Super Spurs triumph over Everton despite game of two halves

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2Pavlyuchenko 11, Modric 28 EVERTON 1Yakubu 55 Tottenham Hotspur kept their Champions League hopes on track with a 2-1 victory over Everton in what started as a one-sided battering but became a thrilling encounter thanks to the Toffees’ second-half resurgence. Spurs’ performance in the opening 45 minutes was so superior that if it was a boxing match, a benevolent referee would have stopped the slaughter during the break. It was as if the Tottenham midfield had taken a collective restraining order out against their Everton counterparts, such was…

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Club Focus – Sunderland – Reasons to remain positive as the battle for Premier League survival commences

The business end of the season begins on Sunday for Sunderland as Fulham provide the opposition in a must win game at the Stadium of Light. Despite the startling fact that Sunderland have now not recorded a league win since last November, there are still plenty of reasons for Sunderland supporters to remain positive as the final run in approaches. A glance at their upcoming fixtures reveals several winnable home games beginning with the visit of the Cottagers on Sunday. March contains two tough away fixtures at Aston Villa and…

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Arsenal pay a heavy price for three points

STOKE CITY 1Pugh 8 ARSENAL 3Bendtner 32, Fabregas 90 (Pen), Vermaelen 90 Arsenal secured three points from their visit to the Britannia stadium, capitalising on Chelsea’s defeat in the day’s early kick-off as they moved to within three points of the leaders. Whilst this was an excellent result for the Gunners, the horrific injury sustained by Aaron Ramsey will sour an otherwise profitable weekend. Stoke made an excellent start to the match, hustling and harrying in the midfield in order to prevent Arsenal from settling into their short passing game.…

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Manchester City do the double over Chelsea

CHELSEA 2Lampard 42, 91 (pen) MANCHESTER CITY 4Tevez 45, 76 (pen), Bellamy 51, 87 An extraordinary lunchtime kick off in light of recent personal events off the pitch displayed an exhilarating game as John Terry and Wayne Bridge came up against each other. After Bridge ignored Terry’s handshake, both teams put on a professional attitude but Chelsea could not have imagined a worse afternoon as they let Manchester City come from behind to become the first team outside of the top four to win at Stamford Bridge in seven years.…

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Win a free Premier League football shirt

Welcome to the first A Different League competition. We are offering you the chance to win a free Premier League football shirt of your choice, simply by joining the A Different League forum, and posting five valid posts by April 23rd. Our forum is already home to a buzzing community of deep-thinking football philosophers, discussing the latest football news, new football theories, and of course complaining about referees. How to enter: 1 – Each member of the forum that has five valid posts to their name by 23rd April, 1.00pm…

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Chester Fans United – One down, one to go

The decision to expel Chester City from the Football Conference comes amid a backdrop that is both tragic and unique. The dire financial straits the club finds itself in were documented in Tuesday’s article and A Different League continues its coverage of the crisis club with a look at what is to follow in this desperate saga. The days that have followed have seen something previously unwitnessed in British football. Chester’s own supporters have sent a petition to fans of other Conference sides, urging the other clubs in non-league’s top…

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The Chester Danish Consortium – Right of reply

Following this article written on Tuesday, A Different League contacted the Danish group hoping to purchase Chester City to get their response to some crucial questions. We are grateful to Christoffer Baadsgaard for his reply on behalf of the group on behalf of Palle Rasmussen. The issue was put to him as follows:- Good evening Mr Rasmussen The planned purchase of Chester has made headlines in the Uk as well as in your native Denmark. As you’ll know there are a lot of Chester supporters who are most upset about…

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Club Focus – Manchester United – Memories of 94

The last time that Manchester United and Aston Villa faced each other in the final of the League Cup was 16 years ago and came in the midst of a season where United were eventually crowned Premier League and FA Cup winners. The abiding memory of that encounter was of missed chances for United with their green and gold clad players cutting frustrated figures. United were, however, able to put the disappointment of that fixture behind them and used the defeat as a springboard to propel them towards eventual Wembley…

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Club Focus – Arsenal – Preparation is important, but performance is key

With the staggered Champions League schedule and Saturday’s evening kick-off time, Arsenal will have had just over a week to prepare for the clash with Stoke City – and they will have needed every moment. In a season littered with seemingly more ‘must-win’ games than ever, Arsenal need to secure three points as they travel to the Britannia Stadium. The weekend clash will provide a useful litmus test for Arsenal’s credentials as they seek to keep pace with the two above them – waiting to pounce should either drop points.…

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La Liga Focus – Pellegrini’s first and last season with Real Madrid?

Last weekend was a strange one for Manuel Pellegrini. He saw his Real Madrid side push aside former employers Villarreal at the Bernabeu with ease in a 6-2 win, albeit for a nervy few moments when Nilmar pulled it back to 3-2. The result saw Real keep the pressure on frontrunners Barcelona, but the performance saw Pellegrini fall foul of the Press. The campaign to remove Pellegrini from the Madrid hotseat is heating up and it looks like his first season in charge of los Galacticos will be his last,…

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Club Focus – Leeds United – Whites finally get back on track with valuable home win

Since the beginning of the year Simon Grayson has witnessed his squad drop points at an alarming pace with the Whites gradually surrendering topspot in League One to Norwich City. The players have tasted victory only twice in the league in 2010 with both wins coming at Elland Road. The latest success came against Oldham Athletic to provide a massive boost to the side and allow the players to focus on the upcoming fixtures as opposed to contemplating how to emerge from a delicate crisis. Grayson was satisfied with the…

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Wayne Bridge – a victim of office politics?

Wayne Bridge’s decision to retire from international football has served as a reminder that while in many people’s eyes the issues surrounding John Terry and himself had been resolved, there is more to consider than the footballing implications. On face value, a cold hard analysis of the facts may lead an onlooker to have little sympathy for England’s second-choice left-back. The issue with Terry and his alleged extra-curricular activities has been done to death by the tabloids and glossies and there’s no need to go over it again. What we…

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Red Review – Who’s who in Russian football?

With the start of the Russian Premier League getting closer, it is now a good time for Red Review to introduce the sides you’ll be hearing a lot more of over the coming months. A natural start is with the reigning champions, Rubin Kazan, a provincial side based in the largely Muslim Tatarstan region of Russia, 700km east of Moscow. The history of ‘Rubinovye’ had been fairly undistinguished having never previously played in the Russian top flight until 2003. Rubin qualified for the UEFA Cup in two of their first…

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Everton get what they deserve on dismal night in Lisbon

Sporting Lisbon 3Veloso 64, Mendes 77, Fernandez 94 Everton 0 Everton crashed out of the Europa League with a wretched display against Sporting Lisbon, losing 3-0 on the night and 4-2 on aggregate after a performance devoid of the intensity that brought such great results against Chelsea and Manchester United. Philippe Senderos and Joseph Yobo replaced the suspended Sylvain Distin and ineligible John Heitinga but Senderos did not complete the game due to a leg injury, with Phil Jagielka replacing the Swiss international in the second-half. The former Sheffield United…

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Capello’s options to Bridge the gap

Surely your country is more important than personal pride? Not according to Wayne Bridge. Many people were expecting Bridge to keep his head down and be professional – no dignity would have been lost in doing so. He has however, done the unthinkable and turned his back on England, despite probably being first choice for the spot considering Ashley Cole’s lengthy lay-off. All the noises coming out of Manchester City in recent weeks were that Bridge’s England status would be unaffected by the recent happenings off the pitch. Roberto Mancini…

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Club Focus – Fulham – Cottagers triumph with solidarity over Shakhtar’s superiority

It is not often Brede Hangeland’s name makes its way on to the scoresheet, but the Norwegian picks his moments very well indeed. His header against Europa League holders Shakhtar Donetsk was only his second, but both arrived in remarkable results for the Whites. His first signalled the arrival of the new Fulham under Roy Hodgson when he bundled the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Arsenal, right at the start of Hodgson’s first full season in charge. His second took a full 18 months to…

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Wayne Bridge declares his position ‘untenable’ following Terry saga

Wayne Bridge’s decision to pull out of the England squad has raised fears that the team has unresolved issues that risk affecting the mentality of the squad. The Manchester City defender’s decision offers proof that events off the pitch can spill over and affect the composition of those on it. There has been much debate in recent weeks regarding the role of professional footballers on whether events in their private lives should indeed remain private or be publicised and chewed over by the general public. Bridge, it seems, has had…

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Club Focus – Newcastle – Hughton hopes for happy anniversary

Newcastle’s players have had a chance to put their feet up this week after beating Preston 3-0 last Saturday. For the first time in over a month they have had a free midweek, which is something of a rarity given the Championship’s hectic fixture lists. They return to action at the weekend with an away game against Watford. The Magpies’ two consecutive home games have resulted in maximum points but now they must return to their problem of playing away from St James’ Park. They have not won in their…

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Club Focus – Birmingham – What now for stagnated Blues?

After the recent turn in results, Birmingham’s season has stagnated somewhat. Tenacious midfielder Lee Bowyer told the Press this week: “What we were doing before was not realistic. We are coming down to our level now. We are realising. We are not going to go away and win every game. We are going to lose at places like Fulham.” Bowyer’s assessment of Birmingham’s current form and overall ability is reasonably accurate. In their excellent run of form, which culminated in defeat to Chelsea after avoiding such a result for fifteen…

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Club Focus – Aston Villa – O’Neill relishes Cup-final test

With qualification into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup secured, the Villans can look ahead towards, undeniably, their biggest game of the season. Fielding a strong side against Crystal Palace suggested that Martin O’Neill wanted to kill off the tie as soon as possible and keep their chances of reaching a second Wembley alive. Aston Villa Starting XI: 22 Guzan 2 L Young – 24 Cuellar – 5 Dunne – 25 Warnock 7 A Young – 8 Milner – 16 Delph – 6 Downing 11 Agbonlahor – 10 Carew The…

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Club Focus – Stoke City – Potters daring to dream of FA Cup glory

In July 2009, Staffordshire locals stumbled upon a veritable treasure trove of 1300-year-old Anglo-Saxon gold. The Staffordshire Hoard is currently drawing huge crowds to Stoke-On-Trent’s City Museum, where its exhibition recently prompted a visit from the Prince of Wales. However, an increasing number of romantics are starting to believe that a rather larger shiny trinket could soon be on display in the Potteries, after Stoke City fired themselves into the FA Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 38 years. A glance at the starting line ups prior to the…

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Club Focus – Portsmouth – Administration: Pompey to face heavy storm before they see the light

So it’s official. Portsmouth Football Club will indeed enter administration – imminently. After almost 18 months of laughable owners and countless stories regarding the club’s financial state, at least the fans know where they, and their beloved club, stand. In fact, administration has come as something of a relief to the city, although it is not the clean slate many fans believe it is. It can be a long, arduous process which brings grave detriments to all involved with the club. For a start, administrators will spend the next few…

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Club Focus – Everton – Turning points

With the scores between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur level at 2-2 going into the final minute of injury time when the sides met in December, Jermain Defoe’s missed penalty proved to be a turning point in the Blues’ season. Had the England striker beaten Tim Howard from 12 yards, Everton could have been sucked into a relegation battle but instead are looking towards European qualification despite Thursday’s defeat at the hands of Sporting Lisbon. The draw with Spurs came when the Toffees had won just three of their last 13…

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