Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Wenger needs to temper obsession with attack

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Yet another season of bright promise ended dismally for Arsenal last Sunday.

The north London side, imperiously dimissed from the Champions League by Barcelona, lost their last slender hope of winning the Premier League and a first trophy since 2005
with defeat at Wigan.

And now? Disgruntled Arsenal fans complain that their cerebral French manager Arsene Wenger is obstinately refusing to make essential changes to his team while he gazes over the horizon in search of an illusive future perfection.

They instance Arsenal’s notoriously leaky defence and Wenger’s apparent inability to buy a top-class goalkeeper.

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright is not the only person wondering whether Wenger will extend his contract, which is due to expire at the end of the next season.

Premier League in decline or just a minor blip?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/English clubs have failed to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2003, after Arsenal were undone by a superior Barcelona side driven by the brilliant Lionel Messi and Manchester United suffered an astonishing breakdown against Bayern Munich.

They joined Premier League leaders Chelsea on the sidelines, as well as Liverpool after their exit in the group phase. The question is whether this is a shift in the balance of power or merely a blip.

Messi lights up my first Nou Camp experience

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Waiting for the post-match news conferences after a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona swept into the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday, a phone rang among the cameramen at the back of the room.

In a voice that would have carried back to his office without technological help, someone answered: “Yeah, Yeah. I’m in Barcelona covering the Arsenal versus Messi game.”

Messi outshines Walcott (and everyone else on the planet)

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/So much hype about how Theo Walcott could be the difference and help Arsenal oust Barcelona from the Champions League on Tuesday night proved a bit unfortunate, didn’t it? Walcott again produced a frustrating performance as he was outshone by the wizard that is Lionel Messi.

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Comparisons with Messi would make unfortunate reading for anyone but that doesn’t alter the fact that Walcott, for all that wonderful talent, lacked confidence and conviction when he was most needed.

Champions League quarter-finals: Messi v Arsenal

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We’re following the Champions League quarter-final second legs live. Join us to see if Barcelona can see off Arsenal to make the last four.

Fabregas gamble made for a great occasion

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/“It was a gamble worth taking, it was an amazing experience,  an amazing game and I will remember it all my life. This was the best team I have faced in my life.”

In a couple of short sentences, Cesc Fabregas summed up Wednesday night’s humdinger of a Champions League game pretty well perfectly, and made a persuasive case for a selection gamble that could make or break the Arsenal season.

Champions League quarter-finals — live

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We’re live blogging the night’s two Champions League quarter-final first legs, with expert commentary and analysis, including on-the-spot details from our reporters in the stadiums (or stadia, if you prefer).

Join us here from around 1645 GMT for all the build-up and action from the biggest club competition in town.

A new Champions League era or just a blip?

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As many French teams in the Champions League quarter-finals as English clubs and only one Spanish side through.

Does this mark a sea change in Europe or is it just a freak season like 2004 (the last time two French teams reached the last eight)? 

Predicting another great leap forward from Arsenal

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONSNow all that Winter Sports malarkey is out of the way, we can cast all thoughts of the Couver out of our minds and get back to the serious business: the title race run-in, and the predictions league tussle that goes along with it.

Chelsea are the weekend’s main absentees, as they toil on in the FA Cup against a stoked City, so could we see another great leap forward from Arsenal?

Ramsey injury was horrific but should not be used to outlaw tackling

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Anybody who saw the pictures of Aaron Ramsey’s shattered shin will have winced in disgust but the hysterical reaction to Ryan Shawcross’s tackle that caused it has been based on emotion rather than cold analysis.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger muttered dark thoughts about how it was “no coincidence” that Ramsey, Eduardo and Abou Diaby had all suffered terrible injuries as teams tried to kick Arsenal off the pitch.

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