Jim White

  • Remarkable Pulis can wreck Liverpool and City’s title dreams

    When he took over at Crystal Palace back in November, nobody expected Tony Pulis to be in a position five months later to influence the destination of the Premier League title. Back then, with Ian Holloway floundering at the helm, Palace looked doomed to relegation, their ejection from the top flight apparently the most certain thing in sport this side of Ronnie O’Sullivan announcing his retirement at some point during the World Snooker tournament in Sheffield. By now, we all expected the tames of surrenders to have been concluded.

    Pulis has done a remarkable job in steering his club to

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  • It isn’t over yet.

    As Steven Gerrard pointed out in the immediate aftermath of emotional victory over Manchester City on Sunday, nothing has been won.

    To borrow Brian Moore’s words of 25 years ago, the title is up for grabs now. And we all know what happened when Moore uttered that line.

    For sure, after their fantastic win over City on Sunday, Liverpool are clearly now the favourites. But only narrowly.

    True, their destiny is in their own hands and their form is superb. Win all their remaining games and the title is theirs, the first in more than two decades. And winning is a habit they have

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  • Mourinho two steps away from renewing the biggest rivalry of all

    For Jose Mourinho the possibility is still on.

    A potential meeting with Real Madrid in the Champions League final remains open to him after Chelsea and his former club were drawn apart in the semi-finals.

    There is just one minor obstacle to be overcome for the dream to come to fruition: Real have to beat Bayern Munich and his team have to overcome Atletico.

    It has been a long time since a semi-final draw has been as open as this one. None of the conclusions would be a surprise: Chelsea against Bayern, Chelsea against Real, Atletico against Bayern or a Madrid derby, no one permutation is more

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  • It wasn’t a celebration. Talking to the press after his team’s stirring victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter final, Jose Mourinho was very keen everyone understood his dash down the touchline at the game’s conclusion was not in any way a triumphalist thing.

    This was not a Phoenix from the Flames-style recreation of the moment 10 years ago when he announced himself to English audiences by sliding on the knees of his expensive suit down the touchline at Old Trafford to mark Porto’s unlikely win over Manchester United. No, sir. What he was doing after Demba Ba had

    Read More »from How masterful Mourinho proved he’s still the best in the business
  • Wenger under pressure ahead of Fourth Place Cup Final

    It is not quite the same as Manchester City against Tottenham in 2010, which was scheduled right at the end of the season. But Sunday’s Fourth Place Cup Final between Everton and Arsenal is nonetheless an occasion full of significance, full of interest, full of possibility.

    It marks the coming together of a manager on the up and a manager whose upward trajectory long ago stalled, between a club stretching beyond its financial means and one serially under-achieving, between a team relying heavily on other clubs’ employees and one capable of buying at the very top. In short, between a club who

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  • Moyes channels Everton spirit to give United European hope

    That was not the result the anti-Moyes movement was looking for.

    The fans who paid for that aeroplane on Saturday will be sore this morning that the Wrong One so emphatically defied expectation.

    Whether it is enough to maintain him in position to oversee a summer’s spending, remains to be seen. But for now, it is only fair to note that he confounded his critics last night.

    Most observers – certainly this one – were expecting Manchester United to be slaughtered. I had them down for a 7-1 aggregate guffing.

    Instead, against the finest club side in the world, they played with a spirit and

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  • Moyes doesn’t get United, and it could cost him his job

    David Moyes is a good and decent man who strives to be honest in all his dealings with the press. But really, someone in the Manchester United hierarchy ought to have a word with him, just to point out that he is not helping himself with some of the things he says. Because he sounds increasingly like a man anxious to commit career suicide.

    Speaking after the tactically wretched defeat in the Manchester derby, he said of his opponents: “City are what we aspire to.”


    You sort of knew what he meant. You sensed what he was getting at. But as a piece of

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  • Well, they’ll have enjoyed that draw in Bavaria. Bayern Munich managed to get the one everyone left in the competition wanted. They will be taking on Manchester United in the Champions League quarter-final. Somehow you suspect it won’t be like 1999 all over again.

    There could hardly be a bigger contrast between the form of the two sides. One replaced a treble-winning manager with a serial winner and have improved exponentially, leading the Bundesliga by so many points there will surely soon have to be a steward’s inquiry. While the other … well now is not the time and place to intrude on

    Read More »from A chasm in class between brilliant Bayern and unconvincing United
  • Everything on the line for Moyes after his Alan Partridge moment

    It was one of the funniest, if excruciatingly painful, moments in British television comedy. Alan Partridge is making his way across a public car park when he catches sight of an acquaintance in the distance. He shouts out his name. But the man – for reasons too obvious to rehearse here – ignores his calls. Partridge, though, is not to be deterred and keeps shouting out the single name “Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan! Dan!” until it becomes absurd.

    On Sunday, David Moyes seemed to be channelling the spirit of Partridge in the Old Trafford technical area. As his Manchester United side were swamped by

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  • Vincent the ultimate Kompany man for City

    Watching Manchester City play Barcelona on Wednesday night, fans of every other club in the Premier League must have been choking with envy. Sure City lost, sure they failed across two legs to match opponents who were nowhere near their best, sure they are not yet a force to dominate Europe. But one thing we can be confident of after that display in the Nou Camp: there cannot be a better defender in the land than Vincent Kompany.

    My, he was magnificent on Wednesday night. Powerful, intelligent, controlled, he was everything you want of a centre back. And what a leader too, his every

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