Tottenham Club Focus – Formation the key to mute Swans

Sunday sees arguably two of the best footballing sides in the Premier League take on each other at White Hart Lane when Tottenham Hotspur entertain Swansea City. The Swans, proudly sitting in mid table and only three points off of Liverpool in seventh place, will be looking to continue their impressive season that has seen them unbeaten in their last five matches against top seven teams. Spurs meanwhile, will be looking for three points to maintain the challenge for third place and build on good performances against Bolton and Chelsea.…

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Newcastle Club Focus – Europe rivals go head-to-head

Newcastle face Liverpool at the weekend with the opportunity to cement their grip on a place in the top six of the league. Eight points currently separate the two sides in the table with the same number of games left to play in the season. It remains to be seen whether sixth place will be enough to secure a place in the Europa League next season although the Magpies hopes were boosted by the results from the midweek FA Cup replays. Although Liverpool have already qualified for Europe by virtue…

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Man Utd Club Focus – Why a new contract for Owen could benefit United in the long-run

The Daily Mail reported this week that Michael Owen feels he has another “two or three years” left in him. Despite only playing four times so far this season, he still harbours hope that Sir Alex Ferguson will keep him at Manchester United. Ferguson recently spoke of the impact Owen could have in scoring a vital goal during the Premier League run-in, but the harsh truth is that Owen has not played since November, and has appeared only once in the league. He is behind Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and…

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Valencia go down to AZ Alkmaar

Valencia’s bad run of late continued as they went down 2-1 at AZ Alkmaar in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final in Holland. Brett Holman and Maarten Martens handed the Eredivisie leaders an unlikely victory in a game Valencia dominated for long spells but the Spaniards, despite having lost their last two La Liga games, should start favourites for the return leg at the Mestalla. Los Ch

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Liverpool Club Focus – Reds facing crunch Newcastle fixture

The last time Newcastle United finished above Liverpool in the Premier League was back in the 2002-2003 season, when Sir Bobby Robson’s talented side, containing the likes of Alan Shearer, Craig Bellamy and Gary Speed, secured third spot with 69 points. Meanwhile, the Reds ended the campaign in fifth place, with just five points fewer. That was nine years ago, but as things stand, the Magpies are in a strong position and could well finish ahead of the Merseysiders once again. If Kenny Dalglish’s men wish to avoid that scenario…

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Everton Club Focus – FA Cup progression gives Moyes a selection headache

After the high of booking a place in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against Liverpool, Everton are back to reality with a Premier League fixture against West Bromwich Albion. The success against Sunderland has presented David Moyes with a quandary over whether to stick with the side that blew past the Mackems or make changes to the line-up to play the Baggies. Moyes has tinkered with the XI in recent weeks, with Phil Jagielka slotting in to the back four in place of John Heitinga, while Phil Neville started…

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Liverpool confirm Roma friendly in United States

Liverpool will meet Serie A side Roma in a pre-season friendly held in Boston’s iconic baseball stadium Fenway Park, the Daily Post has reported. The match, scheduled for July 25, will be a re-run of the 1984 European Cup final that saw Liverpool eventually triumph 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Left-back Alan Kennedy netted the winning spot kick in a match played at Roma’s Stadio Olimpico. Phil Neal had put the Reds in front only for Roberto Pruzzo to equalise before half-time. Fenway is home to the Boston…

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Wilshere could make Arsenal return within a fortnight

The Daily Star has reported that Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere could return to action in two weeks after an ankle injury has kept the 20-year-old from making a single appearance this season. Wilshere suffered the injury playing in a pre-season friendly, the Emirates Cup, against Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls in late July. A set-back in January has meant Wilshere has so far missed the entire season. The Star however reports that Wilshere has told friends he expects to be fit enough for a specially…

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Kalou felt ignored by Villas-Boas over Chelsea contract stalemate

Salomon Kalou has revealed that he felt former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas ignored him after the Ivory Coast forward stalled over signing a new contract, ESPN has reported. ESPN Kalou, who scored the only goal in Chelsea’s 1-0 Champions League win over Benfica on Tuesday evening, is yet to agree terms on a new deal, with his existing contract set to expire this summer. The forward said: “I was told by the previous manager that I was not allowed to play because I didn’t sign a contract.” The 26-year-old has…

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Liverpool boss Dalglish has Houllier backing

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has the support of former Reds boss Gerard Houllier, with the Frenchman telling the Daily Mail that Dalglish needs more time to get things right at Anfield. Houllier is quoted as saying: “There is too much expectation at Liverpool. Liverpool need another year to kick in. They have had a lot of recruitment done and a lot of problems, so give him some time.” Liverpool are currently seventh in the Premier League table, 13 points behind Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy the last Champions League qualification place.…

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Wenger facing Champions League touchline ban

Arsene Wenger is expected to be given a Champions League touchline ban on Thursday after an outburst during Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Milan in February, the Daily Telegraph has reported. The Gunners eventually lost the tie 4-3 on aggregate. Wenger is alleged to have confronted referee Damir Skomina and described the official’s performance as “a disgrace”. The manager is also alleged to have sworn at the Slovenian in front of a UEFA delegate. Wenger, the Telegraph adds, is said to have defended his behaviour as little different to a routine…

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Zola wanted as part of Chelsea backroom staff

Chelsea will approach their legendary forward Gianfranco Zola to be part of the club’s new look backroom staff once a new manager is appointed, according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper adds that Zola has rejected the offer of a coaching post at Stamford Bridge more than once already but owner Roman Abramovich feels Zola could be the right man to liaise between the new manager and the club’s senior players. Zola played with both John Terry and Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s captain and vice-captain respectively. Zola, who managed West Ham…

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Liverpool legend Kennedy says summer signings need more time

Liverpool striker Andy Carroll and his fellow summer signings need more time to adapt to life on Merseyside and the expectation of playing at Anfield, Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy has told the Daily Post. Kennedy moved to Liverpool from Newcastle United in 1978 and remains the only Englishman to score winning goals in two European Cup finals, netting in a 1-0 win over Real Madrid in 1981 and then converting the decisive penalty in a 4-2 shootout victory over Roma in 1984 after the match had been drawn 1-1. Kennedy…

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Gervinho sees silverware in Arsenal future

Arsenal forward Gervinho has predicted that the Gunners will win a trophy in the near future according to the Independent. Arsene Wenger’s side have not won a trophy since beating Manchester United on penalties after a 0-0 draw to win the FA Cup in 2005. Gervinho is reported as saying: “We can still win lots of trophies and we can do great things in the future. We have a bright future because this is a good club.” Gervinho joined Arsenal in summer 2011, in what the Independent tally as a…

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Mata believes Chelsea can win a trophy this season

Juan Mata has revealed his belief that Chelsea can win at least one trophy this season, with the Blues through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and well placed to make the next round of the Champions League, the Daily Mail has reported. Mata is quoted by the newspaper as saying: “It will not be easy, but we are alive and are fighting for the Champions League and FA Cup.” Mata was part of the XI that defeated Benfica 1-0 on Tuesday evening at the Portuguese side’s Stadium of…

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Milan-Barca stalemate at the San Siro

Barcelona remain favourites to reach the Champions League semi-finals after a 0-0 draw with Milan at the San Siro in their first leg quarter-final clash. Pep Guardiola’s men created a host of excellent chances during an absorbing first half, yet it was perhaps Milan that had the better clear-cut opportunities when Robinho inexplicably fired over after just two minutes then Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to beat Victor Vald

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La Liga Headlines: Roberto Carlos: Marcelo best in world

MARCA – The best full-back in the world: Roberto Carlos names Marcelo as his heir. – “He had more ability than me with the ball and he joins in better.” – A deluge of tributes after his great game in Cyprus. Florentino has renewed his contract until 2015. – Florentino to the Madrid squad: “We behave as normal.” – Barca deserve more in a game played between two powers. – What beautiful football! – Heart attack semi-finals: Bayern-Madrid? – Europe trembles. —————————————————————————————— AS – Benzema superstar: the Frenchman has reached…

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Milan vs Barcelona – Match preview and team news

These two sides meet for the third time this season, after qualifying from the same group – Milan first held Barcelona to a draw in the Camp Nou, before the Catalans secured a 2-1 win at the San Siro. The game is sure to be more competitive now the teams meet in the knockout stages, and the San Siro will be a 78,000 sell-out for this stand-out fixture of the quarter-finals. The two European giants will be battling it out to secure a Champions League semi-final against Chelsea. Barcelona come…

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FA Cup Merseyside derby to cap weekend of Liverpool sport

The first Wembley fixture between Liverpool and Everton in more than 20 years will cap a weekend of Merseyside sport as the Grand National racing meeting takes place the same weekend, the Liverpool Echo has reported. Everton sealed their place in the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 victory over Sunderland on Tuesday and, with Liverpool already confirmed to face the winners of the contest on the same day as the feature race of the Grand National meeting at Liverpool’s Aintree racecourse, Merseyside will be the focus of the country’s…

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