Pitchside Europe

  • ‘Diamond’ Barkley justifying Ballack-esque billing

    Romelu Lukaku deservedly scooped the man of the match award after Everton's 3-2 Premier League win over Newcastle on Monday but Toffees fans will have been even happier with another commanding performance by teenage midfielder Ross Barkley.

    Lukaku scored two and set up Barkley for Everton's other goal in a wonderful first-half team display that showed how quickly the new manager's passing philosophy is taking hold.

    The striker, on-loan from Chelsea, is just the sort of committed centre forward Evertonians love, but he is on board only for one season whereas Barkley, who has been at the club

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  • At a moment when Chelsea’s retinue of strikers are proving decidedly impotent, it was probably unfortunate timing for the London club that Romelu Lukaku put in a perky performance for Everton on Monday night.

    The big Belgian - who joined the club for £18m from Anderlecht and has now been farmed out on loan for a second successive season - scored twice in a 3-2 win over Newcastle, as well as claiming an assist, and, pertinently, has more Premier League goals this season than Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba combined.

    Jose Mourinho’s decision to allow him to depart on transfer deadline

    Read More »from Lukaku loan highlights deep flaws in Chelsea’s youth policy
  • Mourinho storms out of Chelsea press conference

    Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho cut short his Champions League news conference in Bucharest on Monday and walked out after becoming riled by questions about his team selection.

    Mourinho, preparing for the London club's Group E match against Steaua on Tuesday, was upset after being quizzed over the omission from the squad of midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

    The Chelsea coach said he was not impressed with the way the Belgian played last week against Swindon Town in the Capital One (League) Cup, nor with his recent performances in training.

    "He was not selected. It was my decision. I try to decide by

    Read More »from Mourinho storms out of Chelsea press conference
  • Derby defeat confirms task facing Rennes boss

    Philippe Montanier rejected the chance to lead Real Sociedad into the Champions League to become the latest man charged with the task of helping Rennes fulfil their potential, but Sunday's derby defeat to Nantes was a reminder of just how tough a job he faces.

    It was the first top-flight meeting of the two biggest clubs in western France in nearly five years and Rennes couldn't resist having a dig at their old rivals Nantes.

    'Five years of abstinence is a long time' said the posters advertising tickets for the match at the Stade de la Route de Lorient, the cheeky slogan accompanied by a sex

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  • Winner Stays On: Four overhead challengers

    In our regular weekly feature, we present five goals published on our site and you then decide which is your favourite!

    But there is a twist: in classic 'winner stays on' format, the goal with the most votes then defends the title the following week against four new efforts.

    An unknown West Brom youngster who performed a stunning Zinedine Zidane impression during academy training has been knocked off his perch by a stunning strike from Andranik Teymourian this week.

    Now the former Bolton midfielder faces stiff competition in the form of no less than FOUR overhead kicks!

    This week's options

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  • In-depth: United struggling badly at both ends

    Each week we pick out one game from the Premier League which merits further statistical investigation...

    Manchester United 1-2 West Brom

    David Moyes found out on Saturday that succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of the most dominant team in Premier League history was even harder than he may have imagined. Losing to Manchester City at the Etihad is one thing - even Sir Alex had endured that - but failing to take any points at home to West Bromwich Albion is another matter altogether and something his predecessor had never experienced.

    Key Stats:

    Normally when United suffer a rare home

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  • European Team of the Week: September 27-29

    Barcelona's boys from Brazil take pride of place in our European Team of the Week, with the full-back positions fulled by Dani Alves and Adriano.

    Both players starred in a 2-0 win over Almeria, with Alves having as many as 114 touches on the ball and winning five of six tackles, and Adriano scoring and completing 93 per cent of his passes.

    Compatriot Marquinhos also makes the XI having scored a goal, won four of four duels and made six recoveries for Paris Saint-Germain during their victory over Toulouse.

    The Premier League contributes two central midfielders in Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey and Yaya

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  • After the fifth round of Premier League action, we bring you our pick of the best players on display in the English top flight.

    And to give you a flavour of how their performances were viewed across the land, we have also included tweets from players, journalists and random punters.

    - - -

    GK: Hugo Lloris, for Tottenham v Chelsea (8/10)

    The France international continues to impress in goal for Spurs. He made some excellent saves from Fernando Torres and Andre Schuerrle and met every high ball he came for.

    Key moment (78'): BRILLIANT SAVE LLORIS! Torres played Schuerrle through, he looked

    Read More »from Premier League Team of the Week: Deadly reds

    Messi opened the scoring with a solo effort as Barcelona won 2-0 at promoted Almeria to make it seven wins out of seven in La Liga and set a club record start to a campaign but the Argentine went off with a hamstring injury that will keep him out for up to three weeks.

    Atletico, who also have a perfect record, are in second place on goal difference after an impressive 1-0 derby win at Real thanks to an 11th-minute strike from Diego Costa which took his league tally to eight, the same as Messi.

    Real were left five points off the pace back in third on 16 points, two ahead of fourth-placed

    Read More »from European Review: Atletico win derby, Roma maintain perfect start
  • Facts: 7 Premier League truths – Arsenal, Moyes, Torres

    1. Arsenal could really, possibly, actually do it

    The Gunners were slick in victory against a good Swansea side, and with Aaron Ramsey morphing into the new Paul Scholes they suddenly find themselves top of the league and with stability on their side. It is looking increasingly like Wenger was right after all…

    2. David Moyes is out of his depth

    His negative tactical set-up, the dire style of play, the misuse of Shinji Kagawa and David De Gea’s slump in form – and don’t even mention the transfer window. Manchester United’s new boss took over a middling squad with an excellent backroom staff,

    Read More »from Facts: 7 Premier League truths – Arsenal, Moyes, Torres