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Trending: Pressure grows on West Ham


Persecuted Barca ready for response

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Trending: Pressure grows on West Ham over stadium, Messi attracts Neymar

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic is frustrated that crowd trouble has overshadowed his team's EFL Cup win over Chelsea.
Blues goalkeeper Asmir Begovic denounced the crowd violence that ensued when Chelsea faced West Ham in the EFL Cup.
Liam Twomey describes the scenes at London Stadium after violence escalated between West Ham and Chelsea supporters in the EFL Cup.

Here are the latest stories for Friday.

WEST HAM: A senior politician has called for West Ham United to face a stadium ban if there is any repeat of the violence that marred Wednesday's 2-1 EFL Cup victory over Chelsea at the London Stadium.

- The club and the London Stadium say 200 people face football banning orders following the violence during Wednesday night's game against Chelsea.

- Metropolitan Police have confirmed they made seven arrests as a result of the crowd trouble that overshadowed...

Barcelona perform best under persecution so prepare for a deluge

ESPN FC's Sid Lowe explains why the bottle-toss fiasco during Barcelona's match at Valencia has caused a rift in Spain.

Just like when they celebrated Lionel Messi's injury time winning penalty at Valencia's Mestalla, Barcelona have been attacked from all sides this week. Yet if history is anything to go by, the Blaugrana will come out even stronger, ever more determined to silence their critics, and they will succeed.

The criticism aimed at Luis Enrique's side for having the gall to celebrate their last-minute winner last Saturday has been predictable from some quarters, such as the remarks from Valencia-based media...

Barcelona eye Glen Johnson, Henrikh Mkhitaryan to leave United?

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop feels the writing may be on the wall for Henrikh Mkhitaryan if he doesn't feature soon.

The transfer window might be shut, but don't think the wheeling and dealing won't continue! Check out all the latest deals here.

Barcelona track Johnson

With Aleix Vidal's future looking increasingly uncertain at Barcelona, the club are in the market for a veteran right-back in January. And, so say Mundo Deportivo, Stoke and England defender Glen Johnson is on their list.

Johnson sent tongues wagging when he was called up by England boss Gareth Southgate before pulling out of the squad through...

 By Michael Cox

Why do stars such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo take the penalties?

Lionel Messi converted a crucial penalty at the weekend but hasn't had the best spot-kick record.

On Saturday, Lionel Messi buried a 94th-minute penalty past Valencia goalkeeper Diego Alves at the Mestalla. It was a hugely significant goal that meant Barcelona travelled back up the coast with three points after a 3-2 victory. In a wider context, it might have a significant impact upon Messi's goal-scoring record at the end of his career.

For all Messi's superhuman talents -- there's an argument that the Argentine is or has been the world's best dribbler, creator and goal scorer during his...

Gerard Pique in the form of his career, merits a Ballon d'Or nomination

A look at some of the players who could challenge Messi and Ronaldo for the 2016 Ballon d'Or.

With what has since turned out to be exquisite timing, Gerard Pique announced earlier this month that he is rated higher when he keeps quiet. He made those comments after what, by his standards, had been a silent few months. Since then, though, he's done plenty of talking.

The Barcelona centre-back was the centre of the Spanish media's attention just days later when he was wrongly accused of cutting the country's colours off the national team shirt. He had to talk after that. And when he did, he...

Lionel Messi could cost Barcelona a shot at La Liga, Champions League

Take a look back at Lionel Messi's season that sees him on the 2016 Ballon d'Or shortlist.

Lionel Messi's performance at Valencia was one of those which magicians have been using for centuries. Some marvellous passing, another of his goals from a rasping daisy-cutter shot, a spell of neat penalty box interplay to create the chance of an added-time winner, a firm left-footed shot past "Mr. Penalty Stopper" Diego Alves, and then the belligerence of a street fighter in the face of being targeted with missiles from some neanderthals among the Mestalla faithful.

Sleight of boot instead...