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from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why Chelsea should keep Andre Villas-Boas

Three Premier League defeats in four games and Champions League last 16 qualification compromised. The last few weeks have been very tough for Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas.

Previous managers Jose Mourinho, Luiz Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant and Carlo Ancelotti were dismissed seemingly for less by ruthless owner Roman Abramovich.

Ancelotti won a league and cup double but was axed after the following season while Grant moved on despite being a John Terry penalty slip away from winning the Champions League.

However, there are several reasons to believe Villas-Boas may stay in his post long-term despite Wednesday's 2-1 loss at Bayer Leverkusen.

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.

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:

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:

Everton and Moyes running out of options

SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUPBy James Illingworth

Sympathy for the plight of their rivals may be kept to an absolute minimum by the red and blue halves of Liverpool but even the staunchest of Kopites should spare a thought for David Moyes.

Having seen his side claim partial revenge for their 2009 FA Cup final defeat by knocking Chelsea out on penalties last month, Moyes could not prevent first division Reading ending Everton's cup run in the fifth round on Tuesday.

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:

“Big Ziggy” primed to keep Birmingham up

SOCCER-ENGLAND/CUP

With Europe beckoning and their first trophy since 1963, Birmingham City fans have a lot to get excited about.

However they also face a nervy rest of the Premier League season with relegation looming. Cue towering striker Nikola Zigic to the rescue.

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 Left field:

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

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:

Torres is a one-goal striker and a steal for Chelsea

SOCCER-EURO/Will Fernando Torres ever recapture that heady mix of fearlessness, ruthlessness and irresistible skill he showed in his first 24-goal season at Anfield?

Is £50 million enough to buy you a strike rate of a goal every 1.375 games?

You know what? It doesn't matter.

Liverpool needed a 24-goals-a-season striker but Chelsea don't. Chelsea have spent so much money for a player who can score one goal rather than 24, or to put it another way, the goal.

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