Soccer Break Tuesday

March 15, 2011

SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPThe pain for Arsenal fans just rolls on it would seem, as a trip to my office’s kitchen confirmed on Monday when I heard two voices grumbling about “Van Persie” and “not enough shots”.

The North London club’s woes of the last two weeks or so have been much publicised, but perhaps at last there is some news to cheer Gunners fans up in the return of former keeper Jens Lehmann? Who would you prefer in goal? Lehmann, or Arsenal’s only currently available goalie Manuel Almunia, in good form in the last two matches against Barcelona and Manchester United?

Keep a close eye out as the signing could be confirmed on Tuesday after Arsenal moved to sign the German late on Monday.

Some very recent news on the earthquake repercussions is that Japan’s J. League has been postponed indefinitely, while news on the international friendlies is due on Wednesday.

Now onto Tuesday’s Champions League matches, including four former winners. Do you agree with these predictions?

Inter Milan must become only the second team in Champions League knockout phase history to overturn a first-leg home defeat with a second leg away win. Some task.

Worth a bet given Bayern’s turbulent last week in which coach Louis van Gaal said he would leave at the end of the season? Bear in mind however that Van Gaal, while at Ajax Amsterdam in the 1995/96 season, was the only coach to achieve this feat according to UEFA statistics.

A likely factor in all this week’s crucial European ties, Europa League included, is the away goals rule. Where do you stand on away goals? Read more here.

On Wednesday Chelsea are back in action. Will John Terry be buoyed by the news he could be reinstated as England captain for the March 26 Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales? Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard are likely absentees, and Capello’s comments would suggest the Chelsea man will get the nod.

If you’re no fan of Terry, who would you pick in Ferdinand and Gerrard’s absence?

And what about Fernando Torres? Yet more hard graft but no spark in the final third, or will the Spaniard finally break his Chelsea duck?

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: Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny rues a missed chance against Manchester United during their FA Cup quarter-final soccer match at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England March 12, 2011. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

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