Substance: Tricky Everton offer a solid test to a Fergie resurgence

Phil Neville: Everton's captain and an important influence in the dressing room if not so much on the pitch these days

Everton and Manchester United have enjoyed a fairly amicable, working relationship in recent years. Be it the cordial concurrence of the two team’s popular and long-serving Glaswegian managers, their recent trades in key player personnel and even their respective old boy figureheads in Phil Neville and Wayne Rooney, there exists a common ground between the two clubs beyond their mutual antipathy to the red faction of Liverpool.  Continue reading

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Exercise One: United’s auxiliary masters and emerging talents climb back on the horse against Aldershot

As is the mandatory fashion of the day, football scorelines need to be engorged into humiliating punch-lines. Unfortunately, “I’d 3-0 to be an Aldershot fan”, doesn’t quite muster the required wit to fire off a hundred facebook groups. United’s victory was, however, pleasingly mundane. Aldershot were a credit to the fixture with their combative energy and work rate, but the difference in class shone through, with three casually taken goals and a performance that felt almost half-started and routine.

Whilst Owen won 'Man of the Match' it was Dimitar Berbatov who supplied the cross for his goal, and dominated the game from start to finish.

In recent years, United have slipped up against so-called ‘lesser’ opposition in the FA and Carling cups but the team put out at Aldershot were far from lazy and complacent. Made up of the so-called ‘fringe’ players that were, only 6 months ago first team regulars, seemed focussed to the point of joylessness at times. Berbatov was a cool head up-front and seemed to lead the side through the 90 minutes. Whilst Owen was somehow awarded the man of the match plaudits, Berbatov would have been a more deserving recipient.  Continue reading

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now: an in-depth look at where it all went wrong at the weekend

There are no silver linings to a massacre; no extenuating circumstances in a 6-1 defeat to City at Old Trafford; and no excuse for heads floating away to their million-pound Cheshire mansions in with time still left on the clock.

Sir Alex Ferguson may have had Barcelona in his sights in August, but after Sunday's demolition derby, City have confirmed their casting as this season's primary antagonists.

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Thrills ‘n’ Spills and Derby Day Bellyache: United humiliated as City silence the critics

Neutrals and the fans of both Manchester clubs alike had hoped for a game to remember as the Premier League’s top two sides battled it out for local and national supremacy. The match, in the most unforeseeable way possible, certainly did not disappoint with a 1-6 away win for City that will stick long in the minds of supporters and followers of football alike.

No smoke without fire: Could bathroom suite bonfires become an unorthodox norm to Super Mario's match day preparations?

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Football In A Coma – Is it time for fans to take back the game?

Something is brewing in the midlands. Over in Wolverhampton, a grass-roots campaign for change at the highest levels of football is growing in size and momentum. Disenfranchised fans from across the country are uniting to decide that now is the time to ‘Take Back The Game.’  Continue reading

This Is The One – Lining up for the Manchester Derby

Mind games, tactical decision and selection headaches - a duel between two title chasing managers

With Sunday’s derby fast approaching, questions abound over who will start, how they’ll play and what desires inform the tactical approach from the manager’s dugout. Dan and Greg look at how their respective teams may line-up on derby day.  Continue reading

Some Games Are Bigger Than Others: will the Manchester derby produce a match worthy of its billing or a safety first non-spectacle?

The stage is set, the previews are written and the weekend draws near. Sunday promises much with the season’s first proper instalment of the ‘Mancunian Classico’, but a question lingers over whether it can possibly deliver the game our exaggerated expectations demand. Compared to the fearsome sprint starts made by both City and United in the season’s opening weeks, the two teams have lost some of their early momentum and focus in recent games and for differing reasons.

A moment of brilliance could be all it takes to claim all three points this Sunday

There’s a sense over at the Etihad that, regardless of their current position at the top of the Premier League, Mancini isn’t entirely in control of his own players. The actions of Carlos Tevez, the self-perpetuating pantomime, may not be a valid stick with which to beat the Italian manager with, but Edin Dzeko’s recent regression and a reliance on individual genius to cover their still brittle, fair weather group harmony raises questions over his regime. Continue reading