The English Premier League calendar is jam-packed with 10 fixtures this weekend, none bigger than the battle between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Chelsea is currently in fine form, with 22 points from eight matches, and Manchester United resides in second, only four points behind. While a Manchester United win won't change the fact that the Blues will remain in first, it could bring the club back down to earth after an impressive start to the season.
The early match on Sunday is the Merseyside derby, with Everton and Liverpool set to battle at Goodison Park. Everton's strong start to the year would be punctuated by a win against the red side of the city, but Liverpool's recent form may suggest that even at home, the Toffees may find three points hard to come by.
Arsenal has struggled as of late, losing to Norwich City last weekend, as well as German side Schalke in Champions League this week. The club will need to be in solid form Saturday to take down cellar dwellers Queens Park Rangers. On the other hand, the Canaries will have another opportunity to pick up a win, as they travel to Villa Park to take on Aston Villa.
Manchester City will look to keep pace in the title race, as it hosts Swansea City at the Etihad. Currently, City is in third place, level on points with Manchester United, but behind on goal differential. A big win could see the club pull into second place in the table.
Tottenham will have a big test on Sunday, as it will travel to the south coast to battle with Premier League new boys Southampton. Only a point from fourth, a win by Spurs could further help them jockey for position in the race for Champions League qualification.
In other matches, Wigan hosts West Ham United, Fulham travels to Reading and Newcastle faces West Bromwich Albion.
The English Premier League is still in its early stages, and anything can still happen. In order to not miss another minute of the action, you could make a transfer of $100 or more at Xoom.com. The benefit of this is with your transfer, you will receive a free six-month subscription for Fox Soccer 2Go. This will give you all of the football action you can handle.
With no Champions League for 20 days, the best clubs in Europe will look to take advantage of this week's fixtures during matchday three. There are multiple clubs that could put themselves within reach of a Round of 16 berth with a win, while some giants will need to get back on track after a rough start to the campaign.
Barcelona faces Celtic on Tuesday, with an opportunity to put itself on the verge of qualification through to the next round, however, if the Scottish giants can get a result, this may help them increase their chances of not only moving on, but possibly getting a shot at the top spot in the group.
Last year's runner-up, Bayern Munich faces French side Lille, which is a must-win for both. BATE Borisov surprisingly leads the group, and a win over Spanish representatives Valencia, could set BATE on track for an easy berth to the knockouts. Manchester United hosts Braga at Old Trafford, with a perfect start to Group H on the line. A win would put the English club in complete control of the group, with half of the group stage left.
Another English club in action on Tuesday, Chelsea faces Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk. The clubs are level on four points, but the Blues have plus-four in goal differential, compared to Shakhtar's plus-two. A win for either side could leave a difficult battle for second between the loser, as well as Juventus and FC Nordsjaelland, with both clubs set to face off simultaneously.
One of the most intriguing matchups this week is the match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid. The Spanish side is on top of the group with six points, while Dortmund is close behind at four points. Anything less than a point could be a big issue for either side, as Manchester City and Ajax play in the other group match, with the Dutch side looking for its first points of the campaign, and City looking for the elusive first victory.
There's still plenty of Champions League left to play, so it is important to tune in as soon as you can. If you make a transfer of $100 or more on Xoom.com, you will get a subscription for Fox Soccer 2Go at no additional cost. This could get you all of the Champions League action you need to stay informed.
Through the early stages of this season of the English Premier League, Chelsea has been a step above the pack. After a convincing 4-2 victory over city rivals Tottenham Hotspur, the Blues kept their four-point lead over Manchester United and Manchester City, and look stronger than the rest of the competition.
Both United and City managed to keep pace with Chelsea with impressive wins over the weekend. City was able to come from behind to edge West Bromwich Albion 2-1, as Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko struck twice in the final 10 minutes to prevent the upset. United comfortably defeated Stoke City 4-2 at Old Trafford. The two clubs are level on 18 points with eight matches played, despite the Red Devils' edge in goal differential.
The Tyne-Wear derby took place on Sunday, with Newcastle and Sunderland sharing the spoils. Newcastle's French midfielder Yohan Cabaye scored during the third minute, but Demba Ba put the ball in his own net in the 86th minute to even the scoreline. Newcastle almost pulled off an impressive victory, as the club was down to 10 men for the final 65 minutes of regular time.
Arsenal's shock defeat at Carrow Road to Norwich City dropped the Gunners to ninth in the table. Grant Holt's first half strike helped the Canaries to their first win of the season, and out of the drop zone.
Relegation battle no clearer after weekend
While still quite early in the season, the relegation battle is shaping up to be quite competitive. Only five points separate 13th and 20th in the table, with cellar-dwellers Queens Park Rangers pulling off an impressive 1-1 draw against overachievers Everton. Additionally, Liverpool managed to take care of 19th place Reading, as the Royals are level on points with QPR. West Ham handled Southampton 4-1, which kept the Saints in the bottom three.
Fulham helped themselves to eighth place in the table, as they managed to squeak out a 1-0 win against Aston Villa, as the club is only one point clear of the drop. Wigan also didn't do itself any favors, as the club fell to Swansea City 2-1.
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Chelsea are the champions of Europe, as the English club defeated Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena 4-3 on penalty kicks to take its first Champions League trophy in history.
The match ended 1-1 as both sides scored late goals in the final 10 minutes of regular time. A stalemate during extra time forced the clubs to go to kicks where Ivorian Didier Drogba slotted home the winner past Manuel Neuer.
Thomas Muller opened the scoring on a header in the 83rd minute, and Bayern's constant pressure looked to have paid off. However, Drogba equalized five minutes later to ensure the clubs would be going to extra time.
When it was time for penalties, Bayern seemed to have been influenced by the home crowd, as captain Philipp Lahm opened the scoring, and Chelsea's Juan Mata missed his opportunity. Mario Gomez put the German side up 2-0, before David Luiz got Chelsea on the board. Bayern's keeper Neuer stepped up and scored a smart penalty, but it would be the last for his club that day.
Chelsea cut the lead to 3-2 when acting captain Frank Lampard scored. Croatian forward Ivica Olic had the chance to put the West London club on the brink, but his effort was poor, and easily saved by Blues' goalkeeper Peter Cech. Ashley Cole tied the shootout with a goal, and Bastian Schweinsteiger hit the post, leaving Drogba to finish off the match.
The win was not only Chelsea's first Champions League trophy in its history, but the win marked the first time an away team defeated a home side in a final since the last pairing in 1984. That year, Liverpool defeated Roma at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Furthermore, winning Champions League will allow Chelsea to play in the tournament next season, despite finishing sixth in the English Premier League. This also will drop Tottenham to Europa League, but allows Liverpool to play in the group stage of the same tournament due to its finish as runners-up to Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
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Chelsea and Bayern Munich will square-off in the most important match in Europe on Saturday, as the two are set to meet in the Champions League final at Allianz Arena in Munich.
This is the first final where one of the teams is playing at its home stadium since 1984 – when Liverpool defeated Roma at Stadio Olimpico in Rome – and the advantage Bayern gains because of this is could be the difference.
Both clubs had a difficult road to the final. Chelsea finished in first in Group E with 11 points. This was one more than Bayer Leverkusen, who also advanced to the knockout rounds, while Valencia and Genk missed out on the next round, with eight and three points respectively. Chelsea then defeated Napoli 5-4 on aggregate, despite losing the first leg 3-1. The strong comeback was enough to propel the club through the tournament. This was followed by a 3-1 defeat of Benfica on aggregate, as well as a 3-2 aggregate victory over Lionel Messi and Barcelona in the semifinals.
Bayern arguably had a much easier time getting to the final match. While the German side won Group A with 13 points, which was two points higher than Napoli, three more than Manchester City, and above bottom-feeders Villareal, the knockout rounds proved a bit easier to navigate. The club defeated Basel 7-1 on aggregate before blanking Marseille 4-0 after two legs. The real test came against Real Madrid in the semifinals, but the club survived after a 3-3 aggregate on penalties.
The match will be as exciting as any, but there are some key stars missing due to suspensions. Chelsea will be without captain John Terry, who received a red card for an awful challenge in the semifinal, and also will be without Raul Meireles, Branislav Ivanovic and Ramires for yellow card accumulation. Bayern will not have the services of Holger Badstuber, Luiz Gustavo and David Alaba.
The final will take place on Saturday, May 19, at 20:45 CET.
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The English Premier League season finished up on Sunday, and it may have been one of the craziest finishes in decades. Manchester City managed to snatch the title away from Manchester United in the dying seconds, while Queens Park Rangers just stayed above the relegation zone at the expense of Bolton.
Manchester City was able to defeat QPR 3-2, but the decisive goals didn't come until stoppage time. QPR was up 2-1 – and down a man due to a red card for Joey Barton – before two quick goals from Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero sealed it for the Sky Blues. Manchester United won its game against Sunderland just seconds before, but the Red Devils could only watch their title hopes slip away as news came in from the Etihad Stadium.
Despite QPR's loss in the last seconds, the club will remain a member of the Premier League next season due to Bolton Wanderers' failure to defeat Stoke City. The two clubs drew 2-2, which meant that Bolton would finish in 18th place – the final team relegated from the top flight.
Arsenal was able to capture third place, and with it the North London club will have an automatic berth in Champions League next season. The Gooners defeated West Bromwich Albion 3-2 to ensure that the club would finish third. Despite Tottenham Hotspurs' 2-0 defeat of Fulham, the club will be forced to wait out the Champions League final result to see if it will be playing in that tournament next season. If Chelsea can defeat Bayern Munich, it will participate in the tournament as defending champions, despite finishing sixth this year.
Newcastle was unable to defeat Everton, but the North East club will still be participating in Europa League next season due to its fifth-place finish. The Magpies will be joined by Liverpool – as it won the League Cup – as well as either Tottenham or Chelsea.
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With only one matchday left to go in the Premier League season, Manchester City is within reach of the title, while Manchester United has to hope it can get its own business done and receive a lot of help to claim the top spot.
The Blues put one hand on the trophy by easily defeating Newcastle 2-0. Not only did it jeopardize Newcastle's chances at achieving its Champions League dream, but it severely hurt the red side of Manchester's chances of getting the trophy, despite that club's win over the weekend against Swansea. Because both matches ended with the same scoreline, United can only win the title by finishing with more points than City. If they end level on points, United would need to make up the eight-goal difference in its final match against Sunderland.
City may not have the easiest obstacle in front of them, as they are set to battle Queens Park Rangers this weekend. QPR defeated Stoke City 1-0 to keep its bid to stay up alive. A draw would virtually keep the club from being relegated, no matter what other results said. A win would guarantee the club stays up, as well. However, if QPR is unable to defeat City, it will have to hope Bolton is unable to defeat Stoke.
Bolton struggled against West Bromwich Albion this past weekend, as the Wanderers were only able to salvage a 2-2 draw, giving up a two-goal lead in the final 15 minutes. Anything less than a win will ensure the Greater Manchester club will be forced to spend next season in The Championship.
That fate was already made reality for Blackburn Rovers, as a late goal from Antolin Alcaraz lifted Wigan to safety, and doomed Blackburn to join Wolverhampton Wanderers in relegation.
With still so much to play for on the final Sunday of the season, each of the 10 matches will be exciting, with most having a direct effect on where clubs will be playing next season.
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Who said that the title race is the only exciting part of football? A group of mid-week games showed that there is much to play for at all parts of the table, and each race looks like it will come down to the wire.
First off, the race for the Champions League places did not get any clearer, as Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle all still have everything to play for in the battle for the final two spots. Currently, Arsenal sits in third place, with 66 points, but the matches that took place this week put some extra heat on the Gunners with two matches remaining.
Newcastle played Chelsea in what would likely cripple the hopes of the loser to get into Champions League for next season. Led by Papiss Demba Cisse, Newcastle strolled to a 2-0 win over the Blues, which puts the North East club in the thick of the race. Cisse's second goal of the match may end up being the goal of the season, as he hit a curler from the left side of the box that no goalkeeper in the world would have been able to save. It likely will be on highlight reels for years to come.
Tottenham also made its case for a Champions League spot, as it thrashed strugglers Bolton Wanderers 4-1. The win keeps Spurs one point behind Arsenal, as well as level with Newcastle. However, the club's superior goal differential would keep Tottenham in fourth place if the season ended today. Chelsea still has hope, as it could defeat Munich in the Champions League final, which would give it the fourth Champions League place in England, nullifying much of the race.
The loss to Spurs crippled Bolton's hopes of staying up, as the club is still in the drop zone despite being level with Queens Park Rangers on points. Bolton has a goal differential of minus-31, which could spell its doom unless it wins the final two matches of the season.
In other matches in mid-table this week, Fulham defeated a short-handed Liverpool side at Anfield for the Cottagers first win at the ground in history. In addition, Everton and Stoke City played to a 1-1 stalemate.
The season may be heading toward its finale, but there is still plenty to be decided. In order to make sure you can see every minute of the action, it's could be easier by making your first transfer of $100 or more at Xoom.com. Doing this will give you a six-month subscription for Fox Soccer2Go at no additional charge.
Remember when Manchester United was eight points clear of its nearest rivals, and the title seemed all but locked up? So much for that. A Vincent Kompany goal late in the first half of yesterday's match between the two Manchester clubs lifted City to a 1-0 win, and more importantly, into first place with two matches remaining.
While both clubs are level on points, City has a large advantage in goal difference, and that isn't likely to be made up in such a short time. However, the blue side of Manchester won't have an easy road to the title, as City must get past Newcastle and Queens Park Rangers. The Magpies are looking to grab fourth place to go to Champions League next season, while QPR is in the throes of the relegation battle. For United, the road is arguably easier. This weekend, the club plays at home against Swansea City, and then the Red Devils head to the North East to close out the campaign against Sunderland.
The race for the final Champions League spots didn't get any clearer, and it looks as if it is certain to come down to the final day. Arsenal put itself one win from a guaranteed Champions League place, as the club drew Stoke at the Britannia.
However, the battle for fourth looks much less certain. While Tottenham was able to overcome Blackburn on Sunday, Newcastle's hopes took a hit. The Magpies were embarrassed by Wigan 4-0, and now need Spurs to slip up to make sure they can squeak into fourth. Chelsea helped itself out greatly, as the Blues whipped West London rivals QPR 6-1 at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are now one point behind both Newcastle and Spurs, so it may have to depend on the side winning the Champions League final to guarantee progress into the tournament next year.
While the season is winding down, there is no lack of excitement, as everything is still to play for. Want to make sure you get to see every goal, triumph and shock? All you need to do is make your first transfer of $100 or more at Xoom.com, and this will give you a free six-month subscription to Fox Soccer2Go. But hurry, there's action all week!
It's been a crazy year for European soccer, but the UEFA Champions League final is finally set. After a long and arduous road, Chelsea will head to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern Munich – the club that calls the ground home.
Chelsea's lead going into the second leg against Barcelona turned out to be crucial. The second leg ended 2-2, but Didier Drogba's goal in the first leg proved vital, as the West London club pulled out a shocking 3-2 victory on aggregate.
The second leg was one of the more memorable in recent Champions League memory. The scoring opened with a goal from Sergio Busquets for the Catalan side, and it looked to be collapsing for the Blues, as two minutes later John Terry was sent off for a senseless foul. The fight continued as Andres Iniesta scored in the 43rd minute, turning the fixture on its head. However, right before halftime, a goal from Ramires gave Chelsea the advantage again. The match was put beyond all doubt when Fernando Torres scored another in stoppage time.
Real Madrid and Bayern Munich were unable to settle their match after two legs, and it was forced to go to penalty kicks. The scoring started off in the sixth minute, when Cristiano Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot to get Madrid on the board. He would then respond again in the 14th minute. However, in the 27th minute, Arjen Robben scored from the spot, which put everything even. No more goals were scored until the penalty shootout, where Xabi Alonso was the only player to score for Madrid. For Munich, David Alaba, Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinsteiger all put the ball in the back of the net for the victory.
The Champions League final will take place on May 19, where Bayern Munich will be dealing with a huge home advantage. The last time a team played at home in the Champions League final was in 1984, when Roma hosted Liverpool. However, Munich will hope to be a bit more successful than its predecessor, who lost to the English club in that final.
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