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9 hours ago

Three Points: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

ESPN FC's Martin Ainstein reports from Madrid on Real's 3-1 victory over Barcelona in this season's first El Clasico.

Three quick thoughts after Real Madrid shrugged off an early goal from Neymar to defeat Barcelona 3-1 and move within one point of the La Liga leaders.

El Clasico: Real Madrid 3-1 Barcelona

- Clasico: How the world reacted
- Three Points: Unlikely heroes
- Player Ratings: Barcelona
- Player Ratings: Real Madrid
- Ancelotti: We wanted it more
- Enrique: I don't regret starting Luis

1. Pepe and Benzema the heroes

The Clasico kicked off with about 1.3 billion euros of talent on show and both teams chock-full of global superstars. But it was two less sung -- and much criticised -- figures who proved most pivotal in Madrid's come-from-behind victory.

Karim Benzema's goal, his side's third, really killed the game. The Frenchman...

 By John Duerden
16 hours ago

Western Sydney Wanderers show toughness to edge first leg vs. Al Hilal

Tomi Juric celebrates Western Sydney Wanderers' 1-0 first-leg win over Al Hilal.

This was football rope-a-dope. Western Sydney Wanderers took everything Al Hilal could throw their way for the first hour of the first leg of the Asian Champions League final on Saturday evening in Australia and then won 1-0. The Saudi Arabians didn't exactly lay siege to the home goal but had all the possession and the shots. The first save their goalkeeper had to make wasn't so much a save but rather a despairing lunge as Tomi Juric bundled the ball home from close range in the 64th minute with...

 By Nick Miller
19 hours ago

Five Manchester United-Chelsea questions

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says his team are prepared to play Manchester United this weekend.

Five questions ahead of Sunday's Manchester United-Chelsea match.

Who will play up front for Chelsea?

Of course, we know by now not to necessarily take at face value the words of football managers, especially Chelsea's Jose Mourinho. First he claimed Diego Costa would be out for some time and then, the old tease, he claimed there was a chance of him being fit for Sunday's clash. There is a fairly decent chance Costa will be missing after picking up a groin injury while playing for Spain, adding...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin
19 hours ago

Sir Alex Ferguson's misguided view of Manchester United's squad

Huge game this weekend in the Barclays Premier League, as the past greats of English football, Manchester United, take on the champions-elect, Chelsea. Ian Fiveankles explains EXACTLY what happens in this match, so you don't even have to watch it.

English football's literary season continues. Just as the embers die on Roy Keane's firestorm from a fortnight ago, back comes his latter-day nemesis, Sir Alex Ferguson, with the paperback version of last year's blockbusting autobiography.

"United In Transition" is the name of the additional chapter to Ferguson's tome, released on Thursday. The former Manchester United manager has clearly struggled to wean himself off day-to-day involvement, and cannot resist reopening a few theatres of war to defend...

1 day ago

New chapter added to Van Gaal's fluid football vs. Mourinho's pragmatism

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says his team are prepared to play Manchester United this weekend.

Louis van Gaal had only been Barcelona manager for a few months and, although he already knew the young Jose Mourinho offered much more than just being a translator, he hadn't realised just how much. That would come, but thanks to an unlikely source.

It was September 1997 and the Catalans were preparing for a Champions League away match with Newcastle United. Before the game, Van Gaal's then-assistant, Gerard van der Lem, had been discussing the English side's attack, and was rather dismissive....

 By Rory Smith
1 day ago

Does a rising sense of fan entitlement devalue football loyalties?

Supporters can get quite upset when they spend plenty of money on a ticket only to watch their team sustain a lopsided loss.
Supporters can get quite upset when they spend plenty of money on a ticket only to watch their team sustain a lopsided loss.

It could happen this weekend, though the fixtures do not really suggest it. It could be at Tottenham, theoretically, or at Southampton again. If not, then it will only be a matter of days: Arsenal next week, perhaps, or Stamford Bridge or Selhurst Park. It will happen, though, and soon, and then one group of fans will have a choice to make.

The choice is this. Your team is losing. Badly. They are four goals down, maybe five, and there is still half an hour to play. It is an age-old question,...