Tag Archives: league

Premier League team news – April 27-29

All the Premier League team news ahead of the weekend

PUBLISHED:

07:16 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:52 GMT, 26 April 2013

DM.has('shareLink', 'shareLinks',
'id': '2315093',
'title': 'All the Premier League team news ahead of the weekend',
'url': 'http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2315093/Premier-League-team-news–April-27-29.html',
'eTwitterStatus': 'Premier%20League%20team%20news%20-%20April%2027-29%20http://bit.ly/11HbeKr%20via%[email protected]'
);

Sportsmail brings you the latest squad news on every Premier League team as it breaks throughout Friday.

Simply click on your team (when it appears in blue) in the fixture list below to find out who is injured and who is back in action…

Premier League team news: Everything you need to know

SATURDAY

Manchester City v West Ham (12.45pm)

Everton v Fulham (3pm)

Southampton v West Brom (3pm)

Stoke City v Norwich City (3pm)

Wigan v Tottenham (3pm)

Newcastle United v Liverpool (5.30pm)

SUNDAY

Reading v QPR (1.30pm)

Chelsea v Swansea (3pm)

Arsenal v Manchester United (4pm)

MONDAY

Aston Villa v Sunderland (8pm)

Arsenal guard of honour for Manchester United

As Arsenal prepare to give Man United a guard of honour, we ask… what's it all about

By
Sam Cunningham

PUBLISHED:

22:51 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:20 GMT, 26 April 2013

Manchester United are expected be given a guard of honour by Arsenal when they walk out at the Emirates on Sunday – but why

It is not compulsory for any club to provide a guard of honour if they face the newly crowned League champions but is a ceremony agreed between the two clubs.

It is understandable that Arsenal would put one on for United, who first celebrated the Gunners' 1991 league title win, giving them a guard of honour at Highbury.

Old tradition: United clap Chelsea out in 1955

Old tradition: United clap Chelsea out in 1955

The Manchester club have a history of
respecting opponents and they also honoured Chelsea lifting the Premier
League trophy in 2005. To reciprocate, Chelsea did the same for United
two years later. Everton also celebrated United's title success on the
last day of the season in 2003 at Goodison Park.

But it is not exclusive to the modern
era, and occurred as far back as 1955 when United provided one for
Chelsea. It is not just used for title winners either – a guard was
formed in 2011 by United and Sunderland to celebrate Sir Alex Ferguson's
25 years in charge. Newcastle players also applauded Arsenal on to St
James' Park in 1994 when they won the European Cup-Winners' Cup.

The exact origin of the Guard of
Honour is not known, but early examples date back centuries ago to
Ancient Greece. The Ancient Greek poet Homer wrote about warriors as
fallen heroes who were given a similar ceremony. There are further
examples throughout Classical and Medieval history.

Guard of Honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Guard of Honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Guard of honour: United applaud Chelsea on to the Old Trafford pitch in May 2005

Its roots are firmly in the military.
As military historian John Sadler explains: 'Most established armies
have a guard of honour function and individual members are drawn from
the ranks of the elite, selected for their imposing appearance, bearing
and precision. The prime functions are to (a) provide a guard for
visiting dignitaries, (b) for national civic ceremonials and (c) to
honour the dead/fallen comrades.

'In the UK these functions are
generally provided by the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry, though all
regiments and branches of the service would field a guard of honour,
depending on circumstances. It is easy to see how this could transfer to
sport.'

It is an act that demonstrates a huge
level of respect, but one that jars with some players. When Roy Keane
and Gary Neville faced each other applauding Chelsea on to the Old
Trafford pitch in May 2005 for Jose Mourinho's first title, neither
player wanted to look their opponents in the eye. Neville said
afterwards nothing had stuck in his craw more during in his career and
Keane said it was a good experience because it taught him that it was
one he never wanted to go through again.

Fergie time: the United boss is clapped on to the pitch in November 2011

Fergie time: the United boss is clapped on to the pitch in November 2011

Rio Ferdinand voted in to PFA team of the year

Rio makes players' team of the year… so will Roy pick him for England now

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

18:12 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:00 GMT, 26 April 2013

Roy Hodgson will come under renewed pressure to pick Rio Ferdinand for glamour games against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil after his fellow professionals voted him into the PFA team of the year.

Ferdinand, 34, will be named in the side, announced on Sunday, for a fifth time.

England’s manager is determined to pick a strong squad for the friendly against the Republic at Wembley on May 29 and the trip to Rio on June 2.

Selected: Rio Ferdinand is in the PFA players team of the year

Selected: Rio Ferdinand is in the PFA players team of the year

Ferdinand made 21 starts as Manchester United charged towards their 13th Barclays Premier League title.

Hodgson’s assistant, Ray Lewington is being sent to Arsenal on Sunday to watch Ferdinand in action.

Hodgson is already without England captain Steven Gerrard, who needs surgery on his injured shoulder at the end of the season.

Pressure: Roy Hodgson (right) faces a tough decision about whether to call up Rio

Pressure: Roy Hodgson (right) faces a tough decision about whether to call up Rio

Ferdinand pulled out of England’s World Cup qualifiers last month. He said his treatment schedule for his back meant he could not join the squad.

Ferdinand then caused outrage among England fans when he travelled to Doha to be an analyst for Al Jazeera for the 8-0 victory over San Marino.

Incredibly, Hodgson left the door open for Ferdinand to play for England again.

Fancy seeing you here: Rio Ferdinand bumped into former TOWIE star Mark Wright in Alderley Edge

Fancy seeing you here: Rio Ferdinand bumped into former TOWIE star Mark Wright in Alderley Edge

Rio and Wright

Neil Lennon raging at Celtic snub in Player of the Year

A slap in the face! Lennon's anger at Celtic stars' absence from PFA shortlist

By
Stephen Mcgowan

PUBLISHED:

12:26 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

23:12 GMT, 25 April 2013

Neil Lennon has vowed to boycott the PFA Scotland awards dinner — after branding the absence of any Celtic stars from the Player of the Year shortlist ‘abysmal’.

A vote by the nation’s professional players ahead of the Players’ Union dinner will see Motherwell’s Michael Higdon, Inverness Caley Thistle’s Andrew Shinnie, Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn and Hibernian’s Leigh Griffiths battle it out for the top prize.

Irate that the feats of his players in winning the SPL title and reaching the last 16 of the Champions League have earned no recognition from their peers, however, Lennon — who is likely to be shortlisted for Manager of the Year — will vote with his feet on May 5 by staying away from the annual Glasgow dinner.

Three out of four: (from left) Niall McGinn, Andrew Shinnie and Michael Higdon are up for the PFA Scotland award

Three out of four: (from left) Niall McGinn, Andrew Shinnie and Michael Higdon are up for the PFA Scotland award

‘I won’t go, no,’ said the Celtic boss.

‘The players haven’t discussed that yet. There weren’t many of them in yesterday, so I’ll speak to them tomorrow and see how they feel about it.

‘I’m surprised to say the least. Are you voting for the best player in Scotland or are you voting for the most improved player

‘I have no axe to grind with any of the nominees — I think that they have all had fine seasons.

‘But for none of our first-team players to be on the senior shortlist is bewildering to say the least.

‘I think the outcome of those votes yesterday belittles all those efforts from the players. It is abysmal.’

Not good enough: Neil Lennon has hit out after his Celtic players were overlooked for the PFA Scotland award

Not good enough: Neil Lennon has hit out after his Celtic players were overlooked for the PFA Scotland award

Celtic players have won the PFA Scotland award in the main category in six of the last seven years.
Of the view that their peers have taken his side’s domestic dominance for granted in the absence of Rangers, however, Lennon describes the perceived snub to his team as a ‘slap in the face’.

‘The players are not happy. They feel as if they’ve been slapped in the face, almost. There was a bit of ill-feeling there yesterday,’ he said.

‘I do feel the influence you media guys have — and I’m not blaming you guys — with the nonsense about “one-horse race”, “foregone conclusion” and “no competition” all plays a part in people taking the club, or the players, for granted.

‘Hooper’s got 28 goals this season and
people keep telling me that he’s not having his best season. But he’s
two goals short of 30, which is a pretty decent return for a
24-year-old.’

Young guns: Dundee United pair Gary Mackay-Steven (left) and Stuart Armstrong (right) are nominated with Celtic's Victor Wanyama

Young guns: Dundee United pair Gary Mackay-Steven (left) and Stuart Armstrong (right) are nominated with Celtic's Victor Wanyama

‘We made the last 16 of the Champions League with 10 points, which is a record for a Scottish team.

‘And on a budget which was very limited compared to other clubs in the past — so these players have performed heroically.

‘Semi-final of the League Cup, Scottish Cup Final, championship … I don’t think they could have done much more this season, really, and for that not to be recognised by their peers is very disappointing.’

Aberdeen midfielder Jim Bett was the last non-Old Firm player to collect the accolade, back in 1989-90.

Celtic’s Charlie Mulgrew collected the main prize last year.

Marouane Fellaini to dye hair silver

Fellaini to provide a silver lining for Everton's season with midfielder set to dye afro for charity

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

16:56 GMT, 25 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:56 GMT, 25 April 2013

Everton's Champions League hopes may have faded, but star man Marouane Fellaini is set to provide a silver lining to their season.

The Belgium midfielder will dye his hair silver if 25,000 is raised for Everton in the Community – the club's official charity.

Hair-raising: How Fellaini would look if his hair is dyed silver

Hair-raising: How Fellaini would look if his hair is dyed silver

The presence of the 6ft 4in afroed midfielder has proved frightening enough already for opposition defenders this season, but the sight of his famous curly locks dyed silver will be truly hair-raising.

Fellaini, 25, has made 27 Barclays Premier League appearances for the Toffees this season, scoring 11 goals.

Famous fro: Fellaini is one of the most recognisable stars in the Premier League

Famous fro: Fellaini is one of the most recognisable stars in the Premier League

Famous fro: Fellaini is one of the most recognisable stars in the Premier League

Everton currently sit in sixth place in the league with four games remaining – starting at home to Fulham on Saturday.

Their last game of the season is at Chelsea on May 19, so if you want to see Fellaini's afro dyed silver… get donating!

To donate to Everton in the Community visit justgiving.com/fellainifro or text FELI50 and the amount including the sign to 70070.

Fernando Torres is staying at Chelsea despite interest from Fiorentina

Torres: I’m STAYING at Chelsea and will fight for my place with Falcao, despite interest from Fiorentina

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

16:28 GMT, 24 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

01:19 GMT, 25 April 2013

With Radamel Falcao at the top of Chelsea’s list of summer transfer targets, Fernando Torres insists he will not be the fall-guy for another big-name centre forward.

Atletico Madrid are selling Falcao, who has scored 25 goals in La Liga this season, for 50million.

Chelsea are front of the queue of clubs for the Colombian, with reports on Wednesday night claiming that he could be Jose Mourinho’s marquee signing if, as expected, the Portuguese returns to Stamford Bridge this summer.

However, Torres is determined to see out the three years left on his contract.

Staying put: Torres talks to the media on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League semi-final

Staying put: Torres talks to the media on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League semi-final

Staying put: Torres talks to the media on Wednesday ahead of the Europa League semi-final

Torres said: ‘When you play for Chelsea you’re always hoping big names come, and the big names are always related with Chelsea.

‘You cannot stop that, especially when the summer comes, and every top player is welcome at Chelsea. Since I came we have only signed top players, so it would not be a surprise if we signed Falcao.’

Torres scored seven goals in Europe this season and will lead the line in this evening’s Europa League semi-final first leg in Basle. Demba Ba is cup-tied.

On the way: Falcao is expected to arrive from Atletico Madrid in the summer

On the way: Falcao is expected to arrive from Atletico Madrid in the summer

Man in the mask: Torres trains with his team-mates in Basle on Wednesday

Man in the mask: Torres trains with his team-mates in Basle on Wednesday

The Spaniard’s last Barclays Premier League goal was in the 8-0 victory over Aston Villa on December 23, but despite his indifferent form for Chelsea since a 50m move from Liverpool in 2011, Torres claims his long-term future is in London.

The 29-year-old added: ‘I’m happy at the moment, but I’d be happier if we won the Europa League. I’ve always felt part of this club. Things change, but you can see this season I have been the main striker.

‘This season has been better for me, but it’s not been at the level I want to be. I really think this club has told me the truth. They have hopes for me and they trust me — they don’t say the opposite.

‘I know I want to stay. If they change their minds it’s a different question, but the relationship between me and the club is very straight. It’s not a problem at all.’

Torres scored against Rubin Kazan in the quarter-final second leg in Moscow and is keen to add the Europa League trophy to last season’s Champions League.

Torres added: ‘I hope there’s more to come as I’m still young. We can win the Europa League this season, but we can still win much more. The squad and players are young — we can do great things. I would like to be involved for the next few years because we can become one of the best teams in Europe, not just England.’

Forward thinking: Torres is optimistic about the future at Chelsea

Forward thinking: Torres is optimistic about the future at Chelsea

Fiorentina, however, have expressed interest in signing Torres.

The
29-year-old has grown increasingly frustrated over his form and playing
time at Stamford Bridge and is expected to be pushed further down the
pecking order this summer as Chelsea look to add another two strikers.

Highly rated: Stevan Jovetic could be heading to the Premier League

Highly rated: Stevan Jovetic could be heading to the Premier League

Fiorentina want someone to replace Stevan Jovetic who they anticipate joining either Arsenal or Manchester City.

Their chief scout Eduardo Macia played a role in taking Torres to Liverpool in 2007.

Steven Gerrard to be sidelined with shoulder operation – EXCLUSIVE

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool and England blow with Gerrard set for shoulder op

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

21:41 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 24 April 2013

Steven Gerrard faces an operation on a shoulder injury that could rule him out of England's friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.

Sportsmail revealed this morning that the England captain, 32, has been advised to have surgery after Liverpool's final Barclays Premier League game of the season against QPR on May 19.

Gerrard's ongoing problem with his shoulder will come as a massive blow to England's manager, Roy Hodgson, ahead of the two glamour games.

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard

Blow: Steven Gerrard is expected to miss England's game against Brazil in June with his shoulder injury

He is expected to play in Liverpool's final four games of the season against Newcastle, Everton, Fulham and QPR before using the summer to recover.

The news has since been confirmed by Reds first team coach Mike Marsh.

'It's looking more and more likely that he might require surgery,' Marsh told Liverpoolfc.com.

'He has been playing with a shoulder injury for quite a while now. We'll try to find the right time for him to get it fixed properly.

'It's not ideal timing, it's going to take quite a while for him to heal. It's a funny injury – it's pretty similar to Joe Allen (who has already had surgery which has ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign).

'If it needs repairing, it needs repairing and when he's back fit, he's back fit. There's not much we can do about it.'

If, as expected, he undergoes an operation Gerrard is likely to miss internationals against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on May 29 and Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on June 2.

England play the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on May 29 and then travel to Rio de Janeiro to play Brazil in the Maracana on June 2.

Hodgson insisted after last month's disappointing draw against Montenegro in the World Cup qualifiers that he would pick his strongest squad for the two friendlies and he wants Gerrard, who has 102 caps, for both matches.

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard

International duty: Gerrard is still expected to play in Liverpool's remaining four games of the season

England's manager is reluctant to pick young or inexperienced players for the games because he doesn't expect them to be selected for next year's World Cup in Brazil.

Despite Gerrard's commitment to his country, the Liverpool captain has been urged to have the operation at the end of the Premier League season.

Gerrard has played in all 34 games for Liverpool this season and scored nine goals.

He remains a crucial part of Brendan Rodgers' planning and is scheduled to return from the operation in time for pre-season.

Show: The Liverpool skipper is hopeful of being fit for his testimonial at the beginning of August

Show: The Liverpool skipper is hopeful of being fit for his testimonial at the beginning of August

Gerrard also hopes to be fit for his testimonial game against Olympiakos, which has been scheduled for August 3 at Anfield.

Hodgson already has an eye on the end-of-season fixtures and sent his assistant Ray Lewington to Old Trafford on Monday to watch a number of players.

Rio Ferdinand was a substitute for Manchester United as they beat Aston Villa and secured the Barclays Premier League title.

Road to Rio: Roy Hodgson could hand Ferdinand a recall to the England setup despite turning his back on his country

Road to Rio: Roy Hodgson could hand Ferdinand a recall to the England setup despite turning his back on his country

Ferdinand turned his back on his country last month and went to Qatar to work as an analyst for Al Jazeera.

Incredibly, Hodgson is preparing to offer the Manchester United defender another chance to resume his England career next month.

Bayern Munich v Barcelona – live Champions League

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE LIVE: Bayern Munich v Barcelona – as it happens from the Allianz Arena

).

25min: GOAL! BAYERN MUNICH 1-0 Barcelona

It's been coming and finally the German side's pressure pays off. A corner eventually finds Dante inside the area and his headed effort back across goal is powerfully nodded home by Thomas Muller.

22min: Bayern are slightly fortunate to win a corner as Jordi Alba was adjudged to have failed in keeping the ball in play, but Robben's set-piece is punched clear by Valdes before the visitors win a free-kick for an infringement inside the box.

19min: The home side continue to look dangerous as they go forward but whether it's by handball or other means, the Barcelona back-four isn't struggling too much to cope with the German side. Going forward though it's a different story as Lionel Messi and Co have yet to get into the game.

Clash of the titans: Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery fight for the ball

Clash of the titans: Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery fight for the ball

16min: A strong penalty claim from Bayern Munich, as Philipp Lahm's shot is clearly blocked from a raised Pique arm. It's very subtle from the defender but he is very fortunate to get away with that.

14min: From InfostradaLive:

Bayern have never lost a CL semifinal match at home (5W – 1D). Their only draw was in April 1995: 0-0 against Ajax.

11min: A very even opening to a game which neither side has yet to take control of. Barcelona's passing looks better at this stage but it's Valdes who has had to make the only save of the match so far.

Aiming low: Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben sees a shot saved by Barcelona's Victor Valdes

Aiming low: Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben sees a shot saved by Barcelona's Victor Valdes

8min: In fact one or two players are slipping on other areas of the watered pitch as Barcelona win their first corner, which is headed wide by Gerard Pique.

5min: The home side have settled now but we have the bizarre case of a waterlogged pitch.

There's been no rain in Munich today but the centre-circle is holding standing water from what is most likely from the sprinklers that watered the pitch before the game.

2min: It takes nearly 80 seconds for Bayern to touch the ball but they carve out the first opportunity. Arjen Robben's through pass feeds in Javi Martinez, and after the forward returns the favour with a cut-back, the winger's low shot is well blocked by Victor Valdes.

Ready to go: The players arrive on the pitch at the Allianz Arena

Ready to go: The players arrive on the pitch at the Allianz Arena

Kick-off: Away we go at the Allianz Arena as Barcelona possession is immediately jeered by the home crowd.

19.41: Both sets of teams are on the field, as the home fans raise red and white cards to represent Bayern Munich's colours.

19.36: From InfostradaLive:

Bayern are the first German team to play two consecutive Champions League semifinals since 1998/1999, 1999/2000 and 2000/2001, when they themselves achieved this feat.

Preparing: Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer saves a shot warming up

Preparing: Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer saves a shot warming up

19.31: Viktor Kassai is in charge of tonight's game – with the Hungarian a lucky charm of some sort for Barcelona.

He oversaw their 4-0 win over AC Milan at the Nou Camp earlier this year and was also in charge of the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley where the Spanish side defeated Manchester United 3-1.

Bayern Munich last had the official in their 2-1 defeat at Real Madrid in last year's semi-final.

19.26: They may be stars everyone wants to see but Barcelona were greeted by jeers from the home fans as they took to the pitch for their warm-up.

19.23: Whatever you think of this current Bayern Munich team there is no denying how impressive their current form is. They have won 19 of their last 20 matches in all competitions – with that one blemish being the second-leg defeat against Arsenal in the last 16.

Jupp Heynckes' team have won all 13 Bundesliga games this year and are on course for the treble having reached the final of the German cup following a 6-1 semi-final win over Wolfsburg.

Club legend: Bayern president Uli Hoeness arrives at the Allianz Arena

Club legend: Bayern president Uli Hoeness arrives at the Allianz Arena

Flying the flag: Bayern Munich and Barcelona fans gathered outside of the Allianz Arena

Flying the flag: Bayern Munich and Barcelona fans gathered outside of the Allianz Arena

Flying the flag: Bayern Munich and Barcelona fans gathered outside of the Allianz Arena

19.18: From InfostradaLive:

Victor Valdes plays his 48th CL KO match, overtaking Ryan Giggs (47) as player with most CL KO appearances.

19.13: Full line-ups from the Allianz Arena:

Bayern Munich v Barcelona
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Javi Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Muller, Ribery, Gomez. Subs: Starke, Van Buyten, Shaqiri, Rafinha, Pizarro, Gustavo, Tymoschuk.

Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Bartra, Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Sanchez, Messi, Pedro. Subs: Pinto, Fabregas, Villa, Thiago, Montoya, Abidal, Song.

Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)

19.08: From OptaPaolo:

25 – Bayern have always scored at home in the Champions League against Spanish opposition (13 games), scoring 25 goals in total. Assurance.

Way back when: Bayern Munich's Stefan Effenberg (right) tracks Barcelona's Sonny Anderson

Way back when: Bayern Munich's Stefan Effenberg (right) tracks Barcelona's Sonny Anderson

Revenge: First leg goals from Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry helped Barcelona thump Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate in the 2009 Champions League quarter-finals

Revenge: First leg goals from Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry helped Barcelona thump Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate in the 2009 Champions League quarter-finals

Revenge: First leg goals from Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry helped Barcelona thump Bayern Munich 5-1 on aggregate in the 2009 Champions League quarter-finals

19.05: Bayern Munich won two Champions League group stage meetings in 1998, but Barcelona finally triumphed over the German side when they strolled to a 5-1 aggregate victory in the Champions League quarter-finals four years ago.

In fact they effectively won the tie by half-time of the first leg at the Nou Camp, following a brace from Lionel Messi and strikes from Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o.

19.00: Despite their regular participation in Europe's top competition – these sides have only clashed in three previous seasons.

The first was in the 1996 UEFA Cup semi-final when Bayern edged through 4-3 on aggregate – a tie where in the clash at the Nou Camp, Sergio Busquets' (who starts tonight) father Carles featured – as did Pep Guardiola.

18.55: Mario Mandzukic is suspended for Bayern, so therefore Mario Gomez plays up top. The more agile Jerome Boateng starts in front of Daniel van Buyten.

French following: A fan holds a France flag with Bayern's Franck Ribery on the front

French following: A fan holds a France flag with Bayern's Franck Ribery on the front

18.50: So Messi returns for Barcleona and will lead an attack along with Pedro Rodriguez and Alexis Sanchez. Marc Bartra starts in defence in place of injured pair Javier Mascherano, Carlos Puyol and the suspended Adriano.

18.45: Barcelona starting XI:

Valdes, Alves, Bartra, Pique, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Alexis.

18.40: Bayern Munich starting XI:

Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba, Schweinsteiger, Martinez, Robben, Muller, Ribery, Gomez.

On the move: Mario Gotze (centre) will join Bayern Munich this summer

On the move: Mario Gotze (centre) will join Bayern Munich this summer

18.35: Bayern Munich have already been making headlines today, after it emerged Mario Gotze will join the club from Borussia Dortmund for 32m in what will be Pep Guardiola's first signing when he takes over at Munich this summer.

A huge statement of intent that, with the 20-year-old midfielder one of Europe's most highly sought after players.

18.30: From OptaJean:

1 – Barcelona have only won one of their 6 competitive encounters with Bayern Munich (D2, L3). Stress.

18.25: The fact that Barcelona are not huge favourites (if they are favourites at all) to win tonight shows just how far Bayern Munich have come this season.

They continue to shine in Europe of course but their domestic form has been nothing short of devastating – it should be quite a contest.

Back in business: Lionel Messi is poised to return for Barcelona

Back in business: Lionel Messi is poised to return for Barcelona

18.20: It's been a lovely sunny St. George's Day in the UK, and the weather is looking good in Munich too ahead of tonight's game. It's 16 degrees at the Allianz Arena where fans are already arriving.

18.15: No full team news yet but it seems Lionel Messi is fully fit for Barcelona, having not featured since coming off the bench in the quarter-final win against Paris Saint-Germain in the last round. That's a big boost for Barca who have stuttered at times on their travels around the continent this term.

18.10: There may be no English teams left but what a final four we have in this season's Champions League!

As it turns out it will be a double dose of Spain v Germany, and while Real Madrid are favourites to edge past Borussia Dortmund, it appears much closer between Bayern Munich and Barcelona – the latter of course, the main event this evening.

var timeout = setTimeout(“location.reload(true);”,120000);
function resetTimeout()
clearTimeout(timeout);
timeout = setTimeout(“location.reload(true);”,120000);

On the ball: Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger trains in preperation for the semi-final

On the ball: Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger trains in preperation for the semi-final

B&Q pull out of deal with Football League over title sponsorship

EXCLUSIVE: Football League's attempt to hammer out a deal with B&Q break down

By
Charles Sale

PUBLISHED:

16:25 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:34 GMT, 23 April 2013

The Football League have suffered a huge setback after potential new title sponsors B&Q suddenly pulled out of negotiations.

The DIY chain had been expected to sign a three-year contract worth 21m to replace nPower as the backers of all three Football League divisions from the start of next season.

But talks broke down on Monday with the Football League unaware why B&Q, who had previously shown huge enthusiasm for the sponsorship, had changed their mind at the last minute.

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

No go: B&Q have pulled out of a deal to become the Football League's title sponsors

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Turning off the lights: NPower's sponsorship of the Football League will come to an end this summer

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

Fresh deal: Domino's Pizza are in the mix

The disappointment at the breakdown of the deal is compounded by B&Q, who have stores near numerous Football League clubs, being regarded as such a good fit for a sponsorship that has proved difficult to fill.

But their exit leaves the Football League commercial department having to go back to the companies who had shown interest before attention was turned to finalising the B&Q deal.

One of those companies is restaurant chain Domino's Pizza, who have released a football app and a football sitcom on their Facebook page.

Domino's marketing director Simon Wallis said: 'Football and Pizza are a match made in heaven.'

Rio Ferdinand looks ripped after Manchester United win Premier League title

Ripped Rio! United defender Ferdinand can't play twice a week… but it hasn't stopped him bulking up in the gym

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

08:44 GMT, 23 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:07 GMT, 23 April 2013

The body might not be able to manage two games a week anymore but Manchester United’s title-celebrating tweeter Rio Ferdinand looks in pretty good nick to us.

Ferdinand posted pictures of his team-mates celebrating the club’s 20th title from the Old Trafford dressing room following their 3-0 win over Aston Villa.

But it was the photographs taken by the professionals as the United squad cracked open bottles of sponsors’ Barclays’ bubbly which really caught the eye.

Ripped: Rio Ferdinand celebrates after Manchester United clinched the Premier League title at Old Trafford

Ripped: Rio Ferdinand celebrates after Manchester United clinched the Premier League title at Old Trafford

Rio Ferdinand

Ripped: Rio Ferdinand celebrates after Manchester United clinched the Premier League title at Old Trafford

Ferdinand looked particularly ripped and muscly as he sprayed the champers.

It’s not just the torso which looks impressive in the images, but Ferdinand’s bulging biceps.

Ferdinand has played 24 games in his club’s latest title success and he looks certain to be around for another few years to add to his personal tally.

And looking like this. Why not

Great shape: Ferdinand (right) has had his problems with injury but he clearly spends plenty of time in the gym

Great shape: Ferdinand (right) has had his problems with injury but he clearly spends plenty of time in the gym

Rio Ferdinand with Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney

Rio Ferdinand with Rafael

At least now we know what he was up to behind the scenes last month when he turned down his England recall.

Ferdinand may have flown over to the Far East for his television commitments. And he may have fulfilled his obligations to meet and coach youngsters in Dubai before appearing on Al Jazeera.

But quite clearly the 34-year-old defender spent the rest of his spare time in the hotel gym pumping those weights.

Main men: Ferdinand celebrates with Michael Carrick after United's 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford

Main men: Ferdinand celebrates with Michael Carrick after United's 3-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford