By THOMAS FLOYD
Tottenham may be slumping, but goalkeeper Brad Friedel doesn't feel the pressure.
The American has put his club's recent tailspin into perspective, saying, "Football is not pressure. It might be for some. If you want to heap the pressure on, then that's you as an individual person. But you play football. It's a game."
Friedel went on to cite the heart attack Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered during a match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday, implying that such an incident is a reminder of how inconsequential the sport can be in the big picture.
"We want to win, but we all saw here last Saturday what pressure was," Friedel said. "I've got three kids, and raising them is far more pressure than a football match."
Here are some more stories to keep your Thursday rolling:
KOMPANY CLOSE TO RETURN
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany may return from a hamstring injury for this weekend's clash with Stoke City.
Kompany, who had been enjoying one of the finest seasons among all defenders in the Premier League, suffered the hamstring strain March 8 during a Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon. While his return is a boost for the City defense, the club will still be a bit shorthanded in the back, as defender Joleon Lescott remains out with a groin ailment.
After their victory over Chelsea on Wednesday, City currently sit one point behind Manchester United in the race for the Premier League crown.
BLATTER: MATCH-FIXING GETTING WORSE
FIFA president Sepp Blatter says that despite his organization's efforts to control match-fixing, the problem is only getting worse, alluding to the Turkish scandal that resulted in Fenerbahce being banned from the Champions League this season.
"Are we responsible for all the evils in our world? No. But we must see to it that we stay alert," Blatter said. "There is something that is new and concerns the region where we are and that is illegal betting and this leads to match-rigging. … We are working together against the scourge of match-rigging, which is undermining our sport."
STOKE MANAGER ESCAPES DRIVING BAN
Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has escaped a driving ban after his lawyer argued the punishment could result in the club's relegation and therefore have an adverse effect on the local community. The Welshman was caught driving 96 mph in a 60-mph zone after Stoke's 5-0 loss to Bolton in November.
"As a result of being in the Premier League, it has put Stoke-on-Trent on the map," said Mike Stephenson, Pulis' lawyer. "It has led to numerous businesses being set up. A number of them are totally reliant on Stoke City, and those businesses would suffer if they were relegated. The people of Stoke-on-Trent could suffer if Mr. Pulis lost his licence and lost his job."
Stoke currently sits midtable, 14 points out of the relegation zone.
What do you think of Friedel's comments? How big a boost could Kompany's return be for City? Is FIFA doing enough to control match-fixing? Is Pulis' laywer's reasoning one of the best you've seen?
Share your thoughts below.