Let's be honest. The first leg's of this week's Champions League semi-finals weren't anything special.
Between them, Chelsea and Barcelona managed zero goals, whilst Manchester United and Arsenal thankfully managed to score a single goal on Wednesday night.
With both ties now firmly in the balance, you can obviously make a good argument for anyone reaching the final, however for me, it looks as though it will be a repeat of last year's final in Moscow.
Chelsea's draw away at the Nou Camp and Tuesday night now makes them favourites to go progress. With Guus Hiddink's men now having the home advantage in the second leg, you would have to fancy them to just edge Barca, however they will have to be extremly wary of the possibility of Pep Guardiola's men of nicking an all important away goal.
In the other semi-final, Manchester United will take a slender 1-0 lead to the Emirates this coming Tuesday. Sir Alex' Ferguson's men may feel they should be travelling to London with a slightly larger advantage, however as it is, you would still have to make them strong favourites to progress.
Despite the fact I would personally would love to see a Barcelona vs Manchester United final, I just can't see it happening any more. Barca's failure to grab a goal in the first leg will ultimately prove decisive and I think a repeat of last year's final looks increasingly likely. What do you think? Who will make to the final in Rome? Comments below please.
Manchester United's Ryan Giggs has made just 12 Premier League starts this season and yet he still manages to win the PFA Player of the Year award.
Like most fans of English football, I am a big admirer of the Welshman's. To still be playing for one of the biggest club's in the world at the age of 35 is simply outstanding, however I am sure many of you will agree with me when I say, he hasn't been the best player in the Premier League this season.
OK, I know I am being slightly harsh about the whole thing, however to give a player who has made just a dozen starts this season the award is a bit ridiculous. There is no doubt that Giggs has been one of the top performers of all-time in the Premier League, but has he been this season's best player. Certainly not.
The only two players who I felt would have been worthy winners of the award were Giggs' United team-mate Nemanja Vidic and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
I can't argue that Giggs has, at times, performed unbelievably well this season. His display away to West Ham back in February was incredible. That particular performance reminded me of the Giggs of old. Delivering sublime crosses and terrorising full-back's with his age-defying bursts of pace.
But why Vidic or Gerrard didn't win the award, I really don't know. Both players have performed magnificently well all season long and I personally felt thought it was a two-horse race between the two of them.
Maybe, the players and managers who voted just thought it would be a nice gesture to Giggs, considering he hasn't won the award before and the fact that he will be retiring in just over a year's time.
What do you think? Did Giggs really deserve the award? If not, who did? Comments below please.
After 20 Premier League games, Hull City sat comfortably in mid-table with relagation seeming totally out of the equation. After 34 games, Hull now find themselves in serious danger of going straight back down to the Championship. Phil Brown's men are now lying 17th, just three points above the drop and with Manchester United and Aston Villa still to come, you would have to fancy them to go down.
So when and where did it all go wrong for the Tigers?
Well the simple answer to that would be the 26th of December 2008 at the City of Manchester stadium. After Hull conceded four first half goals against Mark Hughes' Manchester City, Phil Brown decided to humiliate his players by keeping them out on the pitch for the half-time team talk. Hull went on to lose the game 5-1 and since then, they have won just one Premier League game.
At the time Brown said this : "It was the right thing to do, there is no doubt about it. I have got no regrets about it whatsoever. I am fully sure Brown regrets the decision now. It may have seemed like the right thing to do at the time, however his decision has no doubt had a negative affect on the squad.
As much as I would love to say that Hull will avoid the drop, I just can't. With sides like Newcastle and Middlesbrough still below them, I feel it's inevitable that one of those side's will get ahead of Hull. During the opening half of the season, I must admit I really liked Phil Brown's attitude. I thought he was a massive breath of fresh air for the top flight of English football, however as time has gone on his attitude seems to have got worse as his side have slipped down the table.
What do you think? Was this the moment that ruined Hull City's season? Can Hull manage to avoid the drop? Comments below please.
It was a decision that no doubt changed the outcome of the game. Howard Webb’s decision to award Manchester United a penalty this afternoon was simply disgraceful.
Anyone, even the most ardent of United fans, who saw the game would have to admit that Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes should never have been penalised for his supposed “foul” on Michael Carrick.
As we all know, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the penalty. Having scored the penalty, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men were simply unstoppable. The current Premier League Champions went on to win the game 5-2, however the decision to award the penalty has got everyone talking.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp had this say about the matter: “It was a terrible decision. He’s (Gomes) clearly got the ball. He (Webb) is supposed to be the best referee in the country. On that performance today, I’d hate to see the worst.”
Even Ferguson admitted after the match that it was a poor decision.
Another incident that annoyed me was Webb’s decision not to book Ronaldo for his foul on Aaron Lennon. The Portuguese winger cynically fouled the Spurs man, however Webb decided not to book FIFA World Player of the Year. Just 20 minutes later Ronaldo was booked for taking his jersey off whilst celebrating United’s third goal.
That would have meant that United would have been down to ten men and who knows what meant have happened then.
The award of the penalty will no doubt have massive implications on the outcome of this Premier League season. Spurs’ chances of qualifying for the Europa League are now in serious doubt and United now look certainties to claim their 3rd title on the trot.
So what do you think? Comments below please.
OK, if you haven't heard by now, Liverpool are rumoured to be lining up a summer move for Manchester United bench warmer Carlos Tevez.
The Argentine international has struggled to make any sort of impact at Old Trafford this season, with Sir Alex Ferguson opting to start Dimitar Berbatov ahead of him. The majority of Tevez' 23 Premier League appearances this season have come as a substitute and the 25-year old has recently admitted he is preparing for life away from United.
"I have many offers, not only from Spain: I need to see which club I can go to and what can be done. We must not only consider the money, I also have to ensure my family feel comfortable, especially my daughter. So I have a lot to think about."
With Tevez now obviously living in England, it would make sense for him to stay in this country, considering what he said about making his family feel comfortable. That would make a move to either Liverpool or Manchester City very possible.
There is no doubt that Tevez is one of the best strikers in the Premier League and he deserves to be playing week in week out for one of the big four. As you can see by the headline, I really believe a move to Anfield would be perfect for both parties. Rafa Benitez would be getting a top quality player who could be a perfect strike partner for Fernando Torres.
Tevez would be joining one of the biggest clubs in Europe and also he wouldn't even have to move house, considering he only lives down the road from Liverpool. Also Tevez would be playing alongside good friend Javier Mascherano, whom he moved to West Ham with in 2006.
There are, however a few reasons why this move may not go ahead :
1. Liverpool may not be too keen to spend £25 million on a player who has barely played this season.
2. It is clear for all to see that United fans and Tevez have a very close relationship and I don't think Tevez would want to hurt the fans who have made him feel so welcome by moving to one of their biggest rivals.
What do you think? Is there any chance we will see Tevez in a Liverpool shirt next season? Comments below please.
Even the most ardent Liverpool fan would have to agree that the title race is now over.
Tonight's 2-0 win for current Premier League Champions Manchester United, coupled with Liverpool's failure to claim all three points against Arsenal on Tuesday evening has left Sir Alex Ferguson's men three points clear and still with a game in hand (which is against Wigan at home).
Credit to Rafa Benitez. Back in February, it looked as though United were going to win the title quite comfortably, however that certainly hasn't been the case. Liverpool's form over the months of March and April was simply outstanding, with the 4-1 win at Old Trafford most definitely the highlight.
Despite this, it looks as though United will go on to claim their 3rd Premier League title on the trot come the end of May and you couldn't argue that it will be well deserved. Share your thoughts on this post, the title race and tonight's games by leaving a comment below.
Yes, this man, Joey Barton is set to return to the Newcastle United squad for next Monday's must win game at home Portsmouth.
The 25-year old has been out of action for almost three months now with a broken foot, however he now looks set to play a major part in the Magpies fight for survival.
Alan Shearer's men are currently four points adrift of Blackburn in 17th and are in desperate need of something or someone to keep them up, so could the man who has earned a reputation as one of the Premier League's most hated individuals be the one to change things at St James'?
Who knows? Only time will tell.
But for me, I think Barton is just what Newcastle need. A real fighter. OK, he may not be the most talented player in the world, however whenever Joey Barton steps out on the field, you can guarantee one thing. That he will always give you 100%, no matter what.
So what do you think? Is Barton the men to lift Newcastle out of the drop zone and to Premier League safety or will he prove to be a liability in the final few games? Comments below please.
What about that for an unbelievable game of football.
The first half was only OK but the second half was anything but OK. It was incredible.
In the end, tonight's game at Anfield finished : Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal.
I don't know about you, but I certainly think tonight's game has been by far the best we've seen in the Premier League all season. Liverpool dominated for large parts, however Arsenal deserve a lot of credit for staying in it when they went 2-1 down.
Here are some things I think we can take from tonight's game :
The fact that, four goal man Andrei Arshavin, can really cut it in England.
The title will now be heading for Old Trafford. Liverpool are now level on points with Manchester United, however Sir Alex Ferguson's men now have two games in hand.
And finally, not that we didn't know this one already but, the Premier League is most definitely the BEST league in the world.
Share your thoughts on tonight's match by leaving a comment below.
With just five games to go now in the Barclays Premier League, things are really beginning to get interesting.
Manchester United are just edging Liverpool at the top of the table whilst at the bottom, the likes of Newcastle and Middlesbrough are struggling to keep their status as a top flight club.
Also, the race for 7th place, and that final Europa League spot, is really hotting up with nearly half a dozen clubs still in the running.
At the moment, Gianfranco Zola's West Ham currently occupy that 7th spot, however they have a host of clubs lining up behind them ready to pounce on any mistake made by the Hammers between now and the end of May.
Fulham, Tottenham, Manchester City and Wigan are all still in with a shout of catching West Ham. With Zola's men still to play the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton before the season ends there is certainly hope for the chasing pack.
In truth, none of the sides involved have an easy run-in.
I am finding it really hard to pick a winner between the five involved. Tottenham are on a good run but they still have to travel to places like Goodison Park, Old Trafford and Anfield so that would probably lead me to rule them out of it. It's just not possible for Manchester City to do it if they keep their current away form going.
Fulham ...... err, no. Wigan ..... they might just be a bit too far back.
I certainly wouldn't be putting any money on it, but I'll say West Ham.
What do you think? Who will claim 7th spot? Comments below please.
What a pathetic penalty.
Dimitar Berbatov showed everyone what he is all about today. The player who Manchester United signed for a massive £30 million last summer came on as a substitute during his side's FA Cup exit at the hands of Everton. The game went to penalties and the Bulgarian took, what can only be described as, one of the worst penalties of modern times.
The penalty summed up Berbatov's time at United. Lazy.
Have your say on the penalty and the player by leaving a comment below.
Liverpool goalkepper Charles Itandje has today attempted to defend himself after he was banned for two weeks by the Merseyside club.
The former French under-21 international was seen acting inappropriately during the club's memorial service for the victims of the Hillsborough disaster earlier this week and has now been banned, however Itandje feels the situation has been blown out of all proportion.
The 26-year old had this to say about the situation : "It is a 30-second video montage that was given senseless proportions. My behaviour should be judged over a one-hour video ... You know the papers here (in Britain), they do a lot with not much. I even heard I was dancing! ... What happened will not do much to change my situation at the club since I am already on the transfer list."
Why Itandje has come out and said what he has is just beyond me. There is nothing he can say to condone his actions. They were just plain stupid. He should have just kept his mouth shut, maybe release a public apology, and get on with his career. I am keen to hear what you Liverpool fans have to say about Itandje. Comments below please.
It came much to my surprise this evening to see Chelsea have been linked with a summer move for Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes. The 28-year old has done little to impress since he moved to White Hart Lane last summer for a fee believed to be £7.8 million so why London's Evening Standard have reported this is just beyond me.
Ok, current Chelsea number one Petr Cech hasn't been too convincing of late but he is still considerably better than Gomes no matter what way you look at it. Maybe I am being a bit harsh on Gomes, but for a player of his ability to be linked with one of the best sides in Europe is a joke.
What do you think? Comments below please.
Ever since the beginning of January the pair have been arguing. Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez kicked it all off when he made his outburst about the FA's leniency towards Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson when it comes to referees.
Since then, they have argued about a variety of different things including kick-off times following mid-week European games, United being "scared" of Liverpool and, of course, the title race.
In the build-up to United's FA Cup semi-final with Everton on Sunday, Ferguson has decided to target Benitez' lack of respect to Liverpool's Merseyside rivals and Blackburn. The Scot had this to say : "Everton are a big club, not a small one which Benitez arrogantly said ... Arrogance is one thing. You cannot forgive contempt, which is what he showed Sam Allardyce last weekend,"
"When Liverpool scored their second goal he signalled as if the game was finished. I do not think Sam deserved that ... Sam has worked so hard for the LMA (League Managers' Association) and he's had a weakened team. I just thought it showed contempt ... In my experience no Liverpool manager has ever done that. It was beyond the pale."
Interesting stuff from Ferguson. I must say I did not see what Benitez did last Saturday during the side's 4-0 win over Blackburn, however for Ferguson to say such things something must have happened. I do remember Benitez calling Everton a small club and at the time I thought it was quite disrespectful, however why it has taken Ferguson this long to say something about that is kind of strange.
What do you make of Ferguson's comments? Comments below please.
OK, both were outstanding goals in their own right, but what we at Football Corner want to know is, who's was better?
Tuesday night saw Chelsea defender Alex score an unbelievable 30-yard free-kick which helped Guus Hiddink's men earn a place in the last four of the Champions League. FIFA World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo scored one of the goals of the season on Wednesday night against Porto. His 35-yard screamer earned Manchester United a semi-final tie with Arsenal.
So who will you vote for? If I was picking myself, I would probably go for Ronaldo's only because it was from open play. Please place your vote below.
So we're down to the last four. In just over a month's time Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal will be crowned Champions of Europe in Rome's Olympic Stadium.
There is no doubt we're in for two mouth-watering semi-final clashes as Barcelona face Chelsea whilst current Champions Man United play Arsenal. Based on current European form alone you would have to fancy Barca going all the way.
Pep Guardiola's men have looked unplayable at times this season. Their quarter-final first leg against German giants Bayern Munich was outstanding. Barca completely outplayed their opponents, eventually running out 4-0 winners, however that figure could have been even more.
So who's going to stop Barca from going all the way? In my opinion no one, however Guus Hiddink may have a thing or two to say about that. There is no doubt Chelsea, who have been in fine form of late, have the players to compete with Barca over two legs. When Didier Drogba is on form, I honestly don't believe their is a better striker in Europe.
The one thing Chelsea have going for them is the fact that they are at home in the crucial second leg of the tie, which can play a major bearing on who actually progresses. Overall though, I think Barcelona will prove too good for Chelsea and will comfortably beat them 3-1 on aggeragate.
So who will join them in the final? I can't see Arsenal stopping Man United. Sir Alex Ferguson's men know they got lucky in the last round against Porto and I don't see them slipping up again.
What do you think? Who do you think will make it to the final and more importantly who will go on to lift the famous trophy?
It was an emotional day at Anfield as Liverpool remembered the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy.
96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death during their side's FA Cup quarter-final clash with Nottingham Forest after police made the decision to allow too many fans into the away section in Hillsborough that day.
As I watched today's service at Anfield, I couldn't help but feel a huge sense of admiration for the people of Liverpool. The two minute silence that marked the occasion was incredible. Not a sound for the 120 seconds.
Despite last night's exit from the Champions League, the Liverpool fans gave Rafa Benitez' men an unbelievable reception as they took their seats for the service. You would excpect nothing less from fans who are undoubtedly among the best in the world.
I am sure the friends and families of those who died in Sheffield 20 years ago will have been delighted with how the day went.
In the end, it was a weekend that did little to change the outcome of this seasons Premier League title race.
Manchester United still look firmly on course to claim their third title in as many years, whilst Liverpool still have a mountain to climb if they are to win their first title in nearly twenty years.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men showed a great deal of character (or just got lucky) beating Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. This result came just a few hours after Rafa Benitez' men comfortably saw off Blackburn 4-0 at Anfield on what was a highly emotional day on Merseyside as Liverpool fans remembered the 96 fans who died in Hillsborough twenty years ago.
With just six games to go now, you would have to saw it is Uniteds title to lose. They now sit just a point above Liverpool, however they also have a game in hand which is against Wigan in a months time.
I feel next week's matches will tell us a lot as to where the Premier League trophy eventually ends up. Liverpool host the in-form Arsenal whilst United welcome Portsmouth to Old Trafford. Who do you think will win the title? Comments below please.
Apologies for the lack of posting over the last week or so.
Well I certainly hope so.
The Manchester City striker has today been cleared off all charges following allegations of a sexual assault in January. The Brazilian was arrested at the time after some Yorkshire woman accussed him of sexually assaulting her, however he was soon released on bail.
Since the time of his arrest, Robinho hasn't scored a single goal for the club he joined back in September for a British record fee of £32 million. The 25-year old has come in for some strong critiscim for his lack of goals and apparent lack of effort in recent weeks and months. Maybe now that he has been cleared of the allegations he might start performing on the field for Mark Hughes' men.
We will see if Robinho can add to the 12 goals he has already scored for City when they travel to Hamburg for their crucial UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg clash on Thursday.
There's no better way to describe Federico Macheda's injury-time winner for Manchester United today than how Andy Gray did.
"Take a bow son."
Feel free to leave your thoughts on today's match by leaving a comment below.
Yesterday saw both West Brom and Middlesbrough all but book their place in the Championship next season.
The Premier League's bottom side, West Brom were comfortably beaten 2-0 at home to Stoke City. The defeat leaves them with little chance of catching Sunderland who currently occupy 17th spot, eight points ahead of Tony Mowbray's men.
Meanwhile, Middlesbrough look doomed after they were comprehensively beaten 4-1 away to Bolton yesterday. Gareth Southgate's men now have five points to make up on their North East rivals Sunderland and with Manchester United and Arsenal still to play, few would put their money on Boro avoiding the drop.
I can't say I'm surprised to see West Brom go down. All season they have played some nice football, however they have never really convinced me that they were good enough to compete in this league. It's disappointing to see a side like Boro going down. They have been in the top flight for over ten years now and despite the fact they tended to play boring football at times, they are definitely a club to be admired.
What do you think? Have either of these sides got any chance of avoiding the drop this season? Comments below please.
So there's only 8 games to go in this season's Premier League and to say it's close is an understatement. At the top, Manchester United and Liverpool are neck and neck with Rafa Benitez' men in with every chance after a terrific last few weeks.
At the bottom, there's still six or seven teams who could realistically be relegated. So we are in for a very exciting few weeks ahead, yes?
Well, here's a chance to make the final eight games of the season even more exciting. By entering "You the Manager", the Daily Mirror's fantasy football game, you have the chance to win some smashing prizes between now and May 24th. Manager of the Month (well for April & May together) wins a massive £10,000.
Also, every week you have the chance to win a cool £100 by being the Manager of the Week. So enter your team now by following the link below and avail of the Daily Mirror's special offer. Two teams for the price of one. So that's just £5 to be in with a chance of winning £10,000. What are you waiting for?
Here are a few players I think are definitely worth a look when picking you're team :
- Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) - £7.5 million
- Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) - £8 million
- Phil Jagielka (Everton) - £4 million
- Petr Cech (Chelsea) - £ 5 million
It was a case of better late than never for the Irish national team last night as they claimed a late point in Bari, Italy.
Robbie Keane was the hero on the night as Ireland kept their hopes alive of qualifying in top spot in Group 8 of World Cup qualifying. Marcelo Lippi's Italy took an early lead just minutes after they were reduced to ten men. Giampaolo Pazzini saw red with just two minutes on the clock after he "supposedly" elbowed Manchester United defender John O'Shea.
It was Vincenzo Iaquinta who gave the hosts the lead. Fabio Grosso got on the end of a smart ball played down the line by AC Milan midfielder Andrea Pirlo, and the Lyon man's subsequent cross was met by Iaquinta.
Giovani Trappatoni's men were clearly rattled by the early goal and the Italian manager was forced to make a change just moments after the opener. The unimpressive Andy Keogh was replaced by Hull City striker Caleb Folan.
That move seemed to give the visitors that much needed kick up the backside.
Ireland controlled proceedings there after, without ever really threatening until the final few moments. A long ball hoofed forward by Manchester City keeper Shay Given was met by the head of substitute Folan, who nodded it down to Keane who coolly slotted the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon to send the travelling fans into hysterics.
All in all, it was a good result for Trap's men. Looking back at it now, the Irish players may feel as though they could of won the game, however a draw was probably a fair result. There is no doubt Ireland's job was made a lot easier when Italy were reduced to ten men but to go a goal behind and still manage to claim a point against the World Champions deserves a lot of credit. Next up for the Boys in green is a trip to Bulgaria.
Mike Ashley hasn't done many things right since taken over Newcastle United back in July of 2007, however his decision to bring Alan Shearer in as manager at St James' Park until the end of the season deserves a lot of praise.
Newcastle are in a relegation dog-fight right now. They currently sit 18th in the Premier League, two points adrift of Blackburn in 17th with several tricky ties to come for the North East club.
It's no secret that appointing a new manager has a very positive affect on a struggling team (most of the time anyway) so I think the appointment of Shearer is just what Newcastle need right now. A person who knows the club inside out, to come in and give the team a much needed lift.
In all probability, Newcastle will need to win four of their last eight games to be sure of survival and I feel they will just about manage that now that Shearer has arrived. The former Magpies number nine's first game in charge will be this Saturday's encounter with Chelsea (not an easy fixture by any stretch of the imagination).
Based on the assumption that Chelsea win that game, that leaves just seven games for Newcastle to get the 12 points they require. I can envisage home victories for them against the likes of Portsmouth, Fulham and Middlesbrough. So where will that other victory come from. Well, the trips to Stoke City and Tottenham seem likes the most likely candidates.
So in conclusion, well done Mike Ashley.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Good appointment or not? Comments below please.