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Real Madrid are top of the class

Power Rankings about an hour ago
 By Peter Thorne
20 minutes ago

Sam Allardyce's high-flying West Ham prepare for battle at Stoke

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce praised his team's all-around performance in their victory against Manchester City.

Despite the initial doom and gloom surrounding Diafra Sakho's shoulder injury, it's likely the Senegal striker will be fit for West Ham's trip to Stoke this weekend -- although whether or not Sam Allardyce will risk the free-scoring forward is another matter.

Conflicting stories about the player have been circulating all week, but it has been confirmed that the injury suffered in the game against Manchester City last week is only soreness and bruising and not the dislocated shoulder originally feared....

 By Max Hicks
32 minutes ago

Swansea see red after succession of questionable referee decisions

Swansea City manager Garry Monk highlights the questionable refereeing decisions his team has faced in the past week.

In the wake of Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Swansea in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night, many headline writers seem to have decided "world-class striker scores a goal" is somehow a newsworthy revelation.

Sure, Mario Balotelli hasn't really hit the Anfield turf running, but clearly the real story of the night was Keith Stroud's dismissal of Federico Fernandez a little over two minutes before Liverpool's late winner. Not nearly enough has been made of what was, in this writer's opinion, a game-changing...

 By David Usher
55 minutes ago

Liverpool must not underestimate resurgent Newcastle

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?

Liverpool travel to the north-east on Saturday for a lunchtime fixture that all of a sudden looks an awful lot tougher than it did a week ago. Newcastle United were in the bottom three and facing a tough trip to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday. They fell behind early, which will have surprised nobody, but came back to win 2-1, which will have surprised everybody, perhaps even themselves.

Three days later they followed it up with an even bigger upset, dumping holders Manchester City out...

about an hour ago

Power Rankings: Clasico win moves Real Madrid into first place

ESPN FC's Spain correspondent Sid Lowe agrees that Real Madrid's two-goal victory over Barcelona was one of their best performances in El Clasico to date.

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...

 By Lee Roden
about an hour ago

Some of Barcelona's future stars are more ready than others

Defiant Barcelona manager Luis Enrique looks ahead to his side's Copa Catalunya match against Espanyol.

Barcelona's academy is about to face its most rigorous test. The transfer ban imposed on the club until January 2016 means that in the immediate future, reinforcements must come from within rather than signed from outside. While the Blaugrana have an undeniably exceptional record of promoting youth, they are now forced to do so as a rule rather than through choice -- risking the possibility of moving players up a grade to soon.

Wednesday's Super Copa de Catalunya clash against Espanyol was an ideal...

about an hour ago

What Thierry Henry has learned from the MLS playoffs

ESPN FC's Taylor Twellman wonders if Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips will be too much for a weary Sporting KC side ahead of their MLS Cup playoff match on Thursday.

While Thierry Henry is going into Thursday night's single-game knockout match against Sporting Kansas City surrounded by a lot of speculation about his future, he's also going into it with a wealth of playoff experience in his time with New York Red Bulls. Graham Parker caught up with Henry for an exclusive conversation about what he's learned from the competition that determines the MLS champion -- including his take on away goals, which playoff loss hurt most, and the importance of institutional...