Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Have City knocked United off their perch?

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was quick to say that his team’s 6-1 mauling of arch-rivals United meant little more than another three points in the bag, but the Italian must surely be hoping it could signal a shift in the balance of power.

Having knocked Liverpool off their perch when they won a record 19th league title last season, United now face the prospect of playing second fiddle to City in England and Manchester, should their heaviest defeat to their neighbours in 56 years prove to be more than just a temporary setback.

Ferguson and several pundits wasted no time in pointing out United were undone after central defender Jonny Evans was sent off for a professional foul early in the second half.

But City were already on top at that point and earned their extra man on the pitch by carving United open with a defence-splitting pass -- which left Evans only with the alternative of letting Mario Balotelli run through on goal.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Who can Arsenal actually buy?

With Cesc Fabregas gone and Samir Nasri possibly on the move too, there is a lot of gloom around Arsenal at the moment and Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by Liverpool did nothing to help the mood.

Arsenal fans are for the first time questioning the stewardship of Arsene Wenger and have demanded some top signings to prevent yet another trophyless season.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Thursday – Champions League recap

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Where to start after four brilliant Champions League quarter-finals, even if the intrigue for next week's second legs has all but gone from three of the ties with Barcelona leading Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1, Real Madrid 4-0 up against Tottenham Hotspur and Schalke 04 in total charge against holders Inter Milan after the 5-2 triumph at the San Siro.

However, the appetite has most certainly been whet for the very probable 'Clasico' semi-final between Real and Barcelona, a meeting of the world's two best players Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. April 26 or 27 and May 3 or 4. Do not miss these dates. Not that Spain's two leading clubs are thinking that far ahead.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Rooney strike — wonder goal or shinpad special?

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.

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

Photo

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

If Torres goes, Liverpool should heed Spanish lessons

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Liverpool sign Suarez but will he play with Torres?

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Aston Villa’s Bent buy will flummox O’Neill

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.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Will United fans forgive and forget?

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Football fans are very forgiving types – if my football club were a person I’d have stopped speaking to it a long time ago.

Pretend for a minute you are Manchester United and Wayne Rooney is your best mate. He swears undying loyalty to you – it’s a friendship that will last forever. Then suddenly he tells you you’re basically not good enough for him and that you should get lost.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

What next for pampered players — overcoats?

ISOCCER-ENGLAND blame the late, great Keith Weller of Leicester City.

He started the trend for "cold-weather clothing" when he pulled on a pair of white tights one winter's day in the 1970s.

He did not know it at the time, but that began the wimpish drift towards gloves, hats and now the ridiculous snoods, or neck warmers, being worn by the likes of Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, and most fetchingly, Marouane Chamakh of Arsenal in the last few weeks.

  •