Early Doors

  • Torres fires Red revival

    Liverpool's 2-0 win over Chelsea at Anfield on Sunday was very much a tale of two strikers.

    Fernando Torres turned in a lethal first-half performance for the Reds whilst Didier Drogba looked on from the sidelines.

    By the time the Ivorian, who was dropped to the bench because he was suffering from a virus, came on after the break, the damage was already done courtesy of Torres's well-taken brace.

    From being knee-deep in the relegation mire not so long ago, Roy Hodgson's side are now level on points with Tottenham, West Brom, Sunderland and Bolton. That last sentence just about sums up how weird

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  • Note to City: Try and score

    If Manchester City want to dominate English football, it would help if they tried to score a goal every now and then.

    Handed an opportunity to crown themselves kings of Manchester last night, Roberto Mancini's side produced a performance of breathtaking cowardice.

    It is sometimes said of strikers: 'He knows where the goal is.' Early Doors genuinely doubts whether City literally know where the goal is. You know, big white frame at either end of the pitch. Bloke with gloves on standing in front of it...

    United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar had to make one proper save all evening, from a Carlos

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  • United top? How did that happen?

    How on earth are Manchester United top of the league? Seriously, how?

    If ever there was a team top by default, it is United.

    Saturday's 7-1 drubbing of Blackburn was the kind of smack they used to lay down all the time, but this season has been characterised by laborious wins against weak opposition, defensive lapses and unnecessary dropped points.

    There can hardly ever have been a less impressive unbeaten side, and it is probably the worst United team since 1991.

    Their only consistently effective attacker is Nani - a man not fit to lace Cristiano Ronaldo's boots, whose acting makes Barry

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  • Carlo can’t stop the rumours

    Yesterday, Carlo Ancelotti issued an emphatic denial that he
    considered quitting Chelsea over the sacking of his assistant Ray Wilkins.

    Having described rumours he was close to walking out as
    "completely untrue", he added: "I
    don't know if it's enough to clarify my position to close these rumours and
    speculation."

    Carlo, you won't be surprised
    to learn that it is not enough.

    The reason is that his position as manager seems to have
    been irrevocably compromised by Wilkins' removal.

    Furthermore, there appears to be no little confusion over whether
    Michael Emenalo has replaced him or not.

    On

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  • France coach draws Blanc in X Factor search

    Fabio Capello isn't the only international boss looking at his squad list and wondering how it could have come to this.

    France head ponderer Laurent 'I didn't touch Bilic' Blanc has spent many a long night staring down a brown paper bag, contemplating how he is going to explain to his nation that their players are actually very poor.

    Looking every inch like an exasperated accountant, Blanc admitted that he feels France 'no longer possess any great players' in their squad, and extolled the virtues of putting long-term development (or a three-year master plan if you are Roy Hodgson) ahead

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  • Portuguese whispers

    He's a wily one, that Jose Mourinho. The Real Madrid manager has built his reputation on thinking outside the box, approaching the game from an angle few others would consider.

    While most other bosses feel resigned to doing little more than ranting and hollering impotently in their technical area, the Portuguese coach is always thinking up ways he can have an extra effect on proceedings from his dugout beyond his three allotted substitutions.

    Mourinho, like many of his counterparts, loves a bit of 'mind games' from the safety of the press conference, but he'll just as gleefully get his hands

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  • Is this Blackpool’s ‘Owen Coyle moment’?

    Ian Holloway could be forgiven for saying he would quit if the Premier League punish him for making changes to the Blackpool team that lost at Aston Villa on Wednesday, the threat coming as it did during a seething post-match tirade.

    But, having had time to reflect on his comments, he repeated the claim yesterday. And quite right too.

    Blackpool may have been much-changed for the trip to Villa Park, but his side only lost by the odd goal in five, the winner coming in the 89th minute.

    The Tangerines fielded 11 players who had 409 Premier League appearances between them going into the match -

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  • Chelsea making a crisis out of a drama

    The average goldfish has a memory of just eight seconds, a fact which would suggest that everybody's favourite funfair prize would be ideally suited to a life in the world of football.

    Memories in football tend to be pretty short, but it seems to ED that this season has seen new depths plumbed in the search for knee-jerk reactions to runs of bad form.

    But the reaction to Chelsea's recent run of results takes the cake. Fans and media alike seem genuinely shocked by the Blues' fall from grace in the last few weeks.

    In fact, it's almost certain that Chelsea have simply fallen foul of the law of

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  • Grant’s cup runneth over

    Well, it had to end sometime. The only surprise is that Manchester United's 29-match unbeaten run didn't end sooner.

    But end it did at Upton Park last night, as West Ham strolled in the snow to a 4-0 win in their Carling Cup quarter-final.

    Alex Ferguson fielded arguably his weakest team of the season - with a second-string back five and Gabriel Obertan and Bebe both included in attack - and rued the soft goals his young side (excluding Ryan Giggs) conceded.

    But the relegation-battling Hammers were not exactly at full strength either.

    With Mark Noble out injured and the talismanic Scott Parker

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  • FIFA faces final frontiers

    Well, in the end Sepp Blatter got what he wanted. The awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively has followed his vision of taking the biggest sporting show on earth to two brave new worlds.

    Napoleon and Hitler both failed to conquer Russia, while the Middle East has proved a bridge too far for countless invaders over the years.

    But the message is clear - football can go anywhere. After Qatar, there is surely only one more part of the globe to conquer: bet the farm on the 2026 World Cup going to Antarctica.

    The beautiful game cannot truly call itself global until

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