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Soccer Break Wednesday

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Aren’t Manchester United supposed to be peaking at this time of the season? That’s what all the Red Devils supporters will be asking themselves and their friends on Wednesday after the 0-0 draw at Newcastle United.

Penalty or no penalty at the end when Javier Hernandez went down in the area? And more importantly, will United go on and win the title? Wednesday’s Premier League games involving Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at home to Birmingham City will be decisive.

There is also another game on Wednesday, involving two Spanish clubs who, like Manchester United, sell shirts worldwide and are in the top five most famous clubs in the world. Yep, you guessed it, Real Madrid and Barcelona, part two of four, in the King’s Cup final.

Predictions anyone? Real coach Jose Mourinho said in his pre-match news conference that he will attack their great rivals, while counterpart Pep Guardiola has the upper hand following a 1-1 draw on Saturday and the 5-0 pasting of Real in November.

Real in fine fettle ahead of four-game Barca showdown

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SOCCER-SPAIN/In our latest Monday Spanish soccer post, Iain Rogers in Madrid looks at the calm before the “Clasico” storm, Johan Cruyff”s latest musings on the Real-Barca rivalry and the recent fine form of Valencia and striker Roberto Soldado.

Real in fine fettle ahead of four-game Barca showdown

With an unprecedented four “Clasicos” in 18 days just around the corner (unless something very strange happens in the Champions League quarter-final second legs), Real Madrid and Barcelona had a final run-out in La Liga before they meet next weekend, wins for each meaning Barca will travel to the Bernabeu with an eight-point lead with seven games remaining.

Bravo for the unpredictable King’s Cup!

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SOCCER/Spain’s much-maligned King’s Cup struggles to make an impression these days with La Liga and the Champions League squeezing it into a distant third in terms of prestige and matches poorly attended.

But this week’s Cup action served up a veritable feast of drama that more than matched what is generally served up in the other two competitions.

Pellegrini under fire after embarrassing Cup exit

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Real Madrid and coach Manuel Pellegrini were on the business end of some damning newspaper headlines on Wednesday after their humiliating exit from the King’s Cup at the hands of third-tier Alcorcon.

In the build-up to the match, Kaka suggested pride and the club’s history would inspire the players to a dramatic comeback from the 4-0 away defeat in the first leg.

from Left field:

One down, two more to come for Barcelona?

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There were nervous moments for Barcelona in the first half of the King's Cup final but a three-goal nine-minute burst from Lionel Messi, Bojan Krkic and Xavi helped them to a 4-1 win over Athletic Bilbao and the first leg of a possible treble.

The league title could be their this weekend, on Saturday if Real Madrid fail to win at Villarreal or failing that on Sunday if they can manage a point at Real Mallorca.

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