Jim White

  • Lack of depth stops Arsenal hitting heights

    Arsene Wenger looks anguished as Arsenal fight in vain against AC MilanWhen the ball landed at Robin van Persie's feet a yard from goal and with the Milan keeper lying prone on the turf, suddenly at the Emirates last night the impossible seemed about to happen.

    This was Robin van Persie we are talking about here, the man who has kept the enterprise alive for much of this dark season, the player whose goals have been at times the one spark of optimism, the forward who, as his magnificent penalty in the first half demonstrated, simply does not miss. Four-nil down from the first leg, the most improbable comeback in the club's stellar history appeared about to be

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  • FA delay not helping Harry

    If, as everyone seems to think it will, the FA is bound to appoint Harry Redknapp as the next England manager, you wonder why it hasn't done so already. It is, so we are led to believe, an open secret he wants the job.

    He is far and away the best-qualified Englishman for it. So why not get on with it and stop faffing? Give him the job and bring a bit of continuity to bear on things. After all, there is a major competition coming up in but three months' time. It might not be a bad idea to give the man in charge a bit of time to prepare.

    Unless, of course, the FA has different ideas. Maybe it is

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  • Pearce’s passion won’t solve deeper problems

    There won't be a shortage of pride this evening at Wembley. Leading out the England team as coach, Stuart Pearce will almost be bursting with patriotism and fervour.

    A man of uncomplicated approach and passion, for him this will undoubtedly be the highlight of his career; if he makes it through the national anthem without spontaneously combusting, he will be doing well. Never mind that it is likely to be just a one-off, a stand-in, before, in the intriguing syntax of the FA's Adrian Bevington, the next man is knee-jerked in, Pearce will savour his moment like few before him.

    And a good thing

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  • Psycho not ready for England role

    By an odd quirk, after they had both been largely messed up by previous expensive, high-profile incumbents, England's two most significant international teams are under the temporary control of blokes called Stuart.

    Though a shared Christian name is where any similarity between Stuart Lancaster, in charge of England's rugby side through the Six Nations, and Stuart Pearce, keeping the seat warm for the pointless football friendly next week against Holland, ends.

    Lancaster, those in the know will tell you, is a man who should have the job permanently. A reasonable but not elevated player, he has

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  • Bravery set to backfire on AVB

    It was, according to Graeme Souness, speaking ahead of last night's Champions League game in Naples, the shortest suicide note in football history. Just 11 words long, consisting of the names on Andre Villas-Boas's team sheet.

    It certainly looked a touch on the odd side, the Chelsea manager's selection. Why, for instance, would you pick Raul Meireles ahead of Michael Essien? And even if he were carrying an injury, why would you put Ashley Cole on the bench and play Jose Bosingwa instead? Frankly, Cole with one of his legs cut off would be a better option than Bosingwa.

    And surely, given that

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  • Arsenal going nowhere fast

    Robin van Persie and Aaron Ramsey shell-shocked at San SiroThat was without question the most chastening week of Arsene Wenger's tenure at Arsenal. There have been low-points before — eight of them at Old Trafford for instance. But what the drubbing in Milan told us about where his Arsenal now sit in the wider scheme of things was not pleasant. This was the week when the rot was finally exposed.

    This, remember, was his proper back four on display in the San Siro, back together for the first time in four months. He had said that the most important transfer window for him was the one in the physio's room, the one that would allow him to pick his best

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  • Will Tevez be the new Rodney Marsh?

    Carlos Tevez - pulled himself off the Man City bench

    The news that Paul Scholes is to be offered a new contract by Manchester United, giving him at least another season at the club, will have come as no surprise to anyone who has seen him play since his unexpected comeback last month.

    His passing, his control, his vision have been astonishing. As has been his ability, after almost nine months away from the fray, immediately to absorb himself back into the action. His manager is right: where else could he have found instant quality like that in the January transfer window?

    Indeed, observing his performance against Liverpool on Saturday must have

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  • Redknapp heads FA’s one-man shortlist

    The FA are in trouble if Harry Redknapp turns them downEven as David Bernstein was setting out the preconditions for the next England manager — preferably English, perhaps British but certainly not another pricey continental buy-in — so his shortlist of potential candidates was shortening.

    First Martin O'Neill, then Alan Pardew ruled themselves out of contention. For reasons of national loyalty, we can assume all seven Glaswegians currently working in the Premier League would not be available. If they are worried about the language gap, if they do not want anything else — as Rio Ferdinand tweeted - "lost in translation", then Roberto Mancini might

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  • Suarez row deepens bitter divide

    Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra will come face-to-face once againThe fall-out from a few ill-spoken words continues. At Wembley, the England coach and FA chairman sit down together to discuss whether the coach is in breach of his contract. Why might he be? Because he spoke out about the sacking of his captain, something he believes should not have happened without his consent.

    And why did the blazers strip his captain of the armband? Well, let's not go there. That is legal territory through which you require the razor-sharp brain of a Joey Barton to tread.

    Meanwhile, in Manchester, the locals are preparing themselves to offer a warm welcome to a visitor

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  • Terry for Euro 2012? Capello must decide

    John Terry and Fabio Capello (PA Photos)

    It is not something we often can do, but hey, let's praise the FA. We should applaud Lord Bernstein and the game's governing body for its swift and decisive action in removing the England captaincy from John Terry pending his trial.

    It was clearly the right thing to do. Hammersmith's aptly named District Judge Howard Riddle had thrown them not so much a puzzle as a mystery wrapped in an enigma. By postponing John Terry's trial until after the European Championship, the judge returned the issue of the player's continuing role as England captain back to the football authorities.

    There they were

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