SoccerLens Archives for January 2008

Aston Villa - has the Randy Lerner bubble finally burst?

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An interesting debate has sprung up over at the AVFC Blog on whether the real Randy Lerner is what the PR has led us to believe (a genuine fan who will spend millions to turn Aston Villa into a top four side) or whether he's another businessman who saw the riches the Premier League [...]

Tottenham in for Diego Forlan?

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Yes, I know what they say about repeating baseless rumours, especially transfer rumours. But this one is interesting for a number of reasons. For one, Diego Forlan has stated in the past that he'd like to return one day to the Premier League. Two, he's come along in leaps and bounds as a striker once he [.

Will Aston Villa let Tottenham buy Liverpool’s Carson?

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Here's an interesting threesome - or something like that. Carson wants his future settled, and he's said several times already this season that he'd rather be playing at Aston Villa than sitting on the bench at Liverpool. Liverpool have so far been reluctant to let Carson go, and it's rumoured that if Benitez cannot convince [.

Premier League Videos Roundup: Tottenham 1-4 Newcastle United, Liverpool 1-0 Everton and Chelsea 1-0 Middlesbrough

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All Premier League highlights for Sunday 30 March 2008: Chelsea 1-0 Middlesbrough Early headed goal by Ricardo Carvalho was the difference between both sides. Tottenham Hotspurs 1-4 Newcastle United Tottenham Hotspurs humbled in front of their home fans while Kevin Keegan is all smiles after Newcastle second straight victory.

Liverpool prove their top 4 credentials

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People said this season that the Premier League had a 'Big 3′, not a Big 4′, what with Liverpool's inconsistent performances in the domestic league. Much of that was banter, but if there was any genuine doubt it should have been cleared today with Liverpool's win over Everton. It's not the manner of the win [.

Newcastle beat sorry Tottenham but cannot make old mistakes again

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Newcastle came back from a goal down to beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane four goals to one. Both team started with 3 strikers up front but it was Newcastle who made it count in the end, taking their chances and surging to a comfortable win. The result leaves Newcastle only 4 points behind Tottenham [.

Juventus - Parma clash postponed after fan death

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Juventus's Serie A clash at home to Parma today has been called off following the death of a visiting female fan at a service station. Reports say that the 28-year-old woman died following skirmishes between rival fans at the rest stop on the A21 motorway between Turin and Piacenza. The incident will bring back memories of [.

Premier League Goal Videos Roundup: Bolton 2-3 Arsenal, Birmingham 3-1 Manchester City, Portsmouth 2-0 Wigan, Derby 2-2 Fulham, Sunderland 2-1 West Ham, Reading

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Today's video roundup for English Premier League matches:- Bolton 2-3 Arsenal Arsenal scrapped passed Bolton despite playing with 10 men for most of the match. Birmingham 3-1 Manchester City Birmingham steer themselves closer to safety thanks to a Zarate double. Portsmouth 2-0 Wigan Defoe proved to be a good buy with a double for Portsmouth against a poor Wigan side.

Euro 2008 Fixtures

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Euro 2008 kicks off on Saturday 7 June 2008 and Soccerlens will be covering it every step of the way, from the on-pitch action to team news to the wonderful fans that will be traveling to Austria / Switzerland. Here's the full list of Euro 2008 fixtures, bookmark and share away. Once the tournament [.

2010 Champions League Final in Madrid, 2010 UEFA Cup final in Hamburg

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The Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid will host the 2010 UEFA Champions League final, with UEFA awarding the same season's UEFA Cup final to the Arena Hamburg. The UEFA Executive Committee confirmed the selection of the two stadiums after its meeting in Liechtenstein on Friday but postponed a decision on the venues for the 2011 finals [.

Can Ronaldo best Law’s record?

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Cristiano Ronaldo will continue his quest to beat Denis Law's Manchester United scoring record with a minimum of 8 games and a maximum of 12 (assuming that Manchester United reach the Champions League final) left to go after the Aston Villa game later today. Ronaldo's current stats make for fearsome reading - 34 goals so [.

Rafa Benitez - extraordinary calm in face of extreme stupidity from Liverpool owners

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To put it delicately, the situation at Liverpool with respect to the current owners is something you wouldn't wish on your enemies. It is a nightmare come true, except that it is perhaps worse than what you'd imagine a nightmare to be. However, manager Rafael Benitez has done the right thing by publicly insisting he [.

Jose Mourinho in talks with Inter

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Oh, how we've missed Jose Mourinho. From the day he arrived at Stamford Bridge, proclaiming that he was the Special One, to his mind games with Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger, to his sporting rivalry with Sir Alex, to his side's complete and utter domination of the Premier League, to his persistent baiting of clubs, [.

Chelsea plan trip to China in July 2008

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Chelsea are to play their first ever match in China in Guangzhou in July, the English Premier League club announced on Friday. Chief Executive Peter Kenyon confirmed that the city in the south of China would host the opening match of the club's pre-season Asian tour, with Chinese Super League team Guangzhou Pharmaceutical the opposition.

Does the fixture-shuffle give an unfair advantage to Chelsea?

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Chelsea have reacted angrily to having a potentially crucial Premier League match at Everton in mid-April brought forward by two days to suit television, claiming the move could hand Manchester United or Arsenal the title. Chelsea, who play Wigan on Monday April 14, will now travel to Goodison Park on the Thursday of that week [.

Carlos Queiroz - indespensible to Manchester United and the most respected assistant in the world?

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Benfica are so serious about prising Carlos Queiroz away from Old Trafford to become their next permanent coach that they are reportedly willing to make him their highest paid boss with the most control of the club ever. Over three weeks after Jose Camacho jumped before he was pushed, the Lisbon giants maintain their pursuit [.

Can Arsenal beat Bolton and get back in the title race?

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Arsene Wenger takes his Arsenal squad to Bolton on Saturday insisting that they can emerge from their worst run in nine seasons to reclaim the Premier League title. Four draws and a defeat in their last five matches have seen the Gunners slip from the top of the table to third spot, six points [...]

Real Betis v FC Barcelona: A Spanish Farce

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Can I begin with an apology? This is my first post on Soccerlens about La Liga and its turned in to a bit of a rant. Sorry. You know that feeling of mild surprise you get when you look up from your newspaper and suddenly realise that the train you had been waiting for has arrived [...]

Football Records: Repeat League Champions and domestic Champions League ties

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Five of last season's champions in Europe's six major leagues look like defending their titles successfully this season. The exception is Germany where last season's champions VfB Stuttgart are currently sixth. If the other five win their domestic titles, it will equal the record set in 2005/2006. Two years ago, it appeared that all six [.

Liverpool v Everton - the best of the rest

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The Merseyside derby in recent years has been little more than a match between two local rivals. But this year there is more at stake as Liverpool and Everton are fighting each other for the fourth and final Champions League spot. What more can you ask for, to spice up the local rivalry? Both teams [.

MLS First Weekend Preview and MLS Fantasy Football

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Soccer season in the USA is almost here. We've had some exciting times already, with both DC United and Houston Dynamo advancing to the semi finals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the Los Angeles Galaxy completing successful tours of Australia/New Zealand and Asia, FC Dallas traveling to Brazil, and the United States U-23 team qualifying [.

The best weekend betting odds and how we hate Ashley Cole…

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Gerry McDonnell returns with his weekly betting column on the English Premier League. Marriage is like a chicken vindaloo, it's something you have to try at least once, even though you know you'll later regret it. I experienced my seven-year itch quite early, it was on the honeymoon. Fortunately, my wandering eye didn't lead to [.

Fiorentina v PSV Eindhoven - 07/08 UEFA Cup Quarterfinal

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It's been a turbulent decade for Fiorentina, but it's happy times in Florence again, as the Viola are winning both domestically and continentally. Along with challenging for a place in next season's UEFA Champions League, Cesare Prandelli's side are set to face three-time defending Dutch champions PSV in the quarterfinals of the UEFA [.

Bayern Munich v Getafe - 07/08 UEFA Cup Quarterfinal

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First-timer meets long-timer in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup, as European newcomer Getafe face off against Bayern Munich. While Getafe are experiencing Europe for the first time, Bayern have been there and done that, six times in fact (four European Cup/Champions League titles, one Cup Winners' Cup title, and one UEFA Cup [.

Rangers v Sporting - 07/08 UEFA Cup Quarterfinal

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See, being eliminated from the UEFA Champions League isn't the end of the world. Rangers and Sporting both finished third in their respective Champions League groups, not good enough to advance to the knockout round, but enough to earn a place in the UEFA Cup round of 32. Both teams have taken [.

Bayer Leverkusen v Zenit St. Petersburg - 07/08 UEFA Cup Quarterfinal

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Since taking over as manager of Zenit St. Petersburg, former Rangers and Dutch national team coach Dick Advocaat has led the club to new heights, including their first national top-flight championship in more than two decades last season. Now, along with chasing a title repeat, the reigning Russian champions are chasing European hardware [.

Who’s That Manager?

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In the midst of all that is serious in football; in between arguing who your team should sign and who is the biggest threat to England's qualification for the World Cup, we should all take a little time and enjoy ourselves. For this purpose I came up with a little game to take your mind [...]

Coke Football Language Ad for Euro 2008

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Euro 2008 attracts many big advertisers, and they don't come much bigger than Coke. Part of Coca-Cola's campaign for Euro 2008 involves a Football Language ad - the video is below, I leave it to you guys to judge if it's good or not. WPvideo 1.10 Download this video "Coke Football Language Ad for Euro 2008" was originally [.

Rain fails to dampen the spirit of London’s football carnival

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Droplets of rain seeped through the roof onto my laptop in the familiar surroundings of Craven Cottage. Just for a brief moment, I could have been watching an English league match. The pitch in front of me was water-sodden, the journalist sitting next to me had a dulcet cockney accent and I could barely feel [.

2008 MLS Kits

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With the MLS season nearly upon us, I will continue SoccerLens' buildup to the new season by having a look at each team's new kit for 2008. The MLS is unique because, unlike other leagues, Adidas does all of the kits by agreement with the league. Here are the 08 MLS kits (click on the thumbnails [...

Why the MLS needs to improve - fast

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In my previous Soccerlens column, I touched on the quality of soccer/football in the top domestic US league called MLS (Major League Soccer). Clearly, the subject isn't an entirely comfortable one for the fans of the league and most home grown American soccer fans do tend to follow it. I follow it as well, sometimes [.

Interview shows Chelsea captain to be small-minded and self-centered

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Just had a quick read through the comments of Chelsea captain John Terry here (his interview in the ICON magazine published yesterday), and I'm afraid he should have kept his mouth shut and gotten on with the game instead of giving this interview. He's quite passionate about football - we see that at Chelsea so [.

US National Team - State of the Union

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Recently, there has been some criticism on the site about the state of soccer in the United States. However, I feel that this is not true, and because of that, I have decided to refute these claims based on the just finished 3-0 win in Poland. US Soccer has taken great strides in past decade and [...

Football Fanzines - the perfect way to get your voice heard

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First off, as a sort of disclaimer I would like to start off by conceding that I am by no means an expert on the topic of football fanzines. I have read a few in my time, but have not yet had the good fortune to contribute to one. Much academic work has been carried [...]

Euro 2008 Flags

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Euro 2008 promises to be massive - with or without England. Along with team beer and several exciting stars expected to leave a mark on the event, there's also the small matter of football fans (if anyone forgets, this is what we had in Germany 2006). I know a lot of bloggers will be covering [...]

The Klinsmann effect - Bayern Munich plans for a serious overhaul in habits and training

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Bayern Munich's superstars Franck Ribery and Luca Toni can expect to sleep on the job next season as new coach Jurgen Klinsmann introduces radical changes - including beds in the team room. Klinsmann is set to replace Ottmar Hitzfeld as Bayern coach on July 1 and has already given instructions for a number of bold [.

Everton sign 7 year-old Harry Yates - is this too young?

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Everton have beaten off competition from Manchester United and Liverpool to secure the signing of a seven-year-old goalkeeper. Harry Yates will join up with Everton after being spotted playing for his junior side. After much interest from a number of teams, including Manchester United and Liverpool, his parents decided the young goalkeeper from Heaton Mersey in [.

Pele, Maradona and Joe Butcher - the best players in the world?

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Pelé, Maradona, Joe Butcher. Which is the odd one out? Err, who's Joe Butcher? Yep, it's Joe Butcher. The other two are the greatest players ever to have lived and Joe Butcher is nobody. Half right. Joe Butcher is indeed the odd one out. He was born in the midlands, the other two were born in South [.

Milan Lab - is it really the source of Milan’s success?

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Having lost to Arsenal a couple of weeks ago a lot of journalists went on 'Milan are old, its the end of an era' rants which personally I think is just a lazy theme that they can knock out quickly and painlessly - this same theme could quite easily have been said when they lost [...]

Spain v Italy - 26 March 2008 - Friendly

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Spain v Italy Wednesday 26 March 2008, Elche, Spain Spain take on Italy in a friendly game in Elche tonight, with both managers having more or less finalised the squads (the core at least) that they will be taking to Euro 2008. No sign of Raul yet in the Spanish squad, and I think by this [...]

Are Manchester City really interested in Barcelona’s Dos Santos?

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Earlier this month Goal.com talked about the possibility of Giovani Dos Santos (#5 on the Top 50 teenagers in football list for 2007 and playing 28 games for Barcelona in all competitions - with 6 starts in the league - this season) moving on from Barcelona. Reports claimed that the top brass were unhappy [.

Social Inertia in Football and Keith Hackett on goal-line technology and video-based retrospective punishments

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In the furore surrounding Javier Mascherano's dismissal (can we get past that now, please?), some interesting comments by Keith Hackett on Sunday morning (part of his column in the Independent) almost went unnoticed - I say almost, and thank Mihir Bose of the BBC for bringing it to the attention of the general public.

Euro 2008: A Preview of the Tournament’s Best XI

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In June, 16 of Europe's best national sides will descend upon Austria and Switzerland for the 2008 UEFA European Football Championship, or as most people call it, Euro 2008. While many of the continent's top teams will be on display, some of Europe's - and the world's - best will be as well, so [...

Exeter City FC’s burden of debt

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Exeter City's somewhat shaky run of form has seen them drop five points off the playoff race. But if their 3-1 loss at relegation-threatened Weymouth caused fans to fret at the widening gap between City and 5th place, of just as much concern has been the news that Exeter are much more in debt than [.

The Value of Set-Pieces in Modern-Day Football

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Football has undergone something of a revolution in the past few decades in many ways like tactics, diet and players themselves on the pitch. Cristiano Ronaldo perhaps epitomises this in some aspects; his extraordinary free-kicks, willingness to float from one wing to another, dribbling ability and of course not forgetting his unbelievable goal return hitherto [.

Is Javier Mascherano ‘the Dumb One’?

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The headlines haven't been kind to Liverpool doughnut Javier Mascherano in the wake of Liverpool's crushing 3-0 defeat to Manchester United. "Dumbest Man On The Planet!" blasted The Sun, and the others weren't much more complimentary either. The man himself has since spoken out in disbelief at Steve Bennett's decision to send him packing at [.

La Liga Week 29: Kid Bojan keeps Barcelona’s chances alive as Real Madrid lose again

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Anyone who thought La Liga was over has been proved wrong again. Every week it gets more and more crazy as Real Madrid and Barcelona try to outdo each other to see who can waste most chances. This week Barça did not play well but 17-year-old Bojan Krkic scored twice as they beat Valladolid 4-1, [...

Can the Real Madrid-Barcelona stranglehold ever be broken?

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When last season the Spanish title race was pulled down to the wire with three teams in contention for the trophy going into the ultimate round of matches, there was a whisper of hope rippling across the nation and especially among the Spanish football commentators that the duopoly could be broken at last.

Why Mascherano was wrong, Bennett was right and Andy Gray was completely out of order

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There has already been much written and much said about the sending off of Liverpool's Javier Mascherano yesterday in the 'Grand Slam Sunday' game against Manchester United. He was dismissed for two yellow cards and with his departure went any hopes Liverpool had of getting something from the game and any outside hopes they had [.

Nomis Football Boots - Ask Your Feet

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It's one of those things that becomes obvious with hindsight - that brands don't necessarily make football shoes good for your feet and that you need to extensively test football boots before committing yourself to them in a proper game to minimise any injury risk. While the likes of Nike (with their Mercurial Vapor IV [.

Ref Watch: Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal and Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool

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It was Grand Slam Sunday yesterday as Manchester United hosted fierce rivals Liverpool before Arsenal played Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. In a rather uncharacteristic fashion, the games had a fair dose of entertainment about them, but that was the only way in which this special Sunday differed from the other special Sundays.

The Observer apologises to Chelsea manager Avram Grant for “making up false news”

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Little, it seems, can stem the tide of false news and rampant speculation that comes our way from tabloids and news sources in general. There are some obvious culprits and some less so - but overall, there's a lot that's published in the papers with the deliberate intention of misleading the readers (whether the [.

Inter Milan 1-2 Juventus: A Spectacular Derby d’Italia Provides Entertainment, Drama, and an Away Victory for Juve (Serie A Matchday 30)

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Someone played a bad joke on Inter Saturday night, and Roberto Mancini wasn't laughing. And who can blame him? Juventus waited until the return leg of the Derby d'Italia to come back to greatness: true greatness, the kind that makes you feel part of European football's Elite. The Evidence? The players.

Would you bet on Chelsea losing to Arsenal?

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As we get closer to the end of the season, each and every match of the leading sides gets more and more important. The impact of this multiplies when two of the teams face each other, and this is exactly what happens on Sunday, when Chelsea host Arsenal. Chelsea's 4-4 draw with Tottenham on [...]

Inter Milan vs. Juventus Preview: Nerazzurri and Bianconeri Get Ready For Another Exciting Derby d’Italia

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To quote Guardian blogger Paolo Baldini, this fixture represents a match between "the Proud and the Usurpers; the Honest against the Defrauded; the Champions against the... eh... actual Champions. Don't let those pretenders from AC Milan or Roma tell you otherwise - from the moment Juventus sealed promotion back to the top flight [.

Memories from White Hart Lane (Tottenham 4-4 Chelsea)

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Gary Andrews had never been to a Premiership game before, choosing instead to spend many a cold afternoon watching non-league football. How would he fare at White Hart Lane? Relief was evident on the faces of my travelling companions in the carriage. We'd managed to get the beer in for the journey and had just made [.

Champions Cup Quarter Final results

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With CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying also taking place this week, the Champions Cup squads were left without some of their more talented young players. However, the show must go on, and the more experienced players took to the pitch once again to defend their club's honor in the second leg of the quarter finals.

Premier League Predictions: Manchester United to beat Liverpool, Chelsea - Arsenal to draw, Newcastle United, Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa to win

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Gerry McDonnell returns with his weekly betting column on the English Premier League. Even though I was brought up as a Catholic, I have never followed a spiritual path. I blame an over-zealous Priest for my descent into heresy; he was constantly on my back when I was young. If my memory serves me correctly, Easter [.

Interview with Luma Mufleh, Youth Coach and Founder of the Fugees Family

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Image courtesy of Luma Mufleh and the Fugees Family. Recently, Soccerlens profiled a humanitarian non-profit organization that assists refugees: The Fugees Family: Pride and Prejudice in a Strange Land. Due to being banned from a local pitch, their plight received mainstream American media coverage. As a follow-up to this important humanitarian initiative, we are very pleased to [.

Should Premier League teams stop playing in the Carling Cup?

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Every year, the Premier League plays on when major leagues across Europe pack it in for a winter break. We've talked about the need (or lack thereof) of a winter break in the Premier League before, with medical opinion supporting the case for a short break in December and January. There are two arguments [.

Football Formation Sketcher Tool Review

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The Football Formation Sketcher tool allows you to do everything from plot your world-dominating Football Manager squad, to putting together lineups for your Sunday League matches, to aiding your match reports. You have 16 formations to work with, including the standard 4-4-2, the 5-4-1, the 3-4-3, and even five and six-a-side formations.

Beckham, Pele and investing in grassroots football

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We've talked a lot about youth football here on Soccerlens, especially where non-official ventures such as the Ministry of Football and Fugees Family are concerned. It's all about developing a community-level interest to invest in the game instead of waiting for the people in charge (who often don't have enough money to invest).

Mexico v Ghana - 26 March 2008 - Friendly

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Mexico v Ghana 20:00 GMT, Wednesday, 26 March 2008, Craven Cottage (Fulham) Mexico take on Ghana in one of two friendlies in London on Wednesday evening, and the game will give England-based fans the opportunity to see several up and coming football stars in the flesh. There's no place for Guillermo Ochoa in the Mexico lineup unfortunately [.

Brazil v Sweden - 26 March 2008 - Friendly

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Brazil v Sweden 19:45 GMT, Wednesday, 26 March 2008, Emirates Stadium (Arsenal) Brazil return to their UK home, Emirates Stadium, to take on Sweden in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1958 World Cup clash. With squads likely to include Ronaldhino, Kaka, Gilberto, Ljungberg and Ibrahimovic this match is expected to be a sell [.

France v England - 26 March 2008 - Friendly

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France v England Wednesday 26 March 2008, Stade de France England starting lineup: James, Brown, Ferdinand (capt), Terry, A Cole, Beckham, Hargreaves, Barry, J Cole, Gerrard, Rooney. No Frank Lampard - Sky say he's down with a severe stomach problem. France starting lineup: Coupet Clerc, Gallas, Thuram, Abidal, Ribéry, Makelele, Toulalan, Malouda, Trezeguet, Anelka.

Lyon, Bolton, Atletico Madrid and Everton fined by Uefa

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Uefa's Control and Disciplinary Committee has imposed a fine of £2,520 on Lyon for "incidents of an unsporting nature". This comes after an incident at the Stade Gerland during the first leg of the Lyon-Manchester United Champions League 2nd round last month where a fan behind the Lyon goal targeted Cristiano Ronaldo with a [.

Manchester United move 3 clear of Arsenal, 5 clear of Chelsea, teach Liverpool how to rotate a squad

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It's not time to gloat yet - no way even near that. But after an assured performance by a distinctly second-choice Manchester United backline and a cracker of a game over at White Hart Lane (Tottenham v Chelsea seems to be the new Liverpool v Chelsea, albeit a lot more fun), Manchester United move 3 [.

Manchester United 3-0 Liverpool - Liverpool pay for Mascherano’s red mist

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For the better part of the last 60 minutes, I've tried to make sense of the Mascherano sending off. It is unfortunate that the match will be remembered more for the action of 2 men (Javier Mascherano and Steve Bennett) than for Pepe Reina's keeping (sublime and shaky in equal measures) or Brown's goal, [.

Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal - Drogba powers Chelsea into 2nd place

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Drogba scores twice to help Chelsea come from a goal down to preserve their home record, keep United's lead down to 5 points and perhaps most poignantly, deal a severe blow to Arsenal's title chances. Avram Grant has come under severe criticism this season, and perhaps (perhaps) it is no coincidence that the lack of [.

Resilient Tottenham damage Chelsea’s title chances

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Tottenham Hotspur 4-4 Chelsea English Premier League Spurs fans could have been forgiven their sense of foreboding ahead of this evening's kick-off. With little left to play for in the league and having seen their side surrender three points at Manchester City last Sunday, concern was abound that the end of their season could deteriorate as badly [.

Welcome to London, the Capital of World Football

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Two international matches take place in London next Wednesday - but neither fixture involves England. While the Three Lions play France in Paris, Arsenal's Emirates Stadium hosts an encounter between Brazil and Sweden and Fulham's Craven Cottage sees Ghana take on Mexico. The prospect of watching the likes of Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Michael Essien and [.

Keano brings in the psycho to help Sunderland

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Roy Keane has done his hardman image considerable damage - he's brought in a psychologist to help inspire his Sunderland players to success. But that's not the worst part of it actually - he's brought in the same person who was appointed by Steve McClaren to help the England players, Bill Beswick (he was also [.

Lazio 3-2 Roma: Derby della Capitale Goes to Lazio, Are Roma’s Scudetto Chances Now Really Over?

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Ahh... Lazio-Roma. Traditionally called "Stracittadina" (or conventionally "Derby della Capitale"), these derbies are always full of excitement: Laziali and Romanisti go crazy for them, because on top of providing plenty of entertainment (to neutral watchers as well), Stadio Olimpico bragging rights for the entire season are at stake.

How to improve Grassroots Football in England

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The English FA's initiative to increase investment in grassroots football as well as formal recognition for the need to concentrate on helping referees, improving training / playing facilities and training the coaches is much appreciated - as any such initiative from a governing authority would be. The strategy outline can be downloaded here (8MB, so [.

Who is better - Liverpool’s Pepe Reina or Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas?

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Hugo has an interesting article up today on back-up goalkeepers - and one of the points he makes is how first-choice keepers, when demoted to the bench, become easily frustrated and move off to greener pastures. Hugo: ...it is in this light that we can see the desertion of a trio of excellent goalies from a [.

Keeping the bench warm – the trials and tribulations of back-up goalkeepers

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For one reason or another, this season has seen a number of long-suffering back-up goalkeepers finally venturing into the first eleven on a regular basis. Almunia at Arsenal has at long last cast off the albatross of Mad Jens Lehmann from around his neck, leaving Lehmann to vilipend and gnash his teeth together like Muttley [.

WagSnatch Roundup: Beckham as Indiana Jones, Rooney going bald and more

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In this week's WagSnatch roundup, Beckham plays for his England and Hollywood future (what, you think Indiana Jones is just about the money?), Rooney is getting bald, Coleen does not want his name and Danielle Lloyd, famous for stripping in front of a lens, is in a titz over some 'personal' saucy photos.

Are Manchester United missing too many chances?

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In the Soccerlens forum, Frankie asks: The last few games seem to be causing SAF some concern: 1-0 against Lyon, 0-1 against Portsmouth and 1-0 against Derby. It's the old early season 1-0 routine again, although this time not all the results are going United's way. The statistics over the last 2 games make for pretty [.

Owen rescues more than just a point for Newcastle at Birmingham

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When Joey Barton converted a stoppage time penalty at Fulham on December 15th, Newcastle fans could have been forgiven for thinking their side may well have turned the corner. After all, they had bounced back from a humiliating home defeat to Liverpool- one that left enduring images of angry fans yelling "You don't know what [.

The Fugees Family: Pride and Prejudice in a Strange Land

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Images courtesy of the Fugees Family. I was initially drawn to this story due to an event in my own life. During high school in Washington, D.C., my football (soccer) team was not allowed to practice on our home pitches. "Those fields are for the real athletes." As in gridiron football. We did have use of [.

The Australian A-League – Coming Home (the local Marquee players)

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Over the past three seasons, Australia's marquee player system has quickly settled into two clear classes – the overseas marquee players and local players (usually, but not necessarily, returning from stints in one of the many European leagues). Season 1 – 2005/06 There were two Australian marquee players in the opening season the A-League.

Why are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Arsenal, Inter, Celtic, Bayern and PSV so desperate NOT to win their leagues?

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I write a lot about the English Championship and in that league the top four, Stoke City, Bristol City, Watford and West Brom, are all doing their level best not to get automatic promotion. Only Stoke have won in their last two games, and that is one in five for them. The rest of the [...]

Who will be the Next Soccer Star?

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While some of us are just big dreamers, there are a few who actually do have the talent to sign that dream contract with one of the world's top clubs. But, not everyone has the chance to catch the eye of that scout from Manchester United, Real Madrid, or even Blackpool. Well, [...]

Hard Times For Halifax

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As the non-league season gears up for its climax so, inevitably, do the lawyers, as the annual courtroom battles begin that could have a significant say on the relegation places in the Blue Square Premier. From a point of business-as-usual two weeks ago, suddenly the teams scraping over the final two relegation scraps from the [.

Champions Cup quarter final first leg results and second leg preview

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Entertaining and unpredictable are the two words I would use to describe the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarter finals. There are several reoccurring themes in Central American football, all of which were on display this week: lots of bookings, a bit of diving, and crazed supporters. It will be interesting to see [.

The Australian A-League: Has the overseas Marquee experiment worked?

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As I have written previously, the Australian A-League introduced the marquee player system as a way of attracting quality players while preventing expensive bidding wars that risked placing clubs in financial danger before the season was even underway. A well selected overseas marquee player offers more to a club and the League than just razzle [.

Every Ince a Premiership Manager

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"See I was supposed to be a footballer but they kept pickin' the other kid who was a foot taller I got lazy and less enthusiastic I stopped trainin' and turning up to matches started sabotaging the manager's tactics but when I did play I used to score hat-tricks then I gave up now I'm in the music biz and I wont ever let [.

San Jose Earthquakes 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review Well, there isn't much to say about the Earthquakes. There used to be a San Jose Earthquakes club, but they moved to Houston in 2005. All the players and most of the coaching staff went to the Houston Dynamo, and the community of San Jose mourned the loss of their club. The Bay Area [...]

Toronto FC 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review 2007 was Toronto FC's first year in existence. While it wasn't always smooth (setting the record for most consecutive goal-less minutes), they did manage a respectable six victories in their first season. A lack of squad depth and an abundance of injuries hurt the team in ways they would not recover from, ending up [.

Interview with Ben Lynch, founder of Sons of Ben

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Formerly the fans without a team, it's been a long time coming for The SOBs. The Sons of Ben are a group of soccer fans from Philadelphia whose outspoken support lead to February's announcement of an MLS expansion team landing to the City of Brotherly Love in 2010. The team will play in [...]

2008 MLS Season Preview

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The moment we've all been waiting for is finally here! The 2008 Major League Soccer season is upon us. Here are a few things to look out for this season: David Beckham makes his second go-around with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Stars Juan Pablo Angel and Cuauhtéhmoc Blanco look to continue their great form from the 2007 [.

Chivas USA 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review A fantastic season for Chivas ended in frustration. Injuries to leading goal-scorers Maykel Galindo and Ante Razov led to the team scoring just once in their final three matches and not at all in the playoffs. Before losing 1-0 on aggregate to the late surging Kansas City Wizards, Chivas won fifteen, drew eight, and [.

Colorado Rapids 2008 Season Preview

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2007 Review Missing out on a playoff spot and failing to score were the most common themes for the Rapids in 2007. Despite drawing up an agreement to be Arsenal's American representatives, the Londoners' magical footballing prowess did not rub off on the Rocky Mountaineers. They finished five points and two places adrift of the last [.

DC United 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review After losing to Chivas de Guadalajara in the semi final of the CONCACAF Champions' Cup, DC United went on to win the MLS Supporters Shield with sixteen wins, seven draws, and seven losses in the league. Even if Chivas USA had won their last match, DC would have still won the Shield on goal [.

FC Dallas 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review Owners of 2007's last Western Conference playoff spot, FC Dallas made great strides with a very young team. They ended the regular season with thirteen wins, five draws, and twelve losses, but they safely qualified for the playoffs and were seeded fifth. The US Open Cup is usually a great competition for young players, and [.

Houston Dynamo 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review Not too many things need to be said about the Dynamo in 2007. They won the MLS Cup by using their established core of players (much like New England's core) and winning matches at key times. For instance, they were on a three-game losing streak in early June when they came up against their [.

LA Galaxy 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review To sum it up quickly, a season full of hope, glamour, and global expansion ending in mediocrity, shame, and defeat on the pitch. Maybe that's a bit dramatic, but for the hype the LA Galaxy were given in 2007, they were a huge disappointment. Fixture congestion and injuries led to the Galaxy finishing fifth [.

New England Revolution 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review In 2007, New England finished in second place in the MLS Cup for the third straight season. In fact, the Revs have been finalists four times and semi-finalists twice in the last six seasons, but they have never won an MLS Cup. This is agonizing for me personally because New England has always been [.

Kansas City Wizards 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review 2007 was a year of ups and downs for the Wiz. Ultimately, defeat to eventual champions Houston in the MLS Cup semi finals was about as good as they could have hoped for. Kansas City was one of the most entertaining teams to watch last season, mostly thanks to manager Curt Onalfo's refusal to [.

Réal Salt Lake 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review 2007 was another disappointment for the team established in 2005 in Utah. It was just like their first two seasons in that they ended one spot off the bottom of the league table. They won six, drew nine, and lost fifteen in a season that can be described only as another building year. Coach Jason [.

New York Red Bulls 2008 Season Preview

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2007 review New York were unlucky to have to play New England in the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs in 2007. Finishing third in the Eastern Conference, with a record of twelve wins, seven draws, and eleven losses wasn't enough to save former US manager Bruce Arena's job, but an up-and-down season also led [.

Race for the Premiership - Do Stoke, Bristol City, Watford or West Brom want to go up?

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It's a fact. Nobody wants to go up. Stoke are failing to seriously threaten teams who are reduced to ten men, Bristol City are losing at home, Watford are missing penalties for fun and West Brom are losing 4-1 at home to a relegation threatened team. Just what is going on! Let's look at what happened [.

Schmap Premier League Widget Review

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The Schmap Premier League widget allows sport fanatics to spice up their website or blog with the latest results from their favorite team, and contrary to its name, provides a lot more outside of the EPL. The Schmap Premier League widget allows you to see the updated fixture list and results from your [.

The Australian A-League - an introduction to the Marquee player system

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Australia's A-League was born out of the ashes of the old National Soccer League (NSL). The NSL was plagued by poor management, ethnic rivalries and a low profile compared to the ‘traditional' football codes of rugby league, rugby union and Australian Rules football (depending on which state you lived in).

US Soccer in Crossroads and Crosshairs

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Dan Leo takes an in-depth look at US Soccer, the problems it faces and what the future holds for soccer in America. Soccer isn't big in the US. It's not a major sport. It's not even a second tier sport. It's below that. The top American soccer league MLS draws the attendance numbers similar to small European [.

Have Arsenal run out of steam?

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Frankie from the SL forum pops the question: 4 Successive draws against Birmingham, Wigan, Aston Villa and Middlesborough. 8 points dropped in just 4 games. Six points dropped against teams battling against relegation. Two very lucky draws in the last 2 home games; equalisers with 5 seconds left against Villa, and with 4 minutes to [.

US Soccer News Roundup: Defecting Cubans, SuperLiga 08 schedule and Sueño MLS

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It's been a rather exciting week for American soccer fans. For the benefit of those overseas (and all those in the US that are living under a rock), I have compiled some of the more newsworthy items in the past week or so: Cuban Olympic team depleted In any major competition, teams are going to lose players [.

Weekend Predictions: Sunderland to beat Chelsea, Brum to beat Newcastle United, Everton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham to win

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Gerry McDonnell returns with his weekly betting column on the English Premier League. There's life in the old dog...unfortunately Like Wayne Rooney, I'm a lover of the old. I'm never happier than when some wrinkled old seaside-bungalow hogger is regaling me with tales of a bygone age. If my old man is to be believed, and he's [.

Watford to beat Stoke City, Bristol to draw, West Brom to beat Leicester and more

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So near yet so far away! If Big Darius Henderson had converted from the spot at Ashton Gate I would have been writing this article in a much more optimistic mood. What I didn't know at the time was that Hendo actually had no chance! Anyway, there's a big weekend ahead at both ends of the [...]

Champions League & UEFA Cup Quarter-Finals & Semi-Finals Draw - LIVEBLOG

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With now only 8 teams remaining in each respective tournament, UEFA's headquarters in Nyon (Switzerland) will host the draws on Friday afternoon for the Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals of the 2007/08 UEFA club competitions, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup. The UEFA Champions League draw will be made at 13.

Why is Lampard worried about his Chelsea contract?

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Why is Frank Lampard so upset at not being offered a new contract? At his age and with his talents, he could walk into any team (yes, even Liverpool with their stuffed central midfield) if he were to leave Chelsea. And he wants to stay at Chelsea, then he already has a contract on [...]

Sunderland face an uphill struggle - Roy Keane, success or failure?

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Sunderland have led something of a yo-yo existance over the past few years. Promotion to the Premier League with a record points total in 1999 was followed by two successful years in the top flight with consecutive 7th place finishes. The next season was less successful and relegation with a record low number of points [.

Do Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool really want Schalke 04 on Friday?

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If Arsene Wenger, Alex Ferguson or Rafael Benitez could hand-pick their clubs' quarter-final opponents in Friday's Champions League draw, it's likely they would take Schalke. Avram Grant might be less inclined to revisit Germany after Chelsea's backs-to-the-wall 0-0 draw at the Veltins Arena last November, during which the Premiership side were put under serious pressure by [.

Spurs pay the penalty for first-leg failure

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PSV Eindhoven 0 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur (1-1 agg, PSV win 6-5 on pens) UEFA Cup Round of 32, Second Leg Juande Ramos' grip on the UEFA Cup was finally relinquished at the Phillips Stadion, almost three years to the day the Spaniard first scooped the trophy on this very ground, with former club Seville.

WagSnatch Roundup: Gazza’s vanity, Beckham’s women, the new United WAG and more

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In today's edition of WagSnatch Roundup Ashley Cole has a sex ban, Clancy loves her cheeseburgers, Posh launches a new line of men jeans, Chantelle is a wannabe WAG, while we also have a new WAG alert, Danielle Lloyd is still sticking to her no-footballers resolution, what led Gazza to depression and Goldenballs old flame [.

Save Your Footballing Soul

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Cancel your SKY subscription. Sell the dog, re-mortgage the house, pawn your wedding ring, don't renew your season ticket, walk past the bookies. Count your savings, find a travel agent and book a flight to Brasil. Pack some football shorts, t-shirts, camera, a football and take your spirit of adventure to the heart of the [.

A Tale Of Two Men…

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It is the best of times, it is the worst of times... Football is at war. This war is being fought in boardrooms and courtrooms, in the media and in secret conversations and meetings between top officials and powerful businessmen who care far more about their longterm ROI than the game. And most importantly, this war [.

FA Cup semi-finalists Cardiff City face major legal battles

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Cardiff City compete in their first FA Cup semi-final since 1927, when they take on Championship rivals Barnsley at Wembley next month. With only one Premiership side left in the famous old competition, never has the Welsh side had such a great chance of bringing the Cup back to Ninian Park for the first time [.

Kenny Jackett - The best coach you’ve never heard of?

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I'm sure many of you would never have given Millwall manager Kenny Jackett a second thought. His team currently sit in 18th place in English League One. He has never held down a really high profile job and to my knowledge has never been linked with any top jobs when they have become vacant or [...]

2008 Texas Pro Soccer Festival Wrap-Up

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So, I've had a little time to rest up after the past week, and what a week it was. It wrapped up on Sunday with the final two matches of the doubleheader, as Houston and D.C. played for the tournament title. The Dynamo fans said that they were bringing several busloads for Sunday's match, [...]

Can England’s Under-17s become the new ‘Golden Generation’ ?

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Unbeaten in ten matches, winners of the prestigious Algarve Tournament and among the favourites to land the Uefa Under-17 championship this summer – are England unearthing a new ‘Golden Generation' of talent fifteen years after the last great side to promise so much ? It was 1993 when an England Under-18 side including Gary Neville, Paul [.

The new Umbro SX Flare - A boot to Newcastle’s rescue?

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Football boot manufacturers Umbro have launched a brand new boot. The SX Flare is described by the manufacturers as "The perfect boot for today's fast paced game". Top stars who are wearing the boot include Newcastle and England striker Michael Owen, Everton and Australia star Tim Cahill and Rangers and Scotland captain Barry Ferguson.

Inter Milan 0-1 Liverpool: San Siro Raises the White Flag, Fernando Torres Sends Reds Through to Quarter-Finals (Champions League Round of 16, Leg 2)

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In French they would say: "Sortie par la petite porte" (exit through the small door). The hypothetical Grande Inter who has been utterly dominating the Serie A for the past 3 seasons will, for another year, remain but only a mirage in European context: an unachieved dream which the millions of Nerazzurri fans will [.

Can Liverpool stop Arsenal or Manchester United from winning the Premier League? (not ready)

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In terms of excitement, drama and pure unpredictability, this season's title race is shaping up to be the best for many years and just when it looks like someone is about to pull away, to put a bit of clear water between themselves and second place, there's another surprise lurking around the corner.

2008 CONCACAF Champions Cup quarter final preview

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In my excitement to get my previews for the upcoming MLS season done, I've just remembered to write one for the Champions Cup as well. North America's current version of the Champions League (to be replaced next year with the CONCACAF Champions League), the CONCACAF Champions Cup is played between eight teams, in the spring [.

Why I Don’t Want Shevchenko Back And Who Should Milan Sign Instead

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After Milan's disastrous showing in the Champions League against Arsenal, many are predicting major signings to be made in summer and names have been thrown around. Drogba, Benzema, Frey, and Thiago are all said to be potential signings, but the one that shocked me the most was Shevchenko. Yes, Andriy Shevchenko.

See your videos of Euro 2008 on Reuters

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Reuters soccer blog will be covering Euro 2008 with several reporters but they are looking for the help of our readers in relation to videos from the tournament. Reuters would like you to send your own video contributions. If you're at a match in Austria or Switzerland then that would be ideal, but if you have [.

The Non-League Race For the Bottom

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Anybody looking for evidence that the Blue Square Premier is nearer to a proper fifth tier of English football than the top level of non-league only need take a look at the teams battling relegation. All the main contenders are part-time and at least two have undergone major financial trauma recently, showing the difficulties of not [.

Inter Milan vs. Liverpool Preview - Reds and Nerazzurri Prepare to Paint San Siro With the Colours of Europe

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24 hours before the Inter Milan vs. Liverpool clash, there are mainly two ideas expressed by Inter manager Roberto Mancini. Number 1: "Whatever the result tonight, I don't believe the whole season should be based on this game". Number 2: "We are not at our best, we have players who are still recovering and [.

The race for the Premiership - Great weekend for Watford!

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So Watford had a pretty good weekend. They didn't play, but watched Charlton lose at home, Stoke and Bristol City pick up only a point each and West Brom continue to keep an interest in the FA Cup. Maybe we should have more weekends off! In a week where Championship footballers have hit the headlines for [.

La liga week 27: Barcelona lose at home and Real Madrid go eight points clear

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It really is a crazy time in La Liga. At the end of January Real Madrid had a nine point advantage over rivals Barcelona, two weeks ago that difference was reduced to two points, but Barça's successive defeats against Atletico Madrid and Villarreal have given Real Madrid the chance to move eight points clear with [.

Serie A Week-End Wrap-Up: Inter Milan and Juventus Return to Victory As the Nerazzurri Prepare for Liverpool

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Lurking crisis shadows begone. Inter Milan are back on the winning track, obtaining their first victory after 3 winless matches in the Serie A (4 if you count their little mishap at Anfield two weeks ago), and making the party all the more special is the celebration for the Nerazzurri's 100 years anniversary, or [.

Lionel’s injuries - a Messi report

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The stage is FC Barcelona's famous Camp Nou stadium. The scoreline? 1-0, although you'd be forgiven for thinking that no-one cared. The reason for this lack of interest? One of the divo's clothed in red and blue is prostrated pitchside, tears streaming down his youthful face. The moment is frozen in time.

Texas Pro Soccer Festival Journal: Days Five and Six (not ready)

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The Texas Pro Soccer Festival is wrapping up today, so there's only one more day of action to report on after today. On Friday, I didn't go to the practices, which allowed me some extra time to get some work done ahead of the evening's doubleheader, and also to finally get my hair cut. [...]

FIFA scraps plans for goal-line technology in favour of additional linesmen

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FIFA, world football's governing body, has revealed goal-line technology will not be introduced into the game in the foreseeable future - despite three years trialling various systems. Speaking at this weekend's International Football Association Board (IFAB) annual meeting, FIFA general secretary, Jerome Valcke, said that his organisation has "decided to freeze, for the time, goal-line technology [.

The strange case of Ashley Stestanovich

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Ashley Stestanovich may have acted as a body double for Thierry Henry but the similarity between the two ends there. Henry has legendary status at Arsenal, would be high on the list of all-time greatest foreigners to grace the Premier League, and currently plies his trade at Barcelona. Stestanovich is currently serving eight years for [.

Dutch courage - the answer to England’s footballing woes?

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Which league has experienced a 900% increase in foreign players since its creation? Which league has seen players' annual salaries from 15 years ago left for dead compared to today's weekly earnings? Which league, if left to continue its current state of rot, is nearing the ever-dreaded apocalypse of football.

Interview with Liam Brady - Arsenal Academy Director

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With a suitcase full of belongings at his feet, 15-year-old schoolboy Liam Brady stood nervously inside Highbury's marble halls, day dreaming he would one day stride out of the nearby tunnel onto the hallowed turf as a first team star. The apprehensive young Irishman not only had his bag, but he also had the [.

Interview with Ante Razov of Chivas USA at the Texas Pro Soccer Fest

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On Wednesday, I interviewed Chivas USA forward Ante Razov after the team's morning scrimmage with D.C. United here at the Texas Pro Soccer Fest. Razov is one of four players still active in MLS that were part of the league's first season, and with the exception of a short stint in Spain, he's [...

Liam Brady Joins Republic of Ireland Back Room Staff

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One of the legends of the Republic of Ireland and Arsenal, Liam Brady, age 52, has agreed terms to assist Giovanni Trapattoni. Mr. Brady signed a two year contract with an option for a similar length after the initial term. He will join former Juventus teammate, Marco Tardelli, who is also part of Mr.

Should Sunderland be higher up the table?

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Sunderland manager Roy Keane seems to think so: "Five major decisions have gone against us. We keep talking about fairness but the decisions certainly haven't gone our way. You're looking at six points lost. ... I find it very hard to take some of the comments that come my way from referees and officials and generally the attitude [.

Championship Roundup - Bristol City and West Brom still looking good for promotion

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I wrote an article about the apparent fear of going up. The excitement of promotion but the almost instant realisation that weekly humiliation may follow. That fear seems to be attacking nearly everyone. Only Bristol City seem to be really marching on proudly towards the Premiership, whilst West Brom may have recovered from their 'blip'.

Fiorentina 2-0 Everton: Toffees Stumble in Florence, Viola Put On The Style (UEFA Cup Round of 16, Leg 1)

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Fiorentina 2 Everton 0. For Viola fans, that's what you call 'being on a good run'. After their historic victory against Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico of Turin, the Viola have extended their excellent moment of form and brought an end to Everton's 7 consecutive victories in Europe. Tonight's 90 minutes have ended with [.

The FA Cup: Same Old, Same Old?

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As the oldest football competition in the world - the FA Cup has seen its fair share of highs and lows. Here in 2008 we are awaiting the quarter-finals, with only four top flight teams left and only two of the perceived ‘Big Four'. Last year saw those same two teams - Manchester United and [...]

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - the battle to be London’s third best team

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Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United Premier League, White Hart Lane, 15:00 GMT, Sunday 9 March 2008 My profuse apologies to Tottenham and West Ham fans for the title of this article, but with Arsenal and Chelsea flying high in the Premier League and in Europe, it's hard to make a case for either of these two [.

Soccerlens Q & A: Are Chelsea As Beautiful As Arsenal? Who Will Own Liverpool? Why Did Tottenham and Everton Lose? Should Theo Leave Arsenal? When Will Ferguson

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A few questions that have been asked - some in the past 24 hours, others in the past year or so. Surprisingly (or not) they involve the big four (and their two closest challengers), so let's look at them one by one: Should Theo Walcott Leave Arsenal? Not till the end of next season at the [...]

Texas Pro Soccer Fest Journal: Days Three and Four

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While I'm here in San Antonio, my main task is covering the Texas Pro Soccer Fest from all angles, not only for SL, but also one of the event's main organizers, Ziga-Zoga, and for MLSNet.com. So, it's been a very busy week, to say the least. But on Wednesday, I was a [...]

Weekend Predictions: Liverpool to beat Newcastle, Tottenham to beat West Ham, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Everton to win

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Like Martin Luther King and Gandhi, I'm a fan of passive resistance; but there are some things in life that we have to fight for. For me, it's a baby's smile, the love of a mute woman or more affordable prices at the petrol pump. It's to my deep and lasting regret that a serious [...]

FA is so sweet on big boys

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Football fans all over England sat back in disbelief this week as the ruthless powers that be on the Football Association's disciplinary panel voted against a refereeing decision and rescinded Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard's red card.....Not! Sarcasm aside the latest developments unfolding this week have only served to highlight the FA's favouritism for the Premier League [.

Manchester United v Portsmouth - FA Cup Quarter Final - United’s year or does Harry have the answer?

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Manchester United v Portsmouth FA Cup, Old Trafford, 12:45 GMT, Saturday 08 March 2008 FA Cup fever hits us again this weekend with it being Quarter Final time. There's real excitement as the likes of Barnsley, Cardiff, West Brom, Middlesbrough and Bristol Rovers fight for a place in the Wembley semi-finals.

Liverpool v Newcastle United - Classic in the past, classic this Saturday?

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Liverpool v Newcastle United Premier League, Anfield, 15:00 GMT, Saturday 8 March 2008 Not a lot is going right for poor Kevin Keegan. As his team slump towards possible relegation he has a visit to his old stomping ground at Anfield to look forward to. Just a couple of weeks ago he saw tomorrow's opponents go out [.

Are Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea just too good for the rest of Europe?

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Last year, when three of the 'Big Four' from the Premier League safely negotiated their way to the semi-finals of the Champions League, the English press drove itself silly trying to get the country to pat itself on the back for the greatness of English football. Here were England's finest conquering all before them [.

Jose Mourinho: I will ‘KILL’ Chelsea

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Now think about that headline for a second - doesn't it make you curious? Doesn't it jump out at you as a paradox - regardless of the terms (and they were not as bad or acrimonious as the media would like you to believe) Mourinho left Chelsea on, for him to say something like [...]

Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Roma and Inter all looking for League and Champions League double. My money’s on a repeat of 2006

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"We are top of the Premier League and through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. We beat the holders at home, so why can't we win them both?" The words of an understandably excited Cesc Fabrigas after Arsenal's wonderful victory in the San Siro. Arsenal are far from the only team looking to do [.

Ref Watch: Real Madrid vs AS Roma

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There are some occasions when a big performance from the referee is needed. Of course it would be more pleasant if referees did their jobs well every match, but that is not possible. That being said you would expect that Europe's top club competition, where Europe's top players, top managers, best stadiums and on occasion [.

Texas Soccer Festival Day Three: Setting the Record Straight

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It's after 6 in the morning here, and really, I should be asleep, but I have a couple of event-related pieces to finish before I can call it a night. However, I feel obligated to respond to this article, simply because in the time that I've been here in San Antonio, I've seen first-hand [...]

Is Frank Rijkaard Still The Shepherd To Lead The Barcelona Flock?

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Tuesday night at the Camp Nou. FC Barcelona have just beaten Celtic and 75,000 fans donning Barca colours erupt with ecstasy. And why shouldn't they? After all, the premier institution of Barcelona, the symbol and representation of all that is Catalan (and more importantly all that is anti-Madrid) is now in the last 8 of [.

Real Madrid 1-2 Roma: Royal Giallorossi Conquer the Bernabéu (Champions League Round of 16, Leg 2)

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It's a night of magic in Madrid. Magic like the touches of Totti, magic like the saves of Doni and the tackles of Juan, magic like the goals of Taddei and Vucinic, magic like only Roma can be (they're nicknamed "La Maggica" in the Italian capital). The home factor of the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu [.

WagSnatch: David Beckham is everywhere, Rooney’s secret to success and more

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In today's WagSnatch Roundup – is the Cole soap opera FINALLY over, Goldenballs gets chummy on LA Galaxy tour, Posh in a deal for a new reality show, Goldenballs sister celebrates her birthday (without a cat fight this time), Danielle Lloyd says no to footballers, new craze among the WAGs, Rooney likes to float and [.

Soccerlens Daily: Dumb Liverpool fans, why Barton is at Newcastle, Flamini wants more from Arsenal, Aston Villa’s sugardaddy, West Ham in courts and more

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Well, that was a surprise. No, not Real Madrid losing at home to Roma (bye bye Schuster, hello Jose?), although Roma must be commended for their excellent efforts (for full coverage, read Chris's live blog / report). No, the surprise was seeing Liverpool fans searching on Google for information on the 2nd leg game against [.

Texas Pro Soccer Festival Journal: Days One & Two

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Soccerlens editor Eddie Griffin is in San Antonio covering the Texas Pro Soccer Fest, a pre-season tournament / training camp for MLS teams DC United, Chivas USA, Toronto FC and defending MLS champions, Houston Dynamo. Now that I finally have a chance to really sit down and knock something out, I have a few tips [.

Milan 0-2 Arsenal: Fabregas Magic Sends Gunners Through, Title Holders Eliminated (Champions League Round of 16, Leg 2)

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After a triumphant year 2007 in which the Rossoneri conquered successively the UEFA Champions League, European Super Cup, and FIFA Club World Cup, the Red & Black king was forced to abdicate his throne tonight. The mighty Gunners of Arsenal, lead by the brilliance of their talisman player Cesc Fabregas, felt a bit of [.

Champions League Roundup: Arsenal, Barcelona, Manchester United and Fenerbahce win, can Chelsea, Real Madrid (or Roma) and Porto join them?

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With Europe coming to a standstill (or the whole world, if you believe Scudamore) for the 2nd leg of the Champions League round of 16, we're not doing the daily news today, just a wrap-up of Champions League action. Of course, there's the small matter of Liverpool being taken over (ok, I mean under [.

Fabio Cannavaro vs. Francesco Totti: Italians Face Off at the Bernabéu (Real Madrid vs. Roma UEFA Champions League Preview)

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Everything is ready for Real Madrid vs. Roma. Giallorossi supporters have arrived in the Spanish capital, ready to face off against their Merengues opponents in a battle stadium chants. Meanwhile, the two managers Bernd Schuster and Luciano Spalletti have already begun their 'battle of the mind': a tactical showdown which will determine who holds [.

Arsenal End Milan’s Fairy Tale

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Milan have threw away all the good work done at the Emirates Stadium. 0-0 at Emirates, they had the upper hand going into the second leg, but then, they threw it all away. Both sides started the match nervously, and both sides had periods of domination but halfway through the first half something inexplicable happened.

Newcastle United Watch: where will Steven Taylor go - Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, Chelsea, West Ham, Aston Villa, Everton

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Steven Taylor, the much-hyped (and promising) Newcastle United defender: "The longer I hear nothing from the club the more I fear they want to sell me. If there is no offer on the table by the summer then I will have no choice but to look at my options." So, assuming that Newcastle United get relegated [.

Andriy Shevchenko - how the mighty have fallen

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Andriy Schevchenko has been a great player by anyone's reckoning. Nearly 200 goals in just under 400 league appearances at Dinamo Kiev, Milan and Chelsea. He was European footballer of the year in 2004 and has been in the top ten on five other occasions. Six times he has been in the top ten of FIFA [.

The Real Race For The League

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The Blue Square Premier Race may be tighter than it's been for the past few seasons but, after another unpredictable weekend, few would be against Aldershot Town taking the title and giving the Hampshire town league football for the first time since the old Aldershot side went bust in 1992. Following their narrow 2-1 at second [.

Newcastle heading for relegation?

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Following their last-minute 1-0 defeat at home to Blackburn at the weekend, Newcastle midfielder/striker Alan Smith has issued a rallying cry to his teammates. "We've got to show to everyone that we want to fight for the cause. It's getting tight but you always knew it would do. We looked at our home games as [.

Soccerlens Daily: Milan v Arsenal, Manchester United v Lyon, Slow Liverpool, Barcelona v Celtic, West Ham v Chelsea postmortem and more

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Today's roundup - a quick wrap of interesting links plus a look at today's Champions League games: Stuff You Should Read... Breaking the Arsenal Narrative - now I don't always agree with MP (and he's wrong about a few things this time too), but it is interesting to see a member of the media who doesn't [.

Can Ronaldinho Be Great Again?

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There was once an Aladdin who used to gently stroke the side of his magic lamp and a genii would rush out and serve him as he would ask him to. There was once a Frank Rijkaard who used to lightly pat Ronaldinho on the back before matches and the Brazilian would tie the knot [...]

How The MLS System Works

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Following up on my previous article about why the MLS will be successful in the future, I have realized that not many people know just how the MLS works today. Sure there are two tables, a playoff system, and some weird rules about players and salaries, but who knows exactly what goes on in this [...

La Liga Week 26: Robinho saves Real Madrid, Agüero destroys Barcelona

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Real Madrid's 2-3 victory at Recreativo put their advantage over second place Barcelona back to five points this weekend after Barça went down 4-2 at Atletico Madrid. Brazilian star Robinho came on as a substitute to win the game for Madrid with two goals in the last twenty minutes, but the performance of the week [.

The Roller-Coaster Ride Of La Liga’s Title Race

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For much of the season, FC Barcelona were in crisis (and if you follow Marca or AS, then you would be led to believe that Barca are immersed in turmoil almost forever). The team wasn't playing too well, the players appeared physically under par, the Ronaldinho fracture was threatening to boil and spill all over [.

Sunday Serie A Wrap-Up: Juventus and Inter Milan Stumble, Scudetto Race Resurrected

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It finally happened. After 31 straight matches without a loss, Inter were eventually forced raise the white flag on Sunday, courtesy of a near-perfect Napoli team galvanized by the atmosphere of their home stadium. Seems hard to believe doesn't it? The Nerazzurri had not lost a game since April 18th 2007 (a 3-1 home [.

Soccerlens Daily - Newcastle United v Steven Taylor v Debt, Chelsea’s troubles with Greeks and Grant, and more

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Fun, fun weekend, eh? Hmmmm...tomorrow I'll be previewing the midweek Champions League fixtures, so keep a lookout for that. Today though, we have a quick roundup: 1. Teddy Sheringham to retire... ...and to take up a career as a professional gambler to put his sharp brain to good use. Or maybe not. Which WAG was he banging [.

The great race for the Premiership - Bristol City and West Brom make a move

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Before I start, I'd just like to write a few words about Teddy Sheringham who has announced his retirement from playing at the end of this season. He will be 42 when he finishes and still oozes class. It is a shame that his last season as a player may well end in relegation. Teddy has [...]

This Liverpool Fan is a Moron, or why Chelsea and Manchester United’s squad rotation WORKS

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Liverpool fans are a funny bunch. Case in point: this article whinging about the *hate* the media has for Liverpool, based on the brilliant insight that Chelsea and Manchester United ALSO rotate their squads, and yet the respective managers get no flak for it. You MORON! They get no flak for it because it WORKS!

This Liverpool Fan is a Moron, or why Chelsea and Manchester United’s squad rotation WORKS

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Liverpool fans are a funny bunch. Case in point: this article whinging about the *hate* the media has for Liverpool, based on the brilliant insight that Chelsea and Manchester United ALSO rotate their squads, and yet the respective managers get no flak for it. You MORON! They get no flak for it because it WORKS!

AC Cugini Scuola Calcio Announces Affiliation with Fiorentina

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Images courtesy of AC Cugini Scuola Calcio. Each year, AC Cugini Scuola Calcio (Football School) takes young players on tours of Italy where they compete against Italian teams. This summer, there will be an added bonus: 5 days with ACF Fiorentina, one of the oldest clubs of the Serie A, and the next opponent of Everton [.

Saturday Serie A Wrap-Up: Roma Shine, AC Milan Not So Much

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Champions League preparation wasn't the same ballpark game for Milan as it was for Roma on Saturday. While the Giallorossi will be travelling to Madrid with a confident feeling (Roma put on a brilliant display of footy today, winning their home game vs. Parma 4-0), the Rossoneri will be coming from a rather bleak [.

Nigel Adkins – Adkins diet just the tonic for united Scunny

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Back with the fourth installment of his series on exciting young English managers in the Football League, Hugo Steckelmacher looks at Scunthorpe United's Nigel Adkins, a man hard to pigeon-hole. Come back next week for Paul Ince! Who needs Mourinho, we've got our physio – Scunthorpe fans' regular chant, home and away.

MLS - A League For The Future

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I have not written for Soccerlens before, but I did notice a general lack of posts about Major League Soccer. Although the MLS is generally acknowledged to be in the Special Olympics category of soccer leagues, I believe that reputation will change with time. I am qualified to talk authoritatively about the future of the MLS [.

Life Without Football For A Footballer

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This is my first post in a while so I thought I would talk about the less than serious points of the beautiful game. I have one very simple question to answer in this article; what would a footballer do if football didn't exist? To put it kindly, footballers would have bugger-all in terms of usage [.

Alan Shearer on Newcastle’s troubles, King Kev, England under Capello and his own future

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The Newcastle United legend gives his thoughts on Keegan's start at Newcastle, and what the future holds for the beleaguered club; discusses the England squad under Fabio Capello; and his own future coaching and management plans. WPvideo 1.10 Download this video Wednesday 27th February 2008: Shearer was in London to launch ‘Have Your Say', the biggest global [.

Game 39 isn’t dead in the water yet

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The Premier League's controversial announcement to host an extra round of games overseas hasn't been halted by the worldwide opposition to the plans, according to notes released from the Football Supporters' Federation's meeting with the league's chief executive Richard Scudamore. Despite strong opposition from FIFA's President, Sepp Blatter, and supporters' groups along with concerns from [.

Serious Analysis By The Football Press

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As a writer on this site, a site that takes it's football seriously and looks to go into some depth to analyse the game, I am constantly reading, talking to people looking at fansites etc, in order to find the big news stories and try to make sense of them for the readers. There is no [...]

Soccerlens Daily - Paranoid Arsenal, Angry Chelsea, Confused Newcastle, Tottenham in China and more

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Some people got pissed off yesterday on a few of the articles. Here's the thing - personal abuse (i.e. calling the author shite) is not on. You want to do that, go and setup your own blog. If you're going to comment, do the responsible thing and criticise the opinion instead of the man. On [...]

MLS Powers Set to Take Part in First Texas Pro Soccer Fest in March

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This week, Major League Soccer will be coming to south Texas, in the first (of hopefully many) Texas Pro Soccer Fest. From March 3-9, four of MLS' most popular teams and some of the league's biggest stars will be on display in the San Antonio area, in a weeklong training camp and friendly match series.