Pitchside Europe

  • Five big questions ahead of the new Premier League season

    Europe's top leagues are returning after a summer hiatus and we asked our continental network of experts to give us the inside line on what to expect from each country.

    We wanted the five big questions that fans will be asking themselves ahead of the big kick-off.

    Next up it is the turn of the Premier League, with some big managerial personalities ready to do battle.

    1. Can David Moyes step into Sir Alex Ferguson’s shoes?

    Remarkably, this is the first season of British football that will not feature Sir Alex Ferguson as a player or manager since 1956-57. Though he will still wield influence

    Read More »from Five big questions ahead of the new Premier League season
  • Euro Club Index: United to win league by seven points

    Manchester United will win the Premier League by seven points this season according to our statistical partner Infostrada's Euro Club Index.

    Their statistical model is based on the last four years of results and successfully predicted last season's Premier League top seven in the correct order and outperformed bookmakers' pre-season odds in its forecasts of the eventual points per club.

    A further prediction in January 2013 predicted the exact points totals of both Manchester clubs.

    Manchester United's chance of winning the title is 38 per cent and are seen as the clear favourites to win the

    Read More »from Euro Club Index: United to win league by seven points
  • The new Premier League season kicks off on Saturday with a series of mouthwatering matches, but will your club live up to expectations or will they flatter to deceive? Will it be the title, a Champions League spot, mid-table mediocrity or one long battle against the drop?

    Check out our bumper preview below to see what we feel lies in store for the great and the good in the world's richest league...

    Manchester United

    The Premier League champions are third favourites behind Manchester City and Chelsea to defend the title they won last season. No new signings to speak of, but that could change

    Read More »from Premier League season preview: Where will your team finish?
  • With 37 goals across nine fixtures – an average of over four per game – and a host of big names and fresh faces making immediate impacts, the 2013/14 Bundesliga season got off to a great start at the weekend.

    Several teams could claim to have had the best start of anyone - especially Hertha Berlin, who kicked off the season with the latest in a string of crazy yo-yo performances with a wonderful 6-1 hammering of last term’s promoted golden boys, Eintfracht Frankfurt.

    Considering all that has happened over the last few months, however, Borussia Dortmund’s match day one triumph - a 4-0 rout at

    Read More »from Aubameyang’s debut hat-trick launches Dortmund on bounceback trail
  • European Football Show podcast: Season preview

    The European Football Show takes a forensic look at the 2013/14 campaign as Dave Farrar is joined by Zonal Marking's Michael Cox and Mark Langdon of the Racing Post.

    The Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are under way - with Paris Saint-Germain already in trouble - the Premier League and La Liga start this weekend, while we have another week until Serie A stumbles out of bed, hungover and disorientated.

    We cast an expert eye over all the big issues, while Gary O'Reilly drops in to break down the summers goings-on in England.

    How To Listen:

    iTunes - iPads, iPhones, iPods

    Listen online or download from

    Read More »from European Football Show podcast: Season preview
  • Rooney wrangling far from ideal for England

    Exactly a decade ago, a teenage Wayne Rooney was making his preparations for a season which would, by its conclusion, forge his reputation as one of the game’s great talents. A striker of glittering promise in the summer of 2003, within 10 months he had become a finished product, a world beater.

    Four goals as an 18-year-old at Euro 2004 would seduce Sven-Goran Eriksson – who at the time still cultivated a reputation as a football authority rather than a global mercenary – and lead the Swede to compare Rooney’s remarkable impact with England to that of Pele at the 1958 World Cup. Dazzled by

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  • Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

    - Premier League side show interest in a talented player who could boost their aspirations for the upcoming season.

    - Talented player is aware of the side’s stature, rich history, regular Champions League football and attractive football style, declares the interest is mutual.

    - Talented player’s current club, not wanting to be short changed in losing such an asset, set a stern, but true-to-current-climate transfer fee for such a deal.

    - Premier League side’s interest plummets like a cartoon lemming, before disappearing completely after a meek attempt

    Read More »from Arsenal and Wenger must stop haggling or just get off the pot
  • Dzeko or Michu: Who should Arsenal target next?

    It all seemed too good to be true: Arsenal signing a genuine world class player who could improve their chances of winning a trophy and maybe even boost them enough to challenge for the title.

    However, with Luis Suarez revealing on Wednesday that he will now stay at Liverpool, the Gunners will have to look elsewhere to increase their firepower. Reports suggest that Arsene Wenger will target Swansea's Michu and Man City's Edin Dzeko.

    When weighing up which striker would be best for Arsenal, three things need to be taken into account: ability, availability and where they would fit in at the

    Read More »from Dzeko or Michu: Who should Arsenal target next?
  • Luis Suarez is a proficient practitioner of deception.

    He deceives referees. He exaggerates, he dives and he gesticulates in a sustained campaign to coerce officials. Let there be no moral judgement here: plenty of players do just the same when trying to eke out an advantage, no matter how small. But deceive he does.

    Suarez's time in England also suggests he is prone to self-deception. Most notoriously, and despite all evidence to the contrary, the striker managed to convince himself he was the wronged party in a scenario that resulted in a Football Association independent commission finding

    Read More »from If Liverpool fans believe Suarez now, they’ll believe anything
  • World Cup dreams driving new Spanish Armada to England

    Jesus NavasImpatience, as much as much as financial incentive, is driving the transfer market at the top level in Spain.

    Thiago Alcantara left Barcelona because he wanted to play more football and have a better chance of featuring in the 2014 World Cup finals. Cesc Fabregas began to open his options of a move because he wants to be a regular first-team starter for his club, partly in order to boost his chances of being a starter for Spain in Brazil next summer.

    Spain has too many top class footballers and there’s not a place in the national side for all. To have a chance, they need to be playing.


    Read More »from World Cup dreams driving new Spanish Armada to England