Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Arsenal need to bulk up to avoid blowout

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It used to be said that rugby was a sport for all shapes and sizes yet the modern professional game is so dominated by massive, athletic gym monkeys that diminutive wingers such as Shane Williams are as rare as England tries.

And, if Sunday’s game at the Emirates, where Chelsea completely bullied Arsenal into submission is anything to go by, soccer could be following a similar path.

Impact and collision will always play less of a role in the round-ball game and as long as referees help out smaller players by awarding cheap free kicks, being knocked over will not always be bad.

Yet the over-riding impression on Sunday was of men against boys.

With Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Eduardo, Andrei Arshavin, Carlos Vela, Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky scuttling around the pitch, Arsene Wenger’s place on the touchline could have been taken by Snow White.

How far should intimidating chants go?

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Juventus have been fined 20,000 euros rather than receive a stadium ban for an offensive chant their fans sing about Inter Milan’s black striker Mario Balotelli.

As songs go, it is pretty insulting. “Se saltelli, muore Balotelli” (If you jump up and down, Balotelli will die).

Should Rooney seek his fortune abroad?

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Manchester United fans will doubtless be pleased by Wayne Rooney’s latest comments pouring cold, or at least lukewarm water on the idea that he might move to Barcelona, or anywhere else for that matter.

Good news for United it may be, but I’m not so sure it’s in England’s interests for so few of the country’s leading players to try their luck abroad.

Would you choose Owen or Bent in a World Cup final?

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Imagine the scenario … there are 10 minutes to go in the World Cup final and England are 1-0 down.

Fabio Capello can choose between Michael Owen and Darren Bent to come off the bench and rescue England’s World Cup dream. Who will he turn to?

Arsenal emerge as shining light in Champions League

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Out of eight Spanish and English teams playing in the Champions League this week, only Arsenal were victorious.

Was this a blip for the two powerhouses, or is it another indication that Europe’s top club competition is becoming more balanced?

Beckham’s return to AC Milan confirmed

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David Beckham will tread a familiar path once the MLS season is over, joining AC Milan on loan again for a five-month loan spell from January.

Milan have just announced the deal on their website (just in Italian for now), meaning any lingering hopes Premier League clubs had of changing the England midfielder’s mind have finally been dashed.

Is Ferdinand past his peak?

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Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat at Liverpool has again exposed the chinks in the Premier League champions’ armour, notably their defensive frailties against top level opposition.

While United overcame Rio Ferdinand’s howler in a 4-3 win over City in the Manchester derby, the England centre back’s lack of pace and cutting edge cost Alex Ferguson’s side dearly against Liverpool.

You can still watch Ukraine v England on TV … you just have to come to Croatia

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A quick look around the blogosphere suggests that for many England fans the idea of watching the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in front of a computer screen at the mercy of an ISP, or at a crammed cinema, sounds about as appealing as making the long trip to Dnipropetrovsk.

But do not despair, England fans, because there is an option for those of you determined to watch it on telly.

Who can make a late spurt after City v West Ham?

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We’ll be updating the points to the prediction league on Tuesday after Manchester City v West Ham later so please check back to see how appallingly badly we’ve all done.

Personally I was very pleased with Portsmouth 0-1 Everton which gave me a full five points, especially given my dismal showing so far.

from The Great Debate UK:

What’s a goal (or five) worth?

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simon_chadwick-Professor Simon Chadwick, Director, Centre for the International Business of Sport, Coventry, UK. The opinions expressed are his own. -

There is a famous song, composed in the run-up to UEFA Euro 96, in which the Lightening Seeds, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel refer to England’s 30 years of hurt (the period at the time since England won its one and only World Cup).

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