City must continue fight for 4th without Given

By Joe Behan

It has to be a joke that Manchester City have petitioned for an emergency loan deal to get a keeper after Shay Given wrecked his shoulder. Given landed badly while trying to make a save and now he is out for the remainder of the season. But seriously, it can’t be true that City is looking for this favor. Can it?
The Blue Moon held Arsenal to a 0-0 tie that both managers were happy with. The Gunners have to lose their last two while Spurs must win three more to take that precious automatic third spot for Champions League. It has been a great league this season and anything can happen but it will be a miracle to see Arsenal lose their grip on third. While Arsene Wenger gave praise to Sol Campbell, suggesting that he could travel to the World Cup, one wonders about the manager’s defensive strategies. They seem to have gone missing in the pursuit of the beautiful game.

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Fergie outthinks Tottenham
Spurs fell to Manchester United just when it looked like they could do damage after a Ledley King equalizer. Then Fergie the Fox switched his team from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2. Game over. Ferguson took out Rafael and brought on Federico Macheda. We saw the Italian striker play a big role last season when he scored some very important goals for United’s title. This past weekend he slipped Nani in to lift the ball over a stranded Spurs keeper. It was a great lob by a player who was also taken down in the box for United’s third goal. Ryan Giggs put home both PK kicks for the Red Devils despite his otherwise ineffective play. It was another brilliant stroke of genius by Fergie having the Welsh winger take the PKs and keeping him very much involved.
Liverpool’s status is in jeopardy
Ironic isn’t it that United are depending on Liverpool to help them win the league? The two great rivals have each got 18 league titles and next week if Liverpool beat Chelsea at Anfield, United will surely make it 19 the following weekend, thereby besting their Red rivals on the list for the first time ever. We are, of course, talking here about the history of the league, but when it comes specifically to the Premiership Liverpool has yet to win its first. In 2010, they have a very slim chance of remaining one of the Big Four. Spurs, Aston Villa and Manchester City are currently ahead of them in that tough battle for 4th place. All three would have to falter in the last fortnight for Liverpool to officially remain a domestic powerhouse. It’s not looking good at Anfield. Such failures come with losses off the field as well as on. Fernando Torres is crying about how Premier football could ruin his career long term. The Spanish forward said he cannot see himself lasting in the league and is hinting at a new beginning.

Blues hammer the Potters
Chelsea are in the driving seat and made no mistake when they annihilated Stoke City with a 7-0 lesson. First place has flipped over 20 times this season but Chelsea has always looked like the team to beat. No team was able to put the boot down and accelerate from one or the other. Even Arsenal had that chance. And now as we approach the finish line it’s still Chelsea’s to lose, and everybody at Stamford Bridge can finally realize that.

Barca have met their match
Barcelona will go into their Champions’ League semifinal home second leg tie again Inter Milan 1-3 down. While nobody is writing off the titleholders Barca most believe that Inter will pull through. However, should the Spanish wizards score first it’s truly game on. At the same time Inter Milan has a great knack for scoring almost right away when they have to.
In the second half of the first leg, Inter caught Barca on the hop. Mourinho turned the game around after his half-time talk. In the last 15 minutes or so Inter intentionally sat in on a 3-1 cushion.
One big advantage Inter have is time wasting. They can slow the game down in many ways. They can get numbers behind the ball and they can frustrate Barca. Rest assured Mourinho will also look to score from his defensive game plan.
If any team in the world can do it counter him, it’s Barcelona. We will find out just how good they are and that applies to Messi. The little magician from Argentina knows he was silenced in Italy and today he must redeem himself.