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World Cup 2014

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  • Time.
    It's one of the pillars of our very existence. We keep and spend it with equal vigour. It's something we all claim we need more of but when we have it, it is inevitably squandered. It's fleeting; difficult to grasp to the point of intangibility, but when you do hold onto a moment, it can be one of the greatest experiences of your life.

    It's also something Maurcio Pochettino needs in spades.

  • Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad);

    Defenders: Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica), Diego Lugano (unattached), Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez (both Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Nacional), Martin Caceres (Juventus), Jorge Fucile (Porto);

    Midfielders: Alejandro Silva (Lanus), Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio), Alvaro Pereira (Sao Paulo), Walter Gargano (Parma), Egidio Arevalo Rios (Morelia), Diego Perez (Bologna), Sebastian Eguren (Palmeiras), Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo);

    Forwards: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Edinson Cavani (Paris St Germain), Abel Hernandez (Palermo), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka), Christian Stuani (Espanyol).

  • Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense), Daniel Cambronero (Herediano), Esteban Alvarado (AZ Alkmaar);

    Defenders: Johnny Acosta (Alajuelense), Giancarlo González (Columbus Crew), Míchael Umaña (Deportivo Saprissa), Óscar Duarte (Club Brugge), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew), Heiner Mora (Deportivo Saprissa), Júnior Díaz (FSV Mainz), Cristian Gamboa (Rosenborg BK), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls), Kendall Waston (Deportivo Saprissa);

    Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK), Christian Bolaños (FC Copenhagen), Esteban Granados (Herediano), Michael Barrantes (Aalesunds FK), Yeltsin Tejeda (Deportivo Saprissa), Diego Calvo (Vålerenga), José Miguel Cubero (Herediano), Carlos Hernández (Wellington Phoenix), Ariel Rodríguez Araya (Alajuelense), Hansall Araúz (Deportivo Saprissa);

    Forwards: Bryan Ruiz (PSV Eindhoven), Joel Campbell (Arsenal), Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake), Randall Brenes (Cartaginés), Marco Ureña (Kuban Krasnodar), Jairo Arrieta (Columbus Crew).

  • Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Standard Liege), Shusaku Nishikawa (Urawa Reds), Shuichi Gonda (FC Tokyo);

    Defenders: Masato Morishige (FC Tokyo), Yasuyuki Konno (Gamba Osaka), Yuto Nagatomo (Inter Milan), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Masahiko Inoha (Jubilo Iwata), Atsuto Uchida (Schalke 04), Hiroki Sakai (Hannover 96), Gotoku Sakai (VfB Stuttgart);

    Midfielders: Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka), Keisuke Honda (AC Milan), Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United), Makoto Hasebe (FC Nuremberg), Hiroshi Kiyotake (FC Nuremberg), Hotaru Yamaguchi (Cerezo Osaka), Toshihiro Aoyama (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Manabu Saito (Yokohama F. Marinos);

    Forwards: Shinji Okazaki (Mainz), Yoichiro Kakitani (Cerezo Osaka), Yuya Osako (TSV Munich 1860), Yoshito Okubo (Kawasaki Frontale).

  • A season full of twists and turns, ruthless sackings, global embarrassment and long trophy droughts being quenched, 2013/14 has been kind to the football fan, with this year guaranteed to go down as one of the most memorable in recent history. However, football isn't all drama and excitement; it's a hotbed for hilarity, be it intentional or accidental. Here are some of the most hilarious quotes from this season. Enjoy.

  • Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis (Granada), Panagiotis Glykos (PAOK), Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos)

    Defenders: Vassilis Torosidis (Roma), Loukas Vyntra (Levante), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Kostas Manolas (Olympiakos), Vangelis Moras (Hellas Verona), José Holebas (Olympiakos), Georgios Tzavellas (PAOK), Giannis Maniatis (Olympiakos)

    Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Kostas Katsouranis (PAOK), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham), Andreas Samaris (Olympiakos), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Torino), Panagiotis Kone (Bologna), Giannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna)

    Forwards: Georgios Samaras (Celtic), Kostas Mitroglou (Fulham), Fanis Gekas (Konyaspor), Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK)

  • Goalkeepers: Boubacar Barry (Lokeren), Sylvain Gbohouo (Sewe Sport), Ali Sangare Badra (Asec Mimosas), Sayouba Sande (Stabaek);

    Defenders: Kolo Toure (Liverpool), Sol Bamba (Trabzonspor), Didier Zokora (Trabzonspor), Serge Aurier (Toulouse), Arthur Boka (Stuttgart), Benjamin Angoua (Valenciennes), Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba (Caykur Rizespor), Constant Djakpa (Frankfurt), Brice Dja Djedje (Marseille), Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro (Toulouse);

    Midfielders: Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Cheik Tiote (Newcastle), Serey Die (Basel), Max Gradel (Saint Etienne), Diomande Ismael (Saint Etienne), Didier Ya Konan (Hannover), Mathis Bolly (Dusseldorf);

    Forwards: Gervinho (Roma), Didier Drogba (Galatasaray), Salomon Kalou (Lille), Wilfried Bony (Swansea), Seydou Doumbia (CSKA Moscow), Lacina Traore (Everton), Giovanni Sio (Basel).

  • Goalkeepers: David Ospina (Nice), Faryd Mondragon (Deportivo Cali), Camilo Vargas (Santa Fe);
    Defenders: Mario Yepes (Atalanta), Aquivaldo Mosquera (America, Mexico), Cristian Zapata (AC Milan), Carlos Valdes (San Lorenzo), Amaranto Perea (Cruz Azul), Eder Alvarez Balanta (River Plate), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Camilo Zuniga (Napoli), Pablo Armero (West Ham);
    Midfielders: Carlos Sanchez (Elche), Fredy Guarin (Inter Milan), Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Elkin Soto (Mainz), Aldo Leao Ramirez (Morelia), Juan Fernando Quintero (Porto), Víctor Ibarbo (Cagliari), James Rodriguez (Monaco), Macnelly Torres (Al Shabab), Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Fiorentina), Edwin Valencia (Fluminense), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional);
    Forwards: Radamel Falcao (Monaco), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Adrian Ramos (Hertha Berlin), Luis Fernando Muriel (Udinese), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate).

  • As we saw on Saturday, Real Madrid have won the most prestigious European Cup for the tenth time, completing their quest for 'La Decima'. Atletico Madrid were very close to winning the cup; they defended excellently throughout the first half, but Real Madrid did everything to get the equalizer. Atletico ran out of legs towards the end of the match, they didn't have the energy needed to play their counter-attacking game, and take advantage of the extremely attacking style of Real Madrid.

  • Goalkeepers: Mark Birighitti, (Newcastle Jets), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge);

    Defenders: Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Curtis Good (Newcastle United), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Matthew Spiranovic, (Western Sydney Wanderers), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow), Bailey Wright (Preston North End);

    Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa), Joshua Brilliante (Newcastle Jets), James Holland (Austria Wien), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Matthew McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Tom Rogic (Melbourne Victory), Adam Sarota (Utrecht), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Dario Vidosic (Sion);

    Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets).

  • GoalkeepersClaudio Bravo (Real Sociedad), Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile), Cristopher Toselli (Universidad Catolica), Paulo Garces (O'Higgins);

    DefendersGary Medel (Cardiff City), Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest), Marcos Gonzalez (Union Espanola), José Rojas (Universidad de Chile), Eugenio Mena (Santos), Mauricio Isla (Juventus);

    MidfieldersJorge Valdívia (Palmeiras), Felipe Gutiérrez (Twente), Rodrigo Millar (Atlas), José Pedro Fuenzalida (Colo Colo), Pablo Hernández (O'Higgins), Francisco Silva (Osasuna), Arturo Vidal (Juventus), Charles Aránguiz (Internacional), Marcelo Díaz (Basel), Carlos Carmona (Atalanta), Miiko Albornoz (Malmo);

    Forwards: Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona), Eduardo Vargas (Valencia), Jean Beausejour (Wigan Athletic), Mauricio Pinilla (Cagliari), Fabián Orellana (Celta).

  • For years, Scottish football has been viewed as a laughing stock. Financial turmoil, a poor standard of football and the national team’s plunge down the FIFA world rankings have all been used as ammunition to fire towards the game north of the border. But is it really that bad? Ballsy Banter takes a look at some of the perceived areas of weakness…

     The top flight is a boring one-horse race

    One-horse race? Possibly. Boring? Certainly not. This season has been one of the most exciting for many a year. The ongoing battle between Aberdeen and Motherwell to finish second behind Celtic (and their vast riches) was compelling, with the momentum swinging from Fir Park to Pittodrie and back again, before the fight came down to the last minute of the final day. A frenetic goalmouth scramble resulted in the ball somehow being forced over the line; a goal which saw the side from Lanarkshire leapfrog the Dons into second.

  • This past season was one of Liverpool’s best seasons in a while. Even though it didn’t turn out how they wanted, Liverpool definitely exceeded everyone's expectations for this season. Let’s start with the bad, then move on to the good from this season.

  • Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Jeroen Zoet (PSV);

    Defenders: Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg), Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Karim Rekik (PSV), Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord), Daley Blind (Ajax);
    Midfielders: Leroy Fer (Norwich City), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord);

    Forwards: Quincy Promes (Twente), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Jean-Paul Boetius (Feyenoord), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Memphis Depay (PSV).

  • Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David De Gea (Manchester United);

    Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos (both Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Cesar Azplicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla);

    Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao), David Silva (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Jesus Navas (Manchester City);

    Forwards: Diego Costa, David Villa (both Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Juventus), Fernando Torres (Chelsea).

  • GoalkeepersCharles Itandje (Konyaspor), N’dy Assembé (Guingamp), Sammy Ndjock (Fetihespor), Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport)

    DefendersAllan Nyom (Granada), Dany Nounkeu (Beşiktaş JK), Cedric Djeugoue (Coton Sport), Aurélien Chedjou (Galatasaray SK), Nicolas Nkoulou (Olympique Marseille), Armel Kana-Biyik (Stade Rennes), Henri Bedimo (Olympique Lyon), Benoît Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham Hotspur), Gaëtan Bong (Olympiakos), Joël Matip (FC Schalke)

    MidfieldersEyong Enoh (Antalyaspor), Jean Makoun (Stade Rennes), Stéphane Mbia (Queens Park Rangers), Landry N'Guémo (Bordeaux), Alex Song (FC Barcelona), Cédric Loé (Osasuna), Edgar Sally (RC Lens)

    Forwards: Samuel Eto’o (Chelsea), Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting (FC Mainz), Benjamin Moukandjo (AS Nancy), Vincent Aboubakar (FC Lorient), Achille Webó (Fenerbahçe SK), Mohammadou Idrissou (FC Kaiserslautern), Fabrice Olinga (SV Zulte Waregem)

  • The Squad

    Goalkeepers: Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Guillermo Ochoa (AC Ajaccio);

    Defenders: Paul Aguilar, Miguel Layun (both Club America), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Diego Reyes (Porto), Francisco Rodriguez (Club America), Rafael Marquez (Leon), Carlos Salcido (Tigres);

    Midfielders: Hector Herrera (Porto), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon), Carlos Pena (Leon), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Luis Montes (Leon), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul), Andres Guardado (Bayer Leverkusen);

    Forwards: Oribe Peralta (Santos Laguna), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Raul Jimenez (Club America), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal).

  • Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Oliver Zelenika (Locomotive);

    Defenders: Dario Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Gordon Schildenfeld (Panathinaikos), Danijel Pranjic (Panathinaikos), Ivan Strinic (Dnipro), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Genoa) Igor Bubnjic (Udinese);

    Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Niko Kranjcar (QPR), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Perisic (Wolfsburg), Mateo Kovacic (Internazionale), Milan Badelj (HSV), Marcelo Brozovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Mocinic (HNK Rijeka), Mario Pasalic (Hajduk Split), Sammir (Getafe);

    Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich), Ivica Olic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo da Silva (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavic (Hull City), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina), Duje Cop (Dinamo Zagreb).

  • Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro);

    Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Maxwell, Thiago Silva (both Paris St Germain), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Henrique (Napoli);

    Midfielders: Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Ramires, Willian, Oscar (all Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Luiz Gustavo (VfL Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City);

    Forwards: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Fred (Fluminense), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg)

  • In 2004, Chelsea hired a manager. He was considered the best young coaching talent in the world, and the Premier League felt lucky to have him. This manager won the Carling Cup and the Premier League title in his first season in English football, an achievement not really slandered by the fact his squad cost considerably more than anyone else’s, and his wage bill was much higher. Of course, this manager was Jose Mourinho, the Special One, and he has been "The Best Manager in The World" ever since.

  • A prominent debate among football fans this season has been the goalkeeping situation at Chelsea FC. Ever since signing Belgian wonderkid Thibaut Courtois, fans have been wondering when he would actually debut for the club. For the past three seasons, he has been loaned out to Atletico Madrid and has been a crucial part of the squad that has seen them go from strength to strength, and eventually win the La Liga title this past Saturday with a draw against Barcelona. Meanwhile, Petr Cech is the current Chelsea goalkeeper and is one of the most consistent players in the Premier League, not just at Chelsea.

  • Only four days have passed since Arsenal finally ended their trophy drought, and to be frank, I still can’t get enough. Before you say anything, no – it was not the Emirates Cup; neither was it the imaginative ‘fourth place trophy’ we seem to win every season. Instead, it was real success: the prestigious FA Cup. On May 17th, the Gunners officially put their nine-year hiatus of silverware to bed, and ended one of the most torrid and difficult periods ever experienced in the club’s history in the process.

  • They did it.

    Against all odds, Atletico Madrid went to the Nou Camp and in front of 100,000 rabid fans, took La Liga off the holders by outlasting a team with six World Cup winners, Brazil’s great hope for this summer and the Greatest Player of Our Generation™. It was truly a fantastic moment for Diego Simeone and his men; made all the more impressive that they did it after going one down with their talismanic striker Diego Costa sobbing over an injury. And this weekend, they will play the biggest Madrid derby of their lives against their richer, whiter rivals.

  • The Serie A 2013-14 season was filled, as was to be expected, with the drama and insanity that makes Italian football so enticing to football fans. Some giants faltered and ultimately failed, while traditional minnows rallied to successes greater than they could have hoped for. With no more matches to be played for any Italian club, each side is already looking towards the start of next season already. So, with this in mind, let’s run through each team’s season, and the repercussions of this season for the future.

  • There’s a famous scene in the movie Pulp Fiction, where in order to clear up an accidental murder scene, Jules and Vincent, two of the lead characters of the movie, call upon an experienced old hand called “The Wolf”, who specialises in getting the results you need, but as long as you do EXACTLY what he says. Sure enough, by following The Wolf’s instructions, the murder scene is totally cleared up and the two men walk away clean. There’s an air of The Wolf in Manchester United’s appointment of Louis van Gaal today, as the club looks to distance itself from David Moyes’ inadvertent shooting of the club’s face by looking firmly in the direction of someone who’s been there and done it all, who knows exactly what he wants those around him to do, and who’ll get them the results they so desperately need.

  • Saturday evening marked a huge event in Spanish football, as Atletico Madrid secured their league title with a draw against Barcelona. The game was fitting to their season: they pulled through even in the worst circumstances. They got the result they needed despite of having to substitute two key players, and despite going behind away to one of the biggest teams in the world.

  • Seven games in, and Man City Women have endured a very mixed start to their 2014 campaign. Early progress in the FA Cup has been tempered, whilst form and results in the league have been pretty disappointing, though something of a silver lining is forming with performances in the Continental Cup. Let’s take a closer look at MCWFC’s season so far.

  • It’s becoming a tired argument, but it’s one that is going to keep on raging until Arsene Wenger eventually leaves Arsenal or has a season that the fans can be proud of. It’s a debate that has been going on for years, and and it is one which has divided the supporters as either ‘fickle’ or ‘naive’, especially when we lose a game or have a season that is below par. But this issue might be resolved sooner than expected, or at least, I think it should be.

  • It’s been a big week for Major League Soccer as ESPN, FOX, and Univision inked a new TV deal, and Jurgen Klinnsman released his 30-man preliminary World Cup roster.

    On Monday, Major League Soccer made a major announcement about the future of MLS on TV. MLS has officially signed a new television and media rights partnership with ESPN, FOX Sports, and Univision. All of these channels will televise the US Men’s and Women’s National Team games, as well as MLS matches through 2022. The break-down of matches for the USNT will go something like this; ESPN and FOX Sports will split Men’s National Team broadcast package of approximately 10 games per year, and will share the schedule of Women’s National Team games. Univision broadcast all of the US Men’s National Team games, plus a minimum of four Women’s National Team matches each year throughout the duration of the deal.

  • And that’s that. 2013/14 will go down as one of the greatest seasons ever, right?

    Well, no. It seemed that half of the teams in the league at any given time were utterly miserable for one reason or another. But all this failure and awful luck gives us a chance to spread the schadenfreude around. And there’s nothing I like better on my toast.

    So, without further ado, here is the Fail XI 2014.

  • Join Matty, Emma and George as we go through all the big stories from the past few days in football. We look over the final day of the Premier League season looking at the title chase and the effects it has had throughout the league ranging from european places to managerial shake-ups. We also look at Roy Hodgson's managerial squadron heading to Brazil this summer and what is going down across Europe. We also exclusively reveal the prizes on offer SATURDAY 17TH MAY at MELTDOWN LONDON for the FIFA 14 TOURNAMENT!

  • Armin Veh is a stalwart of the German game; a man who has had his fair share of highs and lows. Having spent a large number of years outside the German top flight, playing for and managing his hometown team Augsburg among others, he shot to prominence in 2007 when he guided Stuttgart to the Bundesliga title. With a team including the likes of Mario Gomez and a young Sami Khedira, he defied the odds (and a poor start to the season) to shock the traditional ‘big teams’.

  • There are many England managers. Some of them wear red at weekends, others choose blue. It is difficult to identify them most weeks, as they only become recognisable once they get a whiff of opportunity; the opportunity to share their despair and discontent with the rest of us disenchanted England managers. We pick the team, not Steve McClaren, Fabio Capello, Roy Hodgson or whoever dares to take our privilege away from us. So, when that fraud, that opportunistic vulture so shamelessly defers from the future we have designed for the England team, we retaliate with words of injustice and disbelief. We ask why? We ask how?

  • Both Napoli and Fiorentina were looking to crown a great season by winning the Coppa Italia. Rafa Benitez arrived in Italy - where he previously failed with Inter - and brought in a total of twelve players to Napoli, shifting the side to a 4-2-3-1 formation from the 3-5-2 that they have used under Walter Mazzarri. Vincenzo Montella is about to close a successful season with Fiorentina, a season that can easily see them finish above the likes of Lazio, Internazionale, and Milan. It is not surprising that he is rumoured to be in talks to take over at Milan.

  • This is a piece based over the last two weeks looking at Spurs and Hull City at home.

     

    What did I say a few weeks back? "It’s the hope that kills you", or something?
    Well, yeah, that appears to be so because following two big wins, I got hope – and now, it’s killing me.

    A 3-1 loss to Tottenham was expected, even if we did the Fulham-ish thing of falling apart in the second half, but the last thing we expected was for Sunderland to face the wrath of Manchester City and Chelsea and get four points out of it.  This now means there’s only four points separating bottom from fourth bottom, which is exactly what we needed. I started last week thinking that Sunderland and Cardiff would be cut adrift and we could focus on Norwich; but now we have to have three pairs of eyes, because no one is safe now. Again, exactly what we needed.

  • With just two games left to play, the battle to avoid the drop down to Germany's second tier is hotting up. The season has served up surprises galore, with supposedly-doomed sides pushing for European football, and big names in severe danger of falling through the trapdoor. Let's takes a look at who is in danger and who has managed to claw their way clear of the relegation zone.

  • Anyone who has been keeping track of the Premier League in 2014 can see that since the sale of key player Yohan Cabaye, Newcastle United have been struggling to find form.

    During the course of the first half of the season, Newcastle had been surprising everyone, with wins over the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea. By the end of 2013, Newcastle were sitting in eighth place after just about falling behind Tottenham and Manchester United, as they had been sitting in sixth for most of December.

 

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