Alex Chick

  • Pre-season predictions revisited

    David Silva: Making Armchair Pundit look halfway competentOn August 5, I made a bunch of predictions for the upcoming Premier League season.

    As we reach the campaign's midpoint, it is time to take a look at how I am doing so far.

    - - -

    Prediction: Champions - Manchester United

    What I wrote: 'Manchester City might have brought down the '35 years' banner but they still exude a faint air of desperation.

    Second: Manchester City, Third: Liverpool, Fourth: Chelsea.'

    How it looks now: Not great. Desperation has turned to supreme confidence and City are odds-on to convert their exceptional start into a first league title since 1968. United remain the closest

    Read More »from Pre-season predictions revisited
  • Chelsea should fine selfish Lampard

    Often a result doesn't tell the whole story.

    Manchester City lost a Premier League game for the first
    time this season, but have every reason to feel confident of lifting the title.

    They can take heart from their performance in last night's
    2-1 defeat at Chelsea, particularly in an excellent first half.

    That's not to say they merited a win - more often than not
    in football you get what you deserve, and what they got was nothing.

    Yes they should have had a penalty, but otherwise City's
    wounds were self-inflicted, through a failure to press home their early
    advantage and a brainless sending-off.

    Read More »from Chelsea should fine selfish Lampard
  • End of English dominance? What dominance?

    It could be a humbling week for the Premier League in Europe, as three sides stand on the brink of a group stage exit in the Champions League.

    Both Manchester clubs and Chelsea are one bad result away from the Europa League, and while only City's fate is out of their hands it has certainly been a poor collective campaign for English sides.

    Along with Arsenal, the endangered trio have won only nine of 20 games, including failures to beat the unheralded likes of Genk and Basel.

    These struggles have been taken as evidence that the Premier League no longer dominates Europe - a recurring theme in

    Read More »from End of English dominance? What dominance?
  • Another Sports Personality snub for football

    Another year, another snub to our overpaid prima donnas.

    For the fifth time in six years, not a single football player has made the 10-strong shortlist for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year award.

    And this time, it wasn't even close, as shown by a look at the votes of the 27 publications who elect the nominees will tell you.

    Football's biggest contribution came via a completely bonkers selection from the Manchester Evening News, featuring the quartet of Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov, Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira - three quarters of whom do not even qualify on nationality grounds.

    Read More »from Another Sports Personality snub for football
  • Redknapp title talk a shrewd move

    Can Tottenham Hotspur really win the Premier League? Harry
    Redknapp wants us to believe they can.

    In his post-match interview after last night's win against
    Aston Villa, the Spurs boss claimed: "If we keep up the form we're in at
    the moment we'll win the league."

    This, of course, is rubbish. If everybody maintains their form
    Spurs will come second behind City.

    But it was a measure of the feelgood factor at White Hart
    Lane, following eight wins from nine games, that the manager felt emboldened to
    make such a claim.

    Actually, he has done this before - in July 2010
    then again several months later

    Read More »from Redknapp title talk a shrewd move
  • England playing the Capello way

    Two victories, two clean sheets, two winless streaks broken.

    England have ended a run of 31 years without beating the World Cup holders, and of 43 years without a win against Sweden.

    All very good, but these wins will only be infused with real significance if things go well at Euro 2012.

    Was this the week England learned to beat good opposition playing controlled, intelligent football? Or was it just a couple of rather featureless matches that happened to go our way?

    The dangers of claiming to 'learn' things from a single match are obvious, but it seems clear that England can play in a 4-3-3,

    Read More »from England playing the Capello way
  • Ronaldo: The £80m bargain

    When Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid from Manchester
    United in 2009, he faced a tough task justifying his world record price tag.

    Two-and-a-half seasons and just 105 games later, Ronaldo has
    reached 100 goals for the club.

    He brought up his century on Wednesday night with a brace
    against Lyon, including a viciously powerful free-kick.

    It is a staggering achievement, which shows Real Madrid
    have achieved the impossible and got themselves an £80 million bargain.

    In a world where Andy Carroll costs a cool £35 million and
    Charles N'Zogbia sets you back £10m, surely Ronaldo classifies as an

    Read More »from Ronaldo: The £80m bargain
  • Greedy players must get real

    As the summer transfer window nears its final
    stages, something strange is happening.

    Many of the moves that were 'definitely'
    happening have failed to materialise. A clutch of big names find themselves
    languishing at clubs, long after they have made plain their intention to move

    Wesley Sneijder, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel
    Adebayor... all were expected to be off within days of the window opening. None
    have gone.

    Behind this strange phenomenon, there has been
    a fundamental shift in the way these players approach transfer negotiations.

    Footballers have long been accused of being

    Read More »from Greedy players must get real
  • Who will get the Group of Death?

    Champions League group stage draw is as much a part of the competition's drama
    as any of the match days.

    It might
    be easy to mock the suited UEFA bureaucrats bumbling their way through
    technical regulations, but the draw itself is a glorious combination of
    tension and excitement.

    year, some famous names have been (re-)introduced into the mix, and lurk
    menacingly in the lower reaches of the draw - Manchester City in Pot 3, Borussia
    Dortmund and Napoli in Pot 4.

    To help
    you work out who you would like your team to be drawn with, I have given European rankings based on UEFA's five-year

    Read More »from Who will get the Group of Death?