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Author Archive for Jonathan Wilson

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With his ‘spygate’ PowerPoint, Marcelo Bielsa has enhanced his legend | Jonathan Wilson

The Leeds manager has an almost pathological honesty and there are few people in football so ready to admit fault as himMarcelo Bielsa’s first job in coaching was at the city university in Buenos Aires. He hadn’t made it as a player, too slow to make m…

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With his ‘spygate’ PowerPoint, Marcelo Bielsa has enhanced his legend | Jonathan Wilson

The Leeds manager has an almost pathological honesty and there are few people in football so ready to admit fault as himMarcelo Bielsa’s first job in coaching was at the city university in Buenos Aires. He hadn’t made it as a player, too slow to make m…

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Ole Gunnar Solskjær shows there is substance behind the smiles | Jonathan Wilson

Victory over Spurs not only extended the Norwegian’s perfect start as Manchester United’s caretaker manager but also demonstrated his ability to do the job long-termHe could smile, be gracious, look pleased to be there and deliver the letter U in a ple…

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Solskjær’s approach shows players are not sets of data, but humans | Jonathan Wilson

The Norwegian’s man-management at Manchester United has been top class – but the game against Tottenham will show whether he has the tactical nous to beat the bestNobody realistically doubts that Manchester United’s game against Tottenham on Sunday rep…

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11.7 millimetres from glory: now Liverpool must brush off defeat

Jürgen Klopp’s side may have seen their lead over Manchester City cut to four points after a miraculous goalline clearance but they must recover quickly to end title droughtThe world moves on. Technology develops and evolves. The aesthetics of the spec…

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Liverpool’s raggedness in swatting aside Arsenal may yet give rivals hope | Jonathan Wilson

Few teams who win 5-1 can ever be said to have played badly but how good, really, were Jürgen Klopp’s side against Arsenal?There was a moment just before half-time on Saturday, with Liverpool 3-1 up, when Jürgen Klopp strode to the edge of the technica…

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2018 in football tactics: France and Real Madrid did it their way | Jonathan Wilson

Press and possess is the method of many leading teams but Didier Deschamps’ side in Russia and Real Madrid before them picked up the biggest prizes playing in their own mannerThe same basics everywhere: it would be easy to believe that football in 2018…

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From defence to Sánchez, where did Mourinho go wrong? | Jonathan Wilson

David de Gea has been left increasingly exposed, as has José Mourinho’s reliance on Marouane Fellaini as a battering ramThere was a time when the prevailing attitude to José Mourinho was it might not be pretty but he got the job done. At Real Madrid th…

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Even a José Mourinho gripped by defensive dogma was better than this | Jonathan Wilson

This feels like a manager shaking a kaleidoscope and hoping for the best – clinging on until you can throw Marouane Fellaini at a problem should not be a long-term planSome time, this purgatory must end. Some time, even a board as laissez-faire as Manc…

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Alisson’s heroics underpin subtle shift in balance for steadier Liverpool | Jonathan Wilson

The goalkeeper’s form has been vital for Jürgen Klopp’s team but is part of a tweaked approach that could pay rich dividendsA cross from the right. Two defenders jump and can’t quite connect. Dejan Lovren, startled that the ball has got as far as the b…

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Ederson leads the way as a ball-playing Premier League midfielder in gloves

Rules may have stayed the same since 1992 but modern football’s best teams tend to have 11 outfield players, one of whom can use his handsIn January 1912, two members of the Football Association’s Rules Review committee went to White Hart Lane to watch…

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Manchester United are crumbling, so why the lack of fan fury? | Jonathan Wilson

A drip, drip of low-grade antagonistic mediocrity under José Mourinho is slowly eroding everything United have beenDrip, drip, drip.Watching Manchester United these days has taken on a strangely repetitive quality. Usually when giants flounder there is…

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Small is beautiful for Arsenal as Lucas Torreira finally fills Gilberto gap | Jonathan Wilson

A decade after the Brazilian World Cup winner left the Emirates Arsenal look to have at last found a defensive midfielder of similar stature in the powerful pocket-sized UruguayanSo it turns out what Arsenal had been missing all this time has been an e…

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Mesut Özil dilemma remains as Unai Emery plots derby plans for Spurs | Jonathan Wilson

German enigma continues to divide opinion at the Emirates and beyond but if his manager can’t trust him then Arsenal have a problem, and an expensive one at thatTell me what you think about Mesut Özil, and I will tell you who you are. Or at least that …

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River Plate hold Copa Libertadores advantage with Buenos Aires on edge | Jonathan Wilson

The first leg with Boca Juniors ended 2-2 with River’s manager now set to make an intriguing choice of goalkeeperBuenos Aires is a city obsessed. It is impossible not to realise that there is a major game about to happen, that, on Saturday, River Plate…

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Spurs must answer a testing question when Chelsea visit on Saturday | Jonathan Wilson

Tottenham have had a toughish time of it this season and need to make up for a couple of defeats against so-called big-six clubs with a win at Wembley on SaturdayWin away games against the big six, they said. That’s the real test, they said. That’s wha…

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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…