Alex Chick

  • Anti-football is still football

    It feels like a battle between footballing good and evil.

    Slick, stylish, attacking Barcelona against a Chelsea side that will park the bus and attempt to niggle, dive and obfuscate their way to the Champions League final.

    A team built on youth development and promotion from within against a club whose catastrophic short-termism has created chaos and handed ultimate power to a group of surly millionaires.

    However, we should resist the easy, simplistic conclusion that anything but a Barcelona victory tonight would represent disaster for football.

    The stereotypes contain much truth, but they

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  • Bayern to upset Madrid and Barcelona

    With the Champions League final four set, let's take a look at the contenders before offering a tentative prediction.

    BARCELONA (Odds: 10/11)

    We know all about Barcelona's good points, their world-class players and their impeccable recent record in the Champions League.

    They are strong favourites for a good reason. But unbeatable? Certainly not.

    Let's not forget they are six points adrift in the Spanish title race thanks to iffy away form (only eight wins and 26 goals in 15 games compared with Real's 12 wins and 40 goals).

    And keep in mind that after 130 minutes of their tie against Milan

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  • Moyes shuns shallow aspiration

    This week David Moyes celebrates a decade as Everton manager - a feat that grows harder to achieve each year.

    Moyes is the third longest-serving manager in the Football League, behind Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

    Fourth-placed John Still of Dagenham and Redbridge is the only other boss to have passed the six-year mark.

    Everybody knows managers are getting less time. Last season, the average tenure was 18 months, compared to three and a half years in 1992.

    But what is absolutely startling is the number of clubs chopping and changing on a yearly basis.

    Remember when Harry Redknapp took over

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  • Why would Mourinho go back to Chelsea?

    As of Tuesday lunchtime, the bookies' favourite to manage Chelsea next season is Jose Mourinho - for example, the massive, disembodied head of Ray Winstone would offer you odds of just 7/4 on the Special One returning to Stamford Bridge.

    We all know why he is tipped to come back - he is a god at Stamford Bridge, he has dropped strong hints that he will leave Real Madrid for England in the summer, and he is apparently house-hunting in the capital.

    He likes Chelsea, of course, and they love him. But it is not a move that makes sense, either for him or the club.

    Let's look at it from the club's

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  • Seriously, where’s Harry?

    When England take on Netherlands tomorrow night, there will be a far bigger absentee than the usual bunch of injury cry-offs.

    As the Three Lions walk out, the missing link may be tuned to his radio while driving home to Dorset.

    He is the consensus choice of the players, the public and the media - so why isn't Harry Redknapp England manager yet?

    I know, I know. He doesn't want to walk out on Tottenham at the business end of what could be the club's best season for decades.

    So we all expect a swift installation in May, followed by a couple of weeks to learn everybody's name, then straight into

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  • Tevez can only derail City

    Should Tevez be told to pack his bags again?For those in favour of Carlos Tevez's return to the fold at Manchester City, he is just what they need.

    A bit of pep, a dash of zing, to perk up their title challenge at a time when it is in danger of stalling.

    City stand on the brink of their first league championship since 1968 - Tevez can push them over the edge.

    This argument points to City's recent struggles in front of goal - Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli having a lean time of it compared with their prolific early-season form.

    No doubt, a happy Tevez is a brilliant footballer.

    Yet the contention that City need another

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  • English crisis – who cares?

    Arsenal suffer humiliation in MilanSo English football is having something of an annus horribilis in Europe.

    Two teams knocked out of the Champions League group stage, only one successfully negotiating the Europa League groups, and now Arsenal's 4-0 drubbing in Milan.

    The demise of Manchesters United and City from the Champions League group stage was portrayed as a major setback. Arsenal's defeat was an embarrassment.

    Now our hopes lie with a Chelsea team that reports claim is openly at war with itself  - if they fail to reach the quarter-finals it will be time to hit the panic button.

    Our national pride will lie in tatters.

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  • Matt Jarvis, England captain

    Matt Jarvis trains with EnglandAt Murrayfield on Saturday, England's rugby team were led out by a 25-year-old with only one previous cap to his name. A player with an excellent record in domestic competitions but never previously thought ready to make the step up.

    Chris Robshaw's England beat Scotland 13-6.

    What do you think are the chances of England's footballers taking the field against France in Donetsk on June 11 with Matt Jarvis wearing the hallowed armband?

    For the Wolves winger is football's answer to Robshaw: 25, capped once, and routinely excellent in the Premier League.

    Jarvis, obviously, will not be England

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  • Dalglish renews Liverpool faith

    Kenny Dalglish celebrates Liverpool's Carling Cup semi-final victory (Reuters)Faith can be a very powerful thing.

    If you believe something is going to happen, it becomes more likely that it will - even if your belief has no concrete foundation.

    This is apparent in the placebo effect, which means sugar pills and saltwater injections have been clinically proven to alleviate symptoms of illness, simply because the people taking them believe in them.

    Faith works. Just look at the extraordinary tale of Tim Tebow, a devoutly-Christian NFL quarterback whose apparent lack of basic skills have proved no match for an iron conviction that he will win.

    The wildly unorthodox Tebow

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  • QPR lucky to get Hughes

    Mark Hughes at Fulham

    In appointing Mark Hughes as their new manager, QPR have given themselves a major boost in their battle against relegation.

    Neil Warnock may count himself unlucky to be sacked, with his club still outside the bottom three the season after a spectacular promotion campaign.

    As Warnock pointed out, Tony Fernandes's takeover of the club, on August 18, did not give the manager enough time to bring in new players, while many of his preferred targets had already gone elsewhere.

    Warnock said on Tuesday: "Will a new manager make a difference? Not as much as new players will.

    "If you haven't got the

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