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 By Rory Smith
3 hours ago

Newcastle vs. Liverpool pits lucky Pardew against luckless Rodgers

Mario Balotelli scored for the first time in eight matches against Swansea in the Capital One Cup, but is that enough to get him firing again?

If there is one thing, just at the moment, that Alan Pardew seems to have and Brendan Rodgers appears to lack, it is good fortune.

That sounds like the faintest of praise for the Newcastle manager, but it is not meant to be. It sounds, too, like a defence of his Liverpool counterpart -- a whitewashing, an excuse -- but it is not meant to be that, either. A good manager is a lucky manager, runs the cliché. Maybe it is true, too, but it is not quite as simple as that. Football is all about...

 By James Dall
4 hours ago

Manuel Pellegrini has Robin van Persie to thank for keeping title defence alive

ESPN FC's Raphael Honigstein discusses about the difficulties surrounding Manuel Pellegrini ahead of the Manchester derby this weekend.

Premier League Spotlight previews the weekend's top-flight fixtures, highlighting the key points to keep an eye on as the action unfolds.

Weekend fixtures

Saturday
Newcastle vs. Liverpool
Arsenal vs. Burnley
Chelsea vs. QPR
Everton vs. Swansea
Hull vs. Southampton
Leicester vs. West Brom
Stoke vs. West Ham

Sunday
Man City vs. Man Utd
Aston Villa vs. Tottenham

Monday
Crystal Palace vs. Sunderland

Weekend battle: Manchester derby

Manchester City should win the majority of their games. This is because their team is better than most other teams. The romance-shattering truth is that football matches invariably end with the expected result. The moments that leave our hearts aflutter are the exception rather than the rule -- it's just that our brains rightly...

 By Jason Davis
9 hours ago

Three Points: Wright-Phillips, Red Bulls knock out Sporting KC

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the winning goal over Sporting KC as the New York Red Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Here are three thoughts following the New York Red Bulls' impressive come-from-behind 2-1 win over defending MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City.

1. That's Not So Metro

The reputation of the New York MLS franchise as postseason chokers is well-earned. History does not speak well of New York playoff efforts, but this win will help salve some of that old pain. Three gilt-edge first-half chances went begging, all three of them on the head or foot of a Red Bulls player you'd expect to score --Tim...

22 hours ago

Power Rankings: Clasico win moves Real Madrid into first place

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop selects his top teams for this week. See who made his Power Rankings!

It's all change at the top after a big weekend in Spain, while in-form but unfancied sides from Germany and England also make new entries.

1. Real Madrid (+3)

Carlo Ancelotti's men were dominant in the Clasico and made a mockery of certain people -- mentioning no names! -- who predicted Barcelona would win ... Madrid still trail their great rivals in La Liga but, if they maintain their current form, that may change very soon.

2. Bayern Munich (-1)

Days after shellacking Roma, Bayern came back to...

1 day ago

Three Points: FC Dallas capitalize on good fortune in 2-1 win vs. Vancouver

Michel scored on a penalty kick in the 84th minute as FC Dallas beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 to advance in the MLS Cup playoffs.

Three quick thoughts after FC Dallas ended the Vancouver Whitecaps season in controversial fashion with a 2-1 win at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, where FCD will face the Seattle Sounders on Sunday (9 p,m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN) in the first game of the two-leg Western Conference semifinals.

FC DallasFC Dallas
Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver Whitecaps
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1
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Game Details

1. Vancouver got jobbed

Mark Geiger is among MLS's most experienced referees and was the league's lone representative at the 2014 Word Cup in Brazil, where his performance drew mostly positive reviews. Those...

1 day ago

The one-and-done quartet: Getting to know the MLS Cup play-in game teams

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner breaks down the MLS Cup playoff brackets and predicts which teams will go all the way to the MLS Cup final.

If there's one thing I like about this time of year, it's the sense of really getting to know teams in the MLS playoffs.

I'm not talking so much about the individual players who make their marks -- though as I wrote last week, beyond the top players at every club there are always one or two under-the-radar figures who reveal their importance or just pick the perfect time to have influential cameos, whether that be in the Eastern or Western Conference.

Basically though, I'm talking more of...