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  • Matty, Lizzi, Joseph, George and our resident Bundesliga expert Jamie Hall look back at the weekends football from home and abroad, looking at whatever is going on at Spurs, if we can finally get George to get his hopes up over Liverpool's title chances and get a thorough view on the Bundesliga relegation dog-fight.

  • This is the end, my only friend, the end. Lost this game, and we’ll be shown all kinds of doors.

    Despite a resilient display against a super strong Liverpool side - who are now favourites for the title -  this week has been a pretty dreadful one for Sunderland fans. In fact, if it weren’t for a last, last, last minute goal from Cardiff, I may have forgone this blog altogether, because it’s safe to say we would have been down. But there was a late goal for the Bluebirds (are they now called the Redbirds?), so welcome to the second edition of Sunderland’s ten and out.

  • In June 2010, Fiorentina’s longest serving manager, Cesare Prandelli, left for greener pastures at the helm of the Italian national football team. To most Gigliati fans, this signalled the end of an era, as Adrian Mutu and Sebastien Frey, symbols of the Prandelli era, accompanied their coach through the exit door. The next two seasons failed to inspire any of the fans who flocked to the Stadio Artemio Franchi, as the club found themselves mired in mediocrity, falling dangerously close to the relegation zone, with notable low points including the loss of Riccardo Montolivo on a Bosman transfer and Stevan Jovetic’s prolonged spells on the medical table.

  • It’s not been a good week for me as an Arsenal fan. I feel like I’ve been chewed up and spat out, and just when I thought there was some respite in all the masticating, we went and drew with Swansea, having turned around the game to establish a 2-1 lead.

  • Welcome to a new feature at Ballsy Banter in which I will be taking a look at Sunderland’s last ten games of the season and rate our chances of staying up. To say it has been a season of doom and gloom in the red half of the North East would be slightly unfair. The injection of belief that came with the appointment of Gus Poyet was a nice period. We managed to haul ourselves out from a position of no hope (for survival) to a place where most were sure we would be safe. The cup runs were also fantastic. In fact, there was just a jolly good sentiment floating all around the Stadium of Light.

  • Matty, Lizzi, Emma & George look back at the weekends football from home and abroad, looking at Arsenals winning title charge to Barca busting open the La Liga championship race.

  • With Brazil 2014 fast approaching, and the release of the Three Lions' new World Cup song - a cover of Take That's 'Greatest Day' - intended to raise money for Sport Relief, I've taken a look back through the youtube archives and come up with my very own top 10 list of England's greatest tournament anthems. There's nostalgia, hilarity and very bad singing aplenty; researching an article such as this makes you realise how many terrible England songs there are out there (and I say that as a proud member of the tone-deaf community).

  • Having found my niche on Ballsy Banter - making sense of and defending Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's numerous outbursts - I'm back again to do much the same in this piece. Reason being, following Chelsea's 4-0 drubbing of London rivals Tottenham, The Special One decided to stir up a little bit more controversy."I would prefer to be in City's position," he proclaimed. "They have three matches in hand. If they win them all, they are top. We don't have control of our destiny - if we win all our matches then maybe we are not champions. If City win their games, they are champions."

  • Chelsea hosted Galatasaray in the reverse leg of the Champions League quarter-finals. The first game started with enormous Chelsea pressure, but changes in the approach of the Turkish team, and the willingness of Chelsea to come away with a draw, meant that the tie was still open for the game at Stamford Bridge.

  • Since Liverpool last won a top flight title, Manchester United have been crowned champions of England 13 times. Liverpool have only finished above the Red Devils once in Premier League history, way back during the Gérard Houllier era. So, when Brendan Rodgers masterminded a shattering 3-0 victory at the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday, there was a widespread sense that the once unmovable plates of success that sit comfortably beneath the Old Trafford turf had begun to shift. United's era of dominance has been unearthed.

  • Back once again (like the renegade master...again) Matty, Emma and George dissect the weekend that was in football. We ask whether Liverpool have a true title challenge, ask if Chelsea are too insecure to hold on to the lead and if Fulham can do the Great Escape 2.0 in one of the most intriguing Premier Leagues in recent memory. We also look at the Championship, Europe and beyond!

  • It was the moment the Red Army had waited a generation to see. As Russell Anderson lifted the Scottish League Cup trophy above his head on Sunday afternoon, he brought to an end almost 20 years of pain and heartbreak for the fans of one of Scotland's top sides. The Dons fans have had to endure so much since the last League Cup triumph in 1995, but all that time, they have kept faith and continued to turn out in huge numbers.

  • Less than a week ago, it was all going so right for the blue half of Manchester; the Capital One Cup was in the bag, they had an opportunity to exact revenge on last year's FA Cup foes Wigan in the sixth round of this year's competition, and the glamour tie of Barcelona away in the knock-out stages of the Champions League awaited. Two defeats later, and things look distinctly less rosy from a City perspective.

  • It was all going so well. Bayer Leverkusen were pretty in second place in the Bundesliga table, behind only the Bayern Munich juggernaut and putting everyone's favourite 'other team', Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund, to the sword along the way.

  • Napoli. Juventus. Fiorentina. These are the teams left to fly the flag for Italy in the Europa League, as Lazio crashed out to the Bulgarian club, Ludogorets Razgrad, in the round of 32. Since its rebranding in 2009, the Europa League has been a vastly inferior competition to its bigger brother, the Champions League, from the staggering differences in prize money to the abysmal anthem that fails to inspire even a morsel of the passion that its Champions League counterpart does.

  • Two weeks ago, Arsene Wenger used the luxury of a nice easy home tie in the Champions League to try out a bright youth team prospect, Yaya Sanogo. Unfortunately what didn't figure in Monsieur Arsene's plans were that this was a game against the best team in Europe, and probably the world, Bayern Munich.

  • Well, it was fun while it lasted.

     This season has been an unmitigated disaster if you are a Fulham fan like myself. Kasami thunderbastard aside, it's been a myriad of poor decisions, bad tactics and terrible performances which have left us out of the major cups at the earliest stages and rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.

  • Dumping on David Moyes when his team won 3-0 at the weekend didn't really sit right with me to start with. It seems a bit...churlish. Who am I to judge a a manager harshly after such success, especially away from home?

    Even if it was against West Brom, a team that is only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. And even when he started with two talismanic international centre-forwards and a European and World Cup winner.

    He's clearly underachieving; this should be fine.

  • 26 games into the season, Udinese find themselves 15th in the league, just 7 points away from the relegation zone. For those who have followed Serie A for only three years, this may seem shocking. After all, from the 2010-11 season onwards, Udinese have established themselves as regular continental representatives of Italy, finishing 4th, 3rd and 5th respectively. However, over these last three seasons, Udinese has been unable to impose their presence on Europe, failing to reach the Champions League group stage despite two playoff appearances, and only making it as far as the round of 16 in the Europa League once.

  • No football fan's summer is complete without a transfer saga, especially when there isn't a major tournament to get distracted by. 2013 was no exception: Bale's move to Madrid and Spurs' splurging after; Willian arriving in London expecting to sign for AVB but instead opting for Jose; some random dude getting the Barca job cos Messi said he liked him once; Fernandinho's desperation to sign for Manchester City and Manchester United's inability to do anything right.

    I think that's everything...

  • Before Yaya Touré struck that absolute screamer of an equaliser in the 55th minute at Wembley on Sunday; before Samir Nasri followed it up with a belter of his own to take City into the lead; and before Jesús Navas sealed a remarkable second-half comeback by the Blues with his exquisite right-footed shot, I was already thinking about writing this article, quibbling over whether I'd lambast Pellegrini for starting Demichelis or Džeko first. Then, Yaya.

  • The announcement made by United club captain Nemanja Vidic about his decision to leave Manchester at the end of the season is not actually the reason United need a complete overhaul of their back line. The problem is a little bit deeper than that. United have ample cover for Vidic in Evans, Smalling and Jones but take into consideration that Fabio has already left, that Patrice Evra will probably leave in the summer, and that Rio Ferdinand is not the defensive stalwart that he once was, it becomes apparent that despite the lack of creativity in the middle of the park, it is actually the defence that needs to be reinforced. However, not any defender will do – there seems to be a successful formula that needs to be followed.

  • It is not the easiest of times up on Tyneside right now. After the sale of Yohan Cabaye towards the end of January, Newcastle United hit somewhat of a slump.
    Newcastle managed to scrape a 1-0 win over Aston Villa last weekend, which could have easily been 3-0 if not for their misfiring strike force. Loic Remy hit the post with an open goal, while Papiss Cisse blasted over from a similar position. Only in the 91st minute did they manage to finally break the deadlock, with the Toon Army breathing a collective sigh of relief. But that relief was short lived. Only one week later and the club has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons again.

 

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