Monday Morning Kick: Man City all but surrender title

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  • Postcards from the Ledge: On Beethoven and Tottenham - It’s in moments like these, after a bad loss, where morale is at its lowest and everything seems as bleak as Wigan’s annual title hopes, where it can be helpful to step back from the precipice and get some perspective. Some of you know that I am a classically-trained musician with a keen interest in musicology. My liberal arts background also informs my tendency to think about ways in which the disparate can be connected, in this case classical music and sports… (Cartilage Free Captain)
  • Jol gives Tottenham a familiar fright - Hush descended. Despite the break in play, it was the most rapt White Hart Lane had been during 45 minutes of execrable toil. Gareth Bale was down and did not look like getting up. Spurs’ very season rested on his recovery. Half-time was a waiting game. The ankle injury he received after a hefty challenge by Giorgios Karagounis looked serious, and Bale had limped through the three minutes of injury time… (ESPN FC)
  • Rio Ferdinand withdraws from England squad for World Cup qualifiers - Rio Ferdinand has pulled out of the England squad following a meeting with Roy Hodgson on Sunday evening, with the 34-year-old citing the lack of notice he was given to adjust his fitness program.  The internationals against San Marino and Montenegro were supposed to be Ferdinand’s first games for England under Hodgson and his first for the national team since June 2011. The manager did not rule out selecting him in the future… (The Guardian)
  • Tough tackling risky but not malicious, says Robbie Savage - The main talking point from an eventful game at the DW Stadium was Callum McManaman’s tackle on Massadio Haidara, so I am going to start by trying to explain what goes through a player’s mind when you go into a challenge like that.  McManaman was not punished by referee Mark Halsey for his tackle on Massadio Haidara As far as Wigan’s tactics in their latest bid for Premier League survival are concerned, we saw some good examples of the pros and cons of their 3-4-3 formation and passing style… (BBC Football)

  • United soaring despite Van Persie’s dip, Moyes demands respect and is Mignolet Arsenal’s next keeper in waiting? - Lost in the narrative of Manchester United’s runaway championship challenge is how the goals have dried up for Robin van Persie. The flying Dutchman of the first part of the season has become badly grounded and has only one goal since 20 January… (The Guardian)
  • Wilshere Injury Worse Than Feared - Every good news comes with bad news. Every work bonus gets a chunk taken out for taxes, every new house comes with a yard that needs a ton of work, and every Arsenal step forward seems to come with at least one step back. Today’s step back is the news that Jack Wilshere’s ankle injury is more serious than first thought, and will probably keep him out for six weeks, which if that duration is true is most of the rest of the season… (The Short Fuse)
  • Oldham appoint youngest ever Football League manager - The Latics are expected to give the 31-year-old, who only left the Killies in January 2013, his first managerial role in the hope he can steer them to League One safety.  At present the Lancashire club sit in 21st position in the league and are two points adrift of safety, however, as a result of postponements as well as their run to the last 16 of the FA Cup, they do have at least two games in hand over their rivals as they aim to avoid the drop… (SoccerLens)
  • A new Keane at Manchester United? - Name: Michael Keane Age: 20 Club: Leicester City (on loan from Manchester United) Position: Centre-back Nationality: English When Michael Keane was chosen to start two League Cup games for Manchester United earlier this season, few outside observers batted an eyelid. The Red Devils were in a tight spot with injuries and found themselves short of defensive cover, with Keane and the slightly older Scott Wootton chosen to deputise… (The Scout’s Notebook- ESPN)
  • Sorcery or Science: the Secret of Steven Gerrard’s Fitness Success - Steven Gerrard has played every single minute of this season’s league campaign. Thirty games, or 2700 minutes, give or take extra time. With eight games left, Gerrard is on pace to top his current career high number of league games played — thirty-six in 2006-07 — all at the ripe old age of thirty-two. After spending the two previous seasons injury-plagued and finding himself on the sidelines more often than not, Gerrard seems to have settled into a physical equilibrium that has him fit and playing as one of the team’s top performers… (The Liverpool Offside)
  • How an American journeyman revolutionized Japanese soccer – and why it isn’t happening in the U.S. - In 2009, Zinedine Zidane, the legendary soccer player, participated in a coaching clinic in Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo, Japan. Children and parents filled the stands. The mood was jovial. Zidane was a once-in-a-generation sort of player, a kind of mad genius remembered today as much for his ball skills as for the infamous 2006 World Cup headbutt… (The Slate)
  • Five reasons Roberto Mancini’s reign at Manchester City could be in its final days - Men who take the Premier League title from Sir Alex Ferguson do not last long. Kenny Dalglish quit the moment he did. Carlo Ancelotti lasted a season, while Jose Mourinho survived a few months after Manchester United wrested their championship back… (The Independent)
  • Chelsea supposedly name their price for Thibaut Courtois…or did they? - Stupid transfer stories make me laugh sometimes, and today we had some typical stupidity compliments of The Daily Star. The title “Chelsea Slap £17m Price Tag on Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois” would certainly indicate that Chelsea are talking about the young Belgian with somebody, and is sure to grab the attention of many on a slow news day. The Star led the article off with the following… (We Ain’t Got No History)
  • Weekend Rewind: Americans Abroad - Another week, another goal for Jozy Altidore. Altidore upped his season total to 25 goals across all competitions on Sunday, netting AZ Alkmaar’s second in a 3-2 defeat to Ajax. The in-form U.S. Men’s National team forward scored in the second half when he raced to a ball played over the top before sliding a shot to the far post… (Soccer by Ives)
  • ‘Dream Football League’ would degrade the importance of the overall game - The debate over the veracity of the story continues, but Oliver Kay’s splash in The Times has made waves across the world. Could the biggest clubs on the planet really be convinced to decamp to Qatar for a cash-drenched summer tournament?   The French satirical website Cahiers du Sport claims that the story is just a joke that got out of hand, but I’ve met Tony Evans, the Football Editor of The Times, and I suspect that editorial conversations with him are a little more stringent than… (The Boot Room – ESPN)
  • A brand-new corporate ballgame? - When David Beckham was introduced as a Paris Saint-Germain player, his silhouette was cast in front of a crowded collage of logos and brand names. The Nike logo on the Paris Saint-Germain jersey is highly visible on adidas pitchman David Beckham. Of course, this was not unusual for the former Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and L.A. Galaxy player. His professional career and personal life have been defined by his corporate value to such an extent that he himself has become a brand… (ESPN FC United)

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