Reuters Soccer Blog
World Soccer views and news
As the weekend approaches we can all start getting excited about domestic football again and the increase in stories and transfer speculation.
A very topical issue at this time of the year is player burnout. With all to play for managers must exercise caution when choosing their teams but also risk the wrath of the fans if they do not pick their ‘best’ side. Do you pick your strongest 11 regardless?
Now the international period is over we can focus on domestic issues again, or can we?
Tuesday’s matches provided plenty of drama, from the battles Spain and the Netherlands had to fight to get through tricky Euro 2012 qualifiers, to Ghana’s lighting up of London, to Australia’s World Cup revenge against Germany in a friendly.
But what about Tottenham Hotspur fans. Are you worried your star man’s recent struggles with injury could hamper your club’s Champions League quarter-final chances against Real Madrid?
Well well well. Now the Champions League really is wide open..
So here’s that quarter-final draw again:
Real Madrid v Tottenham Hotspur
Chelsea v Manchester United
Barcelona v Shakhtar Donetsk
Inter Milan v Schalke 04
As Gary Lineker put it, there will be an English team in the semi-finals, but could Tottenham make it two sides? Real are certainly not invincible.
Now, before taking a look at all the domestic leagues over the weekend, a recap of Thursday’s highlights from the Europa League. Quite a night of upsets.
By Mike Collett in London
If things had turned out differently, William Gallas could well have been facing Champions League heartache with Arsenal in Barcelona rather than glory with their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur this week.
The 33-year-old France midfielder is one of only a handful of players down the years to have moved across the North London divide — and is absolutely delighted he did.
Breathe in. Breathe out. The Champions League is over for this week after a tense two days of last 16 drama. And now for Europa League action on Thursday with yet more top sides in action.
First of all however let’s dissect the Champions League from Wednesday where underdogs Tottenham Hotspur and Schalke 04 progressed past their more fancied rivals, AC Milan and Valencia respectively.
How AC Milan were crying out for the guile of Antonio Cassano or the tough tackling of Mark Van Bommel (who could have replaced Gennaro Gattuso before he lost his head) in Tuesday’s 1-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League last 16 first leg.
Both were ineligible having played in the competition for Sampdoria and Bayern Munich earlier in the season.
How we’ve missed the Champions League. It’s nine weeks since the line-up for the last 16 was completed and a couple of months since the draw offered up a handful of belting ties, including Inter Milan v Bayern Munich in a repeat of last season’s final.
We’ll have to wait a week for that one, with the more leisurely format these days meaning we see just two matches a night. This week, we can look forward to AC Milan v Tottenham and Valencia v Schalke on Tuesday, with Roma v Shakhtar Donetsk and Arsenal v Barcelona on Wednesday.
from Left field:
So 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.
Harry Redknapp does not need a right-sided midfield player and, with the depth of talent regularly available on his bench, he hardly needs to bolster his squad with a three-month loan signing.
Yet he, and several other Premier League managers, are trying to secure the services of 35-year-old David Beckham.