten the forward’s top five finishes of the week. Given his recent rampancy, Kane himself may have already forgotten scoring a goal of such mundanity. Continue reading “Premier League Week 7: A Tale of Two Strikers”