• Three things: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

    Three observations from Real Madrid's 2-1 Copa del Rey win over Barcelona at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia.

    1. Bale displays the Real difference

    Real Madrid completed the first triumphant step of a potential treble. Barcelona sank into even deeper trouble. That one high-profile summer signing in Gareth Bale scored the scintillating winner, and the other in Neymar missed an eminently presentable chance for an equaliser, further displayed the different directions of the sides. Read »


  • 4/16/2014 - 11:49 AM +00:00
    Wilfried Zaha wanders from the path to greatness
    ESPN FC United

    There was a song they used to sing about Wilfried Zaha. This time last year, not a game went by without Crystal Palace fans offering a chorus of it at some point. It greeted every shimmy, every feint, every dropped shoulder, every body-swerve, every virtuoso sleight of foot. "He's just too good for you," it went. Nobody sings it any more.

    Zaha was on the bench for Cardiff City on Saturday. He has been on the bench a lot recently. He has started a game just once since being removed at half-time as Hull City dismantled Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side on Feb. Read »

  • 4/16/2014 - 8:59 AM +00:00
    Grit must guide the Gunners
    ESPN FC United

    Age before beauty. On Tuesday night, Arsene Wenger opted for a squad that was the oldest -- by average age -- he had selected in 1,000-plus Arsenal matches. If Arsenal are to get over the line in both Champions League qualification and the FA Cup, they will do so via the force of experience. Two goals from a player with over 100 international caps, in Germany’s Lukas Podolski, and the crucial effort from 27-year-old striker Olivier Giroud did the job against West Ham. On Saturday in the FA Cup semifinal with Wigan, it was Per Mertesacker, a 29-year-old with 96 German caps to his name, who saved the day with a late equaliser before the pressure on penalties told on the Latics. Read »

  • 4/16/2014 - 8:00 AM +00:00
    The 'Iranian Messi' who wants to hug Arsene Wenger
    ESPN FC United

    If Arsenal do indeed intend to sign Sardar Azmoun, as widely reported recently, they should expect some very unorthodox demands from his parents. The 19-year-old striker is strangely dubbed the "Iranian Messi" by some, but his role model is Neymar. He strives to emulate the Brazilian -- and not in the sense you would expect. Azmoun’s goal is different; he aspires to become a father at a young age, just like the Selecao star.

    “I noticed that all the big stars got married early, so I am planning to marry in the near future,” he said in a recent interview in Iran. Read »