Jim White

  • Why Michael Carrick is the real inspiration behind Man Utd's resurgence

    The midfielder has brought order and calm to proceedings.

    Manchester United's Michael CarrickManchester United's Michael Carrick

    One thing is pretty certain: without David De Gea, Manchester United would not have been enjoying the satisfaction of a fourth Premier League victory on the bounce last night. The save the young Spaniard made in the last seconds from Stoke’s Mame Biram Diouf was magnificent, not least because he was close to suffering from frostbite in the preceding 89 minutes.

    [MAN UTD CLING ON FOR STOKE WIN]

    That is the job of goalkeepers. And the best – which De Gea is rapidly becoming – do it on a regular basis. How Liverpool fans – some of whom suggested after yet another nervy display from their stopper

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  • Jose Mourinho’s defiance of Roman Abramovich paying dividends

    Jim White explains how the Chelsea manager has taken control of Stamford Bridge - and how the Blues are reaping the benefits.

    Jose Mourinho (Reuters)Jose Mourinho (Reuters)

    The reason why Chelsea will win the Premier League this season was being played out on the pitch this week. Not the one at Stamford Bridge, where, last Saturday, the current blues side maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a victory over West Bromwich Albion that redefined the term routine. Nor the one in Gelsenkirchen, where the same starting eleven annihilated the challenge from the Bundesliga, hammering five past Schalke. In fact, the evidence came from several hundred miles to the south west, from the San Siro, where the Milan derby was being played out.

    Once this was a game

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  • Sergio Aguero: A true great let down by underwhelming colleagues

    Sergio Aguero has been Imperious for Manchester City this season

    Sergio Aguero (Reuters)Sergio Aguero (Reuters)

    Right now, there can be little argument who is the most valuable player in the Premier League. At least if by valuable you mean the one who is most important in ensuring his employers' ambitions come close to being achieved.

    It is a fair argument to suggest had Sergio Aguero been been fit to start the final of the World Cup in July, then Manuel Neuer, Bastian Schweinsteiger and several other members of Bayern Munich's team would not have a winner's medal in their display cabinet back home. Certainly, after last night, the Germans will have appreciated quite how fortunate they were not to have

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  • Is international football just a knackering distraction?

    Jim White discusses the benefits of international retirement with Michael Essien and Per Mertesacker. But – as England’s forwards can attest – there is an advantage to turning out for your country.

    Per Mertesacker, Michael Essien (Reuters)

    This week, I had the chance to ask two footballers recently retired from playing for their countries what they did now during international weeks. 

    Michael Essien, no longer available for Ghana, said he had enjoyed the chance to rest ahead of the Milan derby this weekend. No longer obliged to fly half way round the world, he could stay at home and put his feet up, recuperate ready to take on Inter on Sunday. Plus he could do a bit of risk- and injury-free work in the gym to top up his fitness, preparing for the rigours of the derby challenge. Though being the laid-back character he is, he was

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  • Louis Van Gaal's luck turns as guardian Angel survives injury scare - and Di Maria can yet lead the team to salvation

    The whole of Old Trafford drew its breath when Angel di Maria went down badly in the clash against Portugal.

    Angel Di Maria in action at Old TraffordAngel Di Maria in action at Old Trafford

    There was a moment in Tuesday night’s languid exhibition game at Old Trafford between Portugal and Argentina that silenced the local crowd.  They had turned up to see the two greatest players in the world play out their rivalry in a different setting. But instead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi tussling for the Ballon d’or, it was two other participants that seized the attention of the 41,233 people gathered in Manchester United’s home: Nani and Angel Di Maria.

    In the 18th minute of a match that redefined the term 'lacklustre', Nani went in late and studs-up on Di Maria. The Portuguese

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  • Thanks, Louis: Van Gaal's poor start at Manchester United saved the career of David Moyes

    If Louis van Gaal had hit the ground running at Old Trafford, David Moyes's reputation would have been buried forever. Instead, his struggles show that Moyes was merely too timid and cautious to take the Red Devils by their horns, argues Jim White.

    David Moyes, Louis van GaalDavid Moyes, Louis van Gaal

    There is no doubt David Moyes got the job at Real Sociedad because Manchester United currently stand seventh in the Premier League.

    It was not the only reason, for sure. He has plenty of attributes that fit perfectly what the Spanish side are looking for in a manager.

    But had Louis Van Gaal’s team been currently sitting on top of the division, unbeaten and swaggering, then Moyes’s candidacy would have been holed below the waterline, a non-starter. Because that would have made it clear that the slippage at Old Trafford was entirely the fault of the former Everton boss.

    His reputation would

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  • Southampton proof that money doesn’t buy success

    What is behind Southampton’s success this season?

    Southampton's Victor Wanyama (C) celebrates scoring a goalSouthampton's Victor Wanyama (C) celebrates scoring a goal

    Three months into the season, as yet another interminable international break gives us a moment’s pause to consider, it is probably reasonable time to assess how Southampton’s summer transfer dealings have fared. I predicted back in August how it was going to pan out: disastrously. The core of the side that had performed so well the previous season had been extracted, the manager had gone, the only way was down. And in all probability out.

    So how has it gone for those who left St Mary’s in pursuit of grander things? Well, currently Calum Chambers is the most successful of the departures, his

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  • Pellegrini problems compounded by backroom set-up at City

    Lose this weekend against QPR and Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini will be under intense pressure.

    Manuel PellegriniManuel Pellegrini

    Manuel Pellegrini doesn't emote. His press conferences don't produce headlines. Not for him disparaging the opposing manager as a "specialist in failure" or describing a scruffy victory in terms of taking a sexual conquest home in a taxi. He has yet to suggest, like Sir Alex Ferguson, that when an Italian says a dish is pasta the wise look under the sauce or that, while he would be too modest to reckon himself the best manager in the world, he is in the top one.

    Nothing he has ever said need detain the compilers of a history of footballing quotations. His nickname of 'the Engineer' is

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  • Weakened Liverpool team? Weaker than what, exactly? Brendan Rodgers got it spot on

    Brendan Rodgers has been criticised for dropping a host of players against Real Madrid - but things aren't what they seem, says Jim White.

    Brendan RodgersBrendan Rodgers

    Last night, at around 7.45pm, the knives were out, the keyboards were being bashed, the pens sharpened. Brendan Rodgers was about to be lambasted, torn to shreds, ridiculed, his reputation trampled into the dust.

    Instead, this morning, the Liverpool manager found himself being congratulated this morning for the success of his gamble in the Bernabeu.

    He sent out a weakened side against the European champions, the most expensively assembled team in football history, and somehow emerged without suffering the anticipated humiliation.

    Far from it, after making no fewer than seven changes from the

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  • Marouane Fellaini (2ndL) of Manchester United celebrates scoring against West Bromwich Albion during their English Premier League soccer match at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich October 20, 2014 (Reuters)Marouane Fellaini (2ndL) of Manchester United celebrates scoring against West Bromwich Albion during their English Premier League soccer match at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich October 20, 2014 (Reuters)

    Ten days ago you could see only one winner in this weekend's Manchester derby. And it wasn't United.

    Albeit not quite at the pace with which they had finished last season, City began this looking a far more coherent outfit than their stuttering neighbours. The champions bought well in the summer, adding to a squad that already included the best midfielder, Yaya Toure, the best centre back, Vincent Kompany, and the best forward, Sergio Aguero, in the country. Which are three components even the most red-eyed United follower would struggle to claim can be found in their team.

    United, by

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