Swansea City 0-0 West Ham United: Scoreless draw provides boost for both clubs despite empty feeling (video)

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With pouring rain by the fifth minute, neither side produced anything spectacular as Swansea and West Ham played to a 0-0 draw at Liberty Stadium Saturday.

It could have been more for Swansea, however, had referee Phil Dowd not missed an obvious penalty in stoppage time.

West Ham’s strike partnership of Ravel Morrison and Ricardo Vaz Te looked sharp early, with Morrison slicing an early chance just wide on a break in the 15th minute.

The break came just after Chico Flores tested Jussi Jaaskelainen with a dangerous header off a corner directly at the keeper. Anywhere else and he may have opened the scoring.

Morrison continued to test Vorm, with a pair of efforts off a pair of corners as the first half progressed.

As the half went on, Vaz Te dropped deeper and left Morrison by himself up top, nullifying anything Swansea had in their five-man midfield.  West Ham gained an advantage here, but nether side had any other serious efforts on goal before the halftime whistle.

Unfortunately for West Ham, Vaz Te was forced off injured at halftime, with Matt Jarvis on to replace him.

Swansea slowly gained their legs in the second half, and by the 65th minute they were well on top.  A corner in the 70th minute proved very dangerous for West Ham to deal with, and only a spectacular Jaaskelainen save kept out substitute Wilfried Bony’s powerful shot out from close range.

While West Ham may have lost their first-half edge, they defended well, and kept Swansea from any serious threats going forward.

The chances diminshed as the game because a midfield battle, but will feel harshly judged after the failure by referee Phil Dowd to give a clear handball penalty in stoppage time.

Unlike Ahmed Elmahamoudy’s handball against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Joe Cole’s hand was clearly outstretched from his arm and served to, while not necessarily intentional, make himself bigger and therefore stop the cross by Nathan Dyer.

Cole, making his 350th Premier League appearance, is slightly lucky to have gotten away with no punishment.

The point for Swansea, despite the relative disappointment with being held at home, does push them into the top half of the table.  West Ham, meanwhile, jump to 15th position with nine points.

LINEUPS:

Swansea City – Vorm; Rangel, Chico, Williams, Taylor; Britton, De Guzman, Michu, Dyer, Routlidge (Pablo, 61′); Vazquez (Bony, 66′).

West Ham United – Jaaskelainen; Reid, Tomkins, Rat, Demel; Nolan, Noble, Downing, Diame (C. Cole, 64′); Vaz Te (Jarvis, 45′), Morrison (J. Cole, 78′).

Liverpool fans warned, as Roma pledges support

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There was a terrible incident in Liverpool on Tuesday when a Reds supporter was set upon by Roma fans and left in critical condition.

Sean Cox, 53, was attacked outside a pub before Liverpool’s 5-2 UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg win over AS Roma.

[ MORE: LFC 5-2 Roma | Klopp reacts ]

Liverpool has released its plans to keep supporters safe should they be among the 5,000 with tickets in Rome on Wednesday (via LiverpoolFC.com), pledging the “most comprehensive safety and security advice.”

The club has taken the exceptional measure of requesting an extraordinary meeting in the Italian capital, which will take place on Friday April 27. … At the behest of Liverpool, club officials will join AS Roma, UEFA and the relevant Italian police and security services to discuss specific ongoing concerns.

Merseyside Police chief superintendent Dave Charnock backed up Roma’s police demand that Liverpool fans without tickets skip the trip to Italy. According to the BBC, Liverpool was asked to put fans names on their tickets to the game.

“While we understand and appreciate that many Liverpool fans will want to travel to Rome, I would encourage fans who do not have tickets to not travel,” he said.

AS Roma, for its part, posted a photo of Cox with the statement, “His recovery and the safety of all fans attending football matches, is the only thing that matters now.”

Report: Gerrard on Rangers shortlist ahead of Old Firm Derby

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Could Steven Gerrard‘s first foray into management come against his old manager and in one of the most heated derbies in the world?

The BBC is reporting that the Liverpool legend is on the shortlist for Rangers as the Glaswegian side prepares to hire a new manager in its bid to reverse Celtic domination of the Scottish Premiership and the Old Firm Derby.

[ MORE: Fulham, NFL owner to buy Wembley? ]

Brendan Rodgers has engineered a marvelous run of form for Celtic, who went unbeaten in the league last season. Rodgers is also a sought-after managerial candidate for bigger jobs in Europe, and may not be at Celtic if and when Gerrard is hired by its rivals.

Either Celtic or Rangers have won the Scottish top flight title dating back to 1984-85, when champions Aberdeen were led by some guy named Alex Ferguson.

Rangers are facing a Manchester United moment this weekend, traveling to Celtic Park for a Sunday derby against Celtic which would see their rivals clinch the Premiership with a win.

Celtic has a 10-point lead on Rangers and Aberdeen, and is extremely likely to win its seventh-straight Premiership title. The record for most consecutive Scottish titles is nine, shared by Celtic (1966-74) and Rangers (1989-97).

Sweden announces Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not return for World Cup

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s public flirtation and seeming committal to returning to the Swedish national team for the World Cup was a big tease.

Whether it’s his call or not is up for debate.

The Swedish Football Association reports that it’s spoken with Ibrahimovic and the 35-year-old LA Galaxy striker has declined the chance to return to the fold.

[ MORE: Fulham, NFL owner to buy Wembley? ]

Sweden’s sporting director Lars Richt says Ibrahimovic has not changed his mind on international retirement despite his own words.

Sweden’s current team may have a role in that.

We imagine Richt and Sweden may be cushioning the blow for Ibrahimovic, especially if national team goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson is speaking on behalf of a team vibe when he speaks of Zlatan being “an individualist” who could ruin Sweden’s team-first concept.

Report: Fulham, NFL owner Khan agrees $700m price for Wembley

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Fulham owner Shad Khan also owns a National Football League team, and could have two top-flight teams from different nations playing in England soon.

For Fulham, the Cottagers are currently very much in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League and at the least will have a chance at qualifying through the playoffs.

[ MORE: TFC loses CCL Final in PKs ]

For the Jaguars, who have rarely needed all the seats in their stadium, it could mean a move to London if Khan goes through with what’s being reported as an accepted $700 million bid to buy Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium was also built with the design to host NFL games.

Here’s how ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith puts a bow on it (on one of the biggest days of the NFL calendar, nonetheless):

So it’s possible that there could soon be two iconic soccer stadiums in London with strong NFL ties, one which was built with NFL games in mind, and another that is owned by an NFL owner. The league is pouring serious resources into London.

It seems unlikely Khan would move Fulham from Craven Cottage, but there are other repercussions of this move for soccer in England.

There’s the potential for the England national team to no longer utlizie a permanent home, and the FA Cup and League Cup both potentially requiring new or rotating venues for their final rounds.

A lot to monitor here, and we’ll surely have all the details as they emerge from Khan’s crew.