Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

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.”

Perhaps Ferguson has a point. The top two are heading into the final day level on points, and a glance at Mike Collett’s piece here will show you how rare that is.

But look at this phrase of Ferguson’s, as quoted in the Daily Telegraph.

“Domination is not a word that will get used again with Everton and Aston Villa getting better,” Ferguson was quoted as saying.

Time for UEFA to rethink Champions League finals

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Luzhniki Stadium

With Manchester United and Chelsea fans scrambling frantically for match tickets, flights, hotel rooms and visas for the Champions League final in Moscow, should UEFA now rethink the way it awards its showpiece event?      

Many senior UEFA officials have admitted the violence which marred last year’s final between AC Milan and Liverpool in Athens was caused in some way by the fact the stadium was “not fit for purpose”. In other words it was an Olympic Stadium and not a true soccer stadium.      

Vlog on the pitch – Drogba gets the last laugh with Benitez

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Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez said Didier Drogba was a diver ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final, but the Ivorian had the last laugh with two goals in Chelsea’s victory.

Vlogonthepitch regulars Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley are joined by Tony Donovan to discuss Drogba, Avram Grant’s future, Frank Lampard’s courage and the amazing Stamford Bridge atmosphere.

Has Grant finally been accepted at Chelsea?

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Grant shows some emotion

He has achieved something no other Chelsea manager has by taking the club to a Champions League final, but there is still speculation Avram Grant will be axed at the end of the season.

With a Premier League title still also a possibility, what more does the man need to do to keep his job?

Third time lucky for Chelsea

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On a soggy night at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea finally prevailed against Liverpool in a Champions League semi-final after failures in 2005 and 2007.

Didier Drogba was immense on the muddy surface and bagged two lightning quick goals at the near post as the Londoners triumphed 3-2 after extra time and 4-3 on aggregate. 

Let’s be Frank about Lampard

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Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has returned to training following the death of his mother last week but, even if he wants to, should he play in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Liverpool?  

Lampard sat out Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United, which came two days after the death of his 58-year-old mother Pat, and in his absence Chelsea produced their best performance for months.

Vlog on the pitch – Will Fergie regret benching player of the season Ronaldo?

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Alex Ferguson left PFA player of the season Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the start of Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat at title rivals Chelsea at the weekend. The Scot was thinking about the Champions League game with Barcelona, but will he live to regret that decision?

Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley are joined by vlogonthepitch debutant Mike Davidson to discuss the importance of Chelsea’s victory and look at the run in. Will West Ham and Wigan trouble United? The beauty of the Premier League is that any side on their day can provide an upset.

Chelsea 2 Manchester Utd 1 – your views

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A Ballack double, a late disputed penalty, other penalties not given, a calamitous Carvalho error, Rooney and Vidic injured, Ronaldo left on the bench, Drogba arguing with team mates, two late Chelsea clearances off the line, United players in a spat with the ground staff well after full time…

What else would you want from the big match between the top two? Well there was Chelsea’s nice touch of holding up a shirt remembering Frank Lampard’s late mother after the first goal.

Riise offers Grant a short reprieve from the media’s glare

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Chelsea’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Liverpool on Tuesday was all about Avram Grant getting a reprieve from the hacks who only days earlier said his time under Roman Abramovich was almost up.

No question that Chelsea were poorer on the night. Liverpool should have had one or two more goals in reserve for the return leg at Stamford Bridge before John Arne Riise’s injury time own goal gave the Blues a huge boost. It also lifted the pressure from Grant for now, at least.

Most important own goal ever?

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How did he manage that?

John Arne Riise’s astonishing own goal seems to have given Chelsea the edge in the first Champions League semi-final.

Liverpool’s Norwegian defender bent down to spectacularly head in deep into injury time and leave the scores at 1-1 ahead of the second leg at Stamford Bridge.

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