Rants and musings from the magazine team
1. Torres has until half-time to avoid surpassing SuttonFernando Torres certainly hasn't enjoyed a particularly emphatic start to his Chelsea career – and he's not far from enduring a worse start than one of the Stamford Bridge club's most infamous flops. The Spaniard has so far gone 415 minutes of Premier League football without a Chelsea goal – just 43 fewer than Chris Sutton racked up before his first league goal for the Blues, against Manchester United in October 1999, three months after Chelsea paid Blackburn £10m for him.
But he's still got a long way to go to surpass the barren runs some other Premier League strikers who have suffered after making big money moves to new clubs...Thierry Henry (Arsenal, 1999) 463 minsPeter Crouch (Liverpool, 2005) 707 minsRobbie Keane (Liverpool, 2008) 764 minsDiego Forlan (Manchester United, 2001) 791 minsHelder Postiga (Tottenham, 2003) 794 mins
2. The Railwaymen are not kings of the roadTwelfth-placed Crewe may be the third-highest scorers at home in League Two, hitting eight goals past Cheltenham last weekend and possessing two forwards who have netted 40 between them this season. But a woeful away record mirrors their stellar home form. On Saturday Dario Gradi’s men head to struggling Barnet – who they hit seven past back in August - looking to avoid a 10th straight defeat on their travels.
3. Madrid to meet unrelegatable rivalsWhile it looks like Real Madrid will getting a little more familiar with deadly rivals Barcelona over the coming weeks – with the La Liga giants likely to do battle in the Champions League semifinals, the league and the final of the Copa del Rey over the next four weeks – Madrid won't have to wait that long to face the other member of a rather exclusive club. Athletic Bilbao, who host Jose Mourinho's side this weekend, are the only side other than Barça and Madrid to have never been relegated from the top flight of Spanish football.
4. Iron resolve: Hammers usually turn defeat to victoryAlthough licking their wounds after last week's extremely televised Rooney rout, West Ham should take heart: they rarely lose consecutively in the league. It's 20 games since they did so (against Man United and Chelsea), one of the division's longest runs – topped only by Chelsea (23), obdurate couple Stoke and Fulham (25), eternally battling top-four wannabes Man City and Spurs (33) – and the standout leaders Everton, who haven't lost two on the bounce in 48 games stretching back to November 2009.
5. Luis Suarez played with Jason McAteer back in 1997...well, sort of. The new Anfield hero exclusively reveals in the May edition of FourFourTwo magazine, out now, that he was a fan of the virtual incarnation of the Reds' late-90s vintage during his childhood. "The whole world knows what history Liverpool have. They are one of the best teams in Europe, some great players have played here. When I was 10 years old, I used to play as them on the PlayStation, but never imagined I would play here." The Uruguayan and his new strike partner Andy Carroll both gave us their first major interviews since the moves to Anfield – while we also speak to Kenny Dalglish, John W Henry and Damien Comolli about the 'Red revolution'.
NEW ISSUE: What else is in it the May FourFourTwo?
Suarez goodies a-go-goWin a signed Suarez Liverpool shirt! Win a signed orange Adidas F50 boot! Win a signed picture of Suarez celebrating setting up a goal against Manchester United in their 3-1 win in March! Win all of these things!See all competitions
There was a time when you couldn't move without seeing David Beckham, because he couldn't move without someone shoving a camera in his mush. These days it's Wayne Rooney to whom the cameras zoom. On Saturday lunchtime Rooney was going about his usual business – scoring goals in a Manchester United win – when he was doorstepped by a Sky Steadicam operator. Volleying down the lens the sort of curses he's seldom spared a referee, Rooney found himself cast as a poor example to the Tiny Tims of our delicate nation, dropped by Coke, and handed a two-match ban which rules him out of the Manchester derby FA Cup semi-final next weekend.
By that time United might have reached another semi-final, thanks to Rooney again; he scored the only goal in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Chelsea. But the goals flew in elsewhere. Barcelona crushed Shakhtar 5-1 at the Camp Nou, with five different goalscorers (none of whom were called Messi) and Schalke surprised Inter – already wobbling after a heavy derby defeat to AC Milan – with a 5-2 win at the San Siro.
And there was trouble for Tottenham at Real Madrid. Losing Aaron Lennon shortly before the game – although the winger tweeted defiantly that he hadn't been "taken ill" – Spurs soon went down to 10 men thanks to Peter Crouch's ill-judged tackling. With Emmanuel Adebayor yet again the bogeyman (scoring two headers from corners) and icing applied by Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo for a 4-0 win, both Spanish sides can look forward to an almost inevitable Clasico semi-final. And so can the neutrals.
Elsewhere, Rangers face a UEFA disciplinary hearing over allegations of sectarian chanting; basketballer LeBron James acquired a slice of Liverpool FC; and Paul Ince left Notts County, becoming the 39th managerial casualty of the season – four days after PFA chief Gordon Taylor appealed for more black managers in the game, applauding the NFL's initiative that all interview processes should include members of ethnic minorities. The name of that initiative? The Rooney Rule. You just can't escape that name...
Schalke catch Inter cold as Rangnick's tactical gamble pays off Read now >>
Mikel, Moses, Geesus and ZZ Top – another week in international management Read now >>
Spurs' troubles don't concern Madridista press as Real eye Clasico semi Read now >>
Attend 31 games in 31 days? Across Europe? Oh alright then Read now >>
Trabzon pull away as dreadful Galatasaray call an election Read now >>
Leonardo left speechless as Inter face the end of an era Read now >>
Prepare to fail? Not Schalke's laptop loversVisitors to Gelsenkirchen could be forgiven for thinking Schalke’s museum is another ubiquitous branch of PC World in the Ruhr.Space is afforded to medals, shirts and programmes, as one would expect – nothing out of the ordinary, perhaps. Except pride of place is reserved for another rather dated and chunky-looking object – a Compaq Contura laptop, its weight 6.25 pounds, its black shell polished up like a trophy in its own right.
Filed away somewhere on its tiny 350MB hard drive is a database, one six years in the making. Its architect, Dutch coach Huub Stevens, had meticulously listed and described penalties and their takers – so when the second leg of the 1997 UEFA Cup final at San Siro went to spot-kicks, Schalke were prepared in a way that their opponents Inter could scarcely have imagined.
“Stevens had all the Inter players and their preferred corners stored in the computer,” revealed Schalke captain Olaf Thon. The chief benefactor of that intelligence was Jens Lehmann. “I’d checked with the laptop and knew that whenever Ivan Zamorano took a long run-up he always put the ball to the goalkeeper’s left and that’s exactly what he did.”
It put Inter on the back foot immediately, and when Aron Winter missed their third, Stevens could afford to look up from his laptop and smile. Schalke converted all four of their penalties and quite unexpectedly tasted glory.– James Horncastle, FourFourTwo writer Read the full feature >>
"I dreamed of being a dwarf" – Peter Crouch, Feb 2008, Ask A Silly Question
"I was the red sheep of the family..." – Ian Brown, Nov 2005, Sing When You're Winning
"Roberto Carlos is deformed, isn't he?"– Steve McManaman, Oct 2004, One on One
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