Alex Chick

  • Change your team, not the game, Arsene

    So Arsene Wenger claims
    to be surprised at criticism
    aimed at him by Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis?

    Pull the other one. The
    Arsenal boss has long been an outspoken opponent of the style exemplified by
    Allardyce's Blackburn and Stoke's Pulis, and
    has pledged to continue voicing his opposition to what he perceives as bully-boy
    tactics.

    Those managers have
    quite naturally defended their teams against Wenger's holier-than-thou attacks.
    But of course, that's not how he sees it.

    "They shouldn't (take it personally) because I do not
    criticise them," Wenger said. "Most of the time it was down to the

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  • Why the Premier League is better than La Liga

    The Ballon d'Or
    nominations this week cued much teeth-gnashing about the decline of the Premier
    League.

    Five years ago, 11 of
    the top 23 players in the Ballon d'Or voting plied their trade in England. This
    year we have just three, of whom one - Asamoah Gyan - spent most of the year in
    France, has scored one goal
    for Sunderland and doesn't deserve to be on
    the list anyway.

    La Liga has 11
    representatives, while the Bundesliga (five) and Serie A (four) also beat the
    Premier League.

    The list of
    nominees may be a perfectly acceptable reflection of the year in football, but it
    is an exceptionally

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  • A pity, not a disgrace

    World Cup? Load of rubbish. Didn't want it anyway...

    From the moment rumours began to circulate that our bid had been knocked out in the first round, the moral high ground groaned under the weight of Englishmen and women clambering on top of it. 

    In the 30 seconds after the result was announced, the word 'disgrace' popped up on my Twitter feed roughly 16,000 times.

    Then followed the announcement that Qatar (whose population is roughly equivalent to that of Glasgow, and climate most certainly isn't) had won the right to host the 2022 tournament, and a second wave of outrage issued forth.

    This,

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  • World Cup Flops XI

    It was a World Cup of battered reputations as numerous global icons failed to live up to their billing.

    Here is a team full of top flops. The only rule is one player per country. So Messrs Terry, Green, Barry and company should count themselves lucky.

    1 Julio Cesar (Brazil)
    The Inter Milan man came into the tournament with some people calling him the best goalkeeper in the world. But he blotted his copybook against Netherlands, failing to deal with a Wesley Sneijder free-kick that heralded Brazil's self-destruction. Called the Jabulani a 'supermarket ball' and ended up being invited to check

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  • Is Drogba really OK?

    Is Didier Drogba trying to make Cheryl Cole look bad?

    The poor pop princess nearly died after contracting
    the illness on safari in Tanzania
    this year.

    She subsequently spent a good 15 minutes crying her
    heart out to Piers Morgan about the ordeal, which left her so weak and addled she
    can no longer judge an X-Factor sing-off without crumbling under the pressure
    of it all.

    As for the Drog?

    Well, yes, he's got malaria, but he'll probably start
    against Fulham tomorrow night. He's a trooper.

    Carlo Ancelotti says Drogba is over the illness he
    contracted while on holiday recently, but Chelsea
    fans

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  • Rooney’s lazy lust for trophies

    There are five reasons and five reasons only why anyone chooses a football club.

    1- Money
    It is a huge factor, and anyone who says otherwise is just plain lying. If someone offers to double your money, you're going to be interested, right?

    2- On-pitch success
    Whether in the form of silverware, Champions League qualification or promotion, players love to be associated with a successful club.

    3- First-team football
    Players will sometimes swallow their pride and change clubs just to get a game. Or, if they're Carlo Cudicini, they change clubs to sit on a slightly different bench.

    4- Lifestyle
    There

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  • Strife inevitable at unbalanced City

    It feels a lot like 2009 for Manchester City, doesn't it?

    This time last year, City had 19 points from their first 10 games, but a run of lacklustre performances had put Mark Hughes under pressure. Roberto Mancini was already in the building when Hughes stood in the dugout for his last game on December 19.

    Mancini probably has a greater appreciation now of how his predecessor felt. He has two fewer points from his 10 games this term, and victories against Chelsea and Liverpool count for nothing when set against the fear of drifting out of the title race so early in the piece that Wagner has

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  • Hyping the unhypable

    I like the Ryder Cup a lot. It's three days of
    genuinely gripping action - as tense, thrilling and nerve-racking as golf gets.
    It's also one in the eye for tedious Euro-scepticism, as the Special
    Relationship gets ditched in favour of unlikely blue-and-gold solidarity.

    It doesn't need hyping. But as it's on a popular
    satellite broadcaster that will remain nameless (in this sentence at least), it
    has been hyped to within an inch of its life.

    And the desire to give it equal billing to the
    Premier League is shown in the bizarre red-button option to watch both the
    Ryder Cup and Chelsea-Arsenal

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  • Nigel De Jong: Saint or sinner?

    A day after
    Nigel De Jong made a tackle deemed fair by referee Martin Atkinson, but which
    left Hatem Ben Arfa with a broken leg, he was dropped by his country.

    The Manchester City's midfielder's challenge apparently
    left Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk with "no alternative" but to
    axe him.

    This from a
    man who defended his side after all but two of his outfield players were booked
    in the World Cup final (Johnny Heitinga twice).

    That match
    included an outrageous De Jong kung-fu kick to Xabi Alonso's sternum that Howard
    Webb did not deem worthy of a red card or FIFA of additional punishment.

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  • England inquest live chat

    Join Armchair Pundit Alex Chick to pick over the aftermath of the England v Montenegro Euro 2012 qualifier.

    There are bound to be plenty of talking points, so leave your comments and questions below and we'll conduct a post-match inquest.

    A disappointing result and an even worse performance - what did you make of that?

    Read More »from England inquest live chat