Football writer, author of Behind the Curtain, Inverting the Pyramid, Anatomy of England, Nobody Ever Says Thank You and The Outsider; editor of The Blizzard.

Louis van Gaal and Manchester United may have to make deicison on David de Gea contract earlier than expected — Nobody wants to spoil the mood but amid all the - justifiable - excitement at Manchester United about the form of David de Gea, there is a niggle, and that is his contract, which expires in June 2016.

Sunderland derby comes at critical time for Newcastle United’s Alan Pardew — The Tyne-Wear derby comes around again with a familiar sense of deja vu. Alan Pardew has been named manager of the month for November for the second season running, but Newcastle United fans were upset again after a 4-1 league defeat to Arsenal last Saturday and a 4-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup.

Chelsea do just enough to see off Hull City despite absence of Cesc Fabregas — LONDON // In the end, it was a comfortable enough win for Chelsea on Saturday, one that kept them three points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table and allowed them to feel the wobble is over.

Louis van Gaal's revolution at Manchester United slowly taking hold despite rash of injuries — On Monday, after the 2-1 away win at Southampton, there was for the first time since he took the Manchester United job, a sign of the temper for which Louis van Gaal is notorious. He snapped at a couple of questions in the post-match news conference and was clearly annoyed that Gary Neville had described his former club as "a pub team" during his television analysis.

Premier League comment: Only so much Arsene Wenger can achieve at Arsenal — Years of achievement. Years of trophies. Years of regularly finishing in the top four but not actually winning a trophy until last year's FA Cup. Years - 15 of them - of qualifying for the last 16 of the Uefa Champions League.

Things are looking up for Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers after win over Burnley — QPR 2 Burnley 0 LONDON // There are very few managers who divide opinion like Harry Redknapp. To some, he is the last of the old-school English managers, the archetype of a football man, somebody who doesn't overcomplicate the game, who has been around the block and has the anecdotes to prove it.

Coaches Pearson and Irvine face the heat in Premier League bottom-of-the-table scrap — It has been a season of unusual patience in the Premier League, with no managers dismissed as yet. This weekend, though, could change that, with four of the bottom five facing each other and tempers beginning to fray among fans at both Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion.

Tactical genius or reacting to injuries: Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal shows adaptability to circumstances in English Premier League football | The National — It says at least as much about English football culture, as it does about Manchester United this season, that so much has been said so disparagingly about Louis van Gaal's changes of formation.

Harry-Kane inspired Tottenham Hotspur pass character test against Everton — LONDON // The issue of character comes up more at Tottenham Hotspur than perhaps any other club. Tim Sherwood highlighted what he saw as his players' lack of grit last season and, as another campaign dwindles into anti-climax long before the halfway point, it is hard not to believe there is a fundamental issue in the Spurs squad.

Sunderland stand firm against Chelsea in scoreless draw in English Premier League football — SUNDERLAND // Chelsea are seven points clear of Southampton and nine clear of Manchester City after a hard-fought stalemate on Sunday night, but they were severely tested by a Sunderland side who fought tenaciously and fully deserved their draw.
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Dec 20, 2014

@paalpot75 @JuanG_Arango @blzzrd @8by8mag Great pic of it. I've written a lot on Poy in the Argentina book.

Dec 20, 2014

RT @blzzrd: Order a gift subscription and even if you've missed the posting deadline overseas you can download the gift card -

Dec 20, 2014

RT @NicholasBlincoe: Loved @Jonny_Singer arguing that the experience of drilling in WW1 made defenders so effective, off-side had to be changed - in the @blzzrd

Dec 19, 2014

In fairness it was in the controlled circumstances of a wedding. Congratulations @dmagnowski and @cwallop.

Dec 19, 2014

Spent Black-eye Friday boozing in Basingstoke. Seem to have got away with it.

Dec 18, 2014

@eaamalyon Power ranking 3! Best of luck in the pre-pre-pre-quals, mate.

Dec 18, 2014

@MiguelDelaney @JackPittBrooke I also got 'the Jackal' on my second go. But it fits Steini better.

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