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Chelsea miss Mount as Guardiola wrestles control back from Tuchel

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It’s dangerous always to elevate players in absentia, to assume that if only they had been there they would have produced a flawless game and performed absolutely to their maximum, but perhaps the biggest lesson from ...

Struggling neighbours offer Spurs a grim warning of their own mediocre future

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The phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached Spurs. It was shrouded in a deep black garment, which concealed its head, its face, its form, and left nothing visible save one outstretched hand. It pointed to the sou...

Jonathan Franzen: ‘I just write it like I see it and that gets me in trouble’

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IT IS 11AM PACIFIC TIME and Jonathan Franzen has just turned on the light. “Special occasion,” he says drily of our video call. A sliver of sunshine dares to creep under the venetian blind at the window. “I’m vampiric...

The cause of our food and petrol shortages is Brexit – yet no one dares name it

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It has become the Voldemort of British politics, the word few in government or opposition will breathe out loud. Once repeated with numbing frequency, it is now the cause that dare not speak its name. I’m talking abou...

James Rodríguez and Everton was always a beautiful doomed marriage

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James Rodríguez has gone to Qatar in search of work, although unlike many others who have made the trip before him he can at least keep his passport and will be allowed to leave whenever he wants. The bewitching Colom...

Jonathan Mirsky: reporter who went from Mao fan to fierce Beijing critic

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Jonathan Mirsky, the Observer’s former China correspondent who has died aged 88, was acutely aware of the mounting danger from the bullets criss-crossing Tiananmen Square on 4 giugno 1989 as units of the People’s Libera...

Brighton are making strides under Graham Potter but the hard yards lie ahead

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xG is not a perfect tool. Models vary. They have flaws. Ma ancora, it is striking that most xG – expected goals – models for last season had Brighton finishing not 16th, as they actually did, but fifth or sixth. Imagi...

Manchester United’s latest failure looks less a blip than part of a pattern

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With about 10 minutes to go at the Wankdorf Stadion, there was sudden uproar on the Manchester United bench. The referee, François Letexier, had failed to spot a foul on Paul Pogba and on the touchline Ole Gunnar Sols...

Novak Djokovic lost his bid for history but may have finally won the hearts of fans

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Something was wrong. The machine was malfunctioning. The power was blinking on and off. Routine backhands were dropping into the net. Forehands were flying long. On Amazon, which was hosting UK television coverage of ...

Emma Raducanu’s US Open win was a glorious aligning of the fates

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Così: che è successo. As Emma Raducanu emerged from Arthur Ashe Stadium clutching the US Open trophy to her chest, the blood on her knee still visible from where she had fallen, it was possible to feel a little dazed, un ...

Cristiano Ronaldo hero worship does not mask Manchester United’s flaws

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They had come to celebrate Cristiano Ronaldo and they got what they had come for: not one, but two opportunities to shout “Si!” as he celebrated goals with that characteristic spread of the arms and thrust of the groi...

Champions League’s group stage is oddly palatable in a stale world

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There is, perhaps, no better indication of how broken modern football is that the return of the Champions League group stages feels almost like a palate cleanser. With the Swiss system to be introduced in 2024, and pl...

The Ronaldo phenomenon: how one player became a tyranny of numbers

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In the aftermath of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shock return to Manchester United last week, there was a good deal of feverish speculation about whether he would reclaim the famous No 7 shirt once worn by United legends such ...

The lesson we failed to learn from 9/11: peace is impossible if we don’t talk to our enemies

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The fall of Kabul 20 years after 9/11 represents not just the failure of the western strategy in Afghanistan but a wider failure of our overall strategy in tackling the terrorism that gave rise to the attacks in New Y...

Ceaseless noise of judgment has dehumanised young sport stars

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Naomi Osaka gave a press conference on Friday night. She’s started doing them again, a proposito; I mention this only because after opting out of media duties during the French Open this year, lots of people immediatel...

Masterful Jasprit Bumrah the true architect of India’s triumph

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The signs were there, if you wanted to see them. England’s batsmen emerged for the start of day five full of vigour and hope, buoyed by their unbeaten start the previous evening and a crowd that believed, against the ...

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