Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Time for UEFA to revert to goal difference in Champions League

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My head is hurting after all the mathematics that has been needed to work out qualification chances in the Champions League.

It is all because UEFA believes head-to-heads rather than goal difference in all group games should be the first deciding factor.

Many don’t see the logic of this. Using goal difference as the first determining factor, like many domestic leagues, encourages attacking play for a start which is surely a laudable aim. Head-to-heads don’t especially.

The reason head-to-heads is preferred seems to be because one team could have scored many more goals against the group whipping boys than their rivals and this is deemed an unfair advantage. Why?

Why Chelsea should keep Andre Villas-Boas

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Three Premier League defeats in four games and Champions League last 16 qualification compromised. The last few weeks have been very tough for Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas.

Previous managers Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant and Carlo Ancelotti were dismissed seemingly for less by ruthless owner Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea can still feel positive despite Torres miss

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Fernando Torres woke up to mocking headlines on Monday after his open goal howler against Manchester United but there were signs at Old Trafford that the Spaniard is beginning to rediscover the form that prompted Chelsea to sign him from Liverpool for 50 million pounds.

Since joining in January he has been barely recognisable to the player who scored goals for fun while playing for Atletico Madrid and then Liverpool, managing just one goal in Chelsea blue before doubling his output with his side’s reply in the 3-1 defeat at United.

What is Arsenal’s future?

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By Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade

It is a bit early to single out Manchester rivals United and City as the only title contenders this season, but it appears highly likely that Arsenal will not be among the chasing pack now headed by the new-look Liverpool and Chelsea.

What is more, the 8-2 hammering the Gunners suffered at Old Trafford suggests that Arsene Wenger’s side might even struggle to finish in the top six, unless the Frenchman can swiftly turn around their fortunes.

Villas Boas ticks all Chelsea boxes except top prize

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By Shrikesh Laxmidas and Daniel Alvarenga

Unlike his mentor Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas Boas does not have a Champions League title on his resume as he moves to Chelsea but he ticks every other box on the London club’s wishlist.

The 33-year-old’s short career — which spans just 20 months as head coach — and lack of Champions League experience means he is a gamble for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, for whom clinching Europe’s top club trophy seems to have become an obsession.

Soccer Break Monday – season already over?

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Anyone else feel as though all the excitement and potential late drama for this season has disappeared?

Manchester United took less than 40 seconds to score against title rivals Chelsea, all but killing the game and the Londoners’ hopes of retaining their Premier League crown, while in Italy AC Milan made it 18 Serie A trophies with a 0-0 draw at AS Roma. Barcelona took a giant stride towards a third straight La Liga title with a 2-0 win over Espanyol. Click on this link for our European roundup.

Soccer Break Friday – titles at stake

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The week is ending but the drama is just cranking up. Yes, the weekend is almost upon us, and that means loads more football action around Europe where there is still plenty at stake.

European competition is almost over for another season after Braga and Porto booked their places in the Europa League final in Dublin.

Soccer Break Thursday – United roll on

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Manchester United just keep on winning despite a sluggish season by their usually high standards and will now face Barcelona in the Champions League final on May 28.

Predictions? Hard to see even a full strength United keeping Messi and co at bay, especially as Barca coach Pep Guardiola will be seeking to continue his love affair with Wembley.

Soccer Break Monday – Goalline technology…again

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It is never over until the fat lady sings or should that be until Alex Ferguson stops talking about refereeing decisions?

The Premier League title race is reaching boiling point and Ferguson is hot under the collar that his team did not get a penalty in their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal.

Soccer Break Thursday – Mourinho wins. Again.

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SOCCER-SPAIN/CUPJose Mourinho and winning appear to go hand in hand after the colourful Portuguese coach delivered at the first time of asking in Wednesday’s King’s Cup final.

All the more significant was beating Barcelona for the first time as Real coach, which sets up a fascinating double header in the Champions League semi-finals on April 27 and May 3.

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