Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Scowling Scolari needs a rethink

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Defeat to Arsenal means Luiz Felipe Scolari is facing his first big test as Chelsea manager and there are plenty of people waiting to see how the volatile Brazilian handles it.

Until a few weeks ago everything was sweetness and light at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea set the pace in the Premier League title race. They were scoring goals for fun and Scolari was seen as a breath of fresh air with his jovial manner.

The cracks are now starting to appear, however, as results turn sour. Last week he said he would have to go back to Brazil if Chelsea failed to make the last 16 of the Champions League.

The 1-1 draw with Bordeaux, in which they were dreadful, means they still have work to do on that front when CFR Cluj come to London next week.

Friday afternoon question: Should domestic cups be scrapped?

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Real Madrid were knocked out of the King’s Cup by third-tier Real Union this week and Chelsea lost to second division Burnley in the Carling Cup, but which sides were really celebrating?

Chelsea would much rather concentrate on the Premier League while Real need to focus on the Champions League after two defeats.

The Carling Cup is different, that’s why we love it

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In September, Mitch Phillips argued here that the League Cup should be shuffled off into retirement. Who could argue for prolonging the life of this tired, unwanted “third competition”? Well, actually, after this week’s action, I would.

Arsenal and Tottenham, who together served up such a thrilling 4-4 draw when they met in the league at the end of October, were at it again separately this week, playing the same direct, fearless, attacking football despite featuring much changed line-ups.

Mourinho to Manchester United is actually not so mad

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British tabloids are used to putting 2+2 together and getting 5.

In my mind, the rumour about Inter boss Jose Mourinho one day replacing Alex Ferguson at Man United is 2+2 = 4.5…ie. closer to the truth than the usual tittle-tattle but without concrete foundations.

The idea, which has been around ever since he left Chelsea, was given fresh impetus by Mourinho himself last week when he said he would like to return to England once he is finished at the San Siro.

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.

You know football’s gone mad when…

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 cheeky Mourinho

Italians haven’t quite cottoned on yet to Jose Mourinho’s sense of humour.

Inter Milan have put out a statement pointing out that their new coach was joking when he told a journalist he earned 14 million euros a year.

Mourinho up to his old tricks at Inter Milan

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Mourinho, known as ‘Mou’ by the Italian press

When Jose Mourinho first arrived at Inter Milan, I was expecting fireworks.

His sharp wit and tongue while at Chelsea won him fans and enemies in equal measure but no one could say the ’Special One’ was dull. 

However, in his first couple of months at the Italian champions, the Portuguese seemed somewhat withdrawn. Was this a new, more measured Mourinho? Would he just do the day job and then hide away in his new surroundings?

Vlog on the Pitch: Scolari is a tough man to please

Chelsea seemed to do just about everything right in their Champions League victory over Bordeaux this week but new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was not overly impressed.

Check out the latest Vlog on the Pitch as Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley try to work out why the Brazilian was so underwhelmed.

I love the Champions League (or at least I think I do)

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Lampard celebratesFootball fans, football bosses, even us football journalists do not usually sit on the fence when it comes to giving our opinions on the issues of the day.

Something is either DEFINITELY right or ABSOLUTELY wrong. This player is rubbish, no question, this player is fantastic, no debate.

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:

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