The Race for Europe: Which EPL Clubs Will Qualify for the Champions League?

February 13, 2013

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“As it the Premier League table stands at the moment, Manchester United are looking set to snatch back the trophy from the blue half of Manchester. Twelve points clear with 12 matches to play is a rather large hurdle, but in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, ‘It ain’t over till it’s over.’ This is certainly true of positions 2-6 and who will get the Champions League/Europa League places. What has made the top of the table so interesting this year is the continued form of both Tottenham Hotspur and Everton as well as the relative inconsistency of Manchester City and Chelsea. Tottenham are currently sitting in 4th place on 48 points followed by Chelsea with 49 points in third and City in second place with 53 points. That is only a 5 point lead for Manchester City with Tottenham set to play Chelsea on the road and City at home while Chelsea will also have to travel to Man City on Feb 24th.” EPL Talk


How is wrestling at corners interpreted in different European leagues?

February 13, 2013

“… If you are English and ask anybody in Russia about wrestling at corners, the discussion inevitably turns to a World Cup qualifier in Ljubljana in 2001. With the score at 1-1, Slovenia won a last-minute corner. The referee, Graham Poll, twice prevented it being taken to warn Russian defenders about shirt holding. When the corner finally came in, Viacheslav Daev tussled with Zeljko Milinovic and Poll, his patience gone, gave a penalty. While shirt-pulling and wrestling certainly goes on in the Russian league, the hangover from that decision means that it is seen as very much a British obsession. Jonathan Wilson” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Celtic 0-3 Juventus: Celtic cause problems in the first half, but Juve’s finishing far superior

February 13, 2013

“There was much to admire about Celtic’s performance, but they couldn’t sustain their early effort. Neil Lennon decided to use Efe Ambrose at the back, despite his participation in Nigeria’s 1-0 Africa Cup of Nations win on Sunday evening. Upfront, Lennon used three attackers – Kris Commons, James Forrest and Gary Hooper. Antonio Conte is still without Giorgio Chiellini, so Martin Caceres was on the left of defence, and Federico Peluso was the left-wing-back. Alessandro Matri’s good run of form saw him get another start upfront. An odd match – for spells in the first half Juventus looked genuinely rattled, and yet they had already gone 1-0 up with Matri’s early goal. Celtic’s first-half performance depended on energy and brave pressing, which resulted in tiredness late on.” Zonal Marking


Juventus silences Celtic’s rowdy audience, Zlatan red carded

February 13, 2013

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“The Champions League returned to action Tuesday and despite two early goals scored by the away teams, both matches were compelling encounters. The games threw up some unlikely heroes and, as always, plenty of talking points. Here are a few: Marchisio breaks Celtic hearts: Celtic coach Neil Lennon said pre-match that his side did not play old-fashioned kick and rush football, and that much was true. In fact, it was Juventus who played the first long ball of the night, Andrea Pirlo’s third-minute pass from deep catching Efe Ambrose half-asleep and allowing Alessandro Matri to slot the ball past Fraser Forster.” SI


Interview Translation: Jürgen Klopp – “I don’t just want to win, I want to feel.”

February 13, 2013

“The Spanish newspaper El Pais took it upon themselves to find out the reasons behind Dortmund’s success by interviewing Jürgen Klopp. Here is our translation of their interview. ‘I don’t want to spend the whole day thinking about things that could still be better than they are’ says Jürgen Klopp (Stuttgart, 1967) to explain his compulsive optimism. The Dortmund coach, this year’s Champions League surprise package and German champion in the last two seasons, sports a smile with big teeth and starts to speak.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Five points on Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal

February 13, 2013

“1. Bacary Sagna typifies Arsenal’s defensive performance. The referee had barely put his lips to the whistle when Bacary Sagna punched both arms in the air and let out a cry of both jubilation and relief. Wojciech Szczesny crashed to the floor and held the ball tightly to his chest, knowing that all three points were finally secure. Sunderland had just pelted their 48th cross into the box and a little less than that many long passes, and Arsenal survived them all. When one of them did get through, however, Arsenal had Szczesny to thank (he also made some crucial punches to go with his saves), some wasteful finishing – and Titus Bramble.” The Arsenal Column