Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Va-va-voom. Vintage Henry scores on Arsenal return.

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The clock said 68 minutes, and no one at the Emirates Stadium in north London was looking at the action on the pitch as the fourth official held aloft his lit-up board to signal the re-introduction of Thierry Henry to English football.

Ten minutes later and he’d scored the game’s eventual winner. Comebacks don’t get this good this often.

14 to replace 15 shone the bright numbers before the goal, but alas Henry’s former number has since been taken by young English talent Theo Walcott, who idolises the French great.

Now, for six weeks and six weeks only after which he will return to the United States with the New York Red Bulls, Henry can be seen wearing an Arsenal shirt with the number 12, the same as his France days during which he won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 European Championship.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Thursday

SOCCER-CHAMPIONSGareth Bale. The dashing Welsh winger primed to scare the living daylights out of England on Saturday. Injured. Did anyone else hear that collective sigh of relief from England fans today?

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?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Beckham’s value is his values

SOCCER-MLS/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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why Henry’s move might not kickstart transfer window

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Barcelona's Thierry Henry is heading to New York Red Bulls in a widely expected move but don't think the first big post-World Cup transfer means the window will suddenly be awash with deals.

An event before the World Cup is a major reason why Henry has decided to follow David Beckham's lead and try out MLS. David Villa's early move to Barca from Valencia meant there was no room for Henry at the Nou Camp and after France's flop in South Africa there were few other interested parties.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

10 things to watch out for in the new MLS season

SOCCER/The 15th Major League Soccer season kicks off on Thursday as fans thankfully turn their thoughts from collective-bargaining agreements and guaranteed contracts, to action on the field, safe in the knowledge that the only strikers making the news this week will be those who score goals.

Others will make their judgments on the deal that avoided a strike -- but what is certain is that the new five-year contract and modest salary structure ensures not only that MLS will start on Thursday (Seattle Sounders host the Philadelphia Union) but also that it will enter its 20th year in much the same status as it began its first – a league featuring a surprising number of good players, being paid a surprisingly low amount of money.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Donovan must think hard about Everton move

Everton hope to complete the signing of Landon Donovan on loan from Major League Soccer’s L.A Galaxy, a move which has generated plenty of excitement among North American soccer fans.

The move makes a lot of sense for Everton manager David Moyes – it gives him no-risk attacking cover, particularly useful while Nigerian Yakubu Aiyegbeni is away throughout January at the African Nations Cup. What is less obvious is why a short term loan spell is a good move for Donovan.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Big decisions loom for growing MLS

Major League Soccer shows plenty of signs of good health and progress but beneath the surface the North American league has some critical decisions to make over its future direction.

After a week of largely upbeat build-up and nationwide publicity for a sport that so often struggles to get space, the league’s title deciding game, MLS Cup, was played out in front of over 46,000 fans here in Seattle – the city that is staking a strong claim to be the de facto home of U.S soccer.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Are you ready for MLS Cup?

Major League Soccer’s finale, MLS Cup, takes place on Sunday in Seattle and (perhaps surprisingly to some) the game between L.A. Galaxy and Real Salt Lake will be broadcast in over 120 countries.

For the benefit of those fans outside of the States, who might be tuning in to watch David Beckham play for the Galaxy (or perhaps admire the intelligent midfield play of Real’s Clint Mathis?) and aren’t familiar with MLS or it’s final, here are some answers to the kind of questions you might be asking yourself as you sit down on the sofa and get ready for…

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Beckham’s return to AC Milan confirmed

David Beckham will tread a familiar path once the MLS season is over, joining AC Milan on loan again for a five-month loan spell from January.

Milan have just announced the deal on their website (just in Italian for now), meaning any lingering hopes Premier League clubs had of changing the England midfielder's mind have finally been dashed.

Why do golf fans cheer tap-ins? And when is a fine not a fine?

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tigerA few thoughts from two weeks following the PGA Tour:

Just wondering why people clap like mad every time a golfer taps in a two-inch putt?  Are these the same people who break out in applause when a plane lands? Aren’t both these things suppose to happen?
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Best thing I heard on the golf course this week: “Instead of reading the greens you have to read the currents out there,” joked former U.S. Masters champion Mike Weir at the rain-hit Canadian Open.

Second best I heard on the golf course this week: “Let’s go watch someone who wants to play.” — A disgruntled spectator to a friend at the Buick Open after watching Rocco Mediate miss twice from three-feet at the par four 12th at Warwick.
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You have to love a tournament like the Buick Open where the trophy looks like a hood ornament.
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Best joke I heard: England midfielder David Beckham was fined $1,000 by Major League Soccer for confronting unhappy fans following his return to the LA Galaxy during AC Milan. That works out to 1/250,000th of Beckham’s reported five-year $250 million deal that brought him to the United States to spread the soccer gospel.

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