BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty

Archives for July 2012

Would Liverpool be making a mistake to let Carroll go?

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 12:19 UK time, Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Andy Carroll may have thought he had finally got his feet under the table at Liverpool after ending last season with the sort of flourish that suggested he had settled to life on Merseyside.

No-one could claim the 23-year-old had even come close to justifying the exorbitant £35m fee Liverpool handed over to Newcastle United in January 2011 as part of the proceeds from Fernando Torres's £50m sale to Chelsea.

There were some vital signs, however, of the return of the form that prompted former manager Kenny Dalglish to make the giant Geordie his prime target once Torres had taken his talents to Stamford Bridge.

Carroll, for so long little more than a despairing misfit despite constant public expressions of faith from Dalglish, was alive again. He scored the winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton and almost rescued a hopeless position against Chelsea in the final at Wembley with a goal and a performance that made a nonsense of his non-selection, although Dalglish's initial pick seemed based on sound logic.

Read the rest of this entry

Disillusioned Van Persie is disaster for Arsenal

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 20:02 UK time, Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Arsenal may have been shocked by the timing and content of Robin van Persie’s statement announcing he will not sign a new contract – but in reality it was a fear finally realised.

Van Persie’s reluctance to commit his future to Arsenal and the failure of his meeting with manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis to successfully resolve the matter meant the end was always in sight.

And while there was loose talk after the announcement that Van Persie and Arsenal could see out their remaining 12 months of contractual obligation, the tone of the 28-year-old’s message surely signals the end of his career at Emirates Stadium.

He left little or no room for manoeuvre as he displayed an obvious lack of faith in Arsenal to take him where he wishes to go and win the trophies that have eluded the Gunners since 2005.

“In this meeting,” he said, “it has again become clear to me that we in many aspects disagree on the way Arsenal should move forward.”

Read the rest of this entry

Villas-Boas must learn from Chelsea mistakes

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 18:34 UK time, Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Andre Villas-Boas arrived at Chelsea last summer armed with a three-year plan that proved he was not lacking in confidence and optimism. Nine months later he was sacked by Roman Abramovich.

Less than four months on, the 34-year-old Portuguese is back in London at Tottenham. He has a contract that presumes another three-year plan but faces another tough job as successor to Harry Redknapp, who was dismissed despite finishing fourth in the Premier League.

Villas-Boas, who was on Liverpool’s radar before they turned to Brendan Rodgers, has proved the old concrete confidence is still in place by taking another job so close to his previous home at a time when the scars to his reputation have not healed in many quarters.

These qualities may be his aid at White Hart Lane because less assured men may have shied away from returning to England so soon after such a damaging experience.

Read the rest of this entry

Euro 2012 proves a treat, on and off the pitch

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 16:19 UK time, Monday, 2 July 2012

The conclusion of Euro 2012 was marked by Spain's magnificent victory against Italy and a noisy party that was still in full swing as dawn broke behind the vast bowl of Kiev's Olympic Stadium.

And after a tournament that started amid fears of hooliganism and racism, both Ukraine and Poland had every right to celebrate an event that did both countries great credit.

Logistical problems and prohibitive travel prices meant empty seats at many games - including the final that brought Spain's 4-0 masterclass. This was a real shame as every unoccupied yellow and blue seat at that final represented a missed opportunity to witness something special.

This was, however, a wonderfully enjoyable tournament, on and off the pitch. From the searing heat of Donetsk's Donbass Arena, through Warsaw and on to exciting, edgy Kiev for the final, the people of Poland and Ukraine were friendly, welcoming and unfailingly polite and helpful.

Read the rest of this entry

Brilliant Spain can outshine their rivals for longer still

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 08:44 UK time, Monday, 2 July 2012

Euro 2012: Kiev

At 2.45am the lights went out on Kiev's Olympic Stadium. The only noise came from the thudding musical beats from hospitality areas and the few fans still taking souvenir photographs.

And yet this exciting, bustling city and its state-of-the-art arena was still illuminated by the latest stunning display from arguably the finest international team this sport has seen.

Partisanship and patriotism will be factors in the debate - Brazil of 1970 and France of 1998/2000 will have their advocates whenever the argument turns to who really was - or is - the greatest.

But Spain have now had a grip on the game since they won Euro 2008 and can take their place in history after a 4-0 victory against Italy, following a World Cup triumph in South Africa two years ago, confirmed three major tournaments in succession.

Read the rest of this entry

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.