West Ham 3-1 Liverpool – Hammers bang in three against wounded Reds

West Ham United grabbed a vital three points in the battle to stay in the Premier League beating Liverpool 3 –1 in an excellent contest at Upton Park. The home side lined up in a 4-3-3 formation featuring a midfield three of Mark Noble, Scott Parker and, making his Premier League debut for the Hammers, Thomas Hitzlsperger. The forward line featured Demba Ba as the focal point, supported by Gary O’Neil and Frederic Piquionne. Liverpool retained the three centre-back formation that served them so well in their recent 1-0 win…

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Chelsea news – Blues want Sneijder, Cole injures student, Drogba future unclear

Cole injures student. Ashley Cole shot and injured a work experience student whilst playing with a powerful .22 air gun, the Mirror reports. The incident happened last Sunday after Cole brought the gun into their Cobham training ground, the pellet hit Tom Cowan and left him rolling on the ground in agony. The boys father, Ronald, was angry at events having approached training ground officials and consequently had heated discussions. Following two days off, Tom had a three and a half hour meeting with officials but was said to want…

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Liverpool news – Adam wants ‘Pool move, Kuyt praises Suarez, Dalglish “here to help”

Dalglish “here to help”. There was simply no alternative than to accept the Liverpool job once he had been asked, Kenny Dalglish today told the Sunday Telegraph. One of the fears expressed in the initial few days following his instalment as interim manager was that Liverpool’s sustained poor form would threaten his relationship with Liverpool’s fans. Dalglish begs to differ. “Someone asked me when I came in whether it would affect my relationship with the fans if it didn’t go well,” King Kenny said. However there was simply no alternative…

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Does the League Cup need a Birmingham victory?

By the standards of recent years, this season’s domestic cup competitions have been pretty compelling. There have been more than the usual quota of “cupsets” and drama, and a few storylines which have defied footballing gravity and will remain in the hearts and minds of supporters – just ask anyone from Stevenage or Crawley. However, while the FA Cup still retains an iconic place in the culture of the English game, the League Cup remains something of a poor relation, despite the obvious (and one would think, enticing) reward of…

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Newcastle 1-1 Bolton – Taylor’s dismissal turns promising battle into bore draw

Following a first period full of intent from the home side, the sending-off of Newcastle’s Ryan Taylor significantly altered the aesthetic of a game which ultimately petered out to a 1-1 draw. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew labelled this game as one they could not afford to lose for the sake of their season, and Joey Barton’s withdrawal, due to injury, just minutes prior to kick-off may have cost them a pivotal victory. Throughout the first period Newcastle’s goalscorer Kevin Nolan played to his strengths as he continued to locate pockets…

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Blackpool facing a bright future dominated by Holloway’s vision regardless of Premier League survival

Blackpool’s 4-0 defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers yesterday may be a blow to their hopes of Premier League survival this season, but when the big picture is considered, Ian Holloway’s side has a bright future. The Seasiders’ league position is now a little precarious – 14th, four points off the relegation zone and with the second-worst goal difference outside the bottom three – but by simply reaching the top flight Blackpool defied the odds, and there is little reason they cannot do the same again and stay up. But more than…

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Wolves show survival instinct by thrashing Blackpool

Wolves again proved they have the nous to adapt their game by picking up three huge points at the hands of their relegation rivals Blackpool. Mick McCarthy’s side have made Molineux somewhat of a fortress this season, with all but five of their current 28 points coming at home, with the different styles of victory showing signs of a side well-equipped to sneak to survival. The fact that Wolves – who away from home have looked nothing short of disastrous – are out of the bottom three on goal difference…

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Wigan 0-4 Manchester United – Hernandez stakes claim for starting place as United expose Wigan’s limitations

Javier Hernandez struck twice as Manchester United avoided a European hangover by brushing aside a spirited Wigan side by four goals to nil at the JJB Stadium. The Mexican added his eighth and ninth league goals (and 13th in all competitions) to overcome a Wigan side that at times threatened to prolong United’s indifferent away record. Wigan at times out-passed and outplayed United, but it was the same old story of inconsistent finishing and hesitant defending that cost them dearly, which was made painfully apparent as United struck three times…

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Everton 2–0 Sunderland – Beckford brace helps Moyes into 500 club

A brace from Jermaine Beckford helped Everton to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sunderland and saw David Moyes become only the fourth manager in Premier League history to win 500 points. Beckford, signed from Leeds United in the summer, scored his first two-goal haul in the Premier League as Sunderland allowed Everton to play out a rather routine win. The Goodison Park side have risen into the top half of the table thanks to the three points, and now sit five points clear of the relegation zone. Sunderland slumped to…

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Mallorca 0-3 Barcelona – Barcelona quash crisis talk with impressive win over Mallorca

Mallorca 0 Barcelona 3 Messi 38, Villa 57, Pedro 66 At a time when the media spun tales of apparent crisis within the ranks of the world’s most captivating football team, the players of Barcelona put such rumours to one side by doing what they do best – stylishly defeating Mallorca by three well-crafted goals without reply. Such is the fickle nature of football, any reported problems are likely to be quickly forgotten if the Blaugrana can continue to produce such complete performances in their league campaign. This performance was…

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Wolves 4-0 Blackpool – Adam absence a telling factor as rampant Wolves move clear of bottom three

Wolverhampton Wanderers recorded their biggest ever Premier League win to move out of the relegation zone and leave Blackpool just three points clear of the bottom three. DJ Campbell’s dismissal for violent conduct will not help Ian Holloway’s men either as they enter into a crucial period of the season. The Seasiders play Chelsea and Arsenal, as well as several teams around them in the table, in the coming weeks. Mick McCarthy, however, will hope this emphatic result can signal the beginning of a more consistent run of form, something…

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Aston Villa 4-1 Blackburn Rovers – Young leads Villains to convincing win

A superb afternoon for Aston Villa was capped by a brilliant display by captain Ashley Young. The attacker netted twice, getting the opener from the penalty spot as well as rounding out the scoring with the fourth. Stewart Downing and an own goal by Grant Hanley made up the rest of the scorers for Villa. Nikola Kalinic bagged a consolation goal for Blackburn but nevertheless it was a thoroughly miserable afternoon for Steve Kean and his side. Their afternoon was summed up by the dismissal of Ryan Nelson just before…

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Cardiff City sign Kirkland on loan

Cardiff City have signed former Coventry and Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland on an emergency loan from Wigan Athletic, according to a report in Wales Online. Kirkland, who has one cap for England, has been out of favour at Wigan this season, losing his place to Ali Al Habsi, and has been loaned out to Leicester City where he made three appearances. Cardiff have made use of the emergency loan system to bring in a ‘keeper due to injuries to Tom Heaton and David Marshall.

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Spurs set to offload Hutton after dressing-room row

Tottenham are set to sell Scotland full-back Alan Hutton at the end of the season, after an aftermatch argument between the player and Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, according to a report in The Metro. Hutton, 26, has made 19 appearances this season, scoring two goals, however the two are thought to have clashed following Tottenham’s 4-0 FA Cup defeat to Fulham, leaving Redknapp unwilling to pick the player since. In Hutton’s absence, Croatian international Vedran Corluka has deputised, and it is thought that Spurs are willing to let the former…

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A new way into professional football: A week in the life of a professional footballer with Pro FC

Pro FC announced the winners of their first trials on Friday, sending two lucky footballers to train at Tottenham Hotspur and capping a successful week for everyone involved with the new scheme. The match had been prepared for in minute technical, physical and tactical detail throughout the week, and the expressions of the winners (Jake Jacobs and Matthew Stor) would best described as stunned surprise; out of the 96 participants they had been chosen by Pro FC and Martin Allen to go and train with Tottenham Hotspur on trial. All…

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Club Focus – Real Madrid – Whites set to ignore Riazor record books

Real Madrid travel to one of their unhappiest of hunting grounds to take on Deportivo at the Riazor tonight. Los Blancos were frustrated in the Champions League in midweek away to Lyon and head into the fixture desperate to close the five-point divide with La Liga frontrunners Barcelona. But this evening’s acquaintance in northern Spain will not be a routine test, as the Whites have only recorded one win in 17 years at the La Coruna venue. Though the win that broke that unwelcome record came just little over a…

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Arsenal news – Fabregas injury latest, Hazard to snub Gunners, Szczesny demands consistency

Fabregas injury latest. Cesc Fabregas will not lead Arsenal on to the pitch at Wembley on Sunday as the Gunners face Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final, The Telegraph has revealed. The Arsenal captain picked up a hamstring injury against Stoke on Wednesday night and limped off the pitch after just 14 minutes of play and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger confirmed the Spaniard will miss the League Cup final as his side look to end their six year trophy drought: “It is a very small injury but Cesc will…

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Club Focus – Liverpool – Reds edge through against Czech outfit

Injury-hit Liverpool edged their way into the last 16 of the Europa League with a slender 1-0 victory over battling Czech side Sparta Prague. The Reds only managed to hold their opponents to a drab 0-0 draw in the first leg last week; however Kenny Dalglish’s side scored a late winner during the return leg at Anfield to send the Merseysiders through to the next round of the competition. Dirk Kuyt was the man to extinguish Sparta Prague’s hopes of progressing, as the Dutchman finally converted one of Liverpool’s many…

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Tottenham plan bid for Barcelona striker

Tottenham Hotspur are set to make a Summer move for Barcelona forward Bojan Krkic, according to a report in the Daily Mail. Bojan, who has made more than 100 appearances for Barcelona since signing professionally in 2007, could be available at the end of the season due to the limited playing-time he has had since the signing of Ibrahim Afellay from PSV, and the success of Pedro acting as cover for the forward positions. As such, both player and club could be open to a move in time for next…

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Liverpool news – £6m Enrique plan, New Kuyt deal imminent, Late winner rescues Reds

£6m Enrique plan. Speculation is mounting that Liverpool will make signing Jose Enrique a priority during the summer. The Spanish left-back has 18 months remaining on his contract and has hitherto been unable to agree terms over a contract extension with his current employers, leading to speculation about his future. Left-back has been a problem position this season for Liverpool, and the Anfield hierarchy are believed to see Enrique as a potential solution. Goal.com reports that they are planning a £6 million summer bid for the former Villarreal man. However,…

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Club Focus – Everton – Visit of Sunderland a tough test for Moyes’ Toffees

Everton host Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday, with David Moyes’ side still in desperate need of points to pull them away from the relegation zone. The Toffees remain three points off the bottom three but have a game in hand on 18th-placed Wigan Athletic. The visit of the Black Cats, however, will not be straightforward. Sunderland themselves crave victory to overtake Liverpool and strengthen their European hopes, as a win at Goodison Park would lift Steve Bruce’s team over the Reds for 24 hours at least. Having already…

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Liverpool Daily – Kuyt sees Reds through to Europa League last 16

Liverpool finally overcame the stubborn resistance of Sparta Prague to earn a 1-0 victory in the UEFA Europa League and set up a last 16 tie against Portuguese side SC Braga. In front of a packed Anfield crowd, Liverpool struggled to break down the Czech champions, but finally made the breakthrough five minutes from time when Dirk Kuyt’s deft header from 6 yards clinched a victory in Kenny Dalglish’s first home European tie. Liverpool dominated proceedings, but lacked a real cutting edge. As expected Steven Gerrard was not risked, leaving…

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Club Focus – Barcelona – Guardiola signs contract extension until 2012

Pep Guardiola has reaffirmed his commitment to Barcelona by putting pen to paper on a contract extension that will see him retain his position as head coach until June of 2012. The deal was initially agreed on the 8th of February, but the manager officially confirmed the decision on Wednesday in the presence of a delighted President Sandro Rosell. The deal will see Guardiola enter the history books as the fourth-longest serving manager in the club’s history behind predecessor Frank Rijkaard, the legendary Johan Cruyff and Englishman Jack Greenwell, who…

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Club Focus – Manchester United – Struggle in Marseille highlights midfield problems

The midweek Champions League action was a fairly bad experience for Manchester United. Not only did they fail to overcome a lacklustre Marseille side, but title rivals Chelsea recorded a very comfortable away win in Copenhagen to regain some form ahead of their clash next week. Furthermore, while United have a weekend game against Wigan Athletic to negotiate, Carlo Ancelotti’s men have an entire week free before welcoming the league leaders. With injuries still plaguing the United squad Sir Alex Ferguson is left with limited options to rotate and rest…

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What next from the famous Manchester United youth set-up?

With a few fresh faces appearing on the Manchester United bench and travelling with the first-team squad to Marseille, and the current fringe players continuing to underwhelm, A Different League looks into the next generation and finds perhaps all is not lost. Nick Poole, of the United Youth blog, is well-placed to agree the current crop do not seem up to the job. While he believes Gabriel Obertan to be “quick, skilful and creative when on his game,” he fears the Frenchman is too inconstent and, perhaps most importantly, “lacking…

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