Jim White

  • Four ties, three at home, no wins and no goals: it was not the most elevated of European weeks for Premier League clubs. Tottenham aside (reversing a 1-0 away defeat in Ukraine should be well within their capabilities) it is hard to make an argument of further advance. For Manchester City, Arsenal and Swansea this looks like the end of the line. For them the European adventure is over.

    But I’m not sure we should be writing the epitaphs for Premier League competitiveness just yet. Given their opponents next week, there is every chance that the two other English clubs in the Champions League

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  • Delusional City shown up by brilliant Barcelona

    It is surely one of the unspoken truths of modern football that everybody loves Vincent Kompany. Even if he doesn’t turn out for your team, the Belgian is one of those players you can’t help but admire.

    The commitment, the enthusiasm, the drive, the talent: this is a man with a surfeit of all the qualities you want in a footballer. The only thing he lacks, we discovered last night, is an active sense of proportion.

    Interviewed by Gabriel Clark after his team had been given the most chillingly efficient lesson in the realities of European football by Barcelona, the Manchester City captain – the

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  • Slumping Arsenal can expect more Mourinho sneers

    And so it begins again. After six months of ceasefire, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have resumed verbal hostilities in the most robust fashion. Wenger suggested at a press conference that Mourinho’s continued insistence that his team was not in the title race was born of "a fear of failure."

    It was the verbal equivalent of flapping a red cloak in the direction of a particularly stroppy bull. Or approaching an angry looking Rottweiler with a sharp stick.  Or telling Piers Morgan on Twitter that you were delighted to see him being reeled into the phone hacking inquiry.  With the blue

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  • United’s problem is that Moyes doesn’t know what he is

    I got an email this morning from a Manchester United supporting friend bolding telling me that his team would win at the Emirates tonight.

    Not just win either, but record a stonking 4-0 victory. David Moyes’s Manchester United to win 4-0 at the Emirates: never mind Candide, that really is the very definition of optimism.

    His analysis was this: things were not as bad against Fulham as were widely reported. There was nothing wrong with United’s spirit, nothing wrong with their desire, nothing wrong with their guts. The problem was merely one of defensive organisation. Which can be quickly and

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  • Manchester United will mourn the loss of fearsome Vidic

    Nemanja Vidic needs a new challenge. That is the reason, he says, he is leaving Manchester United this summer.

    That is the reason why he has ignored his manager’s entreaties to stay on. A new challenge? You might have thought that playing for a mid-table team, one with zero chance of landing a trophy in the near future, would be sufficiently fresh a challenge for a man whose entire career in England has been conducted at the trophy-acquiring end of the football pool.

    What a player Vidic was for United (and frankly given his performances this season we are entitled to use the past tense even as

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  • The consensus, we can all agree, is that Roy Hodgson is not exactly spoiled for choice. When fewer than 30 per cent of the players turning out in the Premier League are available for selection, he is not going to be losing sleep over who he should be picking for the England side.

    Such is the paucity of options, this is a team that picks itself. In truth, we could all write down now the names of the XI who will turn out in their first game of the World Cup against Italy in June. And barring the inevitable toll of injury, most of us would get it right.

    Which must make it all the more frustrating

    Read More »from Terry impasse means England will head to Brazil without their best player
  • Sky's Jim White and Natalie Sawyer

    If Fifpro had its way, transfer deadline day would be a very different day.

    Sure, it would still be raining.

    But that rain wouldn’t be cascading down on the umbrella of the Sky Sports news reporter stuck outside the Etihad. Streams of water wouldn’t be drifting down the collar of Nick Collins as he stands outside Arsenal’s training ground. And the poor sap standing at the end of the drive outside Manchester United’s Carrington stable wouldn't be in danger of contracting pneumonia.

    Because what the international players' union is lobbying for is an end to the transfer system. And with an end

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  • Magical Mata already transforming Manchester United

    David Moyes was looking very relaxed last night. No wonder. For once his team had negotiated a home fixture without alarm.

    True, they had never looked as if they were about to tear down the footballing citadel. True they are still a long, long way off that fourth place (and if Liverpool continue to play like they did in the Mersey derby, it may be already an unbridgeable divide). But this was more like the way a Manchester United team ought to behave at Old Trafford: they were playing with something approaching conviction.

    It was pretty obvious where that came from. It was sourced entirely by

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  • Goldsands Stadium, home of AFC Bournemouth

    I heard it from the most unimpeachable of sources this week. Jeff Mostyn, the chairman of AFC Bournemouth, told me that there really is only one way for a football club to get on in the modern English game: they need a sugar daddy.

    Mostyn knows what he is talking about. A Manchester-born businessman who made his money locally, he has been involved in Bournemouth for more than a decade. He was in charge of the boardroom when the club were so damaged by accumulated debts they twice went into administration in the noughties. In May 2009, undermined by a massive deduction of 17 points, the club

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  • If Mourinho was United boss, Januzaj would be out on loan

    One thing about Juan Mata if David Moyes manages to secure the Chelsea man’s signature: it’s a start.

    Now all he needs is a decent left-back, a couple of commanding centre-backs, a level-headed right-back, two strong central midfielders, a right winger, not to mention a medical miracle man to sort out Robin van Persie. Then he might have a team capable of challenging for the title.

    There was an interesting debate among fans after the game between Chelsea and Manchester United: where would United be now if they had gone for Jose Mourinho rather than Moyes in the summer? Given that the

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