Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

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.

The move is being reported as similar to Donovan’s L.A team mate David Beckham’s temporary switch to AC Milan but there is a major difference in the circumstances facing the two players.

Beckham is pushing himself through a gruelling 16 month non-stop season with no real rest because he has been forced into that situation by England manager Fabio Capello. The Italian has told the midfielder that he must be playing in Europe and be able to prove his form and fitness if he wants to make the World Cup squad.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

UPDATE: City v Chelsea tops our Premier League predictions

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MONDAY UPDATE: So how did you do? Here at Reuters we had our usual collection of baffling predictions and near misses along with a surprisingly high amount of lucky stabs in the dark.

It was a good job I made Man City v Chelsea the double pointer as two "experts" correctly plumped for the 2-1 City win. I fear an amount of copying also took place with Arsenal v Stoke as seven panel memebers were right to guess 2-0.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

No Great Escape for Liverpool

Liverpool hopes of one more great Champions League escape were dashed on Tuesday night, as Fiorentina sealed their place alongside Olympique Lyon with a 1-0 win over the French side, leaving the English team's 1-0 success against Debrecen irrelevant.

Liverpool, of course, only have themselves to blame for leaving their fate in the hands of a team that had already secured their own qualification.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Thinking the unthinkable: should Liverpool sell Torres?

It is a little glib to suggest that Liverpool have a one-man strike force in Fernando Torres.

It seems almost beyond dispute, though, that whenever the Spaniard is unavailable Liverpool look ill equipped to challenge for the title, a situation hardly helped by the sales of Xabi Alonso, Robbie Keane and Alvaro Arbeloa in the past year.

The importance of keeping talent in reserve

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Maintaining the strength in depth to cope with injury crises is as crucial for the management of a top-class team as it is difficult to master, writes William James.

The recent experience of England’s rugby team is testament to this after being forced to pick a squad without twelve regular members.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

UPDATE – The painful art of score prediction — round 10

So it was an even worse week than usual. Ok, there were some surprise results but generally it was pitiful, some panelists only picked up one point and even most of our outside contributors struggled despite showing us up in recent weeks.

On behalf of all of us, I'd like to point out that the Premier League is more evenly balanced than it has been for a while (see Kevin's blog) so we have a slight excuse....

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Where’s the new Gary McAllister when Liverpool need him?

Liverpool's run of four straight defeats has generated a lot of discussion about what has gone wrong, but precious little about how to put it right, aside from the suggestion that it might be nice to see Kenny Dalglish back in the dugout.

So let's leave aside for a moment Rafa's handling of big players and whether he should have kept hold of Sami Hyypia and Xabi Alonso, and consider what the club's next moves should be.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Forget the World Cup, the predictions league is back (UPDATE)

TUESDAY UPDATE:

The scores are in and it hasn't been quite as bad a week as usual for most of the Reuters Panel. Still, we're not tearing up any trees, as the big man would have said, so still plenty of chance to make us look like fools. Here's the updated table:

Reuters Soccer Blog panel: Patrick Johnston 89, Paul Radford 77, Simon Evans 71 (shocker), Kevin Fylan 65, Mike Collett 64 (outstanding performance), Mitch Phillips 62 (another shocker), Miles Evans 60, Julien Pretot 57, Neil Maidment 43, Mark Meadows 42, Justin Palmer 36, Asia Sports Desk 35, Martyn Herman 7

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer scores and the power of the pub

Let's be honest here, people, predicting the English football scores has proved to be a lot trickier than many of us imagined.

You'd have thought that the frankly obsessive interest most of us here at Reuters Soccer Blog Heights take in football would see us approach this competition with the pitiless, sweeping brilliance of Celta Vigo in their 'EuroCelta' heydey of 1998-2000*.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why our predictions panel rates a less than perfect 10

People can be divided into 10 types: those who understand binary and those who don't.

I mention this only because a look down our scores for this week would reveal a great many ones and zeroes, and very few fives.

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