title challenge

English Premier League

Top 10 conclusions: Premier League weekend, 21-22 September

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1. Manchester City gave a pretty big clue that they think their derby win over Manchester United was secured during the transfer window. Just look at the hoardings above. 2. I 4-1 didn't see that result coming. 3. Paolo Di Canio must be really good at projecting his voice. Not so good at keeping his [.

Can Arsenal really mount a title challenge this season?

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With the departure of two key performers this summer and having shipped off a lot of the squad's dead weight too, questions were always going to be asked about the outcome Arsenal were headed for this season.

The demand from fans and further financial gain from these sales provided Arsene Wenger with greater determination in terms of bringing players in however, and the additions of Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud have strengthened things up immensely.

Vertonghen eyeing title push

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Our new defensive signing Jan Vertonghen has spoken to the press about his recent move and naturally the Belgian international is targeting Champions League football. Beyond that however, Jan believes that the club is capable of a tilt at the title.

"Over the last years Spurs have become a very big club in England," Jan said on Spurs TV.

Gary Neville: Man Utd are frustrated

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Former Manchester United right-back Gary Neville believes that it has been a frustrating summer for Manchester United, who he thinks will be approaching the pre-season as the beginning of their redemption.

The Red Devils were knocked out of the Champions League group stage last season and were subsequently dominated by Athletic Bilbao in the Europa League.

Torres promises league contention

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Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has reminded rivals that the European champions will be contending for the Barclays Premier League next season as the team has become fully committed to putting last season's domestic struggles behind them.

The Blues incredibly realized owner Roman Abramovich's European dream 10 days ago in Munich and although many of the squad's members are already engaged in Euro 2012 preparations, Torres is thinking about next season too.

Arsenal Season Review 2011-12 : The Broad Picture

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Hello all. I am back from the wilderness and from a very pleasant and memorable trip. Yellowstone is just a breathtaking place in so many ways and we were very lucky with the weather as well. Mendocino too was great fun as we went there with a close friend and his family. Don't know how but I managed to pick up a flu bug soon after returning and that's kept me down for the last couple of days.

Arsenal Season Review 2011-12 : The Broad Picture

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Hello all. I am back from the wilderness and from a very pleasant and memorable trip. Yellowstone is just a breathtaking place in so many ways and we were very lucky with the weather as well. Mendocino too was great fun as we went there with a close friend and his family. Don't know how but I managed to pick up a flu bug soon after returning and that's kept me down for the last couple of days.

A Dramatic End to a Crazy Season

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A Dramatic End to a Crazy Season - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Yesterday, this year's roller-coaster Barclay's Premier League season came to a dramatic end following an astonishing afternoon of football.

Below is a round-up of how the points were shared and the significance for the teams involved.

Chelsea’s Summer 2012 Transfer Targets

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Chelsea's Summer 2012 Transfer Targets - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

Chelsea resurgence under Roberto Di-Matteo has been truly impressive this season. However, he has inherited a squad whose quality and age has been questioned. Providing the Italian manager keeps the Chelsea job on a permanent basis, I'm sure he'll make quite a few changes in summer to re-invent the team as ‘his' side.

Man United Title Sprit Halted by Everton

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Manchester United's title challenge got halted again this weekend after they only managed to pick up a point against Everton at Old Trafford as the game spectacularly ended in a 4-4 draw.

The Toffees' salvaged the game in the last 10 minutes where they surprisingly grabbed two goals after the home team looked to be home and dry with their 4-2 advantage.

Mancini: United spirit will decide title

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admits that his side lacks the winning spirit of Manchester United and he believes that this key ingredient will decide the title in favor of the defending champions once again.

United dealt clinically with Chelsea's stiff title challenge towards the end of last season but City were quietly working on their own credentials during that time.

Barclays Premier League Preview – Part Two

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TUESDAY 10TH APRIL 2012

20:00 – Blackburn Rovers v Liverpool

This match has become huge for Blackburn. After seemingly digging themselves out of trouble with some good results in March, Steve Kean's men find themselves plunged back into the drop zone again following three straight defeats.

Champions League

Video: Arsenal run football clinic in Vietnam, Theo Walcott predicts title challenge

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Arsenal have continued their Asian tour by running a football clinic with local children in Vietnam. Players such as Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and Olivier Giroud put youngsters in Hanoi through their paces before taking part in a training session of their own. The Gunners are preparing for a pre-season match againstVietnam XI at the [.

Video: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini now able to laugh at Carlos Tevez saga

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Roberto Mancini seems to be able to joke about the Carlos Tevez fall-out that almost derailed his side's title challenge last season. The Manchester City boss has claimed that his Real Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho should consider sending Cristiano Ronaldo on a six-month sabbatical to help them win a second successive La Liga title.

Arsenal Supporters Need to be Patient

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Arsenal was earmarked as potential dark horses in the title race before the loss of Robin van Persie. Now without Van Persie, the hope for a title challenge has suddenly disappeared and has been replaced with doubts of Champions League ...

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Walker spurred on by disappointment

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Tottenham defender Kyle Walker says his recent injury heartache will only spur him on to try and win silverware in the upcoming campaign.

After a superb season with Spurs, Walker looked to have established himself as England's first choice right-back but broke his toe at just the wrong time, meaning he was unable to take part in Euro 2012.

Cech reveals Chelsea's desire to continue making history.

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As we are well under way with pre season, it's good to see most people back in the fold and being prepared for another season. Everyone will be looking at Chelsea this term to mount a serious title challenge and with the investment Roman has made in the squad again this summer, it's something the players are well aware of.

Arsenal lose grip on 3rd place

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With five games to go, 3rd place was in Arsenal's hands. It wasn't the season we'd hoped for, but considering how badly we started, we looked like saving some dignity. Four games later, we are looking at another typical end-of-season collapse.

Of course, it's nothing like last season, where the prize we'd lost was far greater.

Jose Mourinho

Player exchange: Pazzini to Milan, Cassano to Inter + €7.5m

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Pazzini and Cassano in a swap between clubs

Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Cassano are all set to trade clubs. Pazzini will be moving to Milan as he no longer fits in with Andrea Stramaccioni's plans while Cassano is moving to Inter because he's Cassano and a rolling stone.

Both clubs are strapped for cash but Milan is worse off but are willing to pay €7.

Madrid’s Gap With Barcelona Got Reduced Again As Los Blancos Held by Valencia

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Real Madrid are getting more cautious with their title battle as they're gap with Barcelona got reduced again this weekend after Jose Mourinho's team only managed to pick up a 0-0 draw against Valencia at Santiago Bernebau.

Both teams had their share of goal scoring chances but the home team might be felt more harm done by the result as they do edged it a bit in terms of creating opportunities as the visitor were counting more from their counter attacks.

Interviews

MEN Journos on the Manchester rivalry, best Manchester XI and writing for the MEN

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Rob Dawson and Mike Keegan, football writers at The Manchester Evening News, has given their thoughts on United ahead of the 2012-2013 season.

Scott the Red: United usually end the season so strongly. What went wrong last season?

Rob Dawson: I've still got no idea. I think if United played that sequence of games 100 times, they wouldn't get a lower points tally than they did last season.

MEN Journos on the Manchester rivalry, best Manchester XI and writing for the MEN

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Rob Dawson and Mike Keegan, football writers at The Manchester Evening News, has given their thoughts on United ahead of the 2012-2013 season.

Scott the Red: United usually end the season so strongly. What went wrong last season?

Rob Dawson: I've still got no idea. I think if United played that sequence of games 100 times, they wouldn't get a lower points tally than they did last season.

VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: Wigan fan on rivalling Barca, selling Moses and the importance of fans

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Whilst it was the 4-4 game against Everton that really cost us the title last season, the 1-0 defeat to Wigan when they were enjoying top form, certainly didn't help. What was usually a guaranteed three points, often after a 4-0 win, was a game that saw our grip on the title loosen.

Alan Moore from This Northern Soul has shared his thoughts ahead of the 2012-2013 season.

VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: Wigan fan on rivalling Barca, selling Moses and the importance of fans

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Whilst it was the 4-4 game against Everton that really cost us the title last season, the 1-0 defeat to Wigan when they were enjoying top form, certainly didn't help. What was usually a guaranteed three points, often after a 4-0 win, was a game that saw our grip on the title loosen.

Alan Moore from This Northern Soul has shared his thoughts ahead of the 2012-2013 season.

VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: Chelsea fan on JT’s ban, sacking the manager and Torres

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Last season, Chelsea became one of the worst teams in the history of Champions League football, rivalled by Liverpool, to win the competition. After being outplayed in pretty much every single game, somehow they managed to drag themselves to a penalty shoot-out in the final which they won.

For all their success in the cup competitions, Chelsea fell some way short, finishing 6th, 25 points behind us and City.

VIEW FROM THE ENEMY: Arsenal fan on Van Persie, 8-2 and backing Wenger

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It's been a while since Arsenal mounted a serious title challenge and their fans have become increasingly frustrated at Arsene Wenger's seeming refusal to be competitive in the transfer market. This summer, at long last, Arsenal have been splashing the cash, but it looks as though as it may be too late to convince captain Robin van Persie that the club is ambitious enough to win trophies.

Beast

Could Arsenal Win The League?

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Hands up all those who breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end of the first 45 minutes of yesterday's game? Moi. I say that because I think like most I didn't have a clue what to expect. Usually, we get minor changes enabling us to have a pretty good idea of what to expect but with last season's and this window's signings everything seems to be up in the air making it very difficult to calculate what to expect.

Could Arsenal Win The League?

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Hands up all those who breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end of the first 45 minutes of yesterday's game? Moi. I say that because I think like most I didn't have a clue what to expect. Usually, we get minor changes enabling us to have a pretty good idea of what to expect but with last season's and this window's signings everything seems to be up in the air making it very difficult to calculate what to expect.

villas boas

Will Andre Villas-Boas Succeed At Tottenham And Achieve More Than Harry Redknapp?

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Andre Villas-Boas is a very confident man, and that's a good thing because he has very ambitious plans. Recently appointed by Tottenham Hotspur, the man who flamed out at Chelsea is already talking about mounting a title challenge, but doing ...

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Chelsea set to confirm Roberto Di Matteo as permanent manager

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Chelsea set to confirm Roberto Di Matteo as permanent manager - originally posted on Soccerlens.com

If Chelsea really do appoint Roberto Di Matteo as the permanent manager for next season, it will signal a shift in long-term strategy and a more acute understanding of what Chelsea, the football club, really needs.

Manchester City

A New Look Arsenal to Challenge for Honors

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Recently Arsenal signed 26 year old German striker Lukas Podolski. This signing has culminated in positivity in the Arsenal camp, and has possibly put to bed the criticism of conservative signings by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Early signings in Wenger's tenure are almost unheard of.

Why FA Cup Final loss could be a blessing in disguise

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A picture tells a thousand words

If John Henry is as serious about Liverpool being successful as we want him to be, he needs to be stark raving mad by now.During yesterday's match, I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend who asked what happened to the Liverpool that ended last season (2010-11).

Young Manchester City fans sends Roberto Mancini some consolatory Fruit Pastilles

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An eight-year-old Manchester City supporter has attempted to cheer-up Roberto Mancini after the collapse of his side's title challenge by sending him a pack of his favourite sweets. The Italian is often seem tucking into Fruit Pastilles during matches, so Megan Kinghorn decided that would be the perfect pick-me-up after City's recent slump.

Mario Balotelli – Why Always Him?

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Sunday's antics at Emirates Stadium threw perennial trouble maker Mario Balotelli back into the headlines after a red card against Arsenal. Donning a t-shirt reading "YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE" to reveal if he found the net, Balotelli's intentions are clear. He feels it is all about him. Who else would expose the message "WHY ALWAYS ME?

The Rest

German Bundesliga – Season Predictions – 2012/13

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The 2012-13 German Bundesliga season is about to start with Borussia Dortmund aiming for a third straight title. It's been a fantastic run for Dortmund who are looking to match Bayern Munich's run of three consecutive league titles from 1998 to 2001.

Overall, the Bundesliga remains one of the most competitive and popular leagues in the world along with attendance averaging over 45,000 per match last season.

Dalglish Targets Liverpool Title Tilt

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Kenny Dalglish has set out his stall for Liverpool to mount a title challenge next season.
The Reds scooped the Carling Cup this year, but it has proved to be a season of disappointment with the Reds in eighth in the table going into the final game of the season.
Dalglish claims plans are being made to take the club forward, with possible transfer business taking place in the summer, and is looking for the Reds to be challenging at the top of the table next season.