Foreign world-class strikers – the Premier League’s had a few. From Thierry Henry to Ruud van Nistelrooy, from Fernando Torres to Luis Suarez and from Didier Drogba to Robin van Persie. They came, they saw, they scored.
Radamel Falcao is the latest in a long line of leading marksmen to come from the continent with a stellar reputation, the guarantee of a bucket load of goals. But Premier Leage history dictates that previous pedigree on the continent does not always translate. For every Henry and van Nistelrooy, there is a Hernan Crespo, a Fernando Morientes and an Andriy Shevchenko.
In fact it’s the Colombian’s age, 28, not simply his dubious injury record of late that, which will count against him as he looks to make a success of his time at Manchester United. The most prolific foreign strikers of the Premier League era arrived between the ages of 20 and 26; those who failed to deliver despite their undoubted class, were all between 28 and 30.
As the Netherlands prepare for their decisive World Cup clash with Mexico, Louis van Gaal is ready to hand a 100th cap to an unlikely recipient.
Former Liverpool man Dirk Kuyt will be filling in at left-wing back for the Dutch as they face Mexico later today, and in the process reaching a century of caps after a decade in the national side. And there is almost something poetic about the once prolific Eredivisie striker reaching such a landmark by fulfilling a selfless role in van Gaal’s 5-3-2.
The Fenerbache forward-cum-winger earned his Dutch debut nearly ten years ago, after being called into Marco van Basten’s first squad for a game against Liechtenstein in September 2004 and this summer marks Kuyt’s fifth international tournament with Oranje, and the continuation of his gradual move away from a forward starting position.
Liverpool can take a major step towards the Premier League title on Sunday as they meet second-placed Chelsea.
The Reds’ unbelievable recent form has put them five points clear at the top of the table, but a win for Jose Mourinho’s men could put them back in contention, just two points off top spot despite having lost twice in their last four league games.
And while these two behemoths duke it out on Merseyside, Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City lurk in the background, looking to take advantage of either side’s mistakes.
Ahead of the game at Anfield, here’s a look at 10 things to keep an eye on.
The Scot was unceremoniously jettisoned from the Manchester United hotseat on Tuesday morning, after widespread reports surfaced on Monday claiming he was in line for the chop.
Moyes had endured a miserable season in charge at Old Trafford, leading the champions to seventh in the Premier League – a whopping 23 points behind leaders Liverpool.
Under the former Everton boss, United suffered 11 defeats – their most ever in the Premier League era – and they will finish the season with their lowest-ever points haul, even if they win their remaining four games.
So, with Moyes now unemployed, we’ve taken a look at 10 possible destinations where he may resurface.
Tony Pulis may be some people’s choice for Manager of the Year given his sterling work in revitalising Crystal Palace’s once doomed campaign, and this alternative league table would seem to support his credentials.
If the Premier League was decided by efficiency – i.e. which teams had made their goals count more than anyone else – then Pulis’ Palace would top the table, with Swansea propping it up at the other end.
Despite being the joint-lowest scorers in the division, the Eagles have won 1.54 points for each of their 28 goals scored. Eight of their 13 victories this season have been decided by a single goal, while they have only scored in four of their 18 defeats.
The end is finally in sight for one of the most fraught and protracted stadium sagas in sporting history.
Images of the new £150m remodelling of Anfield have been unveiled after the club signed a legal agreement with Liverpool City Council and Your Housing Group to redevelop the ground and the surrounding area.
Plans to replace Anfield with a new 60,000-capacity stadium in the adjacent Stanley Park were first mooted in 2002, and then revisited under the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who famously promised “a spade in the ground” within 60 days of their acquisition of the club in 2007.