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Benítez and Rondón are symptoms, not cause, of Everton’s deep malaise

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Derbies, if received wisdom is to be believed, can be very handy for arresting a slump. They can jolt players out of a rut, or the heightened passions can occlude differences in class. Not at Goodison on Wednesday nig...

Lionel Messi is well past his best but this seventh Ballon d’Or feels right

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And so it was Lionel Messi again, for the seventh time and, barring the most extraordinary of all career finales at the World Cup in Qatar, surely the last. Whatever the idiosyncrasies of the Ballon d’Or, Messi’s exce...

Ralf Rangnick’s arrival signals shift from messiah fix to modern vision of the game

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As Manchester United go to Chelsea on Sunday, there may be regrets for roads not travelled. Six months after United appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjær as manager, Chelsea also turned to one of their own. But they were far ...

Ronaldo is the biggest problem for Manchester United’s next manager

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Così, what next? Ole Gunnar Solskjær has gone, and with him perhaps Manchester United’s most visible problem, but a sentimental appointment wasn’t the only issue holding the club back. United is institutionally dysfunct...

Marry Me: do you take the J-Lo/Owen Wilson romcom to be the weirdest film of 2022?

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Nobody really wants it to be 2021, do they? A vicious global pandemic is about to enter its third year, the world is on fire and populist politics threatens to overturn democracy as we know it. Some people have reacte...

Balance matters more than romance in England’s quest for World Cup glory

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Within nine months of his first match as England manager in 1963, Alf Ramsey had seen his side put eight past both Switzerland and Northern Ireland (Bobby Charlton scored three in the first of those games, Jimmy Greav...

It is absurd to dismiss Eddie Howe but he faces a tough task at Newcastle

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And after all that, it turned out it was Eddie Howe all along. When the Saudis took over Newcastle United on 7 ottobre, Howe was immediately mooted as a realistic short-term appointment. He is young, likable, plays at...

Manchester United have regressed and derby defeat was painfully predictable

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Football is a game that only occasionally follows the script. Before every big game everybody prognosticates, looks at the form and the history, considers the tactical match-ups and tries to read the way the historica...

Grealish and Sancho could be thriving if each were at the other’s club

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With Manchester City desperate for an equaliser against Crystal Palace last weekend, Jack Grealish was taken off. He was also taken off as City sought goals against Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool. Grealish has star...

Here’s a thought-experiment that captures Facebook’s betrayal of users

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Imagine that right now the postman is reading your mail and making a note of your most private thoughts and preferences. He notices that you lean slightly to the right and read the Wall Street Journal. He begins hawki...

Gli Spurs hanno uno dei grandi stadi e tutto ciò che è costato loro è stata la squadra

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Ci sarebbero sempre stati fischi da un capo all'altro del campo e, mentre la squadra di Ole Gunnar Solskjær ha ottenuto un'altra di quelle vittorie salva-lavoro sempre più familiari, venivano dai tifosi degli Spurs. A metà-...

Using artificial intelligence to rule on handball is a tantalising possibility

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How should an essay be marked? You might think a teacher should simply read it and make a judgment based on the impression it makes: logically coherent, offers evidence to back up its case, reads well, is original – f...

Manchester United rout had been coming: nobody has a clue what they are doing

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What have Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Alan Partridge got in common? Both need help constructing a press. Nobody can say they weren’t warned. This is a Manchester United with absolutely no midfield cohesion. A result like...

Back to the future for Liverpool as control gives way to constant clatter

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‘Something,” Jürgen Klopp said in February 2019 after Liverpool had drawn 0-0 at home against Bayern, “changed in the world of football – everyone adapted to it and we have to make sure we adapt.” He was talking about...

Rafa Benítez’s efficient Everton may not be entertainers – but they are working

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What we want and what we need are often very different things. You get home weary in the evening and look around the kitchen. You probably could knock something reasonably tasty together from the vegetables and the br...

Solskjær cannot continue to survive on goodwill and fond memories

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It was an afternoon to stir the soul, a thrilling game of three outstanding goals and a Leicester performance that suggested their injury problems may be behind them and their season may be about to begin. Even in the...

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