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Author Archive for Jonathan Wilson

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Play the United way: how Mourinho can unhinge Manchester City in derby | Jonathan Wilson

All Mourinho’s instincts will be to kill the game but going for broke represents his best chance of another famous winWhen people said they wanted José Mourinho to make Manchester United more like Alex Ferguson’s treble winners, this, presumably, isn’t…

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Boca v River: the Libertadores final South America has waited 58 years for

Bitter Argentinian rivals are up against each other over two legs but no away fans will be allowed – it is simply too dangerousPepper spray in the tunnel, an inflatable pig floated in front of the away fans, Carlos Tévez being sent off for performing a…

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Ross Barkley raises Chelsea threat level to ease burden on Eden Hazard | Jonathan Wilson

The England midfielder is running further, passing more accurately and satisfying Maurizio Sarri’s need for goalsThere is perhaps no group of players so used to adapting themselves to the ways of a new manager as those at Chelsea, where the only consis…

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Pressing is risky but the best way to ruffle Pep Guardiola’s feathers | Jonathan Wilson

Tottenham came unstuck when they pressed high at the Etihad last season but it was preferable to their timid performance against Manchester City at WembleyTottenham would press them, push high up the pitch, even from goal-kicks. They’d be aggressive an…

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Manchester United’s shambolic investments lack a grand design | Jonathan Wilson

Jose Mourinho’s side were astonishingly passive against Juve but amid his post-match bluster there was the kernel of a pointThe problem with modern European football is how stratified it has become. With resources now divided so unequally, how, realist…

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How should Mourinho fix Manchester United’s defence? By attacking

Manchester United seem incapable of doing the thing José Mourinho’s teams are renowned for so the manager must change his approachThere are times when you wonder whether the gods of football have almost too pronounced a sense of irony. Not content with…

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The Pep commandments: how lessons learned at Bayern stymied Liverpool | Jonathan Wilson

Pep Guardiola went back to the basics of Cruyffism at Anfield and in doing so showed new-found flexibility and pragmatismEighteen games into Pep Guardiola’s second season as manager of Bayern Munich, his side lost 4-1 at Wolfsburg. It was their first d…

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Liverpool and Manchester City full-backs hold key in top-of-table clash | Jonathan Wilson

Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have both reined in their attacking instincts this season, aware of leaving gaps in defenceIt is all about the full-backs but these days it is always all about the full?backs. From a tactical point of view Sunday’s meetin…

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Manchester United are a mess – a team without a pattern or a plan | Jonathan Wilson

United fans want ‘attack, attack’ and Moyes and Van Gaal tried, even if it was dull. There was no attacking against Valencia but somehow it is never Mourinho’s fault“Attack, attack, attack!” roared Old Trafford, but Manchester United did not attack. Pe…

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Yuri Semin: the man who can’t say no when Lokomotiv Moscow call | Jonathan Wilson

He has been both a player and a president of the Russian club, and the 71-year-old is now in his fourth stint as manager which included last season’s remarkable title triumphNever go back, they say, but Yuri Semin has never been somebody to place too m…

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Sarri’s Chelsea are match for Liverpool but Kanté poses midfield puzzle | Jonathan Wilson

Saturday’s league meeting offers another chance to see two sides with similar setups but Jorginho’s arrival has pushed N’Golo Kanté out of his comfort zonePress against press, 4-3-3 against 4-3-3, wide forwards who cut in against wide forwards who cut …

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Are Manchester City so drilled they can’t think enough on their feet? | Jonathan Wilson

City’s shock defeat by Lyon raised concerns regarding the team’s leadership and capacity to think independently, as well as a susceptibility to pressingIt’s one game, at the beginning of the group stage. There is plenty of time to recover. For Manchest…

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PSG are not playing Tuchel football. It may not even be football | Jonathan Wilson

Leaving three forwards to float about and occasionally turn a trick may be enough in Ligue 1 – but not when it comes to elite level. How have PSG not learned?A net €750m spent in eight years and that’s all you get? Success without money is all but impo…

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If Tottenham’s carelessness continues they could pay a heavy price | Jonathan Wilson

Spurs must kick their habit of letting in goals when seemingly in control, starting against Liverpool, at a time when every bad result threatens to undermine their projectTottenham’s 4-1 win at Wembley against Liverpool last season was one of those gam…

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Why is David de Gea exceptional for United and indifferent for Spain? | Jonathan Wilson

Goalkeeper is an outstanding shot-stopper but does not excel at passing and this is reflected in how Manchester United playDavid de Gea has been named in the PFA team of the year in five of the past six seasons. He has been Manchester United’s player o…

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Champions League group-by-group guide: English quartet should progress

Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs should squeeze through tricky groups while Manchester City’s task looks relatively straightforwardAtlético Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Club Brugge Continue reading…

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Champions League group-by-group guide: English quartet should progress

Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs should squeeze through tricky groups while Manchester City’s task looks relatively straightforwardAtlético Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Club Brugge Continue reading…

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Mourinho’s use of Herrera felt like a coded protest by a man losing his touch

Manchester United’s manager seemed keener to make a point than beat Tottenham and may no longer be able to create a team that can attack without being catastrophically open“From a tactical point of view, we didn’t lose,” said José Mourinho, which must …

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Sergio Agüero embraces defending to erase Pep Guardiola’s doubts | Jonathan Wilson

Argentinian’s strike rate is up there with the best but only now is Manchester City’s all-time top scorer convincing his manager he is the finished articleManchester City beat Huddersfield 5-1 in an FA Cup fifth-round replay in March last year. Sergio …

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How Bobby Robson fought and failed to earn respect at Barcelona

The former England manager won trophies but not a second season in Catalonia, as Jonathan Wilson explains in his new bookBobby Robson had turned down Barcelona twice before, once out of loyalty to Ipswich and once out of loyalty to England. The third t…