Hold The Back Page: 26/02/2011
It's a big weekend for...
The Carling Cup launch pad
Arsène Wenger spoke of the importance of winning the Carling Cup for the future of his Arsenal side. If his cohort of players win tomorrow, they might well go on to greater things.
Wenger must know that the two great English teams since his Invincibles started their trophy hauls with a belief-giving Carling Cup. First, Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, who won the trophy in 2005 and then went on to win two Premier Leagues, an FA Cup and another Carling Cup before his departure. Then the most recent Manchester United side, who won it in 2006 and followed with three straight Premier Leagues and a European Cup. Success tomorrow might just propel this Arsenal side to greatness. Failure could see them drift away into mediocrity.
We applaud you wholeheartedly
Maurice Edu's late, late show
He might not quite be Fernando Redondo but Maurice Edu has a keen nose for a late goal. It was his blunt stab at the ball in the 93rd minute of an Old Firm derby one year ago that won Rangers the match and, in effect, the title. He was at it again on Thursday, just as deep in stoppage time, from just as close range, with just as little finesse. But it silenced the Estádio José Alvalade and sets up a last-16 fixture with PSV Eindhoven. In 2008 Rangers, through force of will, reached the Uefa Cup final. If Edu continues his form, they might just reach this year's final, at Lansdowne Road. The Dublin authorities would be delighted.
Plus the stories you may have missed
Stijnen sacked for outburst
In news that makes Ryan Babel's fine look trivial, a Club Bruges goalkeeper has been sacked for posting on a club forum, criticising his team-mates and staff. Stijn Stijnen tore into rival keeper Colin Coosemans and the goalkeeping coaches . He was initially demoted to the reserves but was released on Monday.
Cisse on the move
The Lord of the Manor of Frodsham, sometimes known as Djibril Cissé, has filed a lawsuit against the Olympiakos chairman after last week's Athens derby. Cissé, now of Panathinaikos, was so upset by criticism and fan violence that he will be leaving Pana this summer, and suing Vangelis Marinakis as he goes.
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