Danny Welbeck’s last-gasp effort gives Arsenal win over 10-man Leicester

“Not so fast, Foxes. Just when Leicester City thought they had escaped intact from a muscular, occasionally desperate rearguard second half at the Emirates, Arsenal pulled them back in. Claudio Ranieri’s team produced a spiky, tenacious display of deep-lying defence having been reduced to 10 men by Danny Simpson’s slightly soft sending off on 54 minutes. Ultimately they were reeled in by a thrilling final burst as Arsenal turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win with goals from the substitutes Theo Walcott and, most cinematically of all, the returning Danny Welbeck in the final seconds.” Guardian


Scout Report: Miguel Silva | The youngster who bears the king on his chest

“In an extremely business minded football world, it’s extremely rare to see players with a deep connection to the city and club that they play for. And it’s justifiable too – everyone knows that the sport we all love is a job just like any other for the ones who play and coach. But everyone also misses the Maldinis and Zanettis that passed through football, and every fan idolizes the Buffons and Tottis of today.” Outside of the Boot

New pretenders to the Scottish throne

“It’s a sign of the times up in Scotland when nobody seems all that bothered about one of the most newsworthy deals of the January transfer window. Rangers Football Club have finally found a near namesake of the Dutchman they’ve been singing about for decades. And this is no Pierre van Hoojidonk, or Giovanni van Bronckhorst. Young Billy King has joined the ranks at Ibrox, after decades of his namesake featuring in tattoos, verse, and T-shirts on the terraces. Billy King’s signing has been pushed out of the headlines by the performances of some of Scotland’s lesser lights and former giants rising up again to the froth of the Premier League.” Football Pink

One kick can make all the difference in the cruel world of football

Rodrigo Lopez, left, and teammate Juan Patino, of Paraguay's Guarani, react after failing to classify for the next round, at the end of a Copa Libertadores soccer game with Ecuador's Independiente del Valle in Asuncion, Paraguay, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)
“It will surely be a traumatic memory for Socceroos fans, but I’ve always loved a piece of Australian radio commentary when Azizi scored that famous goal for Iran in the 1998 World Cup play off. It is a classic case of a man caught up in conflicting impulses; the professional, needing to explain the events – and the personal, that of a fan devastated by a strike that deprived Australia of what had seemed certain qualification for France.” The World Game – Tim Vickery

Liverpool put six past sorry Aston Villa as home fans turn ire on Lerner

“Liverpool performed to a backdrop of fans walking out en masse for a second weekend in succession though it was not inflated ticket prices that sparked the exodus this time but the sheer ineptitude of Aston Villa. No easy games in the Premier League? Nonsense. This was a surrender and Liverpool inflicted a St Valentine’s Day massacre from which the division’s bottom club may not recover.” Guardian

Spain’s Liga, a Perilous Cauldron for Managers

“Outside of the glamour and the riches of both clubs in Madrid and F.C. Barcelona, managing in the Spanish league is about the struggle to survive. Late Saturday, after Valencia eked out a nervous 2-1 victory over Espanyol, the two head coaches — Valencia’s Gary Neville and Espanyol’s Constantin Galca — found one another on the sidelines. Their handshake turned briefly into a sympathetic embrace between opponents who are both fighting to keep their jobs — and to keep their teams in La Liga. As players, Neville, 40, and Galca, 43, appeared in over a thousand top-level games. They know what it is like to step out into Mestalla Stadium in Valencia, where little more than a decade ago, the roar of the home crowd could make the cavernous concrete bowl throb with excitement as fans cheered on a team that was among the best in Europe. The old stadium still is one of Spain’s most evocative venues, and the crowd still numbers about 50,000 per game.” NY Times

Youngest Bundesliga coach checks-in at Hoffenheim

“Julian Nagelsmann, who has yet to pass his coaching qualifications, has become the youngest Bundesliga head coach in history, after the 28-year old replaced Huub Stevens at struggling Hoffenheim. Previously, the youngest coach in league history was Klaus-Dieter Ochs, who took over the coaching reins at Hamburger SV in 1970 at the age of 30. Nagelsmann, a youth coach at Hoffenheim, had agreed in October last year to take over the club next season, signing a three-year contract.” Bundesliga Fanatic

Mainz’s magical mystery ride continues against disappointing Schalke

“November 28th 2015. It was the last time the duo of Yoshinori Muto or Yunus Malli have scored for 7th place Mainz 05, which one would think would be a problem, seeing that they had combined for 15 of the teams 20 goals up to that point. Since then, Mainz have won 4 games and taken 13 points from 7 matches, scoring 7 goals while conceding 5. Five of those goals came courtesy of wingers Jairo Samperio and Christian Clemens (2 from the Spaniard and 1 from the German was enough to see off HSV in early December). The other two: Julian Baumgartlinger and Gaetan Bussmann both scored their first career Bundesliga goals this Friday night to defeat Schalke 04 2-1 in a wild game at the Coface Arena.” Bundesliga Fanatic (Video)

Piast Gliwice – Poland’s version of Leicester City, hoping to become unlikely champions

“We all love a good underdog story. It’s probably why we are all so encapsulated by Leicester City’s brilliant form in the Premiership. Things aren’t too dissimilar in the Ekstraklasa, Poland’s top flight division. An unsatisfactory start to the season by some of the big teams – namely Wisła Kraków & Lech Poznań – combined with an exuberant push from the smaller teams has paved the way for an unlikely leader at the top of the table during the Winter break – Piast Gliwice, who sit five points clear of 2nd placed Legia Warsaw.It all seems hard to believe for the minnows from Gliwice who have spent so many years in the depths of the Polish footballing pyramid.” backpagefootball