Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Premier League best in the world? Don’t believe the hype

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The British press are purring after Arsenal’s clash with Manchester United was decided by French winger Samir Nasri’s two strikes.

“Onlookers across the world were reminded that this sport, in its modern form, can cause excitement and awe in equal measure,” wrote the Guardian’s Kevin McCarra of Arsenal’s breathless 2-1 win over the champions.

After Arsenal’s bonkers 4-4 draw with neighbours Tottenham Hotspur two weeks ago, Hull City’s unbelievable start to top-flight life and the fact that Liverpool might just be genuine title contenders, the Premier League is once again ‘the best league in the world’ TM.

Or is it? (more…)

So what now for Tottenham?

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A seismic weekend at Tottenham resulted in the ruthless cull of Juande Ramos and his coaching team and the sacking of director of football Damien Comolli.

Harry Redknapp was then hired as the club’s new manager just hours before the north London club claimed a first league victory of the season against Bolton.

So is this really going to be Liverpool’s year?

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Liverpool have shown they have most of the key attributes of title-winning teams this season but there remains one test for them to pass before we can really talk about them as favourites.

As we all know, this Liverpool team have perfected the art of winning when playing badly, coping without their best players and taking points of their biggest rivals.

It’s time to stop kicking the ball out of play

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Lionel Messi

Barcelona’s equalising goal against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday sparked a real old furore because it stemmed from a Barca throw-in after the home side had apparently kicked the ball out of play because one of their players was injured.

The truth is, with players so apt to diving and other theatrics these days, the “player down” excuse for stopping the game should be defunct, as it thankfully now appears to be in England where only the referee decides when the game should be stopped. (more…)

Vlog on the Pitch: Cesc Fabregas special

When Aleksandr Hleb and Mathieu Flamini left Arsenal in the close season with no obvious replacements you might have been tempted to question Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy.

Well, Cesc Fabregas was not among the doubters, as he told Reuters this week. Cesc says he always had faith in the man who brought him in from Barcelona as an unknown teenager (as well he might).

Will English clubs dominate Europe again?

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The Champions League trophy gets packed awayBayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sounded a familiar note this week when he predicted that English clubs would once again dominate the Champions League (see here or here for the story).

I suspect most people would agree with him but here are some reasons why it might not be as simple as that:

Strange results signify little… but we can all dream, can’t we?

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Van NReal Madrid and Barcelona lose their opening matches in Spain, Bayern Munich have to wait until their third game to taste victory under Juergen Klinsmann, AC Milan lose while Juve and Inter can only draw in Italy and three games in, not one of the big four in England’s Premier League can muster a 100 percent record…

It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to read something in to all this.

Smaller clubs that are nimbler in the transfer market have made a series of astute buys while we were watching the Olympics and the soccer superpowers were trying to prise away each other’s big stars, you might say. Once great names like Atletico Madrid, Schalke 04, Lazio and Manchester City are at or near the top of their leagues and are ready to rise again!

Bentley takes another step towards filling Beckham’s boots

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Bentley (left) is eyeing up Beckham’s spot

He has the same initials and plays in the same position so David Bentley will hope that his 15million pounds transfer to Tottenham will help him dislodge David Beckham once and for all from the England team.

The 23-year-old has never seemed short of confidence and the midfielder declared that he was ready to step up “to the next level” by leaving the homely surrounds of Blackburn Rovers after just two years for a return to London’s bright lights.

If not a salary cap, then what’s the solution?

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Grant celebrates as Ferguson looks on

Kevin Keegan thinks the Premier League is getting boring — see our latest Vlog on the Pitch — but, not for the first time, Sir Alex Ferguson sees things a bit differently.

“The League is murder for me and Avram Grant and nerve-racking for fans and players,” Ferguson said. “It would be impossible to make the Premier League any more exciting.”

Struggling Henry slips down the pecking order

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A dejected Henry

According to a poll on Facebook, strikers Nicolas Anelka and Karim Benzema are favourites to be in France’s 23-man squad for Euro 2008 in Switzerland and Austria.

95.8 per cent of the Facebook addicts who drew their own list think Anelka should be included, 95.7 believe Benzema also has to be in the squad for June’s tournament.

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