Reuters Soccer Blog

World Soccer views and news

Will Arsenal get past Barca at the Nou Camp?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Arsenal did a lot of things right in Wednesday’s fine 2-1 comeback win over Barcelona, not least finishing more clinically than their La Liga visitors, but it would be a big surprise if Barca were as generous in the return leg on March 8.

World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who netted all four goals in a 4-1 demolition at the Nou Camp last season to give Barca a 6-3 aggregate victory, missed at least two golden chances at The Emirates and Spain forward Pedro was also guilty of profligacy.

“They were very effective in front of goal and we were not,” midfielder Xavi told reporters. “In European competition you end up paying the price for that.”

Barca’s uncharacteristic defensive errors will also have concerned coach Pep Guardiola and given Arsenal fresh hope that they can get past the Spanish champions into the quarter-finals.

Rooney strike — wonder goal or shinpad special?

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Wayne Rooney’s overhead scissors kick goal to win the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Saturday has sparked a tidal wave of hyperbole in the British media, with “wonder goal” the most popular tag used to describe it.

The general consensus was not that it was just the nailed-on winner for “goal of the season” but was also the best of Rooney’s career and even the best ever seen at Old Trafford.

Rooney wonder strike could make United’s season

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/Wayne Rooney said it was his greatest goal and Alex Ferguson said he had never seen anything like it. Even opposition manager Roberto Mancini had to applaud.

So many times you see players fall flat on their faces as they attempt an overhead wonder goal but any smirks that might have been rising as Rooney embarked on what looked like mission impossible were quickly replaced by utter disbelief at Old Trafford on Sunday.

from Left field:

West Ham given Olympic stadium nod but can soccer co-exist with track and field?

OLYMPICS-LONDON/STADIUMSo now we know: Premier League soccer club West Ham United will take over the Olympic Stadium in London following the 2012 Games, assuming there are no late objections from the British government or the city's mayor.

The decision will be greeted with relief by many fans of the rival bidders Tottenham Hotspur for one simple reason -- soccer does not generally co-exist very well with athletics.

Torres is a one-goal striker and a steal for Chelsea

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SOCCER-EURO/Will Fernando Torres ever recapture that heady mix of fearlessness, ruthlessness and irresistible skill he showed in his first 24-goal season at Anfield?

Is £50 million enough to buy you a strike rate of a goal every 1.375 games?

You know what? It doesn’t matter.

Liverpool needed a 24-goals-a-season striker but Chelsea don’t. Chelsea have spent so much money for a player who can score one goal rather than 24, or to put it another way, the goal.

If Torres goes, Liverpool should heed Spanish lessons

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SOCCER-SPAIN/If the excited reports on the 24-hour channels are correct, Fernando Torres may soon arrive at Chelsea’s training ground to seal a move that will leave Liverpool in a dangerous situation — under pressure to sign high-profile reinforcements and with wodges of money to spend as the deadline fast approaches.

Kenny Dalglish accepted on Monday that transfers are part of football and the internet chatter suggests many fans have reached the conclusion that Torres may have reached the end of the Anfield road.

Liverpool sign Suarez but will he play with Torres?

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SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/UPDATE: Liverpool have confirmed that Torres put in a written transfer request on Friday night. The club have rejected it. Read the statement here.

Liverpool and Ajax have just announced that Luis Suarez is joining the Premier League club in a deal worth up to 26.5 million euros.

Aston Villa’s Bent buy will flummox O’Neill

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/

If eyebrows were raised when Aston Villa decided to spend up to 24 million pounds on striker Darren Bent then former manager Martin O’Neill’s forehead must have been pinned to his living room ceiling when the news broke on Tuesday.

The absurdity of the switch lies not in the inflated figure or Bent’s abilities on the pitch and in front of goal, but in the timing of Villa chairman Randy Lerner choosing to dig deep into his pockets.

Kenny makes cute move in turning to Clark

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPKenny Dalgish resisted the temptation to surround himself with Liverpool “old boys” on Monday when Steve Clarke was named as first team coach at Anfield.

It was an astute decision by Dalglish to hire his fellow Scot whose background work at Chelsea as assistant to the high-profile Jose Mourinho was a factor in the London club’s back to back titles in 2005 and 2006.

Dalglish needs a quick fix to hint at hope for future

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SOCCER-ENGLAND/

Kenny Dalglish may not be a long-term solution as Liverpool manager but his appointment will give hope to disgruntled fans and provide a fillip to the club’s underperforming players.

The Liverpool hero has been thrust back into the limelight after 10 years out of management and will lead the club out at Old Trafford for an FA Cup clash against Manchester United on Sunday after replacing Roy Hodgson at the helm.

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