Mesut Özil: An Arsenal Career of Two Halves – Part Two

|

To read Part One of this article, click here. Mesut Özil: An Arsenal Career of Two Halves The Second Half In our time of plague (or at least pandemic), it can be easy to forget what life was like at the start of 2020, let alone at the start of 2018, when Arsenal faced the […] READ MORE


Mesut Özil: An Arsenal Career of Two Halves – Part One

|

The Premier League returns this weekend, but of course, Mesut Özil will not. Having been left out of both Arsenal’s Premier League squad and Europa League squad, Özil is not eligible to play for Arsenal again until January at the absolute earliest, but by then he will be able to speak to foreign clubs about […] READ MORE


Even Without Fans, O2 Arena Bows Out with a Bang

|

It is rare for there to be a swan song without an audience, but that is exactly what is happening this week at London’s O2 Arena (or simply “the O2,” as it is usually called). As coronavirus restrictions continue to prevent tennis fans from seeing any live action, the final edition of the ATP Finals […] READ MORE


A Remarkable Run for Andrey Rublev Finally Ends In Paris

|

Andrey Rublev must hate the sight of Paris. In the last six weeks or so, it is the only place where he has lost on tour, as he followed up his quarterfinal loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open with a defeat last night at the Paris Masters to a revitalised Stan Wawrinka. Outdoors […] READ MORE


Ugo Humbert Continues His Impressive Rise At The European Open

|

2020 has been the most extraordinary and the most extraordinarily disrupted year in living memory, in tennis as in every other area of life. But Ugo Humbert is finishing it very much in the manner that he started it, playing superb tennis and scoring some memorable wins over higher-ranked opponents. A year ago, Humbert was […] READ MORE


GB’s Davis Cup Heroics Outstrip Even Portugal’s Euro 2016 Win

|

For fans of team sports, there have been two outstanding examples of team performance this summer. More specifically team performance in the absence of that team’s star player.  The first was Portugal’s defeat of France in the Euro 2016 final without Cristiano Ronaldo. He is their captain, leader and all-round inspiration. The second was Great Britain’s […] READ MORE


Griezmann Another Top Scorer who Failed to Win the Main Prize

|

The appalling attack on Nice during the Bastille Day celebrations instantly puts into context any feelings of sadness or loss in France at the national team’s failure to win Euro 2016. While there was understandable disappointment that, for the first time since the 1938 World Cup, a French football team could not triumph in an international tournament […] READ MORE


Wales and Iceland Add to Timeline of Underdogs at International Tournaments

|

Steve Wilson, the BBC commentator for the second Euro 2016 semi-final between France and Germany, used a memorable phrase to describe Didier Deschamps, the France manager. He called the diminutive Gaul a “tiny giant” for a playing career in which he not only won European Cups with Marseille and Juventus but led France to World […] READ MORE


Can Portugal’s Perennial Under-Achievers Finally Win a Major Title?

|

Another Euros, another Portuguese semifinal. Portugal’s victory over Poland on penalties means that they have now reached their fourth semifinal in the last five European Championships and their fifth in total. It is a formidable record, one that bears comparison with the giants of the European game (Germany, Italy, France and Spain), but there is […] READ MORE


France’s Kings of Suspense Risk Fizzling Out

|

After their late show against Albania, their second in succession after similarly scoring a winner late on against Romania, the French newspaper L’Equipe christened the French national team “Les rois du suspense” – the Kings of Suspense. “Kings of suspense” is a fabulous phrase, so good that it could be a great band name (à […] READ MORE