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English Premier Opening Preview: Who Will Prevail?

Arsenal scraped through to the third Champions League qualifying place by the skin of their teeth on the last day last season, a massive 19 points behind the two Manchester clubs – a gap too much for a club of Arsenal’s stature. It’s not going to be any easier this term but Arsenal seem to be better prepared this time around having done their transfer dealings quickly before the start of the Premier League season. But of course, Arsenal’s summer would be incomplete without one of their top players seeking to leave and the Robin van Persie transfer saga has overshadowed what has been a very good transfer window so far for the Gunners.

Robin van Persie has only a year left on his contract and his refusal to extend it means Arsenal would most probably cash in on their captain if the club’s valuation is met. With the acquisitions of Oliver Giroud and Lukas Podolski, Arsene Wenger seems to have a contingency plan in place should the Dutch finally leave.


English Premier League: Liverpool Looking To Make Some Noise

With the English Premier League fast approaching, it is time to look at who the main contenders for the title are and analyze their title credentials, The 2011/2012 season brought a thrilling climax, as for the first time in EPL history, the Title was won and lost on goal difference on the final day of the season. If that wasn't thrilling enough, the title shifted hands in the final minutes of play. This season could be even more spectacular, with all squads arguably strengthened, last season quickly became a two horse race between the 2 Manchester Clubs, however this season could see the re-emergence of Chelsea and Arsenal as strong contenders, following their relative splashing of the cash this summer. However, My team to really make an impact is

Liverpool this year and here’s why:

Liverpool finished 8th in the 2011/2012 campaign a position which doesn't settle too lightly amongst the Anfield faithful, made worse by loosing out to seventh place and finishing below bitter rivals Everton on the final day of the season. Despite good performances in the domestic cups in 2012, the season will ultimately be deemed as a failure and the club was at the center of great controversy and manager and club legend Kenny Dalglish didnt do his career any favors in either respects, leaving the initial resurgence of Liverpool FC in his opening games looking like a false dawn, the new transfers flopped and Liverpool were frequently unable to score goals and hold onto leads and so King Kenny was sacked after failing to take the club to Premier League heights as he had done for Blackburn Rovers in the 94/95 season.


English Premier League: Let’s Kick Things Off

After weeks of build-up, which has been overshadowed to some degree by the London 2012 Olympics, the Premier League gets underway this weekend and it should be another enthralling season of top flight English football.

Taking a lot of the headlines will of course be the race for the title, with Manchester City looking to secure first position once again and their local rivals Manchester United eyeing up revenge over the next few months.

Roberto Mancini’s men are current favorites to lift the Premier League title but with only Jack Rodwell arriving from Everton this summer, together with a potential Mario Balotelli/Carlos Tevez explosion on the horizon, they may not be everyone’s favorites this season.


Mourinho: Why was Beckham not chosen to play?

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinhowas literally weirded out at Stuart Pearce's decision to exclude former England captain David Beckham out of his 18-man Team GB squad.

Beckham, 36, a well-known football icon, played a pivotal role in bringing the Games to London back in 2005 and was expected not just by him, but most football fans to be named as one of three eligible over-23 players for the tournament.

To the detriment of Beckham, the ones who were chosen were Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards. The result: a devastating defeat from South Korea.


Giggs: Team Great Britain wasn't good enough

After the devastating mess with the penalties, Ryan Giggsnow is very much aware what tournament football is really like. With the agonizing defeat against South Korea, the captain has only late admissions of shortcomings to spare.

The current Olympic Games are witness to the UK’s achievements on other sports. This is a different story however to football. History being repeats itself (albeit a frustration) as South Korea was able to overcome the host team to win 5-4 on spot-kicks after Daniel Sturridge saw his effort saved by Bumyoung Lee.

“We weren’t good enough” said Giggs, reflecting on a tediously fought game that ended 1-1 after 120 minutes. “That is the bottom line. Our luck ran out and it could have gone either way. Not going to a tournament with Wales will always be a (personal) disappointment. We were never good enough, it’s simple.”


London 2012 Olympics: Korea wins a close game

Great Britain and South Korea had an epic battle for the semis slot, and after extra time and penalties, the Koreans actually took it.

The Koreans in the 29th minute made the first strike in the match, when Ji Dongwon nailed a left-footed shot into the far side of the goal. But in the 36th minute, the Koreans gave up a penalty kick after a handball, and Aaron Ramsey did not waste the opportunity. The Welshman had a chance to get a second goal from the spot shortly thereafter, but he failed to convert though.

Daniel Sturridge’s failed to trick the South Korean reserve keeper, Lee Bum-young, as another shoot-out experience happened.


London 2012 Olympics: Japan qualifies in the semis

Japan is still on its path for an Olympic football double as the men's team joined the women's side in qualifying for the semi-finals following a 3-0 dominating win over Egypt on Saturday.

Valuable goals from Kensuke Nagai, captain Maya Yoshida and Yuki Otsu took Japan through against team Egypt who lacked a valuable man for half a match after defender Saadeldin Saad was thrown off in the 41st minute for denying Japan forward Manabu Saito a goal-scoring opportunity.

Nagai brought Japan to a 14th-minute lead, shooting into an undefended net after Egypt goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawi smashed to one of his teammate defenders in trying to deal with a through ball.


London 2012 Olympics: Mexico Survives Senegal

Japan will be battling Mexico in the semi-finals after the latter was able to survive a dramatic counter attack by Senegal to win 4-2. Senegal, managing to launch a fightback, came from trailing 2-0 at London's Wembley Stadium, in front of a crowd of more than 81,000 to force extra-time.

The Mexicans grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute as Jorge Enriquez headed in a dos Santos free kick home. They doubled it in the 62nd minute when Javier Aquino scored from a tough angle off a good build-up by dos Santos and Marco Fabian.

But Senegal, just making its Olympic soccer debut this year, would not give up. Moussa Konate, the tournament's top scorer, pulled a goal back in the 69th minute, for his fifth goal the first that Mexico had conceded this Olympics.


Spain will never regret not sending Italy out with a 'biscotto', according to Spanish Coach

After Italy wins and secures the title match over expected favorite Germany, discussions go back if the supposed chance of eliminating them with an agreement with Croatia return to haunt.

However, Spain head coach Vicente del Bosque is quite adamant that he has no regrets for not sending the Azurri out at the group stage of Euro 2012 with what he calls a 'biscotto'.

Prior to the last round in Spain and Italy’s group, there were actually speculations that Spain and Croatia could arrange and fix a 2-2 draw – sending off the Italian team out of the tournament without any chance of defending themselves.

However, the La Roja won the game 1-0, which allowed the Azzurri to finish second in the group after the latter securing a 2-0 victory over Republic of Ireland. The result is unexpected - two Group C members will face off in the finals the of Euro 2012.

Del Bosque said that he will never ever regret passing the prospect to arrange the score against Croatia - known as 'biscotto' in Italy.


Netherlands has candidate for coach, while France might lose one

After different but both disappointing results, The Dutch and French teams are facing their own upheavals on management.

Feyenoord coach Ronald Koeman believes that Ruud Gullit is qualified to take charge of the Netherlands national team following Bert van Marwijk's resignation in the aftermath of their elimination at Euro 2012.

Koeman admitted he is attracted to the prospect of the position but he expects to remain in Rotterdam next season, instead proposing Gullit as a quality solution.

"It is not a secret that I have the ambition to coach Netherlands," Koeman told voetbalzone.nl. "But I have a contract with Feyenoord and there is a not a clause that will allow me to leave.

"I will coach Feyenoord next season, that is for sure.


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