Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Premier League predictions: your chance to put us right (Update)

UPDATE: Have added the panel predictions that were emailed to me on Friday night/Saturday before kick-offs. (Mike Collett loses 10 points for shamelessly trying to predict Saturday's scores on Sunday morning ... and getting them all spot on.)

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So come on, be honest, who was expecting Burnley to beat Manchester United in the Premier League on Wednesday?

That shocker on the midweek programme really threw our panel, as did Wigan Athletic's home defeat... See here for our original predictions.

Read em and weep. I know I did.

So, with one point for the right result and five for the exact score, plus the odd bonus point added pretty much arbitrarily, here are our scores after two (or one-and-a-half) rounds of matches:

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Premier League: Our predictions, your predictions — Update

UPDATE: Now with added rollcall of shame! Click here for full details of just how badly our panel did...

The new Premier League season is upon us and this year we at the Reuters Soccer Blog have decided to stick our necks out as never before.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Is Ancelotti the right man for Chelsea?

As impressive as two Champions League triumphs are, Chelsea's appointment of former AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti will not leave their Premier League title rivals quaking in their boots.

Ancelotti ended his reign at Milan on Sunday after eight years, following top flight stints at Parma and Juventus, all of which amounted to just one Serie A scudetto.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Chelsea lose their heads and their dignity

Maybe Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo was wrong on all the big decisions in Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg --- it absolutely does not justify Chelsea's reaction.

UEFA's "Respect" campaign was, again, left in tatters as pandemonium erupted after Andres Iniesta's late equaliser sent Barcelona through on the away goals rule.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

The Real Madrid Presidential Candidacy ‘Promisometer’

The campaign to be the next president of Real Madrid Football Club has finally kicked into gear with the claim from the little known Eduardo Garcia that, if elected on June 14, he will bring with him the Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.

Promising big-name signings has long been an easy way for candidates to drum up support for the presidency at Real and Barcelona, the two member-owned Spanish clubs, but ever since Florentino Perez came from nowhere to take the 2000 election what was once an entertaining sideshow has become the key battleground.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

The sort of result that wins titles: Middlesbrough 0 United 2

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Can United and Villarreal improve for Champions League?

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League draw — your views

So, here we go again. For the fifth successive season, Liverpool will face Chelsea in the Champions League.

Quarter-finals:

Villarreal v Arsenal

Manchester United v Porto

Liverpool v Chelsea

Barcelona v Bayern Munich

Semi-finals:

Manchester United or Porto v Villarreal or Arsenal

Barcelona or Bayern Munich v Liverpool or Chelsea

Liverpool will perhaps be marginal favourites in the all-English quarter-final after knocking Chelsea out at the semi-final stage in 2005 and 2007 but their fans will need no reminding that last season, when Chelsea got to play the second leg at home, it was the Londoners who came through.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Nothing’s gonna stop United … just look at the fixture list

My colleague Patrick Johnston has been wondering aloud about the effect a 4-1 defeat by Liverpool is going to have on Manchester United. He's in good company, because Guus Hiddink also believes the door is open a little bit.

The match must have been enjoyable for Liverpool fans but it's not going to have an effect on the title race.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Who is most likely to follow Hiddink at Chelsea?

Interim Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink is adamant that he will be leaving at the end of the season to concentrate on the Russia job.

Chelsea fans who had been hoping the Dutchman would decide to stay must now start contemplating a fourth manager in two years.

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