Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Deja vu all over again? Soccer romantics will hope so

SOCCER-ENGLAND/FULHAM-HUGHES‘Plus ca change’ was the defining refrain of the Premier League’s opening weekend, but football fans tired of the established order will hope déjà vu is lurking round the corner for Manchester United and Chelsea.

Neither the champions nor the runners-up broke sweat as they strolled to opening victories that pointed ominously to another two-horse race for the Premier League title.

But romantics, who no doubt jollied in Blackpool’s opening day success, will be praying for the footballing equivalent of lightning striking twice to prevent the ‘big two’, as it seems to have become, from putting an early marker down in the title race.

United face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Sunday, the scene of a 3-0 defeat for Alex Ferguson’s side last season, while Chelsea travel to the JJB Stadium on Saturday to play Wigan where they also came a cropper in a 3-1 reverse in 2009.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Inter and Blackpool restore faith in the footballing dream

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Teams win against all the odds only in Hollywood movies.

Not true. Yet again real life has outstripped even the wildest fantasies of the greatest scriptwriters.

Italian football, overshadowed by England and Spain, was in the doldrums after their clubs failed to make any impact in the Champions League in the previous two seasons.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Is there a way to stop end-of-season farces?

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AS Roma are absolutely livid after Inter Milan regained the lead in Serie A with a 2-0 win at Lazio, where the home fans cheered the goals as much as the away supporters.

Lazio fans hate Roma so much that many of them wanted their own side to lose on Sunday as it meant their bitter city rivals were knocked off top spot. This was despite the fact Lazio are not clear of relegation yet.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Will Liverpool do United a favour? See what our predictions panel thinks

Liverpool will not be keen on helping Manchester United in their title bid but a victory over Chelsea on Sunday could push the Reds closer to that fourth Champions League spot.

A real dilemma for Liverpool fans, already battered and bruised by a poor season and Thursday's Europa League semi-final elimination at the hands of Atletico Madrid.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Set your watches for Rooney Recovery Time

SOCCER-ENGLAND/ROONEYAnyone tempted to suggest Wayne Rooney's minor groin injury might give him a nice rest before the World Cup would be wise to fire up their copy of the Mathematica GraphMonkey iPad app* and first try to factor in one of the great immeasurables of English football -- Rooney Recovery Time.

Rooney Recovery Time is comparable in its unfathomability only to Scotty's estimates of how long it would take to get warp engines back on line as the Enterprise  hurtled towards a collapsing Lime Dyson sphere*.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Predicting the unpredictable: the Premier League title run-in

Chelsea and Manchester United seem to want to make the Premier League title run-in as exciting as possible by dropping points in recent weeks. There's just a point between them with three games left and you can't get much tighter than that.

Sadly the same can't be said for our predictions league where leader Paul Radford pretty much has the title wrapped up, but let's see what this weekend brings.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Champions League quarter-finals — live

We're live blogging the night's two Champions League quarter-final first legs, with expert commentary and analysis, including on-the-spot details from our reporters in the stadiums (or stadia, if you prefer).

Join us here from around 1645 GMT for all the build-up and action from the biggest club competition in town.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Should fans have the right to buy into their clubs?

SOCCER-SPAIN/BARCELONA-PRESIDENTInteresting story in the Guardian this morning, saying Britain's Labour government, if re-elected, are ready to unleash plans to give fans the right to buy their clubs when they come up for sale, and to insist that current club owners give up a stake as high as 25 percent to their supporters.

If we can leave the politics aside (there is an election on the way, and the opposition Conservatives have said acting now, after 13 years in power, makes it a pre-vote gimmick) do you think this is a good idea?

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Predictions League could do with Mancini’s passion

The Premier League run-in is becoming so exciting that even stylish Italians like the usually calm Roberto Mancini are getting hot under the collar and wrestling opposition managers for the ball.

Our Premier League predictions competition needs a panel member to show similar passion or else Paul Radford will have wrapped up the title in a matter of weeks.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Predicting another great leap forward from Arsenal

SOCCER-CHAMPIONSNow all that Winter Sports malarkey is out of the way, we can cast all thoughts of the Couver out of our minds and get back to the serious business: the title race run-in, and the predictions league tussle that goes along with it.

Chelsea are the weekend's main absentees, as they toil on in the FA Cup against a stoked City, so could we see another great leap forward from Arsenal?

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