Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
Manchester United have captured their 18th English league title after securing the point they needed in a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal.
It was a subdued display by United but the celebrations began when the final whistle sealed a hat-trick of titles and moved them alongside Liverpool as England’s most crowned club.
Did they deserve it? Will the Champions League follow? Can anyone stop them next season?
A few reinforcements might be needed for next term, especially if certain players leave….
from Left field:
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.
UEFA are rarely willing to overturn refereeing decisions and so it proved on Monday, with the Control and Disciplinary body rejecting appeals from Manchester United and Barcelona over Darren Fletcher, Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves:
UEFA, announcing the decision on Monday, said in a statement that the two clubs had failed to get their appeals in on time, but even if they had made the deadline they would have been rejected.
Nerves are totally understandable at the end of the season with so much at stake.
Even seasoned campaigners get afflicted by the jitter bug, with Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan losing the lead twice in a 2-2 draw at Chievo on Sunday with a fourth straight scudetto almost theirs.
Barcelona snatched a place in the Champions League final, and left Chelsea players furious, when a last-gasp goal from Andres Iniesta earned them a 1-1 draw in their semi-final second leg and victory on away goals.
Barcelona will play holders Manchester United in the Rome final on May 27 after a stunning reversal of fortunes in the semi-final second leg.
Don’t be surprised if you see this message on eBay in the next few days: “FOR SALE: 57,000 red and white flags as good as new — only waved for eight minutes. Apply Arsenal FC, Emirates Stadium, North London.”
For Arsenal’s fans not only stopped waving their freebie flags after eight minutes, but they also stopped believing in their side after an hour as thousands of them trooped away from the stadium no longer able to watch as Manchester United demolished their young team.
Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will miss the Champions League final in Rome later this month after UEFA said there was no chance of overturning the red card he received against Arsenal on Tuesday.
Fletcher conceded a penalty in United’s 3-1 semi-final second leg win in London after he brought down Cesc Fabregas, but replays showed he touched the ball first.
A couple of early thoughts on Manchester United’s ruthless demonstration of superiority against Arsenal tonight (click here for the full match report).
1. United are over that little blip they had against Liverpool and Fulham and look to be timing their run-in to perfection. They have no significant injuries, Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be getting his mojo back and, as they showed once again against Arsenal, they ooze class right the way through the team.
It says more about the value of the pound than it does the value of Franck Ribery that the sum United are supposed to be prepared to pay for him is so high — 63 million pounds, if there’s anything to the story in this morning’s Guardian.
That sum is a shade over 70 million euros, which is a slightly less ridiculous amount than the 100 million euros it would have been a year or two ago but is still, of course, vastly overinflated.
In Spain, you often hear players and coaches talking about “the sort of match that decides title races”. More often that not they’re talking about the tricky away game against awkward opposition rather than a high profile match against direct rivals.
Manchester United’s 2-0 win away to Middlesbrough on Saturday was just that sort of game, and just the sort of performance that will leave their rivals utterly deflated.