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The Times




Pogba’s PFA puzzler and the underwhelming race for 4th

Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Oli Kay and Alan Smith after a big midweek in the Premier League. Manchester City played their game in hand at Old Trafford and ran out 2-0 winners in the Manchester derby. Was that their biggest hurdle to clear in the title race? Or will Burnley and their anti-football provide sterner opposition? Paul Pogba is named in the PFA Team of the Year which has incensed many. Do players take the nominations seriously enough or do they just look...


Will disgraceful United rally for the Manchester derby?

Natalie Sawyer is joined by Alan Smith, Gary Jacob and Paul Hirst after a seismic Easter weekend. Manchester United are embarrassed and humiliated, losing 4-0 to Everton at Goodison Park. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wasn’t sure if all of his players care enough. We discuss who he might be talking about and look ahead to the Manchester derby on Wednesday. Will United respond, damaging City’s title hopes, helping Liverpool in the process? The race for the top 4 seems to be a race nobody wants to...


Poch reaches new heights as De Gea reaches crossroads

It was a momentous midweek of Champions League football. Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Paul Hirst and Alan Smith to pore through it all. Tottenham reach their first ever Champions League semi-final, after progressing past Manchester City on away goals in one of the craziest games in the history of football. How will this affect the Premier League title race? Did VAR make the right decisions? And now that Mauricio Pochettino has scaled new heights, can he outcoach Ajax’s...


Is this title race good for the Premier League?

Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Matt Dickinson and Bill Edgar after another Premier League weekend where the top two were victorious. We look at the run-ins of Liverpool and Manchester City for any potential slip-ups. Will Rafa Benitez have something to say about the destination of the title? With City and Liverpool continuing to rack up the points, is this title race good for the Premier League or does it show the disparity between the haves and the have-nots? Ahead of the...


Stage set for Hazard as Liverpool face title race demons

Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Oli Kay and special guest, Belgian football journalist Kristof Terreur. Liverpool host Chelsea and the ghosts of their last title race with Manchester City and the damage that Blues did to them 5 years ago. How different is this Liverpool team? How much damage will Eden Hazard do to the Reds and will he be at Stamford Bridge next season? It was a bad week in the Champions League for the Manchester clubs? Despite the phenomenal efforts of Scott...


Will Pep get funky and outfox himself?

Natalie Sawyer is back alongside Gab Marcotti, James Gheerbrant and Alan Smith after an epic semi-final and ahead of some intriguing quarter-finals. As Tottenham get ready to host Manchester City in the Champions League, will Poch and Pep throw each other some tactical curveballs? And is Pep about to be too clever for his own good again? Liverpool face Porto while Ajax take on Juventus. It’s Manchester United against Barcelona in the other quarter-final but should we expect a cagey...


The substance of Sterling and Warnock on the warpath

Gab Marcotti is joined by Henry Winter, Alyson Rudd and Alan Smith to wade through some big issues and talking points in the world of football. Manchester City’s quadruple hopes look stronger than ever as they return to the top of the Premier League. What is Pep Guardiola doing for the club’s image on the world stage? Plus the panel get stuck into the Raheem Sterling-Leonardo Bonucci-Moise Kean racism debate. After condemnation of Cardiff manager Neil Warnock’s criticism of Premier...


Sarri not helping himself as Liverpool & United get lucky

After a Sunday full of drama and controversy, Gab Marcotti is joined by Paul Joyce, James Gheerbrant and Bill Edgar to discuss the major talking points in the Premier League. Liverpool return to the top of the table with a last-gasp victory over Spurs at Anfield. How much of a role is luck playing in this title race? Could the defining moment of Liverpool’s season not involve Lloris and Alderweireld but in fact Van Dijk and Sissoko? And what about Tottenham, who are finding different ways...


Is Solskjaer the new Dalglish?

Premier League football is back, as are Gab Marcotti, Alyson Rudd, James Gheerbrant and Paul Joyce for The Game podcast. And the big breaking news on Thursday morning is that Manchester United appoint Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their permanent manager on a 3 year contract as Ed Woodward votes for Sunday roast. Is he the right appointment? Is this the right time? Can he be his own man? Liverpool take on Tottenham on Sunday as the title race resumes. How will the Reds handle the pressure? And...


What’s the story Gab and Rory?

In a special episode, Gab Marcotti welcomes back Rory Smith to The Game podcast, as they pore through some of the biggest issues in football today. While Manchester United look to be filling their managerial vacancy with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, are they in danger of neglecting their structural failings as a club? VAR will be in the Premier League next season but is it battling against a narrative of heroes and villains, the laws of the game and an attitude towards officials that is too...


Declan Rice and the curious case of Callum Hudson-Odoi

Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Bill Edgar and George Caulkin to discuss the start of the Euro 2020 qualifiers. England face the Czech Republic on Friday night as they get their campaign underway, but where does newly qualified Declan Rice fit into Gareth Southgate's setup? What will Southgate's setup be? And how did Callum Hudson-Odoi get into the squad despite not starting a league match ever? As we grapple with those questions, Newcastle constantly grapple with Rafa...


Will 48 teams dilute the quality of the World Cup?

Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Alyson Rudd and Paul Hirst to dissect club football before the last international break of the season. Wolves knock out Manchester United to progress to the FA Cup semi-finals. How does Nuno do it? Can we call it a shock? Do United need this break more than anyone? And have neighbours City been getting the luck of the draw this season? Liverpool are back on top of the Premier League. Did the win at Fulham show that the Reds are nervous or...


Mane among the elite & Dier on Brexit

With 4 English teams making it through to the last 8 of the Champions League, Gab Marcotti, Natalie Sawyer, James Gheerbrant and Oli Kay run the rule over the contenders for Europe’s top title. After Liverpool’s comfortable win in Munich, there’s praise for the maturity of the Reds as well as the Mane man who has kept them on track in the last few months. We can’t rule out Barca or Juve but could Man City become dependent on Phil Foden before they know it? We look ahead to a...


How do we protect players from pitch invaders?

It’s been a weekend of incomprehensible refereeing decisions and inexcusable fan behaviour. Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Matt Dickinson and Alan Smith to analyse it all. After individual pitch invaders at Hibernian, Arsenal and most shockingly Birmingham where Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is punched, the panel discuss what can be done to better ensure player safety, as well as the perils of punishing clubs for the actions of individuals. Arsenal beat Manchester United...


Solskjaer’s smile and swagger as Real’s roof caves in

Following a monumental week in Europe, Gab Marcotti and Natalie Sawyer are joined by Henry Winter and Alan Smith to examine the fall-out from a shocking Tuesday and Wednesday. Manchester United overcome a two-goal deficit with the help of VAR on a famous night in Paris and are through to the last eight of the Champions League. There’s praise for Solskjaer, Smalling and Rashford (are English players good at penalties now?). But as for PSG, did they bottle it? Or are they the victims of...


Expectation and exhaustion weigh down Liverpool & Spurs

After a derbylicious weekend, Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are in the company of Alyson Rudd, Matthew Syed and Paul Joyce with plenty to discuss. Liverpool are held by Everton and lose the leadership of the Premier League. Is the pressure building on Jurgen Klopp and his players or are they suffering from a lack of depth? The North London derby was packed full of incident but also ended all square. Find out which Tottenham player is NOT a horse, as we ask has the return of Kane...


Struggling to assess Silva as Liverpool fall back on full-backs

After a full midweek fixture list, Gab Marcotti, Natalie Sawyer and Gary Jacob look ahead to a weekend packed full of derbies. Chelsea sweep aside Spurs despite the controversy surrounding the many statements of Kepa. Is Harry Kane’s frustration at Stamford Bridge, coupled with Mauricio Pochettino’s frustration at Turf Moor, indicative of a larger frustration? Arsenal are next in the North London derby. The Gunners are in form but is Unai Emery in emergency mode? Then follows the...


We need to talk about Kepa

After a huge Sunday of football happenings, Gab Marcotti and Natalie Sawyer are joined by Alyson Rudd and Paul Hirst to try and make sense of it all. Where else to start but with the Arrizabalaga saga? Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri tries to substitute his keeper Kepa in the League Cup final, who then refuses to come off. Was he disrespecting his manager? Would it have been a tactical masterstroke if Sarri had brought on former City goalkeeper Willy Caballero? And to what extent does this...


United desperate for Liverpool to fail

Gab Marcotti and Natalie Sawyer are joined by Oli Kay, Bill Edgar and George Caulkin ahead of a huge weekend of football. Liverpool travel to Old Trafford to face bitter rivals Manchester United who are seeking to dent their title bid. But should Liverpool be worried about their fabled front three looking a bit off colour? Manchester City then look to retain the Carabao Cup against Chelsea and under-pressure Maurizio Sarri. Is a mid-season change of manager likely at Stamford Bridge? Or...


Premier League or Champions League? Will Pep and Klopp prioritise?

Gab Marcotti and Natalie Sawyer look ahead to another week of Champions League action in the company of Alan Smith and James Gheerbrant. With the top two in the Premier League both in action, will Liverpool prioritise the Premier League in favour of the Champions League? And will Manchester City do the opposite? Does this season represent a changing of the guard in Europe? Plus what happened when James met Joshua Kimmich? The holders Real Madrid continue to be something of a circus....