...and ended up in the Premier League with Sheffield United. Ireland defender John Egan on his enduring love of Gaelic games, the influence and legacy of his famous father, and why, after facing Chelsea today, he hopes to see the Kingdom put a stop to the Dubs’ drive for five tomorrow. He talks to.
Statistics don’t always tell the whole story but David Luiz has a right to point to them when he turns up at Anfield with new club Arsenal still being billed as the Premier League’s defensive comedy routine up against the country’s best centre-back, Virgil van Dijk.
The score is 1-1, there are literally seconds until the final whistle and you win a corner. What do you do? Obviously put everyone in that box and swing it in and pray for the best. Well that’s what you do if you are anyone but us. We simply play it short. And that few seconds summarises perfectly what it’s been like to watch Chelsea this season.
There has been plenty of talk of Liverpool ‘bottling’ this title race, largely from those who wish ill upon them. But we can put that to one side for now. Facing Chelsea at Anfield, five years after Steven Gerrard’s fateful slip and on the eve of the 30th anniversary of Hillsborough, created a pressure that would make many teams crumble. But not them.
Chelsea’s match against Brighton may have seemed like something of a sideshow compared to the festival going on up the road at Tottenham’s new ground, but their 3-0 victory could prove to be just as important in the race for the top four and for the future of their manager Maurizio Sarri.
It was hard to imagine that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is entering the most pivotal spell of his brief, and spectacular, reign as Manchester United’s interim manager as he sat, as relaxed and on-message as ever, at his beloved Old Trafford yesterday.
Not sure if you have noticed, but Spanish-speaking football managers like to talk about suffering. The word pops up all the time in their post-match interviews. It might be something to do with Catholicism or just a general, Pedro Almodovar heroine-style fondness for tortured emotion, writes
Between defeat at Chelsea in their first away game under Emery and mid-December, Arsenal took 14 of a possible 18 points on the road, but face trips to Brighton and Liverpool having been haunted by the ghost of seasons past against Southampton at St Mary’s.
It’s never a good day for Manchester United when they lose to Liverpool but to offer such a toothless display and be beaten so comprehensively by their bitter rivals, as they were in the 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Sunday, was clearly the final nail in the coffin for Jose Mourinho, writes
For once, in his post-match comments on Saturday, José didn’t dissemble, and he spoke for what was in all our hearts. We all knew we’d robbed the Cherries blind - but we felt it was the cosmic karmic balancing for our own last-gasp mugging at Stamford Bridge two weeks back. Somewhere in the back of mind chirped the old cliché “these things even out over a season”.
Jose Mourinho has enjoyed some remarkable days at Stamford Bridge — in fact it took him 78 matches to even lose a game there as manager — but as he returns to west London with struggling Manchester United today, he will be aware of some pretty painful memories, not least two sackings after poor performances at a ground he once called home.