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Author Archive for Andrew Anthony

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Technology allows us to appreciate Liverpool and Stokes winning in style | Andrew Anthony

Purists are overcoming the pragmatists because with the world watching it’s not just what you do, it’s the way that you do itWhen the history comes to be written of this football season, there will be two stories that dominate. The first, barring some …

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Mesut Özil, the playmaker who spoke out when football stayed silent

Football’s authorities and China criticised the Arsenal star for highlighting the plight of the Uighurs. Now the mercurial player seems isolated and alienatedLast Sunday the legions of Premier League followers in China were denied the opportunity to wa…

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Managers’ shorter shelf lives make José Mourinho the man of the moment | Andrew Anthony

Early exit of Unai Emery was no surprise in these times, so now Mourinho’s no-frills, quick-fix style is the perfect strategyIt was fortunate Liverpool emerged victorious against Salzburg on Tuesday because otherwise they might have been out of the Cha…

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Football’s diverse landscape remains polluted by racists despite our outrage | Andrew Anthony

If the scourge of the game is to be stamped out, then Fifa cannot be soft on transgressorsL ast Monday Fifa’s The Best football awards were held at La Scala opera house in Milan. It was, as usual, an excruciating affair, full of turgid speeches and emb…

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Korean calamities of Ghandour and Moreno are antidote to anti-VAR clamour | Andrew Anthony

The officiating scandals of the 2002 World Cup must remind us why the advent of the video referee is a good thingWith that collective wit for which football fans are justly renowned, the Spurs contingent at the Etihad Stadium broke into song last weeke…

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Novak Djokovic’s epic final reveals flaws in a two-set stroll meriting an equal purse | Andrew Anthony

Women’s elite tennis could learn a lesson from the recent World Cup when it comes to the fight against sexismIf you wanted to put the popularity of women’s football into figures then the most impressive one is 11.7 million. That’s the number of people …

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England teams across sports finally value rewards that come with risk | Andrew Anthony

Gareth Southgate has led a revolution that has produced better results and entertainment while England’s cricketers have also benefited from a more aggressive attitudeAmong the myriad skills that are employed in different sports one that is shared by a…

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Mastering momentum: exploring the anatomy of amazing comebacks | Andrew Anthony

Psychological momentum helped Spurs and Liverpool reach the Champions League final, even if they did not realise itWhatever you think about José Mourinho, most would agree he knows a thing or two about football. Surveying the two epic semi-final second…

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James Cracknell’s milestone is not sport but masochism in search of meaning | Andrew Anthony

The obsessive pursuit of impressive but empty accomplishments gives cause for psychological concernThere’s a hoary old debate about what constitutes a sport as opposed to a pastime or an activity. Is darts, for example, a sport? Angling? Mountaineering…

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Mauricio Pochettino finds cooked-up pressures a little hot to handle | Andrew Anthony

The Tottenham manager is not the first to mishandle rumours of departure but the Argentinian has made a series of missteps since being linked with Manchester UnitedThere is a species of well-known quotes that fulfils such a useful function that it’s co…

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Sunderland ’Til I Die, and the plight of the merely-very-good football player | Andrew Anthony

The Netflix series is fascinating for many reasons, but primarily for the insight it gives into the plight of players who have fallen just below the standards of the game’s eliteAmong the many joys of the eight-part Netflix series Sunderland ’Til I Die…

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Football is not a level playing field when the game is so governed by cash | Andrew Anthony

In the Premier League and beyond clubs have a set place in the pecking order and despite the odd Leicester-style success that is not likely to changeIn politics it is said that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold. In sport when Manchester Un…

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Adil Rashid and Moussa Sissoko prove you can succeed second time around | Andrew Anthony

The England cricketer and the France footballer find redemption in the harsh world of professional sportOne of the most inspiring characteristics of competitive sport is that it offers up more acts of redemption than The Lives of the Saints. Seldom are…

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Shouting at the tide: the addictive myth of in-game managerial efficacy | Andrew Anthony

Whether results are good or bad, we fixate on the idea that managers are accountable for what happens on the pitch. But how much can they really change after the whistle blows?This weekend, in keeping with most others, a much-scrutinised if seldom enli…

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Sweden football fans in London: sweaty optimism gives way to a sad silence

In a packed, yellow-shirted bar in London, Sweden’s expat community hunkered down in a sweltering afternoonIt all started so well. Ninety minutes before the game, Johan Bondegreen was quietly, stoically, Scandinavianly confident. “England,” he told me,…

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‘It’s soulless here’: why West Ham fans are in revolt

When a football club moves from its historic home to a shiny new stadium, it leaves more than memories behind – as West Ham supporters are discovering at the London StadiumIt’s a mild Monday evening in April and 56,795 people, officially at least, have…

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Already a great, but will we ever see him triumph again? | The Observer profile

The public never warmed to his steely drive, but an injury that threatens to end his career has brought out the kid who just wants to play tennisWhen Andy Murray withdrew from the Australian Open in Melbourne last week, it was not exactly news. A few d…

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The teetotal chess fan who packs a punch: why Anthony Joshua is the people’s champion

The heavyweight boxer, hot favourite for BBC sports personality of the year, has turned his life around and brought his sport back into the mainstreamAnthony Joshua used to run a stall at Wembley market that sold what his promoter Eddie Hearn has calle…

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Cristiano Ronaldo, I bet you think this column’s about you … | Andrew Anthony

The preening Portuguese beat the more humble Lionel Messi to yet another Fifa award last week but does he ever notice that football is a team game?Last Monday the Best Fifa Football Awards were held in London – leading one to ask when can one expect th…

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Gary Lineker: is football’s costly talking head too good to be true? | Observer profile

The self-deprecating, ironic Match of the Day presenter has a loyal audience of millions, but freely courts controversy in defence of his beliefsNegotiating a way through the robust challenges of British celebrity is seldom an easeful task. Few in the …