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A new rivalry in English football

Chelsea vs. Tottenham
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Joey Barton deserves to be banned for repeatedly breaking the rules

Joey Barton, 34, has said he will appeal against the ban he received from the English FA.

Banned for 18 months for gambling offences, the career of Joey Barton, one of football's most polarising characters, is effectively over.

In a lengthy statement on his own website, he sought to defend himself, suggesting in part that his controversial profile had been the reason for the severity of the ban. But Barton can have no complaints because he hasn't just broken the rules; he's repeatedly smashed them with a hammer for years, betting on over 1,000 games, including some involving his own...

 By Shaka Hislop

Power Rankings: Juventus retake top spot after Real Madrid's mixed week

FC's Gab Marcotti debates if Juve can be called the best team in the world given their UCL and Serie A exploits this season.
Juventus head coach Max Allegri says victory against Genoa all but guarantees his team the Serie A title.

We have a new leader! Meanwhile, re-entering the countdown are a pair of Europe's biggest clubs, while a German giant drops out.

1. Juventus (+1)

With a Champions League semifinal against Monaco on the horizon, Juventus continued to tick over in Serie A. A 4-0 win over Genoa means that Max Allegri's side have an eight-point lead with five games to go; that sixth straight title is just a matter of time away.

2. Real Madrid (-1)

After battling back with 10 men to equalise vs. Barcelona,...

UK arrests at football clubs is hopefully start of genuine change, transparency

Soccer has long been a sport in need of transparency. Will some be forthcoming?

Is something finally happening? Are they actually getting off their rear ends?

Clubs in France and England, including West Ham and Newcastle United, newly promoted to the Premier League, woke up this morning to raids from tax authorities. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said in a statement that "several" men working in "professional football" have been arrested for suspected tax fraud.

We don't know the details, so there's no point in speculating right now about who and why and what...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Messi tops Player Power Rankings after winning Clasico for Barcelona

Dan Thomas and Alejandro Moreno break down Lionel Messi and Barcelona's last-gasp victory over Real Madrid in El Clasico.

Also receiving votes: Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Khouma Babacar (Fiorentina), Mario Mandzukic (Juventus), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), Cedric Bakambu (Villarreal), Paulo Dybala (Juventus).

Let us know what you think of the countdown by commenting below or on Twitter using #ESPNFCrankings.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

Lionel Messi's Clasico for the ages, Arsenal surprise us, Inter in trouble

The FC crew debate if Lionel Messi truly is the greatest footballer to ever play.

Sometimes they live up to the hype. Sometimes they surpass it.

From the neutral's perspective, Sunday night's Clasico took it to another level. No matchup in the world has as much talent on the pitch even with Neymar missing and Gareth Bale succumbing to injury after just more than half an hour, and few have had as much drama, individual displays of talent, handbrake turns in the narrative and end-to-end excitement as what we witnessed.

And, as far as Lionel Messi is concerned, we've had the...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea and Spurs eye FA Cup final, United at Burnley

The Exploding Heads look ahead to the FA Cup semifinals.
The Exploding Heads look ahead to the FA Cup semifinals.

As well as Premier League action, there's two huge FA Cup semifinals this weekend as Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea eye the final.

Elsewhere, the fight for the top four intensifies as Manchester United face a tricky trip to Burnley while Liverpool host Crystal Palace.

Predict the outcomes in our match polls. 

CHELSEA: After the meek defeat to Manchester United last Sunday, Chelsea could not meet a rampant Spurs side at a worse time. But Antonio Conte's side have reacted well...