UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

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:

United get rude awakening

The plain sailing Manchester United would have expected in the group stage of their Champions League campaign has turned into a rough ride after Tuesday’s 3-3 home draw with Swiss side Basel, who were unlucky not to have come away from Old Trafford with the three points.

Two draws in their last two games, away to Stoke City in the Premier League and the late escape against Basel, will have rooted out any complacency that might have crept into Alex Ferguson’s men after their flying start to the season which included an 8-2 drubbing of Arsenal.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Treble? Manchester United’s season could still collapse

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Strong belief in emulating the 1999 treble must surely be gripping Old Trafford after Manchester United’s somewhat fortuitous 1-0 win at Chelsea in their Champions League quarter-final first leg, but Alex Ferguson and his troops will also be aware they are still a long way from crossing the finish line first in any competition.

With Wayne Rooney losing his appeal to have a two-game ban reduced and the ever-present threat of injuries crippling a squad well short of the talent of the 1999 crop,  United will once again have to dig deep into their resources as the strength-sapping season reaches its climax.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Van Persie to miss Barca clash…Arsenal’s chances gone?

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/

Arsenal hitman Robin van Persie injured himself while scoring against Birmingham City in the League Cup final on Sunday and will now miss his team's last 16 second leg clash against Barcelona on March 8. Not good news for the Gunners.

However, beat Leyton Orient in the FA Cup on Wednesday to set up a quarter-final with Manchester United, and keep the pressure up on their great rivals in the Premier League who have just lost to Chelsea, and there are still honours to be won.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Rooney wonder strike could make United’s season

SOCCER-ENGLAND/Wayne Rooney said it was his greatest goal and Alex Ferguson said he had never seen anything like it. Even opposition manager Roberto Mancini had to applaud.

So many times you see players fall flat on their faces as they attempt an overhead wonder goal but any smirks that might have been rising as Rooney embarked on what looked like mission impossible were quickly replaced by utter disbelief at Old Trafford on Sunday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Fergie’s smile spells trouble for Premier League title rivals

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/When Alex Ferguson declares he is happy with his squad for the season remainder, it is time for Manchester United’s Premier League title rivals to start worrying.

The busy Christmas and New Year period is often important in the Premier League, as fringe players are called upon to help negotiate a sea of fixtures which put managers under increasing pressure.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

An Englishman abroad? Rooney might not have fitted the bill

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/So Wayne Rooney says he would only have left Manchester United to go abroad. Could the fact that foreign suitors seemed shy to express any interest have anything to do with his sudden U-turn to stay at the Premier League club?

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was right in his prediction that Rooney would stay after all. He told United to "give me call" if the striker's departure was on the cards but never went further than that.

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:

Mr. Rich invests in Bedlington for the love of the game

SOCCER-ENGLAND/BEDLINGTONAmerican billionaire Robert Rich Jr, the 488th richest man in the world, can buy just about anything he wants to from private jets to diamonds, mansions to ocean-going liners and everything in between.

But this week it emerged that he has put some of his vast fortune at the disposal of a tiny, impoverished minor league English club by the name of Bedlington Terriers.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Breaking news: Rooney to stay at Manchester United

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/Well, what an extraordinary twist this is: Wayne Rooney has agreed a new five-year deal with Manchester United and is staying at Old Trafford after all. Here's the club statement:

Wayne Rooney has agreed a new 5 year contract to stay at Manchester United until at least June 2015.

The agreement follows intensive discussions between the Club and the player’s representatives and means that by the end of his contract Wayne will have been a Manchester United player for 11 years.

  •