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Author Archive for Jonathan Wilson

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The English Game’s few charms lie in the background, not centre stage | Jonathan Wilson

The latest series from Julian Fellowes starts badly and barely improves but it is a reminder football has never stood stillYou can see how The English Game must have sounded in conception. It’s the birth of football. It’s toffs against proles, the riva…

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I know what we shouldn’t have done last summer: what Premier League clubs would change | Jonathan Wilson

Tottenham and Manchester City are among the clubs who would probably make very different decisions if they could reset the Premier League as if it were Football ManagerThe season must be completed. The season must be abandoned now. As the arguments gab…

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Football’s rare pause for thought gives coaches time for inspiration | Jonathan Wilson

Marton Bukovi showed his courage in wartime Zagreb but the Hungarian also rethought football tactics. Today’s coaches should use their layoff constructively“What did you do in the war, Mr Bukovi?” “I invented the false 9. What did you do?”That wasn’t a…

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In persisting with Joséfication Spurs are the architects of their own downfall | Jonathan Wilson

In half a season, José Mourinho has dismantled Tottenham’s style and denounced players – and it will only get worseI n a crisis there is need for extreme measures. In a crisis there is need for a people to have faith in their leader, the only man who c…

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Liverpool’s season threatens limp end after missed European opportunity | Jonathan Wilson

Jürgen Klopp’s men put in their best showing since Boxing Day but defeat to Atlético leaves nothing but formalities to play forA miscued clearance, a low shot, Adrián slipping so he sunk to one knee as the ball skidded past him. With that, what was pro…

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Manchester City’s fallibility to fast breaks exploited by Solskjær’s United | Jonathan Wilson

Pep Guardiola’s side could still win a trophy treble this season but malfunctions in their pressing game are proving costlyTo an extent it doesn’t matter. Manchester City will almost certainly finish second in the Premier League and all defeat to Manch…

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Champions League elite have got fat on easy dominance and quality has suffered | Jonathan Wilson

Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Juve and others have become short-termist as domestic success has bred complacencyJust wait for the knockout phase of the Champions League. That’s when the season really gets going, that’s when the real football begins. Tha…

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From the Hungarians to Wenger – how Europeans shaped English football

As part of our This is Europe week we look at how the game has been influenced by teams, managers and players from the continentAlf Ramsey didn’t have much time for foreigners – and for him that meant anybody who wasn’t English. “Welcome to Scotland,” …

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Liverpool in danger of going ‘easy-osey’ with title in their grasp

Jürgen Klopp’s side show signs of slackening in their defeat at Watford and it could cost them their European crownThere’s a phrase Joe Fagan was fond of, one he used repeatedly in his diary detailing the 1983-84 season as Liverpool completed a hat-tri…

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Manchester City fans left unhappy by curse of constantly winning trophies | Jonathan Wilson

When a club ceases to be that hapless entity that drew you in, it seems success is not as much fun as everybody assumesS ilenus the satyr, stumbling with age and wine, was taken captive by the Phrygians and taken before King Midas. But the king recogni…

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Guardiola dips into his bible to find tactical blueprint for win in Madrid | Jonathan Wilson

Manchester City manager reverted to principles he wrote on his whiteboard in 2015 to beat a deeply ordinary Real Madrid Revel in the irony: of course it would be just as the great rupture comes that Manchester City at last produce a great European perf…

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Erling Braut Haaland brings freshness to a game in thrall to pixels and profit | Jonathan Wilson

Teenager’s goal for Borussia Dortmund against PSG was a perfect reminder that football is meant to be enjoyableIt can be difficult sometimes to remember why we ever started liking football. What was it that first stirred us back in our childhood to mak…

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José Mourinho v Julian Nagelsmann: yesterday’s man v force of the future?

At 32, RB Leipzig’s coach is 25 years younger than his Spurs counterpart – their Champions League meeting feels like a battle of two erasOn Wednesday night, as Tottenham take on RB Leipzig, José Mourinho might look across at the opposing bench and reco…

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Chelsea fans show that patience with Lampard may not be infinite | Jonathan Wilson

There was a murmur of dissent at the defeat by Manchester United and the excuses for a mediocre team will soon run outJust briefly, for no more than a couple of seconds, there was a murmur of dissent directed at Frank Lampard by the home crowd. It came…

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Ramifications of City’s two-year ban may be seismic – not least for Uefa

Friday’s statement could destroy the European game’s ruling body and change utterly how football is runPerhaps all declarations of war seem slightly underwhelming in tone. Perhaps when the consequences are potentially so huge, there is no need for bomb…

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Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid tackle Liverpool in battle of opposites | Jonathan Wilson

Recent transfer activity suggests that the La Liga side may be moving towards a more expansive approach to the gameE lite football is more attacking now than at any time since the coming of systematisation in the mid-60s. Between 1994?95 – when the Cha…

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Lionel Messi and money are keeping rudderless Barcelona afloat | Jonathan Wilson

Sacking of Ernesto Valverde and Messi’s fallout with sporting director Eric Abidal are symptoms of long-term stagnation and disjointed structure at the Camp NouL ast Tuesday, as Lionel Messi lashed out at the club’s sporting director, Eric Abidal, the …

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Pioneering reds to the Reds: Why Jürgen Klopp’s pressing is a perfect fit for the age | Jonathan Wilson

The dominant style of football’s hyper-capitalistic age has its origins in the unlikeliest of placesA training field near Ostfildern, in the forest south-east of Stuttgart. It’s February 1983, and local sixth-tier side Viktoria Backnang are playing a f…

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Pioneering reds to the Reds: Why Jürgen Klopp’s pressing is a perfect fit for the age | Jonathan Wilson

The dominant style of football’s hyper-capitalistic age has its origins in the unlikeliest of placesA training field near Ostfildern, in the forest south-east of Stuttgart. It’s February 1983, and local sixth-tier side Viktoria Backnang are playing a f…

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Pioneering reds to the Reds: Why Jürgen Klopp’s pressing is a perfect fit for the age | Jonathan Wilson

The dominant style of football’s hyper-capitalistic age has its origins in the unlikeliest of placesA training field near Ostfildern, in the forest south-east of Stuttgart. It’s February 1983, and local sixth-tier side Viktoria Backnang are playing a f…