Burnley can take advantage at Turf Moor
30 August ~ Some weeks back, when the Premier League's computer spat out the fixtures for the new campaign, it looked as if Louis van Gaal's introduction to English football was destined to be the smoothest of glides and the softest of landings. Swansea, Sunderland, Burnley, Leicester, QPR, West Ham: the way looked tantalisingly clear for Manchester United and their much-garlanded new manager to immediately put the horrors of 2013-14 behind them and build on their impressive performances during pre-season.
Fiorentina, Juventus could also challenge
29 August ~ Earlier this week it was finally confirmed that Italy had slipped below Portugal in UEFA's country coefficient rankings. We'd all been waiting for this one for some time; that the news arrived on the eve of a new Serie A season capped off another summer of missed opportunities and futile handwringing. The national team's abject showing in Brazil, the death of Napoli fan Ciro Esposito after he was shot during disturbances before last season's Coppa Italia final, the leaving of more young native talent and the appointment of a hapless septuagenarian as the head of the country's FA.
Event runs for a week in September
28 August ~ The first Manchester Football Writing Festival will take place between September 4-12 at venues across the city, in association with the National Football Museum. The even will begin with a live edition of the Guardian's Football Weekly podcast at the Royal Northern College of Music before featuring talks on football memoirs, novels and analytics. Many prominent football writers will be in attendance, including Sid Lowe, Graham Hunter, Jonathan Wilson, Michael Calvin and Matt Dickinson. More details and tickets can be found here.
Concern for fans over performances
26 August ~ Ally McCoist's current Rangers team, like everything at the club, are either acclimatising slowly to their only season in Scotland's second tier or are about to flatline. Performances in the first five games varied. Supporters' groups pushing for boardroom influence have boycotted season ticket sales. Directors, currently organising a "Fan Board", are hawking devalued shares to cover the shortfall. Anything less than a comfortable, stock exchange-pleasing win over Queen's Park in the League Cup first round tonight could force McCoist out. But dwindling crowds are weakening the board's mandate to sack him.
Last season's top two meet at Etihad tonight
25 August ~ It seems likely that fans of Manchester City and Liverpool will approach tonight's Premier League clash in stark contrast to the way they left their previous league encounter in April. A 3-2 win at Anfield left Liverpool on a high: with only four games left the elusive title was in their grasp and a sensational run of form had left their fans exuberant and full of expectation. City, meanwhile, skulked away with the resignation that it wasn't going to be their year. Neither set of fans envisaged the impending dramas to come.
24 August ~ The broadcaster James Alexander Gordon died this week. He had read the football results on BBC radio for 40 years before retiring last year. In WSC 60 (February 1992) Harry Pearson met him – and even discovered what he wore when doing his job
For over 18 years now, James Alexander Gordon has read the classified football results on Sports Report. His voice, with its immaculate enunciation and sternly stressed syllables, is as much a part of British Saturday tea-time as the jaunty rumpity-tum-tee-tum music which precedes it, Battenberg cake and meat paste sandwiches.
Commemorating Coventry's munitions factory workers
23 August ~ A match recreating a game played during the First World War between women from Coventry's munitions factories will take place this at 2pm on Bank Holiday Monday. Coventry City Ladies FC play the match at the Butts Park Arena and will be wearing First World War era kit with the names of the original players printed on their backs. The match is part of a project called "No Game for Girls", which seeks to tell the untold story of women's football during the War. More information on the background to the match can be found here.
Includes levels one to four of pyramid
23 August ~ A new app has been launched that shows the nearest non-League matches to the user for any day of the 2014-15 season. The app, currently available for iPhone or iPads only and includes lists for steps one to four of the non-League pyramid, encompassing 12 leagues. It means you can easily find non-League matches going on around you on any given day of the season and also has information on each club. It is available from iTunes and costs 69p.
Real Madrid and Barcelona to reassert dominance over Atlético
22 August ~ Diego Simeone, coach of reigning La Liga champions Atlético Madrid, was in typically sharp form as he spoke this week about Spanish Supercopa opponents Real Madrid. "With €95 million [£76m] we have signed nine players," Simeone said. "Real Madrid have signed two players for €95 million. That is the difference." He had a point, even if his sums were actually wrong. Real's two new galacticos James Rodríguez and Toni Kroos cost a combined €105m, while a further €10m was spent on goalkeeper Keylor Navas.