In the average career of a top-flight footballer, the opportunity to appear at a World Cup will only come around three or four times. Therefore in a World Cup year, warming the bench or turning out for the stiffs is not an option. Thankfully for those struggling to make an impact, this time of year throws up a few potential opportunities to make a push for Brazil.
Sometimes, you catch sight of a headline and, as you feel your eyebrows heading for your hairline, you wonder to yourself: "Did I really read that right?" Such a headline caught my notice the other day. "Cristiano Ronaldo opens a museum in his own honour in Madeira, Portugal", it read.
When the draw was made on Monday morning, there will have been football fans the world over that wrote off the chances of Manchester City and Arsenal. Had this have been last season, then I would have agreed. This time around, however, I don't.
At this time of year, we like to reflect on the last twelve months of Premier League football and hand out the annual awards. One award I would like to focus on is the Manager of the Year for 2013...
For some years now, fans and teams in the Premier League will have looked at games against Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and more recently Manchester City as games that they would most likely loose. The sort of games you would go into thinking that you would be lucky to get a point. This mindset, however, has changed of late.
Prior to last weekend, the last time Newcastle United won a league game at Old Trafford, the mobile phone had yet to be invented, the Sydney Opera Hou...
Currently suffering their poorest start to a Premier League season on record, it's fair to say that even those who criticised the managerial appointment of David Moyes (and there were plenty of them) wouldn't have predicted United would be languishing in ninth position with more than a third of the season gone.
Since the euphoria of the derby win, it's been a mixed bag of results for Cardiff City. After coolly dispatching Swansea, they travelled to Aston Villa the following weekend for a game that on paper at least was eminently winnable. Not so.
Following West Brom striker Shane Long's magnificent performance in the 2-2 draw against Aston Villa, it calls into question why more attacking player...
After seeing his side held to stalemates in their first two away fixtures, David Moyes was skeptical of Manchester United's trip to the BayArena to face Sami Hyypia's free-flowing Bayer Leverkusen, sitting second in the Bundesliga and unbeaten at home since March.
Supporting Sunderland is like living in a fairy-tale. Before you interject and say: "Who is this clown? He must be a lunatic, let's bottle him", let me elaborate. I don't mean fairy-tales in the modern sense. I mean the original works.
David Moyes has now started to prefer Shinji Kagawa to play alongside Patrice Evra on the left-wing and together, they have done an admirable job in United's last two encounters, at San Sebastian and Old Trafford. Can such a partnership continue? Let's analyze.
Would a more consistent approach from managers towards their players help eradicate diving from the game? Aside from Moyes, we have seen different stances from different bosses, such as Mourinho on the weekend who was quick to defend Ramires' apparent dive by claiming it was a stone-wall penalty.
Why is a man who decides so many crucial games so rarely on the team sheet? There is one obvious answer, coming in the form of two iconic names: Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. The duo have dovetailed superbly this season, netting 17 times between them and assuaging Moyes' difficult start to his reign.
Carrick is the only player at United who can play the ball in between the lines to likes of Wayne Rooney and van Persie. And when the 32-year-old gets marked out of the game, it becomes the duty of the defenders to get the ball out of defense but they simply resort to playing the ball out wide to the full-backs and wingers- who are the safest passing outlets.
Promised Land by Daniel Harris provides the answer. Harris is a rare character: a passionate Manchester United fan, who retains the discipline to step away from the euphoria and provide a calmly forensic take on events at Old Trafford.