Left field

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Is Van Persie the Premier League’s best ever ‘volleyer’?

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By James Illingworth

Robin Van Persie’s stoppage-time winner at Anfield on Saturday was not the most spectacular goal of the Dutchman’s career but it could go some way to confirm his status as the best volleyer the Premier League has seen.

The Arsenal hit-man notched his 31st goal of the season when he latched onto Alex Song’s lofted through-ball to guide a side-footed volley past Jose Reina at the Liverpool stopper’s near post.

And while Van Persie faces up to some stiff competition in the history of the Premier League’s best volleyers, his ability to strike the ball in mid-air with power and precision on such a consistent basis could mark him out from the rest.

Looking back at the early years of the Premier League since its inception in 1992, former Manchester United and Chelsea striker and current Queens Park Rangers boss Mark Hughes was renowned as a fierce volleyer of the ball.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

So much for long-term projects at Manchester City

Manchester City's chief executive Garry Cook has made an impassioned defence of the reasons for Mark Hughes' sacking.

The feeling persists, however, that Hughes was harshly treated by the club.

Cook states that he and the club's owners gave Hughes all the resources that he needed to achieve the target of 70 points for the season. The one resource Hughes did not get was time. Had just two of the almost freakish seven successive draws been turned into victories, City would have been in an extremely strong position in the race for a top-four spot.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Vlog on the Pitch talks to Pablo Zabaleta

When Pablo Zabaleta signed for Manchester City this time last year he admits he wasn't really expecting to be playing on the same team as Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor.

How times change. City are now being referred to as part of the "Big Five" in the Premier League and a Champions League qualifying place must be their target for the season.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

United happy to be wearing white…just like 1991

New thread on this here...

Manchester United's Red Devils will be wearing angelic white in Wednesday's Champions League final, just how Alex Ferguson likes it.

Barcelona are the nominal home team for the 'dream final' in Rome and as their famous claret and blue tops clash with United's usual red and their first choice blue away kit, the holders will wander onto the pristine Stadio Olimpico pitch in white.

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