Never one to shirk from speaking his mind, PSV Eindhoven striker Dries Mertens described his sideÃ¢ÂÂs late-February win over Feyenoord as Ã¢ÂÂkampioenswedstrijdÃ¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂ Ã¢ÂÂchampionship gameÃ¢ÂÂ. That came back to bite him, but even if we're still three games shy of the winter break there's no better word to describe tomorrow's Amsterdam clash between Ajax and, six points above them, PSV.
For me, January 2013 will mark a professional milestone. It will be three years since I became the editor of FourFourTwo magazine Ã¢ÂÂ essentially, an anniversary of the proudest day of my working life. In those three years, IÃ¢ÂÂve been consistently amazed and pleased in equal measure at watching doors open when I start conversations with the phrase, Ã¢ÂÂHello, my nameÃ¢ÂÂs David and I work for FourFourTwo magazine.Ã¢ÂÂ FourFourTwo is respected in the world of football Ã¢ÂÂ thatÃ¢ÂÂs what 18 years of covering the game like us does for you.
With the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup yet to fall under UefaÃ¢ÂÂs auspices, a side from the eastern bloc had still to win a major European trophy when the governing body made the draws for their club competitions for the coming season in July 1968. And that didnÃ¢ÂÂt really seem like changing during the season ahead, either; not with the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August and the repercussions it had for football.
Mauricio Pochettino arrived to save Espanyol halfway through the 2008-09 season as a bearded cheeky chubster, clad permanently in the tracksuit of the team for whom he had played for eight seasons in the 1990s. Just under four years later, the poor Perico has been kicked out of Cornella, considerably slimmer, sadder and certainly a lot more stressed than before.
The former Sunderland man has failed to make much of a splash in 18 months at Liverpool - Joel Ramey uses the FREE FourFourTwo/Opta StatsZone app to assess the midfielder's chances of making a name for himself at Anfield...
The Soviet figure skating team had to fight though a media scrum in the arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport. But BritainÃ¢ÂÂs press had not gathered for their benefit. It was January 1989, and also on the flight from Moscow that day was Serhiy Baltacha, a classy sweeper ready to take a step into unknown with Ipswich Town. No Soviet footballer had ever played for an English side before; the communist party didnÃ¢ÂÂt allow them to move overseas back then. But against a backdrop of glasnost and perestroika, change was in the air, and it had been decided that a select few should have their achievements rewarded with a transfer abroad.