Arsène Wenger summons spirit of Munich as Dortmund await Arsenal


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• Wenger says side ‘take belief’ from win at Bayern
• Gibbs fit to face Dortmund but Flamini and Wilshere out

Arsenal are back in the land of their revival. When Arsène Wenger and his team last visited Germany they defeated Bayern Munich in the Champions League. It was not a result that had seemed likely and it did not spare them elimination from the last 16 of the competition but its restorative powers have come to look startling.

Since that evening in mid-March Arsenal have played 13 times on the road in three competitions. They have won 12 and drawn one – the lone blot being the 1-1 Premier League draw at West Bromwich Albion.

It was a different Wenger and a different Arsenal that arrived in Dortmund on Tuesday, seeking the Champions League victory that could spare them an awkward trip to Napoli on the final evening of Group F fixtures. If any further motivation were required, it was provided by Dortmund’s smash-and-grab win at the Emirates Stadium two weeks ago.

The confidence within Arsenal’s ranks these days is palpable. Wenger cut a relaxed figure as he answered one question in German and also chided the translator for his attempted pronunciation of Serge Gnabry, who is back in the squad after ankle trouble. “He’s German,” Wenger said, with a smile. Along the table from Wenger, Olivier Giroud spoke about his encouraging start to the season. “The difference with the last season is especially the confidence,” the France striker said.

Arsenal play at Manchester United in the league on Sunday, a game in which victory for them could prompt an upgrade of their title-contender status. But Wenger had no thought of Old Trafford; he will not pick his team here with United in mind. It is expected that he will persist with the XI that started in Saturday’s home win over Liverpool. Wenger is intent on harnessing the momentum.

“We do take belief from Munich last season,” he said. “We play everywhere to win. That will not change and we will have a positive attitude to this game. Maybe we had not the same belief at home because we failed in a few big home games. You could feel there was a bit more scepticism and less belief at home, although hopefully we have got that behind us now after Liverpool.” Wenger’s injury update took in good news on Kieran Gibbs, who is “completely available” after limping off against Liverpool, and Mathieu Flamini, who has not travelled due to groin trouble but “has a very good chance to be available on Sunday”.

The bulletin on Jack Wilshere was less positive. The midfielder, who twisted his left ankle – the good one – last Thursday, remained in London, having been unable to train and he is a doubt for the United game. “If he is out for Sunday, then he will be out for England as well,” Wenger said. He would surely not risk a half-fit Wilshere at Old Trafford if part of the reward was to make him available for England’s Wembley friendlies against Chile and Germany.

Jürgen Klopp, Dortmund’s manager, had his game-face on. He refused a request to speak in English and there was little levity about him. Arsenal’s away form meant nothing, he suggested, as every game had “its own history”. If Dortmund had won their last 70 home matches, it would not make “any difference” against Arsenal.

Klopp was rather more quotable when he gave an interview to the Guardian, in which he likened Wenger’s approach to that of a silent orchestra and his own to heavy-metal madness. “I am not a great specialist in music,” Wenger said. “Dortmund is a very good football team and Arsenal as well … therefore we should see a good symphony.”

Wenger did give his thoughts on Klopp’s obsession with the Dortmund players covering more kilometres than their opponents to lay the foundations for victory. “It is not how much you run but where you run and how intelligently you run,” Wenger said. “Very usually the teams who have less of the ball run more.”

Wenger intends to stifle Dortmund by hogging possession. It is Arsenal’s away run that he prizes.

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Champions League: Manchester City v CSKA Moscow – in pictures


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After their victory over CSKA in Moscow in October, City will be keen to repeat the feat in order to keep the pressure on group leaders Bayern Munich


Champions League: Real Sociedad v Manchester United – in pictures


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Will United be able to continue with recent run of good Champions League form to get the victory they need to put them within 1 point of qualification for the knockout stages?




UCL Rewind: Bayern, Manchester City advance; Real Madrid held at Juventus; and more


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SergioAgueroManCity2-CSKAMoscowUCL (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Manchester City manager Manuel Pelligrini has endured some tough criticism over English Premier League results this season, but on Tuesday he delivered on a goal that the team’s ownership didn’t see accomplished either of the last two seasons.

With a 5-2 victory over CSKA Moscow at the Etihad Stadium, Man City clinched a place in the UEFA Champions League knockout round. Along with Pelligrini’s side, Bayern Munich, leaders of Group D with 12 points, qualified for the next round as well following a 1-0 win against Viktoria Plzen on the road.

Two early Sergio Aguero goals were supplemented by a hat-trick for Man City summer signing Alvaro Negredo. The Argentine forward’s first came inside three minutes to give the home side the lead, but his second was a thing of beauty. Aguero collected a pass in the box with his back to goal, spun, and dribbled past his defender before finishing inside the far post to go up 2-0 in the 20th minute.

The Spaniard Negredo finished Man City’s third goal of the evening before CSKA drew one back just before halftime. However, Negredo found the back of the net twice more in the second half to put the game away.

In Turin, both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale scored for Los Blancos in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to leave Italy with three points. Juventus fought well and took a 1-0 lead just before halftime on a penalty kick goal by Arturo Vidal. A poor back pass by Juventus in the 52nd minute helped set Ronaldo up to tie the score. Eight minutes later, Ronaldo assisted to Bale, who finished low past sprawled goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

But the Italian club found an equalizer five minutes later via the head of summer signing Fernando Llorente to knot the score at 2-2, where it would stand. The result leaves Juventus with three points from four games and, surprisingly, in last place in Group B.

Also in action on Tuesday, Manchester United could only muster a 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad. A missed penalty kick from Robin Van Persie was among the low moments for David Moyes’ squad. In France, American Sacha Kljestan assisted on Anderlecht’s only goal of the game in a 1-1 draw at Paris Saint-Germain, but was sent off late for a second yellow card.

Here’s a full rundown of Tuesday’s results:

GROUP A

Real Sociedad 0-0 Manchester United

Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen

GROUP B

FC Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray

Juventus 2-2 Real Madrid

GROUP C

Olympiakos 1-0 Benfica

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Anderlecht

GROUP D

Viktoria Plzen 0-1 Bayern Munich

Manchester City 5-2 CSKA Moscow

——-

What did you think of these results? Which of these matches stood out to you? Impressed that Man City and Bayern have qualified for the knockout stages already? Disappointed in Man United’s performance?

Share your thoughts below.

Mark Schwarzer calls time on international career


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Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has retired from international football




Borussia Dortmund: five reasons why they are everyone’s second team | David Hytner


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The Bundesliga club’s hard-working approach and the spirit of their vociferous fans have attracted many admirers

1 The match-day experience

Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion holds 80,645 and of that number, 25,000 stand – yes, stand – on the Sudtribune terrace behind one of the goals (capacity is reduced for Champions League matches due to Uefa rules requiring seats). They are known as the Yellow Wall and they have the capacity to assault the senses with the noise that they generate. “Nobody has the atmosphere that we have,” says the club’s defender, Neven Subotic. “To have 25,000 fans behind the South Wall is the biggest difference to any club in the world.” Dortmund could make more money by adding to their 25 executive boxes but they do not want to compromise the stadium’s raw passion. “We have no place for more boxes because it would mean losing something else,” Hans-Joachim Watzke, the chief executive, says. “There is no box on the south stand. We must keep our mentality.” The club does not sell beer during the game to their VIPs so that even they are not behind glass for the 90 minutes.

2 Cheap prices

Dortmund have the highest attendance in world football and they are determined to price their tickets fairly. The cheapest season pass to the Sudtribune costs €190 while the most expensive one in the main stand is €700. VIP packages range from €3,000-7,000. The club have 55,000 season-ticket holders and a waiting list that comprises 10,000. They must give 10% of the stadium’s capacity to the away team. They distribute tickets on a match-by-match basis to supporters’ clubs. Watzke says that he does not want to treat the matchday fan as a “client” and he tells the story of how the club’s caterer wanted to increase the half-litre beer price from €3.70-€3.80. Watzke refused because “10 cents doesn’t make the difference and it doesn’t satisfy the people.” Carsten Cramer, the marketing director, knows that Dortmund could make lots more money by raising ticket prices. “But then you lose credibility and loyalty,” Cramer says. “Football is an irrational business and it comes from the heart.”

3 Traditional values

It is a wishy-washy notion and Dortmund’s detractors accuse them of being holier-than-thou but supporters, increasingly, have been drawn to the Westfalenstadion, not least from England. Between 800 and 1,000 make the trip for each home game and it is difficult to ignore the feeling that they have turned to Dortmund because they have grown disillusioned at English football. “Maybe they think there is something missing, that English clubs have lost a bit of feeling,” Watzke says. “That’s the great difficulty they face. They’re not as in touch with the heart as over here.” It is often cheaper, Watzke adds, for English fans, particularly those from London, to attend a Dortmund game, having travelled over on a budget airline. Cramer says: “When you have so many football roots in England, it’s sometimes a little bit irritating that the football itself, which is what has to humble us, is not in focus.”

4 High-octane playing style

The manager, Jürgen Klopp, emphasises hard work, which chimes with the values of the city, fuels the atmosphere at home games and makes Dortmund fiendishly difficult to outmanoeuvre. Quite simply, his players cover more ground than their opponents; in the away win over Arsenal two weeks ago, the statistics showed that they ran a collective 11.5km more than Arsène Wenger’s team. Dortmund are extremely quick in the offensive and defensive transition, and the ethos provides the platform for their technical quality. There is plenty of that, with Robert Lewandowski, Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan among the continent’s most eye-catching talents. Dortmund are a team that players want to play for. “Liverpool and Tottenham wanted Mkhitaryan [last summer from Shakhtar Donetsk] with all that they have and they have a lot more than us,” Watzke says. “But he told me that he wanted to go to Dortmund and nothing else. He said it was because of the passion of the fans, the spirit and the football we play.”

5 The business model

Dortmund live within their means, which is hardly peculiar to them but it reinforces the sense that they are to be admired, particularly as they have enjoyed success against their better-heeled rivals over the past three seasons. Watzke says that their budget for players this season is €67m – “I think in England, Stoke City has the same,” he adds – and it leaves no margin for error on the market. “We must be very sure that every euro of our investment comes back and for that, Jürgen [Klopp] is very important,” Watzke says. “He makes every player better.” It is easy to paint Dortmund as the plucky underdog in the domestic battle with Bayern Munich. “Bayern live in the country of milk and honey, it is the richest region in Germany whereas we live in an area like Newcastle,” Watzke says. It is impossible, he feels, to overtake Bayern but Dortmund can compete, and on their own terms.

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Olympiakos 1-0 Benfica | Champions League Group C match report


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A first-half header from Kostas Manolas and an inspired performance by goalkeeper Roberto lifted Olympiakos to a 1-0 win over Benfica in a tight Champions League Group C match.

The Greek champions rode their luck against their Portuguese opponents after taking a 13th-minute lead, but despite enjoying plenty of possession, Benfica could not find a way past their former keeper, who made several crucial saves. The win moved Oympiakos up to second in the group on seven points, three clear of Benfica in third and three behind the leaders, Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite their recent run of good form at home and in Europe, Olympiakos were nervy in the opening exchanges as the visitors looked more fluid. Benfica could have been two goals ahead in the first eight minutes but for the reflexes of Roberto. The Spaniard first denied Oscar Cardozo with a diving save before scampering off his line to block Lazar Markovic’s goal-bound effort.

Benfica’s promising start was ruined after 13 minutes, however, when Greece defender Manolas rose unchallenged to power home a header from José Holebas’s inch-perfect set piece. The goal did not deter the visitors, who continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession, but Luisão’s header which flashed over the crossbar from a corner was their only attacking threat heading into half-time.

The second period began in the same fashion as the first, with Benfica on top and Roberto keeping the lead intact with a brilliant save to deny Markovic, blocking the Benfica man’s acrobatic volley with his legs when a goal looked certain.

Roberto later denied Salvio with yet another fine save after the left-back was put clean through on goal, before the hero of the night palmed away a snapshot from the Benfica substitute Filip Djuricic to ensure victory.

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Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen | Champions League Group A match report


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Bayer Leverkusen took a step towards qualification for the Champions League last 16 with a battling 0-0 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk in Group A.

The German team moved on to seven points, one behind Manchester United, the leaders, whom they host in their next match. Shakhtar are third on five points, four ahead of Real Sociedad, who drew with United.

The Leverkusen goalkeeper, Bernd Leno, was forced into a succession of fine saves in the first half as Shakhtar started brightly, eager to gain revenge for their 4-0 defeat in Germany, but they failed to find a breakthrough.

Facundo Ferreyra went close twice but his efforts were well parried by the keeper after trademark low crosses from the captain, Dario Srna.

Bayer wasted the chance to respond as Sidney Sam sent a weak shot wide from inside the area before Leverkusen were almost caught cold as another Srna cross hit the far post.

The German side forced Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov into a diving save on the hour to parry Son Heung-min’s long-range effort.

Shakhtar’s Ferreyra fired over the bar to waste a golden opportunity to put home side in front, while Luiz Adriano nearly stole victory for Shakhtar in stoppage time but his header was well saved.

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Viktoria Plzen 0-1 Bayern Munich | Champions League Group D match report


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Bayern Munich booked a spot in the last 16 of the Champions League when a Mario Mandzukic goal gave them a 1-0 win over a dogged Viktoria Plzen.

The Bavarians won their ninth straight match in the competition, equalling the record set by Barcelona in 2002-03.

In a first half that ended goalless, Bayern had a tough time breaking down the Czech champions who looked dangerous on the break for much of the night.

Mandzukic, who replaced a largely ineffective Thomas Müller in the second half, broke the deadlock in the 65th minute when he slipped past his marker to head a lofting Philipp Lahm cross past the Plzen goalkeeper Matus Kozacik.

The win, coupled with Manchester City’s victory against CSKA Moscow in the other Group D qualifying match, scuttled any hopes Plzen had of going into the next round.

Plzen set out to attack from the start and never let the Bavarians get into their rhythm during a first half in which Bayern were unable to break down the home side’s defence.

After the restart, Bayern picked up the pace and Franck Ribéry almost scored in the 57th minute when his shot from just inside the penalty area was deflected by Kozacik.

The German side came close to doubling their lead late in the second half when Mario Götze only had the keeper to beat but he could not get a clear shot.

Bayern’s victory puts them on 12 points in Group D, while Plzen remain without any points.

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FC Copenhagen 1-0 Galatasaray | Champions League Group B match report


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Daniel Braaten’s deft flick gave FC Copenhagen a 1-0 win over Galatasaray as the Danish champions stayed in the hunt for a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Braaten got the hosts off to a flying start, applying a glancing touch to Rurik Gislason’s precise centre to turn the ball home six minutes into the Group B match.

Galatasaray clawed their way back into the game, hitting a post and having a goal disallowed for offside, but despite going close several times in a pulsating second half they could not fashion an equaliser.

Copenhagen are now third, a point in front of Juventus and level on four with second-placed Galatasaray who trail the leaders, Real Madrid, who have 10. The Danes are unbeaten at home in the Champions League group stage during their three campaigns.

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Paris St-Germain 1-1 Anderlecht | Champions League Group C report


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Zlatan Ibrahimovic salvaged a 1-1 home draw for Paris St-Germain against Anderlecht as the French champions were made to wait to confirm their progressn from Champions League Group C on Tuesday.

Demy De Zeeuw opened the scoring for the Belgians in the 68th minute before Ibrahimovic equalised two minutes later.

Anderlecht were reduced to 10 men in the 82nd minute, when Sacha Kljestan was shown a second yellow card, but the visitors, who lost 5-0 at home two weeks ago, held firm.

PSG lead Group C with 10 points from four games, three ahead of Olympiakos, who beat Benfica 1-0. Benfica have four points and Anderlecht are bottom with one point.

Two weeks after their Brussels stroll PSG did not have it all their way at the Parc des Princes.

Despite their early domination they failed to break the deadlock in the first half as Lucas, who was in the starting line-up after Edinson Cavani was ruled out injured, lacked accuracy.

Ibrahimovic came close 10 minutes into the second half with a downward header shortly before Lucas volleyed just wide from the Swede’s cross.

Anderlecht went ahead against the run of play when De Zeeuw slotted the ball past Salvatore Sirigu after connecting with Kljestan’s back pass.

The visitors barely had time to celebrate as Ibrahimovic cut through the defence and his shot was deflected on to the right post by Thomas Kaminsky but the former AC Milan and Barcelona forward had followed up and poked in the rebound.

Kljestan then picked up his second yellow card, for handling the ball.

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In the Case of Hugo Lloris, Temporary Substitutes Can Prevent Playing Through Head Injuries


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hugo lloris lukaku 600x331 In the Case of Hugo Lloris, Temporary Substitutes Can Prevent Playing Through Head Injuries

Controversy over concussions has taken flight recently over the collision between Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Everton’s Romelu Lukaku on Sunday. Lloris, who suffered the injury in the 78th minute, continued through the nine added minutes for injury time and the final whistle, even after stating he did not remember the collision. Lukaku was substituted, unable to continue after hitting his knee on Lloris’s head.

Sam Borden of the New York Times recently wrote about this incident and made two comparative suggestions to how the NFL handles concussion issues.

The first suggestion was allowing for a temporary substitute to replace the injured player while he is thoroughly examined for eligibility to return to the game.

In the article, Borden mentions the NFL’s concussion exam, which takes roughly 15 minutes away from the field and in the presence of an independent doctor not associated with the team.

That suggestion spurred images of players flopping all over the pitch, clutching their heads and being carried off the field only to sit up immediately while the temporary sub looks to change the pace of the game.

Flopping and faking injuries is already a prevalent distraction and annoying interruption to the flow of play and this suggestion only seems to increase the incidents.

Take this upcoming weekend’s game between Arsenal and Manchester United with the suggestion applied. Note, as respected as these two clubs are, one would hope the scenario that is about to unfold is well beyond them.

A draw is looming at Old Trafford as both teams seem unable to create anything in their opponent’s half. Arsenal has settled in a bit at the back and it looks like United have given up trying to penetrate Arsenal’s back line. Arsene Wenger likes how his team is defending but wonders if maybe he can steal three points away, but hesitates to make a substitution as not to compromise his defense.

Suddenly Arteta takes a hard foul in the 72nd minute and rolls around clutching his face in agony. Wenger finds a chance to make his move.

Arteta comes out “temporarily” to be examined by doctors to decide if he’s fit enough to return. Meanwhile, Theo Walcott, who did not start because he has been out for weeks, makes his first appearance since having surgery. Aaron Ramsey drops back to take Arteta’s spot and Walcott comes in on the outside.

Arsenal steal a goal due to Walcott’s blistering pace seven minutes later and wouldn’t you know it, Arteta seems fine to come back in.

Arteta’s return shores up the back for the waning minutes of the game and the temporary sub has given Arsenal a goal and a win at Old Trafford.

This is a slightly exaggerated scenario but it must be noted this would be a strategic attribute waiting to be taken advantage of. Coaches would be able to “test out” a substitute and gauge his immediate impact if a player who suffered a head injury has to be examined for 15 minutes.

But Borden may be on to something.

Leagues could add an extra roster spot to teams. The roster spot would be occupied by a Designated Injury Substitute. This player is decided on before the first whistle and may only come on when a player is being examined for a head injury and will not count as a substitution. If the injured player is deemed unable to return, the DIP then has to be substituted for.

The DIP may not come on as a substitute. He is only on the field for the time it takes doctors to decide if the injured player is fit or not. The only exception would be a goalie for a goalie like in Lloris’s case.

This would keep a team from playing with a man down and trying to rush the diagnosis on a player.

No professional athlete wants to come out of a game and let their team down. That was the case with Lloris. Brad Friedel was ready to come in. The stretcher was out on the field. He had no reason to continue but the decision was left to the player, a player who had just been knocked out cold by a knee to the head.

If the DIP had been implemented, André Villas-Boas would have had the time to determine Lloris’s health without compromising his team. He should have probably made the substitution regardless, which leads to Borden’s second suggestion.

An independent doctor should be present to diagnose the head injuries. Villas-Boas is not a doctor. Lloris had his brain still bouncing around in his head. The doctor tells the coach whether a player is fit and the coach decides how to react.

Borden’s main point is recognizing acts like this should not be hailed as heroic. Franz Beckenbauer’s arm in a sling was heroic. Lloris playing through a head injury is reckless. An injured limb will not leave you with dementia, suicidal or a vegetable.

In the Case of Hugo Lloris, Temporary Substitutes Can Prevent Playing Through Head Injuries is a post from World Soccer Talk.

United lack spark on Bonfire Night


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1124888-17748138-640-360For a game played on Bonfire Night, United’s 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad showed a remarkable lack of spark, which still leaves United one point clear of Bayer Leverkusen and three clear of Shakthar Donetsk, with a trip to Germany likely to play a big role in deciding United’s destiny in Group A.

Hardly an ideal scenario by any means, and one that could have been easily avoided had United done just a little bit more tonight.

Having scored just three goals in their last six games in Spain and having won only eight of their last 35 matches against Spanish opponents, David Moyes set out to prove that he had memorised the chapter on European in Sir Alex Ferguson’s biography, as United decided to adopt the “safety first” approach that has served them so well in Europe over the last couple of seasons.

The first half was of such mouthwatering dullness that even Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend struggled to muster any meaningful topic worth blabbering about, as United displayed all the creativity and energy of a pot of chamomile tea. The Reds’ lethargic approach, however, was largely self-inflicted.

At times United looked to operate with a traditional 4-4-2 line-up which left Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez isolated up-front, confirming that a formation boasting two banks of four and two strikers is as outdated in Europe as Liverpool’s success, while the 4-2-3-1 line-up United reverted to midway through the first half failed to spark them into life, for it relies on something United currently do not possess – outstanding wingers.

Shinji Kagawa’s malaise when deployed out on the left has been well documented, while after a couple of encouraging performances Antonio Valencia’s confidence seemed to suffer from a set-back, with the Ecuadorian refusing to take his man on and displaying the same confidence of a man who’s been asked to hold a candle after having fallen in a puddle of petrol.

Marouane Fellaini looked more intent to make things happen than in previous “I’m only here, but I really don’t know why” appearances and Ryan Giggs continued to defy age on his 950th appearance for the club, but with Kagawa and Valencia on the wings United had all the incisiveness of a bread stick.

The second half began with more attacking intent for United, with Hernandez missing a guilt-edged opportunity from close range after an inviting cross from Kagawa, before him and Rooney made way for Ashley Young and Robin Van Persie midway through the second half as Moyes decided to award Kagawa 30 minutes in his preferred role.

The results were almost immediate, with Kagawa feeding Young, whose cross found Van Persie in acres of space but RVP could only rattle the post having been on the pitch for barely 60 seconds, before curling a left-footed effort just wide of the post as United pushed for a winner.

With 68 minutes played, Kagawa and Young combined before the former Villa man indulged yet another tumble after the slightest of contacts from Markel Bergara. Young’s dive would had Tom Daley nodding in approval but earned United a penalty, which Van Persie sent crashing against the post.

United could have done with scoring the penalty, but Real Sociedad would have felt hard done by had Van Persie netted from the spot, considering the deplorable theatric deployed by the usual suspect to win a penalty kick that should have never been awarded in the first place.

Young is not only an atrociously poor footballer, he’s also a grade A cheat and the sooner United will see the back of him, the better for them.

With Kagawa deployed in the number 10 role United looked more incisive up-front, as the Japanese reaffirmed once more that he’s a completely different player when playing the striker as opposed to when he’s exiled on the left, but despite their efforts and Real Sociedad’s limits – of which, truth be told, there were aplenty – United could not score and almost finished the game on the back foot as Marouane Fellaini picked up the most obvious of red cards after petulantly kicking out at an opponent with less than a minute to go, having walked a fine line since picking up his first booking.

Value for money, indeed.

Dan

Wednesday’s Soccer TV: Champions League and MLS Second-Legs


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The soccer schedule has plenty of options from Match Day 4 of the Champions League and the conclusion of the NY – Houston series. Read More

Poyet supports Cattermole but hopes he will mature


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• Midfielder starts three-game ban in Southampton’s cup visit
• Poyet at a loss to explain Andrea Dossena’s red card at Hull

Gus Poyet will not give up on Lee Cattermole but accepts that reforming Sunderland’s combative, suspension-prone midfielder may be easier said than done.

Cattermole begins a three-game ban when Southampton visit the Stadium of Light in Wednesday’s League Cup tie with his manager ruing the tackle on Ahmed Elmohamady which led to Cattermole being sent off in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Hull.

“Can I change Cattermole? I’ve no answer for that. We’re all different and I’m sure different managers have tried different things with him,” said Poyet, who decided against appealing the seventh red card of the former Middlesbrough and Wigan enforcer’s Premier League career.

“I’ll do my job and the future will tell if I’ve done a good enough one. I can’t give up on him. If I give up, he shouldn’t be here. We need Lee. He’s 25. Let’s hope he’s more mature next month and we don’t have to wait until he’s 29 or 30.

“We know that when Lee is frustrated he is maybe going to make this kind of tackle. Many managers have talked about him. I respect other opinions but I’m going to try to manage him my way, and we’ll see if he improves his reputation.”

At Middlesbrough Cattermole seemed to benefit from working with Bill Beswick, then the club psychologist, but Poyet feels such help is not required. “I don’t think it’s needed at the moment but we’ll see in the future,” he said. “I’m not closing the door on anything. There are some groups of players who need a bit of extra help. If an individual wants to go to somebody I’m happy to help.”

A significantly worse tackle than Cattermole’s led to struggling Sunderland being reduced to nine men at Hull when Andrea Dossena was dismissed for a terrible challenge on David Meyler. Like Elmohamady, a former Sunderland player, Meyler underwent two career-saving knee operations during his time on Wearside and was lucky to escape relatively unscathed this time.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Poyet. “I’d like to get into his head and know why but, you know what, it’s the way he [Dossena] is at the moment. How nice it would be to have a normal game tomorrow. Normal, just normal, no problem, no rain, no wind, the referee spot on, no red cards, no penalties, no own-goals.”

Since succeeding Paolo Di Canio, Poyet has selected few of his predecessor’s 14 summer signings, preferring to rely on players who were at the club last season.

“The ones that are performing stay on the pitch, the ones who don’t are out,” he said before confronting the question of whether 14 close-season arrivals were too many.

“I’ve got an explanation but unfortunately I can’t share it with you,” said Poyet. “I need to adapt to where I need to go until January at least. Next week, in the international break, I’ll have a proper report on each player and we’ll move on from there.

“I’m sure it’s not easy for our new players, and it’s even more difficult for the staff to keep them happy, because they’ve moved completely with their families and a few of them are not even making the bench. We try to manage them the best we can, which isn’t easy. It’s a part of the job that’s not easy, not nice.”

Small wonder he sounded rather wistful when discussing Southampton’s successful evolution. “They’ve done something that I really like. Southampton have maintained a group of players who know how the club wants to play and they’ve added in three or four key positions very well. That’s a good way to go forward, when you learn slowly and you know how you want to play.”

A win on Wednesday would earn Sunderland a quarter-final at home to his former club Chelsea.

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What’s the deal with the black hooded monks in robes at soccer games?


This post is by Alex Muller from World Soccer Talk


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black robes What’s the deal with the black hooded monks in robes at soccer games?

86353 27241 1252329 87879 86050 1 What’s the deal with the black hooded monks in robes at soccer games?

Two weeks ago, you may have seen TV footage or photos on social media of a group of supporters dressed in black and wearing what appeared to be hooded robes at the match at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Manchester City. The eleven men who were sitting together in the Shed End were also spotted in the past two weeks at home matches for Bayern Munich and Juventus.

The surreal appearances were followed by an equally ‘mysterious circles’ interview with Franz Beckenbauer where, in the interview, he claimed that he believed in aliens and that he was convinced that they are a threat to our planet.

In the bizarre video, see footage below, the German soccer legend predicts that, in the future, aliens will have the most powerful soccer team in the world, and that he has found a way to protect us and the soccer world from these supernatural beings.

Well you may have seen the interview footage of Franz Beckenbauer and his predictions of an upcoming football war against a team of aliens, who he has named the most powerful team. Beckenbauer has found a way to protect us earthlings and the football world from these supernatural beings so we can finally get to the bottom of this footballing mystery and prevent any further attack from taking place!

In our own research, we've found people tweeting about the phenomenon using the hashtag #WINNERTAKESEARTH So, it's just not us who have noticed these strange developments.

What is going on? Has Der Kaiser lost his marbles? Where did these mysterious guys, these monks in black robes, come from? Do you believe in extra terrestrials? And what are the links between the monks and mysterious sightings that have been taking place across the globe? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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What’s the deal with the black hooded monks in robes at soccer games? is a post from World Soccer Talk.

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