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The Game Football Podcast

The premier football podcast from The Times, with the finest writers reviewing and previewing all the action from the 2020/21 season. Hugh Woozencroft, Gregor Robertson and leading football writers from The Times and Sunday Times provide expert analysis of the big issues every Monday and ThursdayYou can subscribe to The Times and The Sunday Times to enjoy our award-winning journalism on your smartphone or tablet. Just search The Times online.

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The Game - Week 11 - Can Man United still kill off games?

Join our panel of football writers for The Game Podcast Roadshow live recordings in Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester. Tickets cost 5 pounds for TimesPlus members and 7.50 pounds for non-members to book visit www2.seetickets.com/thetimes or call 0871 620 4025.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

38mins

21 Oct 2013

Rank #1

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The Game - Week 019 - Wales have work cut out to get past Euro 2016 group stages

Gabriele Marcotti is joined by Rory Smith, Tony Cascarino and Kit Symons.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

45mins

14 Dec 2015

Rank #2

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The Game’s Premier League Preview 18/19

The Game is back for the new Premier League season and it's double trouble. Gab Marcotti is joined by new co-host Natalie Sawyer. We’ll be bringing you a half-hour show every Monday and from next week a new preview show every Thursday.Alyson Rudd and Matt Hughes join us in the studio to discuss the major talking points ahead of the big kick-off. Are Liverpool the team to provide a title challenge to Manchester City? Are Manchester United bored of Mourinho? And which new signing is a poor man’s Neymar?Elsewhere, Gab is looking forward to seeing some Sarri-ball while Natalie is fearing Fulham as a force this season. And is it a case of Cardiff and Huddersfield PLUS ONE in the battle to beat the drop?See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

48mins

6 Aug 2018

Rank #3

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Micro-manager Emery and the incompatible Pogba and Mourinho

What a weekend in the Premier League and with a full set of midweek fixtures to come, Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Oliver Kay and Bill Edgar to digest all the action.The panel praise Unai Emery for his role in Arsenal’s North London derby win over Tottenham and the improvement in the players he has inherited. But was Pochettino too passive? And is something brewing between Emery and the absent Mesut Ozil?Liverpool managed to stay 2 points behind Manchester City in the title race, courtesy of a 96th minute winner from Divock Origi in bizarre circumstances. But does the league table lie? Have Liverpool been lucky this season? And what has happened to Wednesday’s opponents Burnley?After reports that Jose Mourinho branded Paul Pogba a ‘virus’ in a furious dressing room bust-up. Oliver Kay concludes the pair are incompatible and have both handled the situation dreadfully. Is Mourinho more of a virus than Pogba?And the manager’s chair at St Mary’s is available after Southampton sack Mark Hughes. Find out why that chair isn’t the launching pad it used to be for ambitious coaches.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

40mins

3 Dec 2018

Rank #4

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The Game - Week 37 - What now for QPR?

Gab Marcotti is joined by Tony Evans, Rory Smith and Matt Hughes  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

45mins

29 Apr 2013

Rank #5

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The Game - Week 15 - England get taught lessons by Chile

Join our panel of football writers for The Game Podcast Roadshow. Tickets cost 5 pounds for Times Plus members and 7 pounds 50 pence for non-members. To book visit www2.seetickets.com/thetimes or call 0871 620 4025.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

40mins

18 Nov 2013

Rank #6

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De Boer was on borrowed time from Day One

The first managerial casualty of the Premier League season occurs during The Game podcast, with Gab Marcotti, James Gheerbrant and former Crystal Palace striker James Scowcroft. The panel break down the weekend's action, plus Matthew Syed joins the debate to discuss the demonisation of Dele Alli.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

58mins

11 Sep 2017

Rank #7

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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 karma?The holders Real Madrid were eliminated spectacularly by a young vibrant Ajax. Was Real’s downfall down to ageing and arrogance? Plus we discuss Gareth Bale’s struggles in front of the most demanding fans in the world.And in a landmark week for England’s women with victory in the SheBelieves Cup, Molly Hudson discusses the potential impact of Phil Neville’s first silverware as a manager in a World Cup year.Charlie Scott and Paddy von Behr provide advice ahead of the fantasy football weekend. For free Fantasy Premier League tips from The Sweeper, visit thetimes.co.uk/fantasyfootball See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

43mins

7 Mar 2019

Rank #8

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Sarri raises the stakes as Rashford rediscovers his confidence

Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Matt Dickinson and Alan Smith after an impactful weekend in the Premier League. Arsenal beat Chelsea emphatically at the Emirates, causing Blues boss Maurizio Sarri to publicly question his players’ motivation ahead of their Carabao Cup semi-final with Spurs. Is it a gamble worth taking? Has Sarri neglected other members of his squad for too long? Or is the system failing and are Kante and Hazard being misused? Speaking of Spurs, they come from behind to win at Fulham, despite Dele Alli adding to a growing injury list. Is the lack of summer signings about to come back to haunt them? And are the Cottagers doomed to the drop? And it’s another win for Manchester United and another goal for Marcus Rashford. Is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer right to predict he could become the best striker in the Premier League? See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

37mins

21 Jan 2019

Rank #9

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Poundings for Pochettino and PSG

Gab Marcotti and Natalie Sawyer react to an eventful midweek in the Champions League as Tottenham taste their third defeat in a row. Are we right to question Mauricio Pochettino’s decisions or does he have too much credit in the bank? Manchester City suffer shock defeat at home to Lyon. Oliver Kay argues they are failing to hit the heights of this time last year. Should Bernardo Silva take centre stage? Liverpool dispose of PSG as Klopp overcomes Tuchel. But as James Gheerbrant suggests, are we predisposed to wanting PSG to fail due to a lack of goodwill towards them? Elsewhere, it’s a pain in the AARs for Cristiano Ronaldo. And Gazidis is a goner, in a high-profile exit from the Emirates. Has he let Stan Kroenke down?Charlie Scott and Paddy von Behr provide their advice ahead of the fantasy football weekend. For free Fantasy Premier League tips from The Sweeper, visit thetimes.co.uk/fantasyfootball See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

41mins

20 Sep 2018

Rank #10

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Liverpool yet to peak as Burnley suffer identity crisis

After a Boxing Day full of goals and surprises, Natalie Sawyer is back alongside Alyson Rudd, Alan Smith and Paul Hirst to digest it all. Manchester City had lost 2 out of 61 Premier League games and have now lost 3 of their last 4 after defeat to Leicester at the King Power Stadium. Are they simply missing the fatherly Fernandinho? And with Liverpool now 7 points clear of the champions, are the Reds only set to improve under Jurgen Klopp? As for the Foxes, it’s been an incredible Christmas but does Claude Puel’s persona count against him? And does he have the power or is it the players? Burnley are battered on Boxing Day 5-1 by Everton. Have they lost sense of who they are and how do they turn things around? And is Sean Dyche’s job safe no matter what? Plus with Tottenham making it 11 goals in 2 games and with this season on course to be the highest scoring season in Premier League history, we ask whether the disparity between the haves and the have-nots is the contributing factor. And outside of Liverpool, is any team actually defending well? Charlie Scott and Paddy von Behr provide their advice ahead of the fantasy football weekend. For free Fantasy Premier League tips from The Sweeper, visit thetimes.co.uk/fantasyfootball See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

40mins

27 Dec 2018

Rank #11

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Sancho, Silva and United’s waste of money

Gab Marcotti and Natalie Sawyer are joined by Alyson Rudd and Oliver Kay after a massive Manchester derby. Events at the Etihad throw up a number of questions. Is Jose Mourinho getting the best out of this United squad? How have they spent so much to look so average? And despite a slender lead at the top of the table, is it inevitable that City will retain the title? After another virtuoso display from David Silva, we ask is he the player of this Premier League season so far? Or are Virgil Van Dijk and Eden Hazard more valuable to their clubs and therefore more deserving? Plus there’s some love shown to David Brooks of Bournemouth. And with international duty around the corner, Jadon Sancho produces another super showing as Dortmund defeat Bayern in the Bundesliga. Just how excited should England fans be about this young talent?See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

39mins

12 Nov 2018

Rank #12

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The Game - Week 017 - Aguero not as good as Ronaldo

Gabriele Marcotti is joined by Matt Hughes, Rory Smith and Alyson Rudd  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

32mins

1 Dec 2014

Rank #13

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Wizardry from Wolves as Keegan gets candid on cowboy Newcastle

Natalie Sawyer and Gab Marcotti are joined by Henry Winter and Bill Edgar after another eyebrow-raising Premier League weekend.With Liverpool maintaining their 100% record and Chelsea dropping points for the first time this season, we cast our eye to the top of the table showdown at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Is Sarri-ball getting the best out of N’Golo Kante? And is there a place up for grabs in that Chelsea midfield for Ross Barkley?Wolves continue to impress as they prise a point from Manchester United at Old Trafford. Gab admires their tactical flexibility but still has problems with their business model. Plus is Ruben Neves the best player outside the top 6? And why has Alexis Sanchez been so ineffective since signing for United in January?And Matt Dickinson joins us to discuss the explosive extracts from Kevin Keegan’s autobiography which you can read in The Game in The Times on Monday, as he lifts the lid on Newcastle under Mike Ashley’s ownership.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

37mins

24 Sep 2018

Rank #14

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Pogba peaks and Mbappe mesmerises as France are crowned world champions

After 32 days and 64 games, it is France who take home the World Cup after a pulsating 4-2 win over Croatia in Moscow. For our final episode, Natalie Sawyer is joined by Oliver Kay and Matt Hughes to analyse the final. What next for Kylian Mbappe, a player with the world at his feet? And will Paul Pogba be allowed to replicate that level of performance under Mourinho at Manchester United? With Croatia feeling hard done by with VAR after Perisic was penalised for handball, are slow motion replays misleading to match referees? And have we seen the advent of the VAR handball? Plus The Times chief sports writer Matt Dickinson helps us review the best bits of a sensational World Cup in Russia. Can anything top Michy Batshuayi smashing the ball into his own face?See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

33mins

15 Jul 2018

Rank #15

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The Game - Week 09 - Liverpool need big name to lose laughing stock tag

Gabriele Marcotti is joined by Alyson Rudd and Rory Smith.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

47mins

5 Oct 2015

Rank #16

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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 to leapfrog them into 4th place. What are the chances of Champions League qualification for the Gunners? And should more people be dissing David De Gea for his role in the first goal? It’s as you were in the title race. Would Champions League progression against Bayern be a good or bad thing for Liverpool’s hopes of winning the Premier League? And how important is Raheem Sterling to Manchester City? Plus Darren Moore, equal pay in the USA and after a bad weekend for the officials, who is the Huddersfield of referees?See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

40mins

11 Mar 2019

Rank #17

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All hail King de Bruyne, and a cautionary tale for Villa

Nat & Gregor are joined by Molly Hudson & James Restall to look back on Man City's incredible win at The Bernabeu, and discuss whether Kevin de Bruyne is now the best midfielder in Europe.They also ask whether Villa fans would be happy to win the League Cup and get relegated, and Natalie recalls her most bizarre interviews....including a chat with George Clooney!See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

45mins

27 Feb 2020

Rank #18

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Is Pogba miscast as a mercenary?

The Premier League returns, as do Gab Marcotti and Natalie Sawyer in the company of Matt Hughes and Paul Hirst, to look ahead to what promises to be an intriguing weekend. Gary Neville has spoken exclusively to Matt Dickinson for The Times about his former club Manchester United, the need to back Jose Mourinho and a warning for Paul Pogba not to lose the dressing room over his future. The panel debate whether or not Pogba’s intentions are misunderstood.League leaders Liverpool prepare for Poch and a visit to Wembley to take on Tottenham. But as Neville suggests, would Klopp be better off ditching the Champions League in search of Premier League glory? We analyse (pointless) West Ham’s woes. Did they start with the summer transfer window? And where is their next win coming from? Plus the Roy Keane Republic of Ireland saga and Gab and Nat debunk some myths about the new St Mirren manager.Charlie Scott and Paddy von Behr provide their advice ahead of the fantasy football weekend. For free Fantasy Premier League tips from The Sweeper, visit thetimes.co.uk/fantasyfootball See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

37mins

13 Sep 2018

Rank #19

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Modest Mbappe steals the show as Messi & Ronaldo exit the stage

The knockout stage of the World Cup in Russia begins with a bang. Natalie Sawyer reviews the progression of Uruguay and France to the last 8. A stunning display from 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe blows Argentina away. Alyson Rudd joins us from Kazan and is privileged to have witnessed one of the great World Cup games. Giles Smith is in the studio to mourn the loss of Diego Maradona from our TV screens and ponder the pointlessness of beer showers at a VAR tournament. Oli Kay gives his reaction to a pulsating Uruguayan victory over Portugal as the handsome Edinson Cavani comes into form at the right time. And we debate the importance of Alli and Henderson to England ahead of their clash with Colombia on Tuesday.See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

33mins

30 Jun 2018

Rank #20