Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Will United live to regret missed chances?

Photo
-

Arsenal played poorly at Manchester United on Wednesday but escaped with a 1-0 defeat that leaves them still in with a chance of reaching the Champions League final.When you consider that they haven’t conceded a goal at home in the competition all season, the situation doesn’t look half bad. After all, they have already beaten United in north London this season and there is no reason why they can’t do it again.First though, their big performers need to turn up, because they went missing at Old Trafford. Theo Walcott barely got a kick, Emmanuel Adebayor was subdued and Cesc Fabregas was overwhelmed in midfield.It will also help if Robin van Persie is fit after missing the first leg. Without the Dutchman, and the ineligible Andrey Arshavin, they looked lightweight in attack.United were not at their best either and will be frustrated at not putting the tie to bed. However, they did not allow Arsenal an away goal and so will start clear favourites to reach Rome and a possible re-match with Chelsea.Remember, they were in far worse shape after drawing 2-2 at home with Porto in the quarter-final, first leg. And with such a plethora of attacking options, Alex Fergsuon’s side will be confident of breaching Arsenal’s Emirates fortress.PHOTO: Manchester United’s John O’Shea (C) celebrates with Darren Fletcher (L) and Rio Ferdinand (R) after scoring during their Champions League semi-final, first leg against Arsenal at Old Trafford, April 29, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Special nights needed after Champions League overload

Photo
-

I’m not exactly sure why, but I’m not as excited as I should be given it’s the Champions League semi-final first legs this week.

Both ties should be making my mouth water. Manchester United v Arsenal is always a decent game in the Premier League and with Alex Ferguson’s men still wearily battling for the domestic title, Arsene Wenger’s boys have the perfect opportunity to spring a surprise.

Evergreen Giggs wins PFA award

Photo
-

Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs was voted Player of the Year for the first time by the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) on Sunday.

Giggs has only made 12 Premier League starts this season, scoring a single goal, so I guess we really have to look at this award as recognition for his long years of service at United, for whom he’s made just shy of 800 appearances.

Another 4-4 draw for Liverpool, another trophy chance gone?

Photo
-

4-4 is the sort of scoreline that delights neutrals, TV companies and marketing executives but it‘s not one that Liverpool fans will remember with any fondness.

A point from Tuesday night’s draw with Arsenal at Anfield was enough to take Liverpool top of the Premier League table on goal difference from Manchester United, but seeing as Alex Ferguson’s side have two games in hand it’s hard to see the title ending up anywhere but at Old Trafford.

Everton’s heart deserving of final reward

Photo
-

There is not much romantic about Everton’s current lineup, especially now they are operating without injured Spaniard Mikel Arteta, but the unceasingly honest boys in blue certainly injected some desperately-needed colour to this season’s FA Cup with their penalty-shootout win over Manchester United on Sunday.

Yes it was an awful semi-final, with neither team really testing the opposing goalkeeper, but at least Everton, and their fans, took it seriously.

Everton to face Chelsea after Howard heroics see off United

Photo
-

So, it will be an all-Blue FA Cup final this year, after Everton set up a date with Chelsea thanks to the penalty shoot-out heroics of goalkeeper Tim Howard in the semi-final against Manchester United.

Howard, a former United keeper, you may remember, saved the first two penalties from Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand and Everton didn’t look back.

Does Ronaldo’s strike rank among the greatest?

Photo
-

Cristiano Ronaldo’s thunderous strike in Manchester United’s 1-0 win at Porto has been hailed as a wonder goal, but just how good was it?

Few could find such power on a shot from 40 metres, few would even try to shoot from there. The context of the game, where United needed to win to reach the Champions League semi-finals, also adds weight to the argument that it was one of European football’s great goals.

Can United and Villarreal improve for Champions League?

Photo
-

Manchester United and Villarreal must find some misplaced form to get the away results they need in Wednesday’s Champions League second legs.

United, who visit Porto, have not looked like European and English champions recently and have a lot to do to reach the last four after last week’s disappointing 2-2 draw with the Portuguese side at Old Trafford.

Macheda highlights Serie A’s impatience with youth

Photo
-

Serie A clubs are understandably upset about English sides scooping up youngsters such as Federico Macheda from their academies.

Lazio President Claudio Lotito cried foul after the 17-year-old, a product of the Rome club’s youth system, scored a stunning winner for Manchester United against Aston Villa in his Premier League debut on Sunday.

How did United’s Macheda get away, asks Italy

Photo
-

Most Manchester United fans had no idea who Federico Macheda was before the Italian netted a stunning stoppage-time winner against Aston Villa on Sunday.

The 17-year-old’s goal could ultimately be the one that sealed the Premier League title for United.

  •