Champions League Quarterfinal Referees: Tuesday April 1

PLAY THE ADVANTAGE

We’re in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, which means shit gets real for both the teams and the referees.

From this point on, I’d be surprised to see an “outlier” amongst the Champions League referees. I think you’ll see the best of the best. The men who are not only at the top of their UEFA form, but are on the list for Brazil, as well. Tuesdays appointments bear that out.

Germany’s Felix Brych, who refereed Chelsea v. Galatasaray on March 18, is back for what could be the most exciting game of the quarterfinals: Barcelona v. Atletico Madrid. They are second and first in La Liga, respectively, so this has the potential to be a showpiece. Brych is up for it, though. He’s been consistently fantastic, and he didn’t put a foot out of line in his earlier outing.

Also, that’s Dr. Felix Brych to you. (He’s…

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Could this be Liverpool’s secret weapon in the Premier League title race?

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Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge, centre, celebrates with teammate Jordan Henderson (Picture: AP Photo)

If the bookies are to be believed Liverpool are still outsiders in the Premier League title race.

Even after Chelsea’s defeat at Crystal Palace today there are plenty of people who think the Reds will not be able to deal with the pressure over the final few weeks of the season.

Indeed, some say the fact that Brendan Rodgers’ side have gone top will only add to the pressure, as they now have something to lose.

Liverpool have got where they are playing free-flowing attacking football but, it is claimed, during the run in you need to be tight at the back and have the ability to grind out results.

Wednesday night’s win over Sunderland was a game that the Reds were expected to win, but for long periods in the first half the relegation threatened strugglers frustrated…

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Jose Mourinho: I spoke to Crystal Palace ball-boy because I feared for his safety after Eden Hazard’s Swansea incident

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Jose Mourinho had a quiet word with a ball-boy (Picture: Getty)

Jose Mourinho played the role of concerned parent at Selhurst Park, warning a young ball-boy against time-wasting in case his players reacted badly.

The Chelsea boss strode over to the youngster during his side’s 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace this afternoon, after he appeared to have enraged Cesar Azpilicueta as he took his time over returning the ball.

But Mourinho, who whispered into the ball-boy’s ear, said he was thinking back to last season’s incident involving Eden Hazard at Swansea, when the Belgian attempted to kick the ball out from underneath a 17-year-old youngster, resulting in a red card.

‘It doesn’t interfere with the result of the game, but I don’t like the ball-boys provoking the players,’ the Blues boss said.

‘Because at the end of the day what happens is what happened last year at Swansea when a…

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Premier League title race blown wide open as Chelsea lose and Manchester City draw at Arsenal

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John Terry’s own goal saw Chelsea lose at Crystal Palace (Picture: Getty)

Liverpool’s day could barely have been more perfect and Brendan Rodgers’ side didn’t even kick a ball.

The Premier League title race was blown wide open today as John Terry’s own goal gifted Crystal Palace a shock victory over Chelsea, while a second-half fightback saw Arsenal hold Manchester City to a draw.

Today’s results mean if Liverpool can earn victory at Tottenham tomorrow, the Reds will go top.

Both City and Chelsea have yet to travel to Anfield this season and those two fixtures have now taken an even greater importance.

Man City’s destiny remains in their own hands, as they trail Chelsea by two points but with two games in hand over Jose Mourinho’s men.

But if today is anything to go by, we’re set for a thrilling end to the season one way or another.

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Should Manchester City be happy with a point at Arsenal?

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Manchester City let an opportunity slip as they played out a 1-1 draw against Arsenal at The Emirates (Picture: AP Photo)

It was at a similar point in the season two seasons ago where Manchester City dropped points against Arsenal in a game that was widely thought to have permanently derailed their Premier League title ambitions.

History reminds us that there was a different outcome but once again at The Emirates points were dropped to raise questions about City’s title ambitions. The two situations are markedly different of course, yet Manuel Pellegrini and his side will depart with a sense of frustration at the forefront of their minds having let an opportunity slip.

City took the field with the news that Chelsea had lost filtering through, which meant that victory would see them move to the top of the table (albeit for 24-hours until Liverpool’s result is determined) without having…

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Why Oscar’s return to form has come at just the right time for Chelsea

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Oscar has been an important player for Chelsea this season (Picture:Reuters)

With Chelsea having all to play for in the league and a daunting Champions League clash against French champions Paris Saint-Germain, Oscar and co will surely need to step up their game now to have any success this season.

As for Oscar, whose form had dipped recently, now is the perfect time for the 22-year-old to be finding his feet again. A solid performance against Galatasaray and a inspirational brace against Arsenal has seen the Brazilian rediscovering his form – and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Last season it was Juan Mata and this season it has been Eden Hazard bailing out the team during sticky situations. However with Chelsea still in the title race and competing with Europe’s elite for club football’s most desirable prize, the Blues cannot afford to rely on only one person, which is why…

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‘Every time it’s girl, girl, girl! I hate girls!’ New baby reveal goes all kinds of wrong

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Two parents’ ingenious reveal of the sex of their new baby took a rather sour turn when their only son didn’t seem that thrilled by the idea of a third sister.

When Jason and Tiffany Mertlich baked a cake and told their three children they’d know the new arrival’s gender by the colour of the inside, at first it all seemed very exciting.

But when their eldest child Gunner, who cut the cake alongside his sisters Paisley and Harper, lifted the slice to reveal a pink sponge, his reaction wasn’t quite what everyone was expecting.

‘It’s a girl!’ he exclaimed through the tears. ‘It’s another girl! I hate girls! Every time it’s girl, girl, girl, girl!

‘I want to leave this house and never come back. I want to be by myself.’

His mood wasn’t exactly helped by the parents’ giggling behind the camera…

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Chelsea can’t afford to take their foot off the gas against Tony Pulis’s Crystal Palace

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Chelsea’s Oscar, left, celebrates with team mate David Luiz (Picture: Reuters)

With Manchester City being the masters of their own destiny, and Liverpool firing in the goals, Chelsea cannot afford any slip-ups as they approach the business end of the season and will need to keep their focus against Crystal Palace.

It is a game that you would normally expect Jose Mourinho’s side to win but, considering the Blues have dropped silly points against the likes of West Brom, West Ham and Stoke already during the course of the campaign, it’d be dangerous to consider it a ‘gimme’.

Palace have only scored once during their win-less five-match streak in the league and attempted just one shot on target against Newcastle United last weekend, so do not pose much of a threat in terms of going forward but the longer this game remains goalless you would expect Chelsea to get frustrated…

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Facebook buys Oculus Rift VR company for $2 billion

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Oculus Rift - the future of everything? Oculus Rift – the future of everything?

Mark Zuckerberg has described VR as the ‘next major computing platform after mobile’, as Notch pulls support for Minecraft.

Virtual reality has an unexpected new champion, as Facebook announces it has bought Oculus VR for $400 million cash and 23.1 million Facebook shares, plus another $300 million in potential bonuses. Not bad for a company that first shot to fame with a Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift headset.

The obvious question though is what does Kickstarter want with what was a start-up company aimed primarily at hardcore PC gamers?

‘Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow,’ said Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. ‘Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.’

‘The incredible thing about the technology is that you…

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Stewards forced to guard ‘Chosen One’ banner as United fans vent fury at David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson

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David Moyes’ popularity with United fans hit a new low after City’s Manchester derby cakewalk on Tuesday – with even Sir Alex Ferguson now not immune from their fury.

The current Old Trafford chief is now so unpopular, even Ferguson has apparently been targeted for choosing the under-fire ex-Everton boss as his replacement.

There were reports of abuse being thrown at Ferguson, who was sitting in the directors’ box at Old Trafford, during the one-sided derby, which City led after 43 seconds and comfortably won 3-0.

After the game, six stewards were deployed to protect the ‘Chosen One’ banner in honour of Moyes, with supporters in the Stretford End trying to rip it down as fans vented their fury after another chastening defeat…

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