Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Mourinho to Manchester United is actually not so mad

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British tabloids are used to putting 2+2 together and getting 5.

In my mind, the rumour about Inter boss Jose Mourinho one day replacing Alex Ferguson at Man United is 2+2 = 4.5…ie. closer to the truth than the usual tittle-tattle but without concrete foundations.

The idea, which has been around ever since he left Chelsea, was given fresh impetus by Mourinho himself last week when he said he would like to return to England once he is finished at the San Siro.

People had talked about Spain and the Portugal national job but Mourinho, threatening to annoy his Inter bosses, made it clear he was still in love with English soccer and the passion of the Premier League.   (more…)

So is this really going to be Liverpool’s year?

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Liverpool have shown they have most of the key attributes of title-winning teams this season but there remains one test for them to pass before we can really talk about them as favourites.

As we all know, this Liverpool team have perfected the art of winning when playing badly, coping without their best players and taking points of their biggest rivals.

It really is time to call in the cameras now

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There has been a long-running debate about video technology in football and surely the time has now come to assist referees and linesmen with offside decisions.

This week’s Champions League matches featured several howlers. Both of Dimitar Berbatov’s goals for Manchester United against Celtic were shown to be offside by TV replays yet the Belgium linesman kept his flag down.

Friday afternoon question: Should Villarreal draw worry United?

Last time Manchester United were drawn in the same Champions League group with Villarreal in the 2005-06 season, most fans and pundits predicted a stroll into the last 16 of the competition with Lille and Benfica also looking as little more than stepping stones for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.

United finished bottom of the group and bowed out of Europe before the winter break after a dreadful run including a pair of 0-0 draws with Villarreal while the Spanish side reached the semi-finals in their Champions League debut.

Vlog on the Pitch: Scolari is a tough man to please

Chelsea seemed to do just about everything right in their Champions League victory over Bordeaux this week but new coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was not overly impressed.

Check out the latest Vlog on the Pitch as Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley try to work out why the Brazilian was so underwhelmed.

Will English clubs dominate Europe again?

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The Champions League trophy gets packed awayBayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sounded a familiar note this week when he predicted that English clubs would once again dominate the Champions League (see here or here for the story).

I suspect most people would agree with him but here are some reasons why it might not be as simple as that:

Liverpool must lose inferiority complex when it comes to United

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Gerrard controls the ballIf Liverpool are serious about a title challenge, and there hasn’t been much evidence to support their case yet, they should prove it by shrugging off their inferiority complex when it comes to playing Manchester United.

Long after Manchester United had usurped Liverpool as England’s top club, there was still a feeling at Anfield that they were at least equal to their chief rivals when it came to a one-off game.

Old Trafford is just the place for a maverick like Berbatov

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Berbatov looks back

Manchester United has proved the natural home for maverick showmen in the past and Dimitar Berbatov can become a worthy successor to those who have graced Old Trafford before him.

The 27-year-old Bulgaria captain, who joined United after two memorable years at Tottenham Hotspur, should instantly win over United fans who have previously worshipped strikers like Denis Law, George Best and Eric Cantona.

Strange results signify little… but we can all dream, can’t we?

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Van NReal Madrid and Barcelona lose their opening matches in Spain, Bayern Munich have to wait until their third game to taste victory under Juergen Klinsmann, AC Milan lose while Juve and Inter can only draw in Italy and three games in, not one of the big four in England’s Premier League can muster a 100 percent record…

It would be nice, wouldn’t it, to read something in to all this.

Smaller clubs that are nimbler in the transfer market have made a series of astute buys while we were watching the Olympics and the soccer superpowers were trying to prise away each other’s big stars, you might say. Once great names like Atletico Madrid, Schalke 04, Lazio and Manchester City are at or near the top of their leagues and are ready to rise again!

Are United and Bayern already under pressure?

Manchester United and Bayern Munich opened the defence of their respective league titles with draws, prompting worried looks among supporters.

Normally it would be silly to judge a side on the first match of the season, but in United’s case there was clearly something missing in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle…a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

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