SoccerLens Archives for January 2009

Serie A to break away, Manchester United fans petition for Tevez signing, Soccerlens interviews American keeper Hope Solo, and more

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Those of you who frequent the Soccerlens forums are no doubt familiar with Ivor Irwin, a.k.a bobotonto on the forums. Ivor has contributed to SL, and he also has his own blog, where you can find an excellent interview with English Brazilian football expert Jon Cotterill.

What else should you be checking out from around the football blogosphere?

Manchester United v Liverpool - Penalties and Red Cards

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The following article is re-posted with permission from the Manchester United forum, Republik of Mancunia:

The following is an analysis of all premiership premiership and champions league champions league games played by Manchester United and Liverpool this season. Liverpool are sure that United are top the table by manipulating the referees.

Interview with Hope Solo, USWNT and St Louis Athletica Goalkeeper

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Hope Solo is the goalkeeper for the US national team, a 2008 Beijing Olympic Gold medalist, and now the undaunted keeper for St. Louis Athletica, a WPS team currently at the bottom of the table.

Noted for her outspoken comments about her coach's decisions during the World Cup, she is just as genuine and forthright now speaking about her decision to become a goalkeeper, why England should have a women's league, and why MLS should increase their international roster slots.

O’Shea gives Manchester United advantage over Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona share the spoils at the Nou Camp, will Barry stay at Aston Villa?, and more

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April showers apparently brings May flowers, and the end of this month brings the very, very real possibility of a rematch in the UEFA Champions League final. How did we get to that point? Catch up on what you missed from the first legs of the CL semis and more below.

UEFA Champions League Semifinal First Leg: Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal

Thanks to an early goal from John O'Shea and a clean sheet by Edwin Van der Sar, Manchester United are in a good position to give themselves a chance to repeat as European champions.

Guardiola’s Gauntlet: Should Barca go for the win at the Bernabéu?

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Guus Hiddink probably boarded his teams' private jet back to London feeling pretty satisfied with his players and with himself. The last team to walk away from the Camp Nou with a 0-0 result was Manchester United, under the same Champions League semi-final circumstances, just over a year ago.

FA Cup Final ticket allocation leaves loyal fans out in the cold

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It's an argument that springs up every year around this time but even so, something needs to be done about the scandalously low ticket allocations given out to the two FA Cup finalists.

Lets look at the maths.

Wembley has a capacity of 90,000 yet both clubs have only received an allocation of 25,000.

The Big Decision Webb and the Media Missed

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Sitting at the opposite end of the pitch, there was no way I could see Michael Carrick deserving that penalty. The direction of the ball changed, something all media commentaries have picked up on, meaning Gomes had made a save. But at 2-0 down and our title challenge hanging in the balance I'd happily take it.

Premier League or Champions League? Which one is most coveted by the fans?

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The rotation of players by Guus Hiddink for Chelsea's win against West Ham this weekend was unsurprising now that Chelsea now have a minimal chance of winning the league and a crunch game against Barcelona in midweek.

Fortunately for Chelsea fans the players deployed were of sufficient calibre to defeat West Ham and included in the starting XI were a strong backbone of regular starters accompanied by one or two squad players.

The business end of the business end of the season in the Football League

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There are several ways to win a Championship. You can swashbuckle your way to the top playing good football and conquering all that come before you, nailing the title several weeks before the end of the season. You can push your head above the parapet at just the right time in a tight league.

Newcastle treading water as games begin to run out

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St James' Park reached to the bottom of its lungs for one last time, producing a blood-curdling final battle cry to its beleaguered heroes. On the sideline Alan Shearer looked on more in blind hope than confidence, whilst Iain Dowie simply looked ridiculous with his "Phil Brown" headset. Danny Guthrie trotted over to the left touchline and spotted the ball up, in the middle a scrum of players jostled for position.

About time Fat Frank became Fab Frank

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I've been feeling this way for a while now, but haven't had the courage to come out and say it. I know it's only three little words, but what if it's not reciprocated? What if I'm laughed at? The words, of course, are those that goes through my mind increasingly each time I see Chelsea play, so here they go.

UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup semifinal previews, reliving Manchester United 5-2 Tottenham, Bayern Munich sack Klinsmann, and more

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Man, it was one busy weekend, wasn't it? While you catch a glimpse of the greatest accidental goal you'll ever see, catch up on what else you missed over the weekend and what to look forward to this week.

UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup Semifinal Previews

We're down to the last four in Europe's club cup competitions, and Soccerlens is where it's at for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup previews and more.

Watch the 2009 Champions League Final Live - in Rome

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There's a good chance you'll be watching the 08-09 Champions League final live on TV, or watching it live online. But what if you could be sitting in the Stadio Olimpico, in Rome, watching the game live alongside 72,000 football fans?

It's a once in a lifetime experience, a dream come true for the common football fan.

The penalty given at Old Trafford, the penalty not given at the Reebok and offside goals for Arsenal and Blackburn

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The highlight of the Right Result weekend, so to speak, was referee Howard Webb's decision that is perceived to have changed the flow of the Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur game and, with it, the course of the destiny of the Premier League title.

With Spurs 2-0 up after nearly an hour at Old Trafford, United's title aspirations were back in the balance.

Ryan Giggs: Legend, Worthy Award Winner, Rapper?

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I was delighted to hear Giggsy was named Player of the Year last night and although I think there was definitely some sentiment going on with the vote, it was fully deserved. He's had to wait a long time to pick up the PFA honour but he's finally got his reward.

Some people have been pointing out he's only started 12 league games for United this season but you've got to look at the impact he's had in those matches.

Barcelona v. Chelsea - UEFA Champions League Semifinal Preview

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Barcelona v. Chelsea
UEFA Champions League, Semifinals

First Leg: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - Estadio Camp Nou, Spain
Second Leg: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - Stamford Bridge, England

Chelsea are playing their best football of the season. They're coming off one of the greatest weeks ever as they vanquished fellow Premiership rival, Liverpool, in the Quarterfinals, and defeated in-form Arsenal to advance to the F.

08-09 Champions League Semifinals Preview

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This year's Champions League semifinals have a familiar look to them - after all, three of these teams also featured in the English FA Cup semifinals earlier this month and two of these teams are appearing in the Champions League semifinals for the third consecutive time, Arsenal for the second time and Barcelona for the third time in four years.

Carnival atmosphere at MLS matches pushes the envelope

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The carnival atmosphere at MLS games is accepted by fans, but risks overwhelming the game. The quality of players varies greatly in MLS, but fans are always provided with a good display of talent and competition on the pitch. Although unnecessary, it's become standard for stadiums to employ a wide range of distractions from the game.

Manchester United v. Arsenal - Live Blog - UEFA Champions League - 29 April 2009

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Manchester United v. Arsenal
Stadium: Old Trafford, England
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Semifinals, Leg 1
Date: 29 April 2009
Kickoff: 18:45 GMT, 14:45 EST

Manchester United and Arsenal will add to their storied rivalry as they'll clash in the Semifinals of the UEFA Champions League!

The Experiments Are Over: Bayern Munich Sack Klinsmann

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Bayern Munich's season has been a difficult one (and not just in the league) and after losing at home to Schalke hastened the inevitable. Jürgen Klinsmann has been sacked after a frank meeting with club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, general manager Uli Hoeness and director Karl Hopfner today.

Manchester United v. Arsenal - UEFA Champions League Semifinal Preview

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Manchester United v. Arsenal
UEFA Champions League Semifinal Preview

First Leg: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - Old Trafford, England
Second Leg: Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - Emirates Stadium, England

One of the greatest and most intense rivalries of the last decade will resume with a vengeance as Manchester United will do battle with Arsenal in the Semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.

Real Madrid Take Full Advantage of Barcelona’s Slip Up

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Thank you, Los Che. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You put in an absolutely brilliant display against Barca on Saturday night. You deserved all three points but thanks to Monsieur Henry you only got one. You've tightened your hold on a Champions League spot and more importantly, you've helped re-ignite the title race.

Barcelona v. Chelsea - Live Blog - UEFA Champions League - 28 April 2009

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Barcelona v. Chelsea
Stadium: Estadio Camp Nou, Spain
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Semifinals, Leg 1
Date: 28 April 2009
Kickoff: 18:45 GMT, 14:45 EST

Chelsea will try to make it to their second consecutive Champions League Final as they pay a visit to the Nou Camp to take on Barcelona!

Ryan Giggs and Ashley Young win PFA Awards

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Manchester United's Ryan Giggs has won the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award for the first time in his career, while Ashley Young takes the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

As we've discussed earlier and it has been discussed on various forums (culminating in that email exchange between Gordon Taylor and a fan), the short list and eventual winners are based on voting done by the players themselves during February and March.

Werder Bremen v. Hamburg SV - UEFA Cup Semifinal Preview

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Werder Bremen v. Hamburg SV
UEFA Cup - Semifinal Preview

First Leg: Thursday, April 30, 2009 - Weserstadion, Bremen, Germany
Second Leg: Thursday, May 7, 2009 - HSH Nordbank Arena, Hamburg, Germany

The UEFA Cup has taken on a domestic flavor as two German teams will square off in one Semifinal and two Ukrainian teams will clash in the other.

Dynamo Kiev v. Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Cup Semifinal Preview

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Dynamo Kiev v. Shakhtar Donetsk
UEFA Cup Semifinal Preview

First Leg: Thursday, April 30, 2009 - Valeri Lobanovski Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
Second Leg: Thursday, May 7, 2009 - RSK Olympyiskyi, Donetsk, Ukraine.

To Ukrainians, the rivalry between Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk is like Barcelona/Real Madrid, Rangers/Celtic, Galatasaray/Fenerbache, or Manchester United/Liverpool.

Manchester United 5-2 Tottenham - All The Goals

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Manchester United went into half time 2 goals down to Tottenham but a controversial penalty gave them a chance early in the second half.

From that point on, there was no looking back, a 5 minute spell that saw 3 goals meant that not only had United taken the 3 valuable points on offer today but had also built up much needed momentum going into the Champions League semifinal clash with Arsenal.

Valencia vs. FC Barcelona preview

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Tonight, Barcelona travels to Valencia to play a tough away game against a team who has won their last 5 games including a 3-1 victory against Sevilla. Valencia are currently in 4th place and trail Sevilla by only two points. A win tomorrow could put Valencia into 3rd at least until Sevilla plays Real Madrid on Sunday.

Newcastle v Portsmouth - The most important game of Shearer’s career?

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Newcastle v Portsmouth is possibly the biggest match on this weekend's schedule. Not being played until Monday evening both teams will know the layout of the table before taking to the field at St James's Park.

Interim manager, Alan Shearer, has already expressed his desire to see the team win all of their remaining home games and regardless of the weekend's results his mission remains the same.

Can Keane get Ipswich back to the Premier League, why Premier League footballers aren’t overpaid, Barcelona’s treble chase, and more

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In case you haven't subscribed to the Soccerlens Podcast, I suggest you do so. And if you haven't yet, you'll want to after this week's episode, which you can catch below, along with what else you may have missed from today from here on SL and elsewhere around the football blogosphere.

Soccerlens Podcast: The Bundesliga, Klinsmann, and Sex at the Bernabeu

If you love the Bundesliga, the eighth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast is a must-listen.

Can Valencia Give Real Madrid a Helping Hand Against Barcelona?

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Real Madrid may possess the players, the desire and the mathematical possibility to win this season's Primera Liga title, but, with six rounds remaining, that's not enough. To catch Barcelona, they're going to need a little help from those around them.

But, where is this help going to come from?

West Ham Look to Take Advantage of Chelsea’s Champions League Clash

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West Ham play host to Chelsea this weekend in a game that sees the Hammers' searching for their first victory over their London rivals since 2003. The two teams go into the game with different agendas, one looking to solidify their bid for European football next season the other looking to make ground on second placed Liverpool.

Man City Look for Second Away Win As Everton Push for Europe

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Man City will be looking to claim only their second away win of the season when they make the trip to Everton this weekend. Despite spending big, and an impressive display in the UEFA Cup, City have failed to trouble teams away from the City of Manchester stadium.

Everton will be in a buoyant mood having secured passage to the FA Cup final last weekend and claiming a point away to Chelsea in midweek.

Hull v Liverpool - Reds’ aim for the top - for a few hours at least

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Liverpool travel to Hull on Saturday knowing that they must win all of their remaining games if they are going to stand a chance of catching league leaders Manchester United. England's most successful team will be eager to prevent their rivals from equalling their league title record, however with United three points clear with a game in hand the chances of that happening are not high.

Manchester United gunning for points, Tottenham for glory

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In the late kick off on Saturday, Man United play host to a resurgent Tottenham side that will be looking to upset their hosts in their pursuit of another league title.

Having won their last two games against West Ham and Newcastle, Spurs search for their first third consecutive win since April Fools' day 2007.

German Football - The Good, the Bad and the Grafite

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Why do we love English football quite so much? We have a Premier League that is consistently contested by just four teams. We have the swanky stadiums but a fundamental lack of fans to fill them. In addition we have clubs being operated by billionaire owners who have little interest in football bar the money that can be squeezed out of it.

Taking a Punt: 5 winning Premier League betting tips

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Wow, well that was an interesting weekend of football! Aside from the FA Cup snoozer...I mean shocker in the FA Cup between Manchester United and Everton, things were fairly quiet.

The six Premier League matches prior to Manchester City/West Brom yielded a whopping FIVE goals total. For a league that prides itself in being the best in the world, Saturday and Sunday looked more like a battle between teams in Ligue 1 than a typical Premier League weekend.

Trebles and Quintuples

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Since Manchester United's memorable 1998-99 season, no club has since laid claim to the proper "treble" in subsequent outings ("treble" being defined as the rightful champions of the UEFA Champions' League, domestic league title and domestic cup competition).

While Liverpool fans had reason to celebrate three titles two seasons later, references to this accomplishment as a "treble" is noted with a disclaimer that said treble is really a "cup" treble (the UEFA Cup, League Cup and FA Cup).

Can Roy Keane Take Ipswich To The Premier League?

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He's back.

Yes, as most of you would have heard yesterday, Roy Keane is back in football management, taking over at Ipswich and given the remit of getting Ipswich promoted to the Premier League in the duration of his 2-year contract (in essence, getting promoted next season).

And if you thought the expectations were high last time around, this time he's got his own reputation to live up to - a memorable promotion campaign with Sunderland and Premier League survival in his first year in the Premier League.

Soccerlens Podcast - The Bundesliga, Klinsmann and sex at the Bernabeu!

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On the eighth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by the Guardian's German expert and native Bavarian Raphael Honigstein to discuss German football and the Bundesliga.

The show will be looking specifically at the worst ever Autumn Champions, German WAGS, Jurgen Klinsmann and sex at the Bernabeu (although unrelated might we hastily add!

Dalglish set for Anfield return, Vfl Wolfsburg on the verge of Bundesliga history, how Viagra helps footballers deal with high altitude, and more

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In case you didn't know (and you should, because I mentioned it), my birthday was this month, and if you are also celebrate your birthday this month, make sure you have a lot of fun with close friends, but don't injure yourself. Of course, it's the thought that counts (so they say), so if someone gives you a hideous lovingly handcrafted pair of socks, appreciate it as much as you would if they bought you, say, a 15k phone.

Wolfsburg set to make Bundesliga history

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On Sunday, 26 April, VfL Wolfsburg travel to Energie Cottbus, targeting their 11th successive Bundesliga victory. It would be the longest winning streak ever in the Bundesliga within a single season.Â

Wolfsburg would break Borussia Mönchengladbach's record for most wins in a row within one season, set in 1986/1987.

There’s Something About Getafe…

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I'm stunned. Truly stunned. No, I'm not talking about Higuain's goal. Or how Pepe could mistake Francisco Casquero for the ball...a couple of times. I'm not even talking about Arjen Robben's uncanny ability to find new leg muscles to tear. I'm talking about how hard it is for Real Madrid to beat Getafe.

Newcastle bring in a therapist - but can Shearer perform the required miracle?

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Well now we have seen everything - Alan Shearer the Premier League's all time top goalscorer has resorted to bringing in a therapist to improve his players' confidence.

Having not won in their last eight games Newcastle are in desperate need of a change of form if they are going to stay up.

Barcelona’s New Record Will Worry Shaky Chelsea Defence

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As Thierry Henry slid the ball into the back of the net the Nou Camp erupted and one Czech man sat somewhere near south London watched on in horror. He, like the thousands of others watching, had witnessed Josep Guardiola's side destroy another La Liga rival.

The 4-nil drubbing of Sevilla now takes their season total goals to a staggering 92 surpassing the record previously held by Johan Curyff's dream team.

The Battle For Second Place: Liverpool v Chelsea v Arsenal

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Another Premier League season is edging to its climax and yet again its United that sit atop the table, having pulled three points clear at the league's summit. With a game in hand it seems almost unimaginable that they would lose it now.

So with the title all but decided, attention can now turn to the scrap for second place between Liverpool, Chelsea and to a lesser extent Arsenal.

Cannavaro: A step in the wrong direction?

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Juventus need to strengthen their back line, that is apparent, but is Fabio Cannavaro the right man to lead the Bianconeri in the next decade? His protracted return to the Old Lady seems like a step in the wrong direction for Italy's most successful team.

It has come to light this week that Fabio Cannavaro may be on the verge of a sensational return to Turin.

Who will Manchester City sell this summer?

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With all the players that have come in to the City of Manchester stadium the time may come this summer when the board look to recoup some of their money.

Having spent in the region of £100m on transfers since the much publicised take over many fans will be looking on in interest to see which big name the club are going to be linked to this summer.

Arshavin’s fab four dent Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes, previewing today’s Premier League matches, Fulham defender Paintsil plays Pinocchio, and

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So, Andrei Arshavin is pretty good, apparently. In case you missed his performance for the ages and anything else today and yesterday (like this demonstration by Real Madrid's Pepe on how to get your money's worth for conceding a penalty and getting sent off), catch up here.

Another Eight-Goal Thriller for Liverpool

In case you hadn't seen already, Liverpool and Arsenal played out a 4-4 draw at Anfield last night, with Andrei Arshavin bagging all four of Arsenal's goals.

Goalpostr Review

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If you take a moment to look at some of the bigger football club forums currently on the internet today you'll notice one growing trend that has become somewhat of a nuisance in recent years. That nuisance is of course known to many as the "dreaded diatribe."

These 800-1,500 word (and sometimes longer) posts regarding everything from club finances to player debates have turned many football forums into places where fans come to write their own football novel.

The League may have gone for Liverpool, but what a way for it to go!

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Football really is a fickle mistress isn't it? Just when you think that the game has thrown up just about every conceivable high, every unimaginable low, and plenty in-between, it goes and pulls a fresh rabbit from the hat and leaves you wondering: a) why the hell you bother with the thing, and b) when the next game is!

FC Barcelona vs. Sevilla preview: Barca has to win

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After Real Madrid's dramatic 3-2 win yesterday against Getafe, Barca needs a win tonight against Sevilla in order to keep the distance at 6 points.

This weekend, Barca won an easy 1-0 victory at Getafe, while Sevilla lost a 3-1 at Valencia in an amazing game. The game also resulted in a couple of suspensions for Sevilla, as left back Adriano got a straight red card and goalkeeper Palop received his 5th yellow card of the season.

Title in United’s Hands As Fergie Plots Pompey’s Downfall

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As of 21:53 last night the title really did become Man United's to lose. Liverpool failed to defeat Arsenal at home; despite scoring four times, they were penned back by four from the impressive Andrei Arshavin.

Sir Alex Ferguson must have been rubbing his hands with glee as Liverpool's normally rock solid defence fell apart.

UEFA Cracks Down on Racist Chanting but is it Too Little Too Late?

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Over the years racist chanting and banners have dogged the European stage. Clubs and players alike have all demanded action, have all appealed for more to be done however their cries nearly always fall on deaf ears. UEFA act yet their action is far too little, far too late.

This week President Michael Platini has announced that a new scheme will soon be implemented to allow officials to stop play for 10 minutes and if problems persist abandon them altogether.

Chelsea Face Everton in dress-rehearsal of the FA Cup Final

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With Liverpool drawing against Arsenal last night Chelsea will have been given renewed hope that they can push on and claim at least, the runners up spot this season.

Although Manchester United will still have a game in hand over the teams around them after tonight's matches, the Londoners' will be hopeful that they can force their way back into contention for the two top spots.

Villa Seek Glory in Fourth Outing of the Peace Cup

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They may have been knocked out of the UEFA Cup, failed to make the last two in the FA or League Cups and not be in the title race anymore but Aston Villa could very well end the season with silverware.

They are taking part in the fourth outing of the Peace Cup which began back in 2003.

Synopsis Russia : Zenit’s Zenith, Loveless Moscow and a New Czar

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Zenit St. Petersburg was the straw that broke the Camel's back. Rubin Kazan let the cat out the bag. In 2007, after years of domination by Moscow teams - Spartak, Lokomotiv and CSKA - Dick "the little General" Advocaat coached the Sine-Byelo-Goluboy (Blue-White-Sky-Blues) to its first ever Russian Premier league title, followed suit by winning the UEFA Cup and the rather innocuous UEFA Super Cup.

Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal - Goal Videos

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All 8 of the goals from the frantic Liverpool v Arsenal game last night:

1st Goal for Arsenal - Arshavin 36′

1st Goal for Liverpool - Torres 49′

2nd Goal for Liverpool - Sagna 56′ (OG)

2nd Goal for Arsenal - Arshavin 67′

3rd Goal for Arsenal - Arshavin 70′

3rd Goal for Liverpool - Torres 73′

4th Goal for Arsenal - Arshavin 90′

4th Goal for Liverpool - Benayoun 90+3′

"Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal - Goal Videos" was originally published at Soccerlens.

How Rafa Benitez has ruined Ryan Babel’s Liverpool career, Cohen remains bullish over Hillsborough comments, Ronaldo turns on the burners in Brazil, and more

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While you see why going to a Star Trek premiere isn't so bad (unless you're Thierry Henry), catch up on all of today's best bits from Soccerlens and elsewhere around the football blogosphere.

English Premier League: Liverpool v. Arsenal

Liverpool face Arsenal in a pivotal Premier League showdown this evening at Anfield, and you can follow the action from start to finish with Soccerlens' live match commentary.

Ticketing Turmoil at Old Trafford Sees Thousands of Complaints

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It is famously difficult for fans of some of the biggest clubs in Europe to get tickets, short of camping outside the ticket office for days or weeks in advance the only sure fire way is to get your paws on one of those much sought after season tickets. The prices of which are very high, at Man Utd for an adult the average cost is £666 at Liverpool, £654 and Chelsea a whopping £760.

Naught Schoolboys Ferguson and Benitez told off by Headmaster

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Like naughty schoolboys sent to the headmaster's office Sir Alex and Rafa have been given detention. The head of the League Manager's Association, Richard Bevan, has told the warring bosses that enough is enough and they both need to quit their bickering.

In the last few months the United and Liverpool managers have been firing volleys at each other ranging from Ferguson's bullying of officials to Benitze's body language.

Hiddink Hopes For Late Chelsea Surge

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They have won six of their last seven, scored 11 goals and have only lost once yet Chelsea still sit in third place. This amazing run started with the arrival of Guus Hiddink and has signalled a huge change in the attitude, atmosphere and most importantly results for the London club who go into the last few weeks of the season with high expectations.

Blacburn Rovers May Look To Cash In On Roque with Liverpool and Manchester City Calling

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He went under the knife recently and now he is under a lot of pressure to either declare his future to Blackburn or to hand in a transfer request.

The rumours that Roque Santa Cruz is about to leave Rovers have been nearly as constant as those declaring that Ronaldo is on verge of packing his bags and actually walking to Madrid.

MLS Week 5: Reality check for Sounders as Dallas, Red Bulls and Dynamo score first wins

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Is the MLS the most balanced football league in the world? Why does the Galaxy insist on building teams around a single player? Will Seattle recover their grove? All this and more in our MLS weekly review.

1.) Parity like no other league

I cannot think of one league in the world that has the level of parity of MLS.

The Rise And Fall Of Deco - Do Chelsea Fans Still Want Him?

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It all started so promising for Deco. He moved away from Barcelona for eight million euros, ready to revive his career and chase a third Champions League trophy with his new club, Chelsea.

August 16, 2008. Deco takes to the field against Portsmouth, and in Chelsea's 4-0 rampage over the Pompey, he scores in the 90th minute with a forty-yard shot.

Has Benitez ruined Ryan Babel?

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Holland coach Marco Van Basten recently criticised Rafael Benitez's handling of Ryan Babel, noting that the player had taken a step backward since his arrival at Anfield. A harsh assessment? Not if you look at the facts; and having examined the facts, Benitez's truly appalling treatment of the player is depressingly clear.

Valencia and the Trojan Horse

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We all know the story of the Trojan Horse  - after a fruitless 10 yr siege of Troy, the Greeks built a figure in shape of a horse in which a select group of soldiers hid. The Greek army then pretended to sail away which tricked the Trojans who pulled the horse into their city in a show of victory.

AFC Wimbledon quest for league football grows ever closer

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As AFC Wimbledon fans took in a post-match pint on Saturday, it's unlikely the hands raising the pint glass had many fingernails left. But Dons fans can now relax somewhat. Bar their promotion rivals Hampton and Richmond Borough going goal crazy on the final day of the season, the fan-owned club is set for a second successive promotion, taking them just one step away from league football.

Chelsea and Everton to meet in FA Cup final, radio host pins Hillsborough blame on Liverpool supporters, Bolton chief proposes revamped Premier League, and more

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It was quite the busy weekend in the football world, wasn't it? And before I catch you up on the weekend's biggest matches and stories, if you thought that Charles Itandje's ill-timed giggles were bad, I can only imagine what you might think of how World Soccer Daily radio show host Steven Cohen picked the absolute worst time to do his best Kelvin MacKenzie impression.

Rafa’s mind games have put Liverpool in a very sticky situation

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"Gerrard wants to play," said Benítez, "We have to train and talk with him, but he's had the problem before and was playing. We need people who are 100% fit now, so it would be a calculated risk, but he is a key player for us. On Saturday, we knew we could use him if we needed him from the bench.

Wembley pitch can’t hide Fergie’s weak team selection

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Well here we go again, another defeat for Man Utd and another excuse from Sir Alex Ferguson. This time the defeat wasn't down to his side failing to convert their penalties; it was due to the fact that the playing surface at Wembley stopped him from picking his best team. These sentiments have also been echoed from Arsene Wenger this week whose team were also knocked out of the FA Cup.

Chaos in Kaunas: The Decline and Fall of the Romanov Empire

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The Big Four? Try the Only Four. If fans of the English Premier League are increasingly bemoaning the seemingly unshakeable dominance of the former, imagine the absurdity of a division comprised solely of four teams. Yet when the new Lithuanian football season finally kicked off at the beginning of this month, there was a profound sense of relief in many quarters that this bizarre scenario had albeit by a hair's breadth been narrowly avoided.

How the 6+5 rule would affect Chelsea

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It would be hard to find a Englishman who does not sing the praises of the significantly large contingent of foreign players that ply their trade on the world's biggest stage, the Barclays Premier League.

Machester United's Portugese winger Cristiano Ronaldo had a stunning 07/08 season.

In praise of Seattle Sounders

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As FC Dallas fight for their life in an empty Pizza Hut Park and DC United swim frantically upstream in their search for a new stadium, one Major League Soccer franchise has taken the league by storm this season, seemingly demonstrating exactly what the perfect US football club should look like.

From Messidona to Wazza - expectations are high for the stars of today

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As I picked up a newspaper on Sunday, I was faced with the spotty adolescent face of Manchester United's latest teenage ‘sensation', Federico Macheda. After making a cameo appearance from the Old Trafford bench (cushioned armchairs in actuality), the 17-year-old Italian showed a neat touch and a curling shot to clinch the game for his team against Aston Villa.

Liverpool v. Arsenal - Live Blog - English Premier League - 21 April 2009

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Liverpool v. Arsenal
Stadium: Anfield Stadium, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 21 April 2009
Kickoff: 20:00 GMT, 15:00 ET

Second-place Liverpool will host fourth-place Arsenal in a key Premiership clash! Soccerlens will be bringing you the action live!

Newcastle desperately lack creativity and leadership in the middle

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Before Newcastle's game with Spurs today, a black & white clad fan was asked to give her partisan opinion on the chances of Alan Shearer achieving what he has claimed would be "the biggest achievement of my career". Her response was probably not as insightful as you might (or might not) have expected, but it was hard not to let the mind wander upon hearing it.

Aston Villa denied win against West Ham, Sunderland offside goals keep out of bottom three

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With three of the top four involved in the FA Cup Semi-Finals, Premier League attention this weekend was focused on the relegation battle.

Not for the first time this season, Djibril Cisse scored a vital winner for Sunderland against a key relegation rival...but from an offside position.

Soccerlens Interview - Swindon Town’s Simon Cox

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This interview was conducted on Thursday, 9th April 2009.

Soccerlens is delighted to welcome Swindon Town striker and current League One top goalscorer Simon Cox.

Cox had previously been with Reading Football Club for eleven years having rose through the youth ranks at the club and eventually into the first team.

An unwanted French Kiss and a pleasant Brazilian Wax

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Bordeaux 1 - 0 Lyon.

No Cavegol, no problem. French international and ex-Lyon player Alou Diarra's 43′rd minute poke gave Les Girondins a deserved win against a rather lackluster Lyon side; adding misery to manager Claude Puel's future and potentially kissed away Lyon's title hopes.

Lyon: Falling From Grace?

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"I am not the coach but it's true that with all those changes we sometimes find it difficult to get our bearings... It would be a catastrophe of the prospect of Lyon not winning an eighth consecutive title."

Those words, by Lyon ace Karim Benzema, adequately describe the club's state of mind.

Saturday’s Results: A Booked Sub, A Nimble Nigerian and a Falling Chairman

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The stadiums have emptied and the clean up has begun, but one or two managers may still be in their seats trying to work out what the next steps are for their clubs. Gareth Southgate, Sam Allardyce and Phil Brown are now all taking an even closer look at the league standings after failing to claim the three points in their respective matches yesterday.

Football’s Laurel and Hardy team up for ridiculous public rant at Rafa Benitez

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Sir Alex Ferguson launched a scathing diatribe against Rafael Benitez yesterday, citing his "deplorably arrogant, twitching goatee" as an example of his "utter contempt for the aesthetic sensibilities of the League Manager's Association (LMA)".

According to Fergie, Rafa's "dubiously manicured facial accouterment" epitomises his appalling disrespect for "struggling clean-shaven managers like Gareth Southgate, who have not been as providentially endowed with hirsuteness".

Everton eye upset of Manchester United in FA Cup semis, Soccerlens and Samsung give away Chelsea-Arsenal tickets, previewing the weekend in the Premier League a

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The weekend's here, and there's a lot to look forward to if you're a football fan. In case you missed anything today, we've got a little something from almost everywhere in this evening's roundup.

Soccerlens Podcast Ep. 7: Can Everton Pull Off the Cupset?

On this week's episode of the SL Podcast, host Stephen Darwin is joined by regular SL blogger Gary Andrews and The Guardian's Rob Smyth.

Taking a punt: 5 winning FA Cup and Premier League betting tips

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If there was ever a weekend to strap on your seatbelt and hold on for dear life, this would be the one.

The FA Cup, Premier League and the rest of the footballing world will be in full swing this weekend as the we move further into the most pivotal point of the season. With the relegation battle, league race and FA Cup coming at us from all angles, this time year has a tendency to make a punter's head explode.

Alex Ferguson is a naughty old man

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After United beat Porto, I reckoned that Fergie would lay off Liverpool till at least next week, and focus on Everton in the meantime.

It seems that the old man is smarter and sharper than yours truly - not only has he set out the most delicious of baits that Rafa would be a saint not to take up, but he's also managed to rope in Sam Allardyce with his bait, causing the man they call Big Sam to complain about being 'ignored' and 'dismissed' by Rafa Benitez.

Premier League makes a play for global domination

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The Guardian (so I only read them and the BBC, shoot me) have a report saying that Richard Scudamore and Peter Kenyon are tacitly backing Mohamed Bin Hammam's bid for re-election in the AFC. Assuming that this is true, it's not as simple as throwing their hat in the ring behind one candidate over the other.

Who Wants It More - Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea or Manchester United?

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Barcelona and Manchester United have already won the Champions League in recent years. Arsenal and Chelsea are recent losing finalists (to the opposite teams - there's a nice symmetry there). It seems reasonable to assume that Arsenal and Chelsea are more 'desperate' to win the Champions League title because they've never won it.

West Ham: the first recession casualty in the Premier League?

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The Guardian reckons that West Ham will be taken over by the banks who have control of Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's various assets.

Some people see this as the inevitable outcome of the recession and see West Ham as the first Premier League casualty of the current economic crisis, but there's every suggestion that this could have been avoided if the club had been more prudent in the transfer market and if the Carlos Tevez affair hadn't come back to bite West Ham in the ass.

City Fall But Can Hold Their Heads Up High

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The night started badly, conceding after only 10 minutes, but what followed was one of the bravest and most pulsating performances in European football, in a week full of brave and pulsating performances.

Manchester City's game against Hamburg was a sensational spectacle for the first minute to the 94th and will rightly go down in history as one of the best City performances of the season.

Relegation Wars: Tottenham to beat Newcastle, Aston Villa to beat West Ham, Man City and Sunderland to win and more

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Another weekend of Premier League fixtures lay ahead and the clubs facing relegation will again be keeping one eye on events at other stadiums up and down the country.

With Middlesbrough taking on an in form Fulham, Stoke facing Blackburn, Portsmouth looking for a win against Bolton and Sunderland playing Hull nearly all the teams involved in the survival battle play each other tomorrow.

Wolfsburg, Hamburg, it’s now or never!

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Das Eisen schmieden, solange es heiß ist. The famous proverb - make hay while the sun shines - aptly applies to several clubs aiming to strip Bayern of consecutive Bundesliga titles, its 22nd in waiting. Wolfsburg, Hamburg, Hertha and to a lesser extent Stuttgart harbour title hopes in the most exciting Bundesliga season, and perhaps the most captivating league in Europe .

Previewing this weekend’s La Liga action

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Average bookie probabilities, Getafe vs. FC Barcelona: 13 / 23 / 64

The focus is back on the league for the next 3 games. The first of these are against Getafe, who has made it their speciality to get points against the big teams. Getafe are currently 14th in the league just 4 points shy of the relegation zone.

European football’s most exciting title race, Ronaldo learns from Ferguson’s criticism, why Everton’s Moyes should be Chelsea’s next manager, and more

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What did you miss around the football blogosphere yesterday? Catch up with the top stories from Soccerlens and several other top football blogs below.

Which Is the Most Exciting Title Race in European Football?

As domestic seasons wind down across Europe, there are many thrilling title races to follow, but which is the one most worth watching?

Is Arsene Wenger afraid of the big bad wolf?

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When the Guus Hiddink genius rolled into town two months ago to replace Luis Felipe Scolari, few could be forgiven for feeling a bit of worry that Hiddink, yes Hiddink, was rocking up to take over Chelsea. Robin van Persie was part of what must have been a very large crew cursing their luck about the new Chelsea gaffer.

Proof that Riley will be 100% unbiased during Everton-United game

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Riley is a good referee. He's an honest referee. He's not a Manchester United fan - he was, but like all true United fans he's moved on to supporting FC United of Manchester in protest at the American scum taking over his beloved club.

If anything, he's more fond of Everton than he is of Manchester United.

Calling all Chelsea fans - win 2 tickets to the FA Cup semifinal!

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There are only FIVE hours left in our FA Cup semifinal giveaway - we're giving away 2 tickets to Wembley in the Chelsea end for the Chelsea-Arsenal game. If you're interested, answer a simple question here and you'll be entered in the draw to win the tickets.

Hurry, the contest closes at 2PM GMT.

Soccerlens Podcast - Everton set to shock Manchester United in FA Cup?

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On the seventh episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by ITV's Gary Andrews and Guardian blogger and Manchester United fan Rob Smyth to discuss the latest from the European Champions League and also the FA Cup semi-finals coming up on the weekend.

The show will also touch on Ashley Cole and that first-leg suspension, the leading candidates for the Chelsea manager's job and whether David Moyes has the credentials to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

Lyon might, Marseille should, but Bordeaux will win Ligue 1

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"I'm an honest man and you've got to say that Marseille and Bordeaux have worked well these past two seasons. This year maybe they deserve to go all the way..."

Those truly sincere words were uttered by Lyon's Juninho following the team's 2-2 draw last weekend which saw the seven consecutive domestic champions lose top spot since week 4 of the Ligue 1.

Everton’s David Moyes: next in line to the Chelsea throne?

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Who will be Chelsea's manager next season?

Whilst the fans ferventely hope that it is current interim boss Guus Hiddink who stays in his position, the chances of the Dutch mastermind staying on are quite slim - considering he's told everyone he's not staying, as has the chairman. The bookies have been taking bets on everyone from ex Barca gaffer Frank Riijkard to Mourinho to Mourinho's predecessor, Roberto Mancini.

Where were you on April 15, 1989?, Manchester United and Arsenal to face off in UEFA Champions League semis, comparing Ronaldo and Walcott’s spectacular strik

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What did you miss in the football world yesterday? Shame on you if you did miss any of these things, but I'm here to catch you up in case you did.

Where Were You on April 15, 1989?

Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of one of, if not the worst, days in the history of football, and many around the world (including Steven Gerrard) no doubt reflected on where they were that fateful day when 96 Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough.

Win TWO tickets to the Chelsea/Arsenal match this weekend!

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Football fans love free tickets, simple as that. In the world of sky-high ticket prices, you'd be hard pressed to find anything for a match for face value these days.

Considering paying for a big match between two of the best clubs in the world? You might as well give an arm and a leg if you don't have a mate with season tickets or a tree in your yard growing £100 notes.

Chelsea survive Liverpool onslaught in Champions League thriller at Stamford Bridge, 10 great European comebacks, Manchester United’s parent company announces

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In case you happened to finalize your move to under a rock yesterday, you picked a pretty bad time to do so. But if you smartly realized that living under a rock isn't such a smart idea, I'm here to catch you up on what you missed yesterday.

UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals Second Leg: Chelsea (7) 4-4 Liverpool (5)

Chelsea and Liverpool have had some classics in their recent Champions League meetings, but tonight's encounter takes the cake.

Porto 0-1 Manchester United - UEFA Champions League - 15 April 2009 - Live Blog

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Porto 0-1 Manchester United (Ronaldo 6′) - Man Utd win 3-2 on aggregate.
Stadium: Estadio do Dragao, Portugal
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Quarterfinals, Second Leg
Date: 15 April 2009
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT, 14:45 EST

Manchester United overcame a shaky first leg and prevailed at the Estadio do Dragao to eliminate Porto and advance to the Semifinals!

Was Stevie G’s absence merely a smoke screen by Liverpool?

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Well, the hopes of a miracle turnaround looked sure for a while but now have past and the memories of one of the greatest games in European footballing history are just that, memories.

The players on the pitch did well to beat the electric atmosphere in the stadium and delivered a truly outstanding spectacle.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal against Porto - Video

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Crisitiano Ronaldo scored a scorcher against Porto last night en route to Manchester United's fifth (or sixth) consecutive away clean sheet in Europe, the first English win in Porto and defeating statistics by winning a game they only had a 16% chance of winning.

You can download the video for the goal here, and read through the live blog here.

Adriano - A Career in Limbo

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Adriano Leite Ribeiro, known to his friends (ok, to basically everyone) as simply Adriano, has decided to take a break from football. The Brazilian powerhouse, who netted 29 goals in 47 games for his national side, has "lost the joy of playing" football. He has "lost the happiness" that is so widely associated with beautiful game.

Arsenal v. Chelsea - F.A. Cup Semifinals - 18 April 2009 - Live Blog

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Arsenal v. Chelsea
Stadium: Wembley Stadium, England
Competition: F.A. Cup Semifinals
Date: 18 April 2009
Kickoff: 17:15, GMT, 12:15 EST

Arsenal and Chelsea, two teams hoping to take home multiple trophies this season, will clash in the F.A. Cup Semifinals at Wembley Stadium!

Manchester United v. Everton - F.A. Cup Semifinals - 19 April 2009 - Live Blog

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Manchester United v. Everton
Stadium: Wembley Stadium
Competition: F.A. Cup Semifinals
Date: 19 April 2009
Kickoff: 16:00 GMT, 11:00 EST

Manchester United will continue their quest for five trophies when they face Everton in the F.A. Cup Semifinals!

The Final Word on Federico Macheda

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The name Federico Macheda has been bandied around a lot lately, and not just because of his two stunning late goals against Aston Villa and Sunderland. Macheda has been the object of an international tug of war between Manchester United, his current club, and SS Lazio, the club that nurtured and developed him as a boy.

Rash Tackles and Inconsistent Referees Challenge MLS

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The rash fouls and referee rants started early in MLS this year.

There were seven sending offs this past weekend in relatively unimportant MLS match-ups. In the contest between the hapless Galaxy and Chivas USA, the referee red-carded LA's US international star Gregg Berhalter in his MLS debut for hauling down a player with a clear goal-scoring opportunity, and ejected the Galaxy's Alan Gordon (dissent) and Chivas' Paulo Nagamura with two yellow cards apiece.

Footballrama Review

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If there's one thing football fans hate more than anything else, it's trying to search for a football related article on Google. If you're like most people around the world, you've realised that Google is a little biased towards a certain brand of football and it's not the kind that's played with your feet.

Axed Scottish Pair Shame The Nation

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What Scotland needed least of all following a morale-boosting victory over Iceland was a nightmare scenario which sees both the nation's captain and a promising goalkeeper banned from ever playing for Scotland again. It was bad enough that Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor were drinking in the hotel after the defeat to Holland, mind you that [.

Soccerlens Podcast - The Premier League, Relegation and Salvation

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On the fifth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by Soccerlens blogger Neil Jones and Daily Sport Sunday's Carl Eldridge as we discuss the final chapters of an intriguing Premier League season. In particular we hedge our bets on whether Manchester United still have enough in the tank to take the league title, discuss who's going to be relegated this season [.

Chelsea FC are calling. Are you ready?

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Live The Football Dream Calling all football fans, and I know there's plenty of us. This could be your chance to live out some football fantasies. You could be playing on the hallowed turf of Stamford Bridge, in a match refereed by an ex Premier League ref. You'll get the chance to see if you can match [.

The Maradona Cycle

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I was only a toddler on June 21st, 1994, but the events of the day are burned into my memory. On that summer afternoon in Foxboro, Massachusetts, Argentina thrashed Greece 4-0 in the first round of the 1994 World Cup Finals thanks to a Gabriel Batistuta hat-trick and the long-awaited return of one Diego Maradona.

Arsenal’s Wenger wants extra points for goal difference, Wigan manager Bruce has had it with misfit Zaki, Sven gets sacked as Mexico coach, and more

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While Newcastle's savior new manager catches up on his fan mail, check out the best of the day's stories from around the football blogosphere. Soccerlens Podcast: The Premier League Hits the Homestretch The fifth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast features host Stephen Darwin and guests Neil Jones and Carl Eldridge discuss the Premier League title [.

World Cup qualification highlights, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup quarterfinals previews, who Chelsea’s next (fulltime) manager should be, and more

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While you recover from the international break that was, catch up on the highlights of the international break and plenty else in today's roundup. World Cup Qualification Highlights In case you missed some of the big happenings from the recent international break, Daniel Chung is here to catch you up.

Highlights of World Cup 2010 Qualification: March 28 - April 2, 2009

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With the conclusion of FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifiers yesterday we move one step closer to determining which thirty-one other countries will be joining host South Africa to contest for the globe's biggest sporting honor. A slew of matches across the world at all time zones really reinforces that no sport can dare rival football [.

2008-2009 UEFA Champions League - Quarter-finals Preview

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The UEFA Champions League will resume on April 7, 2009 as the Quarter-finals get underway! After an tense Round of 16, only eight teams are left in the competition for Europe's most prestigious club prize! For the second year in a row, all four English teams have advanced to the Quarter-finals, where they'll [.

Welcome back, Mr. Shearer

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They were queuing outside his bar from first thing this morning. Black & White shirted, eager to yell their approval into the nearest camera, Newcastle United's supporters lined the streets outside St James' Park for one reason and one reason only. All together now: Sheeea-rerrr! Sheeea-rerrr! And on his first day as manager (the interim interim [.

Paris Saint-Germain v. Dynamo Kiev - UEFA Cup - Quarter-finals Preview

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Paris Saint-Germain v. Dynamo Kiev First Leg: 9 April 2009 - Parc des Princes, France. Second Leg: 16 April 2009 - Lobanovsky Dynamo Stadium, Ukraine. The second of two UEFA Cup matchups between France and Ukraine (the other being Shakhtar Donetsk and Marseille), this tie contains several interesting subplots.

Shakhtar Donetsk v. Olympique Marseille - UEFA Cup - Quarterfinals Preview

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Shakhtar Donetsk v. Olympique Marseille First Leg: 9 April 2009 - RSK Olympyiskyi, Ukraine Second Leg: 16 April 2009 - Stade Vélodrome, France. This is the first of two matchups featuring teams from France and Ukraine (Dynamo Kiev and Paris Saint-Germain will kickoff two hours after these two). Both teams are in second place in their [.

Hamburg SV v. Manchester City - UEFA Cup - Quarter-finals Preview

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Hamburg SV v. Manchester City First Leg: 9 April 2009 - HSH Nordbank Arena, Germany Second Leg: 16 April 2009 - City of Manchester Stadium, England Unlike the Champions League, which has been dominated by English teams in recent years, the UEFA Cup remains, largely, the province of non-English teams.

Werder Bremen v. Udinese - UEFA Cup - Quarter-finals Preview

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Werder Bremen v. Udinese First Leg: 9 April 2009 - Weserstadion, Germany Second Leg: 16 April 2009 - Stadio Friuli, Italy Domestically, the 2008-2009 season has been a disappointment for both Werder Bremen and Udinese. Both clubs are toiling in the middle of the standings in their respective leagues and have been out of title contention for [.

2008-2009 UEFA Cup - Quarter-finals Preview

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The Quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup will begin on April 9 and will conclude on April 16! The UEFA Cup always takes a backseat to the Champions League, and it doesn't help when some clubs (like Aston Villa or Tottenham) don't seem to take it seriously. However, with the way the competition has [...]

Liverpool v. Chelsea - UEFA Champions League - Quarter-finals Preview

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Liverpool v. Chelsea First Leg: 8 April 2009 - Anfield Stadium, England Second Leg: 14 April 2009 - Stamford Bridge, England Much like May Day, Easter, and Daylight Savings Time, Liverpool versus Chelsea in the Champions League has become an annual spring tradition. These two sides have clashed in each of the last four UEFA Champions League [.

Bayern Munich v. Barcelona - UEFA Champions League - Quarter-finals Preview

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Bayern Munich v. Barcelona First Leg: 8 April 2009 - Estadio Camp Nou, Spain Second Leg: 14 April 2009 - Allianz Arena, Germany As far as marquee value goes, you won't find too many clubs bigger than Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Between these two giants, they've made twelve appearances in the Champions League/European Cup Final, with Barcelona [.

Villarreal v. Arsenal - UEFA Champions League - Quarter-finals Preview

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Villarreal v. Arsenal First Leg: 7 April 2009 - Estadio El Madrigal, Spain Second Leg: 15 April 2009 - Emirates Stadium, England A lot has been made of the Liverpool/Chelsea Champions League rivalry, or even the Manchester United/Porto rivalry. However, Arsenal and Villarreal have a bit of history as well.

Manchester United v. FC Porto - UEFA Champions League - Quarter-finals Preview

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Manchester United v. Porto First Leg: 7 April 2009, Old Trafford, England. Second Leg: 15 April 2009, Estadio do Dragao, Portugal After a much ballyhooed showdown with Inter Milan and The Special One in the previous round, Manchester United breathed a sigh of relief once Porto's name came up in the Quarterfinal Draw.

US Football: Connecting Through Twitter

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"Can't even eat my sandwich that I made n brought...not so much a fan of stadium offense oscar meyer" - tweet by Aly Wagner, two-time Olympic gold medalist and LA Sol midfielder, during the inaugural WPS match. You knew it was going to happen. A player was going to tweet about their lunch in the [.

Why We Should All Be Jealous Of Newcastle Fans

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On Manchester United forums all over the internet, on any thread which discusses which man will replace Sir Alex Ferguson, at least one or two former United players will be mentioned. Until his melt-down at Sunderland, Roy Keane was a favourite, whilst Mark Hughes was fancied for the job before he took over at City.

Wanted: One thick-skinned, super genius to fill open manager position at Stamford Bridge

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Manager WANTED – Chelsea FC (Competitive Salary / Start Date: June 2009) OK, Guus, we get the message. You won't be Chelsea manager next season. After a seemingly infinite amount of questions about his future, interim Chelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has remained unwavering in his decision that he will only stay on at the club until [.

Why the Premier League table lies

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I can just imagine this title has you already bemused; after all, I have just flipped and challenged the authority of one of football's most over used clichés. As you might already know, I am die hard Gooner. That's an Arsenal fan to the layman reader. As a fan of the club for some twenty years [...

Manchester United v. Aston Villa - English Premier League - 5 April 2009 - Live Blog

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Manchester United v. Aston Villa Stadium: Old Trafford, England Competition: English Premier League Date: 5 April 2009 Kickoff: 15:00 GMT, 11:00 ET Manchester United and Aston Villa, two teams in desperate need of a win, will clash in an important Premiership match that could have huge implications on the title race!

Cristiano Ronaldo’s True Test for Aspired Greatness

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Cristiano Ronaldo is without doubt the man that everyone in football loves to hate. Whether it's an element of jealousy, his arrogance, his transfer conduct, the infamous ‘getting Rooney sent off' saga, his manner and expression, or simply a combination of the lot, there are very few outside Old Trafford who give the man [.

Shearer swaps the sofa for Newcastle’s frying pan

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I love Alan Shearer. May as well lay my cards on the table in my opening sentence, eh? Shearer the player was a hero of mine. Fiercely competitive (sometimes overly, I confess), a brute of a centre forward who took more knocks in his professional career than most, and still went back for more each [.

Has time run out on Stoke City, Middlesbrough and West Brom?

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The Premier League has had everything this season. From managers aplenty facing up to the sack to Steven Gerrard and a night club attack (allegedly!). But in all seriousness this season in England's top flight has undeniably been one of the most eventful and exciting campaigns ever and at both ends of the table.

Shearer gets Newcastle job, Barcelona star Eto’o in Liverpool link, Crouch needs to deliver against Ukraine, and more

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While you plan out your April Fool's jokes (if you haven't executed them already) and wonder why youth soccer has no sense of humor, catch up on all that you've missed around the soccer blogosphere. Shearer Gets Newcastle Job With times being all sorts of desperate, Alan Shearer has finally decided to stop dodging the managerial reins [.