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January

Man United front-runners for Zaha signature

January 3, 2013

Manchester United feel they have moved ahead in the race for Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and are fully confident of signing the forward in the summer, ESPN has learned.

Zaha's future has been the subject of great speculation lately, with United, Arsenal and - to a lesser extent - Tottenham chasing the widely admired prospect.

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FA Cup Poll - Greatest Goals

January 21, 2013

Unusually, it was Manchester United who were underdogs for this game as Howard Kendall's Everton stood on the brink of the treble, but the Toffees did not count on the brilliance of Norman Whiteside.

As United held off the Everton attack in the first half, their job became harder as defender Kevin Moran brought down Peter Reid when he was through on goal after the break. Moran was the first man ever to be sent off in a Wembley cup final, but the ten-men rallied and had the better of the game before it went into extra-time goalless. Then Whiteside struck.

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Wenger fumes after Gunners fines system is leaked

January 21, 2013

Per Mertesacker has been revealed as Arsene Wenger's debt collector in chief at Arsenal after a breach of training ground security that infuriated the Gunners manager.

Wenger was said to be "very disappointed" after a fan revealed some of the inner secrets of his regime after a visit to Arsenal's Hertfordshire training base.

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I was recognised too much and sometimes women would suddenly climb all over me. Marouane Fellaini, Everton attacker and woman magnet

Liverpool close in on Coutinho

January 26, 2013

Inter Milan midfielder Philippe Coutinho could be a Liverpool player as early as Monday, according to reports in the Italian media, with Reds manager Brendan Rodgers confirming the club still has unfinished business in the January transfer window.

Coutinho, 20, has been a target for the Reds throughout the January transfer window and, despite insisting he is happy in the Serie A, looks likely to move to the Premier League in the next week.

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JANUARY: Wojciech Szczesny stops Edin Dzeko's penalty from crossing the line © Getty Images
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February

Beckham's generosity questioned in France

February 6, 2013

Controversy is growing in France over David Beckham's increasingly contentious decision to donate his reported £170,000-a-week wages from his short contract with Paris Saint-Germain to a French children's charity.

The gesture has been dismissed by some French critics as tax avoidance, after claims Beckham's charitable offering was an attempt to avoid the strict French restrictions that hit high earners.

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Arsenal great Wright calls for Wenger exit

February 22, 2013

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has warned the Gunners could soon emulate Liverpool's European struggles if manager Arsene Wenger is not replaced.

Wright, who made nearly 300 appearances for Arsenal in seven years at the club, believes Wenger should be sacrificed if Champions League qualification next season is to become a reality.

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Wenger: Arsenal prepared to change transfer policy

February 23, 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that the club is ready to transform its transfer policy, claiming he would be happy to sanction a £40 million signing next summer in a bid to revive his team.

Wenger has long been criticised for failing to spend in the transfer market, and has been accused of prioritising profit on the balance sheet ahead of success on the field. However, he has suggested his financial armoury is now fully loaded as he looks to defy his critics with a summer of spending.

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He has the potential to develop and to get close to the players you compare him to, but Ronaldo and Messi? Messi has won two or three Champions League titles. He scored more than 90 goals last year. You are always very quick here, but let's slow down a bit. Arsene Wenger on Gareth Bale

Bale: Arsenal are No. 2 in North London

February 24, 2013

Gareth Bale claims Tottenham are now the dominant force in North London, claiming his team now have a "stronger squad" than Arsenal.

Bale and his Spurs team-mates currently sit in fourth position in the Premier League table, one point above fifth-placed Arsenal. However, Monday's clash against West Ham will provide the opportunity for Andre Villas-Boas' men to go four clear, and Bale says it is no less than Spurs deserve.

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FEBRUARY: Swansea celebrate winning the League Cup © Getty Images
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March

Ronaldo breaks United hearts after Nani shocker

March 5, 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the goal that sent Manchester United crashing out of the Champions League against Real Madrid, although referee Cuneyt Cakir was the true Old Trafford villain after he sent Nani off as the Spaniards triumphed 2-1 on the night for a 3-2 aggregate scoreline.

United were extremely comfortable sitting on a 1-0 lead given to them by Sergio Ramos' 48th-minute own-goal, but a red card for Nani - harshly given for dangerous play - changed the entire complexion of the contest.

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The expensive England XI (not in current squad)

March 22, 2013

England are expected to hammer a San Marino side on Friday who don't even get paid to represent their national team. A far cry from the six-figure weekly packet picked up by Messrs Rooney, Gerrard and Co, the reward for San Marino's stars is the honour of sharing the same pitch.

Such is the gulf between the two nations that Roy Hodgson can overlook an England XI - shown below - that (based on transfer fees alone) is worth close to £200 million. We're cheating by turning our Top Tens into an Expensive Eleven this week, but here's our alternative England team...

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Angry Kakuta wants out of Chelsea

March 22, 2013

On-loan winger Gael Kakuta has delivered a scathing assessment of Chelsea's transfer policy, claiming the Blues' squad is simply too big and that he will seek a permanent move away from Stamford Bridge.

Kakuta is currently plying his trade in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem, having joined Chelsea in 2009. However, his stint in Netherlands is just the latest in a string of loan deals which have seen him play at Fulham, Bolton and Dijon in his homeland.

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I've got a plan to stop him, it's called a machete. Plan B is a machine gun! Sir Alex Ferguson on stopping Cristiano Ronaldo

Chelsea alert as Mourinho hints at return to former club

March 24, 2013

Jose Mourinho has opened the door to a potential return to Chelsea, claiming his future after Real Madrid "could be a destination where I have coached before".

Mourinho appears set to leave Spain at the end of the season, and has previously indicated that "after Real Madrid, England will be my next step".

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MARCH: Arsenal players desperately try to get the ball back, but their fightback against Bayern Munich fell short © Getty Images
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April

Mourinho labelled 'cowardly'

April 3, 2013

A Spanish radio journalist accused of hypocrisy and bias by Jose Mourinho says the Real Madrid manager's actions during an official UEFA press conference on Tuesday were out of place and "cowardly".

Mourinho, who now rarely speaks to the local media in Madrid, was on duty at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu ahead of Wednesday evening's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Galatasaray.

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Rafa predicts Reds return

April 9, 2013

Rafa Benitez has told Marca he will "almost certainly" manage his former club Liverpool again at some stage.

Current interim Chelsea boss Benitez became Reds manager in 2004, winning the Champions League in 2005 and FA Cup the following year. He left in 2010 after falling out with the club's then owners and finishing seventh in the Premier League.

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10-game ban for Luis Suarez

April 24, 2013

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been handed down a 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Invanovic at the weekend.

The forward was seen to sink his teeth into Ivanovic during the second half of Liverpool's draw with Chelsea at the weekend.

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A guy called, 'Paolo, Paolo', and pulled up his trouser leg and showed a Sunderland tattoo. Paolo di Canio tells a wonderful story to sum up the passion of Sunderland supporters

Arsenal fan Zaha shocked by United move

April 25, 2013

Wilfried Zaha admits he is an Arsenal supporter, but could not refuse the opportunity to join Manchester United next season when Sir Alex Ferguson approached him.

Zaha, 20, had been heavily linked with the Gunners in the months leading up to his decision to move to Old Trafford. However, the England international says he ultimately confirmed his future with his head, not his heart.

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APRIL: On his first return to the Emirates since an acrimonious departure, Robin van Persie and his title-winning Manchester United team-mates were given a guard of honour by Arsenal © Getty Images
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May

Flurry of speculation about imminent Fergie retirement

May 7, 2013

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is reportedly ready to announce his retirement from the Old Trafford hotseat this week, according to The Telegraph and The Times.

Ferguson, 71, is the longest-serving manager in English football having been at the United helm for a trophy-laden 27 years.

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United confirm Ferguson retirement

May 8, 2013

Manchester United have confirmed Sir Alex Ferguson will retire at the end of the season.

Ferguson, 71, took charge of United in 1986 and enjoyed a trophy-laden 27 years at the club.

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"Football, bloody hell!" Sir Alex Ferguson's best quotes

May 8, 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson's reign as Manchester United manager will be defined by the extraordinary number of trophies he brought to Old Trafford, but he was also renowned for his memorable quotes.

Over the years the assembling media - at least, those who were allowed into his press conferences - were treated to plenty of choice words from the Scotsman, who rarely pulled his punches when commenting on any number of subjects.

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I've no idea. It is not my department. I am no longer interested in that. David is going to deal with that. Sir Alex Ferguson on Wayne Rooney's future at Manchester United

Moyes confirmed as Fergie's United successor

May 9, 2013

David Moyes has been confirmed as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor as Manchester United manager, having agreed a six-year deal with the Premier League champions.

Manchester United confirmed on Thursday that the Everton manager had agreed to take over the helm at Old Trafford on July 1, with the club's board unanimously approving Ferguson's choice of successor.

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MAY: Clockwise from top left: a month to remember for Crystal Palace, Bayern Munich, Rafa Benitez, David Beckham, Wigan, Sir Alex and Wayne Rooney and Chelsea. © Getty Images and PA
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June

Mourinho: Ronaldo thinks he knows it all

June 5, 2013

Jose Mourinho has suggested his former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo no longer listens to tactical instructions as he thinks he has nothing left to learn.

The Portuguese pair previous enjoyed a close relationship but it has apparently fractured since Ronaldo reacted angrily to criticism from the bench during a Copa del Rey win over Valencia in January.

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Rooney reveals frustration with Utd role

June 5, 2013

Wayne Rooney has admitted he is not comfortable playing in the deep lying role he was deployed in by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United last season, insisting he still sees himself as a centre-forward.

Rumours have persisted that Rooney was frustrated by the playmaker role he was being asked to fulfil at United after being ousted from his role as the club's leading marksman following the arrival of Robin van Persie last summer.

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United target Ronaldo casts doubt on future

June 13, 2013

Cristiano Ronaldo has cast further doubt on his future at Real Madrid, as Monaco and Manchester United come close to finalising the financial packages they both hope they can secure the Portuguese forward's signing.

In a rare public move by a player involved in delicate ongoing contract negotiations as well as fevered transfer speculation, Ronaldo tweeted on Thursday about his future: "All the news about my renewal with Real Madrid are false."

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We don't speak of Bale so much because he plays at a friendly club to us and they will be annoyed if we speak. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez

Usmanov: Rooney would be success at Arsenal

June 20, 2013

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has told CNBC that he believes Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney would be a "great success" at The Emirates.

Usmanov, 59, holds a 29.9% share in the Premier League side after buying up former vice-chairman David Dein's stake five years ago.

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JUNE: The Confederations Cup was marred by street protests and battles with police © AP
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July

Neymar & Fred inspire Brazil to final success

July 1, 2013

Fred scored twice as hosts Brazil won the Confederations Cup for the third time in a row with a hugely impressive win over favourites Spain in Rio de Janeiro.

The Fluminense striker struck early in each half, the first a scrappy affair and the second a neat curled finish.

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United ready to launch third Fabregas bid

July 23, 2013

Manchester United are preparing to submit a third bid for Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas, a source has told ESPN, but they are "wasting their time" Gerard Pique says.

United have now had two offers for the Spanish midfielder rejected by Barcelona, with reports in Spain suggesting Barca president Sandro Rosell has written to the Old Trafford club to insist he will not be selling the former Arsenal midfielder this summer.

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Arsenal's £40m bid for Luis Suarez rejected

July 24, 2013

Liverpool have rejected an increased offer from Arsenal of £40,000,001 for striker Luis Suarez.

The odd amount of the bid was designed to trigger a clause in Suarez's contract which required Liverpool to advise him of any approach in excess of £40m as well as activating a release clause.

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This wasn't the kick of an ordinary person. This is from someone used to kicking…He seemed very angry, out of his mind A photographer reflects on how Diego Maradona reportedly connected with his groin as if he was a ball during a free-kick

Rooney prepared to move to Arsenal

July 24, 2013

Wayne Rooney will consider moving to Arsenal if a move to Chelsea fails to materialise, according to the Daily Mail.

With Rooney seemingly set on a switch away from Manchester United, Chelsea have emerged as the front runner to secure his services but United are reluctant to let him go to one of their major rivals.

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JULY: New Manchester United manager David Moyes gets a transfer tip from fans on their pre-season tour of Asia © Getty Images)
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August

Rooney has heart set on Chelsea

August 9, 2013

Wayne Rooney's camp have informed Arsenal that the player has made up his mind to join Chelsea, sources close to the negotiations have told ESPN.

With the pursuit of Liverpool's Luis Suarez reaching an exceptionally tense impasse, Arsene Wenger has attempted to keep the Rooney option open as he seeks to bring in a forward.

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Bale - 'I'll not play for Spurs again'

August 14, 2013

Gareth Bale has told Wales team-mates that he will not play for Spurs again, according to a report in the Sun.

The newspaper quotes a source in the Wales camp as saying: "Gareth is confused and bitter. He can't understand why Spurs have not agreed what would be the largest transfer fee in history.

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Suarez denies saying he'll stay at Liverpool

August 14, 2013

Luis Suarez has denied a report on Wednesday saying that he has abandoned his attempt to engineer a transfer to Arsenal from Liverpool.

With Arsenal continuing to pursue Suarez, he had been quoted as saying in an interview with Uruguayan newspaper El Observador that he was now happy to stay with Liverpool.

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If that’s the only moment I have in an England shirt – and I hope it’s not – then I could not have asked for it to go any better. Rickie Lambert after scoring the winner against Scotland at Wembley

Aston Villa stun Arsenal

August 17, 2013

Arsenal suffered a defeat on the opening day of the new Premier League season after Aston Villa came from behind to win at The Emirates, while Manchester United, Liverpool, Fulham, West Ham and Southampton all kicked off their campaigns with victories.

Arsenal gave under-pressure manager Arsene Wenger a good start when Olivier Giroud gave them the lead in the sixth minute, but thereafter little went right as they went down 3-1 to Aston Villa. The visitors were level within 16 minutes when Christian Benteke headed in a rebound from his saved penalty by Wojciech Szczesny, who had brought down Gabriel Agbonlahor.

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AUGUST: A fan implores Arsene Wenger to get the chequebook out before the transfer window closes © Getty Images
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September

Arsenal smash club record to sign Mesut Ozil

September 2, 2013

Arsenal have smashed their transfer record after completing the signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5 million.

Arsenal paid a total of £17.6m for the capture of Jose Reyes in 2004, with the likes of Andrei Arshavin costing a total of £15m and Sylvain Wiltord priced at £13m in the past.

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Media reacts to Bale's move to Madrid

September 2, 2013

The press throughout the United Kingdom and Spain commented on an astonishing journey as Gareth Bale's drawn-out move from Tottenham to Real Madrid was made official on Sunday evening.

Months in the making, Bale confirmed the deal at the weekend, allowing the media to have their say on Bale's incredible rise after being the subject of the latest world-record transfer.

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Everyone's a liar during the transfer window

September 7, 2013

During Gareth Bale's presentation as a Real Madrid player at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this week, the club's president, Florentino Perez, insisted that supporters had much to thank the Welshman for. "I want to make something very clear," Perez said. "Bale's determination to play for Madrid was essential."

This sentiment was nothing new. Perez has said lots of times before that convincing the player is the key, three-quarters of the battle, the starting point from which you can start to pressure his club into selling. When Zinedine Zidane wrote "yes" on a napkin and passed it to him in 2000, Perez knew he would be able to sign him from Juventus (and did, in 2001).

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Hello, it's a dream for me to play for Real Madrid. Thank you for the great welcome. Go Madrid! Gareth Bale, in Spanish, at his Real Madrid unveiling

Mourinho heard 'sobbing' after United snub

September 24, 2013

A new book being published in Spain this week claims Jose Mourinho burst into tears when he heard David Moyes was to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager.

The revelation is included in Preparense Para Perder - which translates to 'Get Ready to Lose' - by El Pais' Real Madrid correspondent Diego Torres - who is known in Spain for being highly critical of Mourinho, Los Blancos' president Florentino Perez and Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes.

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SEPTEMBER: Jan Vertonghen goes to extreme lengths to deny Nicklas Helenius as Spurs beat Aston Villa in the League Cup © Getty Images
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October

Wenger 'shocked' by smoking Wilshere

October 4, 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his disappointment after Jack Wilshere was photographed smoking a cigarette outside a London nightclub.

Wenger has refused to rule out the prospect of fining the midfielder for behaviour that he described as 'shocking', as he used his latest press conference to give his 21-year-old star a very public dressing down.

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Pietersen weighs in on Wilshere-Januzaj debate

October 9, 2013

England cricketer Kevin Pietersen has weighed in on the Jack Wilshere-Adnan Januzaj debate, challenging the Arsenal midfielder to define the term "foreigner".

On Tuesday, Wilshere criticised the FA over their approach for Manchester United youngster Januzaj, who was born in Belgium to Albanian-Kosovan parents and is also eligible for Turkey and Serbia, and could opt to play for England in 2018. Wilshere said: "The only people who should play for England are English people."

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Hodgson issues apology, backed by the FA

October 17, 2013

Roy Hodgson has issued an apology for using language which could be considered offensive towards Andros Townsend during his half-time team talk in England's 2-0 win over Poland, while the FA has said he has their full support.

Hodgson told an old joke related to the space race during the 1960s and 1970s to urge his players to get the ball to Townsend, who had been terrorising the Polish defence.

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The only people who should play for England are English people. Jack Wilshere

Keane: Ferguson doesn't know the meaning of loyalty

October 22, 2013

Roy Keane has hit back at Sir Alex Ferguson after the former Manchester United captain was one of many players targeted for criticism in the legendary manager's latest autobiography.

Keane, speaking on ITV ahead of Arsenal's Champions League game with Dortmund, said he was disappointed with Ferguson - who he believes should not have attacked the very players who helped bring him so much success at Old Trafford.

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OCTOBER: Sir Alex Ferguson's new autobiography did not disappoint, unless you were in it © Getty Images
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November

Arsenal silence Liverpool and move five points clear

November 2, 2013

A goal in either half from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey eased Arsenal to a deserved 2-0 victory over Liverpool at the Emirates and established a five-point cushion at the top of the Premier League table for Arsene Wenger's men.

After an unconvincing start from both sides in the top-of-the-table clash, Arsenal took the lead on 19 minutes when Cazorla's header bounced back off the post and into the path of the midfielder, who made no mistake with an expertly placed volley.

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Kinnear 'tried to sign Newcastle player'

November 3, 2013

Newcastle United's director of football Joe Kinnear attempted to sign a player already contracted to the club, according to the Sunday People.

Kinnear's appointment in the summer was met with question marks about his suitability for the role, not helped by a bizarre interview with talkSPORT radio.

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United could have signed Ozil - Moyes

November 9, 2013

David Moyes has admitted Manchester United turned down the chance to sign Mesut Ozil before Arsenal made him their record signing in the summer.

Ozil signed for Arsenal from Real Madrid for a club-record £42.5 million, but ahead of their Premier League tie at Old Trafford on Sunday, Moyes indicated he already had the necessary personnel to occupy his midfield - and therefore was not tempted to break the bank for the German.

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Paolo Di Canio? That managerial charlatan. He ran out of excuses - I had a wry smile to myself Martin O'Neill was not impressed with his Sunderland successor

Van Persie header ends Arsenal's away run

November 10, 2013

Robin van Persie scored the only goal to down old club Arsenal and blast Manchester United back into the Premier League title race as David Moyes enjoyed his biggest win as manager at Old Trafford.

Van Persie rose unchallenged to guide home Wayne Rooney's 27th-minute corner to spark scenes of jubilation at Old Trafford and silence the taunts of the visiting fans. It also brings to an end a 14-match unbeaten run away from home for Arsenal in all competitions, dating back to March of this year and a defeat at White Hart Lane.

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NOVEMBER: Germany players take the tube to Wembley for training © @DFBTeam
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December

Sport Science: The 'Brazuca'

December 11, 2013

Previous World Cups have featured the Telstar, the Tango, the Fevernova, the Jabulani - and now there is the Brazuca.

But what is so special about the official ball of the 2014 World Cup? ESPN Sport Science reveals all in an exclusive video on the technology behind the 'Brazuca'.

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England open World Cup 2014 against Italy

December 6, 2013

England will face Italy in their opening game of the 2014 World Cup after being drawn in Group D alongside Uruguay and Costa Rica.

Roy Hodgson's side will contest the only fixture of the whole tournament which kicks off at 02:00 BST when they play Italy - the team that dumped them out of Euro 2012 - in Manaus on June 15. Manaus is in the heart of the Amazon jungle and is considered among the most physically taxing venues for players, especially those from more moderate climates.

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Andre Villas-Boas leaves Spurs

December 16, 2013

Tottenham Hotspur have announced that Andre Villas-Boas has left the club by mutual consent.

Villas-Boas's exit follows Spurs' 5-0 defeat by Liverpool at White Hart Lane, the club's worst home defeat in 16 years.

"The club can announce that agreement has been reached with head coach, Andre Villas-Boas, for the termination of his services," read a statement from Tottenham.

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We would like to pass it better, to create more chances, to defend better So basically, David Moyes, you'd like Manchester United to be better at football?

Arsenal and Man City land tough draws in last 16

December 16, 2013

Arsenal have been drawn against defending champions Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League for the second successive season, while Manchester City have been handed an equally difficult task after drawing Barcelona.

Manchester United travel to Greece for their first leg against Olympiacos, while Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho will be reunited with Galatasaray's Didier Drogba, whose last kick as a Chelsea player was the penalty shoot-out winner in the 2012 final against Bayern.

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DECEMBER: Wesley Sneijder is congratulated by Didier Drogba after scoring the winner in a snow-affected against Juventus to send Galatasaray into the last 16 of the Champions League © Getty Images

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