- June 01, 2016
1st June 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
Cutting in from the left-wing and unleashing a powerful, curling strike into the far corner, Memphis Depay fires Manchester United into a 2-1 lead against Club Brugge. United unexpectedly fell behind to their visitors in this Champions League qualifying round first-leg tie thanks to a Michael Carrick own-goal, but it was Depay who pulled them level with a fine individual goal. The £26 million summer signing has now turned the tie on its head in spectacular fashion. In stoppage time Depay would add an assist to his impressive night's work when crossing for Marouane Fellaini to give the Red Devils a 3-1 victory.
Quite the start for the 21-year-old in only his second appearance for his new club. Sporting the famous number 7 jersey worn by club legends George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham, Depay, rather predictably, drew comparisons to another former occupant of that squad number, Cristiano Ronaldo.
A young, pacey winger with a penchant
- May 09, 2016
9th May 2016. By Ryan Baldi.
David de Gea was crowned Manchester United's player of the season for the third time running this week. And in doing so, he became the first player to win the award three times in a row since its inception in 1987.
When you consider United's rich history, and the plethora of world-class players to have worn the famous red shirt over the last three decades, de Gea's achievement seems all the more remarkable.
Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Cristiano Ronaldo had all previously won the ballot in back-to-back years, but the former AtlÃ©tico Madrid goalkeeper has now gone one better.
"It's difficult to say something, to win three years in a row is amazing, I'm really happy." De Gea said when accepting the award.
"It's an honour and I want to say thank you to everyone. I think we have some of the best fans in the world - thank you to everyone."
De Gea is also the only goalkeeper to have won the award, which perhaps tells
- May 07, 2016
7th May 2016. By Edward Stratmann.
When Jeffrey Schlupp started against Swansea last week, it was the German born flyer's first Premier League start since November 7 for Claudio Ranieri's brilliant Leicester City.
Having began the season as Leicester's undisputed starting left-back, Jeffrey Schlupp would've been delighted with his solid start to life working under Ranieri. But following the Foxes' demoralising 5-2 loss at home to Arsenal in September, Ranieri did away with Schlupp as his left-back, instead installing Christian Fuchs, who's been magnificent ever since.
Ranieri preferred to deploy Schlupp as his left-winger for a brief period thereafter, but unfortunately Schlupp lost his spot on the wing too, with Marc Albrighton's stellar form keeping him out.
A frustrating hamstring injury in December then kept Leicester's Players' Player of the Season from last term out for around two months, something that was an especially disheartening setback given his
- May 05, 2016
5th May 2016.
In December, Manchester United legend Gary Neville took on his first-ever head manager position at Valencia. On March 30th, his tenure with the Spanish soccer squad came to an early and abrupt conclusion.
All told, Neville's dismissal from Valencia after a little less than four months in charge wasn't a surprise. The Bats have been in shambles for most of the season and Neville did little to put new wind behind the team's sails. At the time of his sacking, Neville's Valencia side had lost three La Liga games in a row, culminating in a 0-2 at-home defeat against Celta de Vigo.
The Win-Draw-Loss Record
Neville exits Valencia with the kind of unimpressive record that he will likely be trying to live down for several years to come. In total, he coached the Bats for 28 games. 10 of those ended in victory, seven in draws, and 11 in losses. Those numbers figure out to a 35.7% win percentage.
- April 29, 2016
29th April 2016. By Karl Matchett.
Another reasonably disappointing season is fast coming to a close for Manchester United, once perennial title winners but now busy establishing themselves as one of the several clubs on the outside of the top four looking in.
The Old Trafford team could still end up with the consolation prize of winning the FA Cup, a fine return for any team in any campaign, but in truth their path to the final was rather straight-forward and the final itself is unlikely to be a classic, paired up as they are against Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, United fell out of Europe at the first, embarrassingly low hurdle, then were knocked out of the second tier of continental competition by their biggest rivals Liverpool and, barring a collapse from Arsenal or Manchester City, won't finish higher than fifth in the Premier League this season.
The Red Devils have work to do over summer, which could include replacing the manager, but must include
- April 26, 2016
26th April 2016.
To say that it's been an odd year in the FA Cup would be an understatement. Last year, after heavyweight clubs like Manchester City, Chelsea, and Tottenham Hotspur were all eliminated in the round of 32, pundits labeled the tournament as one of the most wide-open in FA Cup history. Still, despite all of the ado about underdogs and upsets, Arsenal still defended their 2013/14 title to clinch the FA Cup trophy for the 12th time.
The 2015/16 FA Cup has taken almost the direct opposite narrative. Early rounds made it look as if the Premier League's top clubs would dominate the tournament. Chelsea, Manchester United, and Arsenal all made it to the quarterfinals, with none of them pitted against one another. It was almost an unspoken agreement that all three clubs would make it to the semi-finals. As it turned out, only one of them did.
Indeed, where last year's
- April 02, 2016
2nd April 2016.
Luis Suarez has enjoyed nothing but success since making the move from Liverpool to Barcelona ahead of the 2014/15 season. In his first campaign with Barca, Suarez won the treble and was a finalist for UEFA's Best Player in Europe Award. He also got to play alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar in what many have called one of the best front threes in football history. This season, meanwhile, the Uruguayan striker is duking it out with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to be the La Liga's top scorer-all while hoping for a second treble in a row for Barcelona.
With all of this success, it would be easy for Suarez to call his time in the Spanish La Liga the highlight of his career. Yet, in
- March 21, 2016
In terms of UEFA coefficient rankings (and judging by the last few Champions League and Europa League tournaments), the Spanish La Liga is the best football league in Europe. The English Premier League, meanwhile, is incredibly wealthy and is consistently cited as the most fiercely competitive division in all of soccer. While these two leagues boast plenty of virtues, though, there is one key superlative they do not have: the top stadium attendance in Europe.
Germany's Impressive Numbers
Indeed, on February 25th, the German Bundesliga announced its spectator figures for the first half of the 2015/16 campaign. According to the report, a grand total of 6,478,680 soccer fans came out to see the 153 Bundesliga games that took place between August and December 2015. That number figures out to a per-match average of 42,344 spectators-not only the highest tally of any league in Europe but also the highest of any football
- March 19, 2016
It's been a thoroughly unpredictable season of football in the English Premier League, so it stands to reason that the 2015/16 FA Cup would take an unpredictable turn as well. Following a winding and at times bizarre season, the FA Cup exploded in a series of upsets and close calls in the quarterfinals. Now, with most of the tournament's supposed frontrunners eliminated and one replay match left to decide the full semi-final draw, we are going to take a look at what happened and what could happen going forward.
The Tournament So Far
At the outset of the 2015/16 FA Cup, most of the teams earned assumed frontrunner notices were the teams that always get those notices: Premier League giants like Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United. After the third round-the first to feature most of the supposed top contenders-there was little reason to think that one of those "Big Four" clubs
- March 07, 2016
Right now, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, and arguably even West Ham United are all battling to clinch one of the English Premier League's top four spots. As in previous years, the top four clubs in the division this season will qualify for the Champions League-with the top three earning entry into the group stage and the fourth-place club heading into the final play-off round.
The race for these four slots is even more intense this year, given the fact that last year's EPL champion-Chelsea FC-has very little chance of qualifying for the Champions League. As such, clubs that haven't traditionally qualified for Europe's most prestigious tournament in the past-Leicester, Tottenham, and West Ham are getting ever close to breaking the cycle in 2016.
But what if England didn't get four spots in the Champions League? Recent rumors have suggested that the Premier League could, at some point in the not-too-distant future, be