Soccer Break Friday

March 11, 2011

SOCCER-EUROPA/Friday. That means almost weekend. Which means yet more football. When does it ever stop? We don’t want it to though, especially with some cracking FA Cup games in store as well as Europe’s top sides slugging it out in their respective leagues.

First however, here’s our take on the Europa League action on Thursday. Some nicely poised ties, though it was not a good night for Liverpool or Manchester City, or Mario Balotelli for that matter.

This blog argues Balotelli is damaging his Man City career. What do you think? Balotelli is undoubtedly talented, just not consistent enough. Perhaps time will tell.

As for Liverpool, the Europa League is their only realistic chance of silverware this season. Was it disappointing to see so little urgency at the start of the game? Or do you feel the league match against Manchester United took a great deal out of Kenny Dalglish’s men?

For any Liverpool fans, would you prefer to have a storming end of the season in the league and finish in the top four (thus guaranteeing a chance to qualify for the Champions League) or win the Europa League? Have a read here for all things Anfield.

Over to my colleagues now to give their expert previews on all things Europe, from La Liga to Serie A then Ligue 1 to the Bundesliga.

Finally, the FA Cup. Still the greatest cup competition out there? Debatable, but for all his medals at Man United, midfielder Michael Carrick badly wants to raise the famous old trophy aloft.

Trouble is, their opponents are Arsenal and the fallout from their defeat to Barcelona is still rumbling on. On Thursday manager Arsene Wenger likened UEFA to a “dictatorship”, while more statistics from the one-sided yet absorbing match have been uncovered. Will there be a Gunners backlash from two galling defeats in recent weeks? Or will Man United prevail?

Discuss all these topics and other stories in world soccer on the Reuters Soccer Facebook page. And please feel free to send us recommendations for your pick of the day’s stories.

Picture: Sporting Braga’s Alberto Rodriguez (L) jumps for the ball with Liverpool’s Sotirios Kyrgiakos during their Europa League soccer match in Braga, northern Portugal March 10, 2011. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal

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