Wigan Stun Man City Again In FA Cup Win

Wigan beat Man CityDefending FA Cup champions, Wigan Athletic shocked Manchester City in the FA Cup for the second time in consecutive seasons after producing a remarkable 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Jordi Gomez put the Latics ahead from the penalty spot in the first half, and James Perch added a second after half-time with a finish at the back post.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team pulled one back through Samir Nasri but could not find an equalizer as Wigan defended with all they had.

Wigan also beat City in last year’s Wembley final and edged a pulsating tie at the Etihad after some heroic defending.

Wigan Athletic’s reward for their outstanding victory over Manchester City is a semi-final clash against Arsenal.

For the other semi-final game, Hull City has been drawn against Sheffield United. The Tigers eased to a 3-0 victory against Sunderland at the KC Stadium on Sunday.

The games will be played at Wembley over the weekend of April 12/13.

EPL: Tomas Rosicky Determined To Win With Arsenal

Tomas Rosicky celebrates Arsenal's third goal with the scorer of the first two, Olivier Giroud. Reuters

Tomas Rosicky has pledged his future to Arsenal in the belief that the club has all that they needs to end their lengthy trophy drought.

The Czech playmaker is out of contract at the end of the 2013/14 season, but Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger revealed at the weekend that he expects that Rosicky would sign a new deal in the coming weeks.

The 33-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in 2006, impressed when he took the place of Mesut Ozil in the team against Sunderland on Saturday, crowning his performance with a sublime goal.

Rosicky’s time at the club has been hampered by a number of injuries, and he missed the entire 2008-09 season due to a hamstring tendon problem that almost ended his career.

But he is back in Wenger’s plans and remains convinced he is at the right place to win silverware sooner rather than later.

“I always believed in it here at Arsenal and still do. I knew this club was the right place for me and I want to be here for as long as I can,” Rosicky told the official Arsenal magazine.

“It is obviously very difficult to predict how long I can go on for, (but) I feel very good. I don’t feel any different than in the past, I don’t feel any change in myself.

“All I can say is that I still have a big passion to achieve things and that is really important.

“You must have that force, that drive to go on and achieve something and I definitely still have that.

“I was nearly out of the game because of injury, so I have a different approach now because I know it could end at any point. I just want to be successful with Arsenal.

“I won three titles in the Czech Republic before I left (Sparta Prague), I won the Bundesliga with Dortmund and I still believe I can do it here.

“I wouldn’t stay here if I didn’t believe.

“The idea of winning the (Premier) League and the Champions League really drives me forward, I love it”, Rosicky said.

Champions League: Belief Is The Key For Arsenal – Wenger

Arsenal have the belief to challenge Champions League holders Bayern Munich in the first leg of the last-16 more effectively than they did a year ago, Coach Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday (February 18).

Having met at the same stage of the competition last season, Arsenal will be out to avenge defeat by Bayern as, despite winning the second leg 2-0 at the Allianz Arena, they were eliminated on away goals after losing 3-1 at home.

At the start of February, Wenger identified it as a crucial month for the London side and results so far in the tougher games have been mixed.

They beat Liverpool 2-1 in the FA Cup to avenge a 5-1 drubbing in the Premier League and drew 0-0 with defending champions Manchester United.

At a news conference on Tuesday (February 18), Wenger took heart from the FA Cup wins over Liverpool and over local rivals Tottenham in the previous round as he prepared his side to face champions Bayern.

“We know that we face the favourites of the competition and what we have is belief, because on the opposite we have had only big games in the Champions League and in the FA Cup because we played against Tottenham, we played against Liverpool. Since the start of the season we know that in every single game we have to be 100 percent. We believe we can do it but that is down to the quality of our performance tomorrow,” said the Frenchman.

“It gave us belief to finish well the season last year and from then on I think as well since the start of the season we have done well. We are in a strong position and it’s now down to us how we can from game to game show the same focus as against Liverpool.”

“I think we are in much better mental shape than we were one year ago because we lost against Blackburn (Rovers) at home in the FA Cup and it was a big disappointment for us, this time we won against Liverpool and we are really determined of course to win this game tomorrow.

“We have a strong team spirit that is for sure and a strong desire to do well and a united team. But it’s important as well; I believe we always had these kinds of qualities but not always the belief. Belief is built by the results and on that front we are stronger of course.”

Wenger is expected to ring the changes against a Bayern side that have lost once in 34 games and won 13 straight Bundesliga matches.

Santi Cazorla, Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Bacary Sagna and Wojciech Szczcesny are all pushing for starts and with Mikel Arteta suspended, Tomas Rosicky could start in midfield alongside Mathieu Flamini.

Jack Wilshere may also bolster Arsenal’s midfield in view of the difficult task of stifling Bayern’s powerhouse midfield, with Schweinsteiger, Tony Kroos and Javi Martinez supplying balls for Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic.

The 20-year-old England international is confident Arsenal can rise to the challenge posed by the German side.

“We’ve spoken about the importance of staying in the game, if it’s 0-0 at home we’ve still got a big chance of qualifying, the away goal is massive in this competition, especially when it comes to these big games.

“That’s what we saw last year, we went out on away goals and this year we’ve got to be a bit more intelligent and stay in the game,” said Wilshere, who has scored two goals in six Champions League appearances this season.

Fabiyi, Sowemimo, Johnson Move To Abia Warriors

Newly promoted Nigeria Premier League team, Abia Warriors Football Club of Umuahia is getting ready for the start of the new Premier League season next month with the recruitment of established and experienced players.

Goalkeeper Olaniyi Fabiyi, who led Bayelsa United to a third place finish in last season’s campaign, former Enyimba International of Aba player, Chidozie Johnson and Abdulwasiu Showemimo who captained Kano Pillars to the semi-final of the CAF Champions League a couple of years ago are now players of the Aba based club.

Also ready for some action for the Ochendo Babes is back-to-back winner of the CAF Champions League with Enyimba and member of Nigeria’s Super Eagles, Ogbonnaya Okemiri and Onyekachi Okoye, the veteran midfielder who was declared the most valuable player in the Nigerian Premier League after assisting Lobi Stars of Makurdi to win the FA Cup in 2003.

Onyekachi Okoye, who last played for Sahel Sportivo of Niger Republic after coming back from Europe where he featured for Italian Clubsides like Primavera, AS Roma and Reggina, also played for a host of club sides in Nigeria including Enyimba International of Aba. “I’m in Umuahia to help Abia Warriors Stabilize in the county’s elite League and win titles”, says a delighted Okoye.

Olaniyi Fabiyi, a former Bayelsa Utd player, confirmed he had to leave the club after six years to seek for fresh challenges.

The former Enyimba, Niger Tornadoes of Minna and Gateway of Abeokuta Goalkeeper, who won four trophies with Bayelsa Utd, said he was one of the few players who remained with the club even after they were relegated and guided them back to the top class, insisting that he decided to join Abia Warriors to contribute his quota towards the building of a football club of tomorrow.

Sowemimo, a reliable central defender and veteran of many national and continental soccer battles, featured for Sunshine Stars of Akure last Season after a stint with Dolphins of Port Harcourt and captained Kano Pillars for many years said it was his pleasure to play for an ambitious club like Abia Warriors, promising to bring his experience to bear.

Debate: Return Of Special One, Good or Bad For Chelsea?

Please, do not call me arrogant because what I say is true; I am European Champion, I am not one out of the bottom. I think I am a special one – Jose Mourinho

On Monday, Chelsea Football Club announced the appointment of Jose Mourinho as First Team Manager.

Mourinho signed a four-year contract and will return to the club where he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two League Cups between 2004 and 2007.

Many football analysts have argued that while Jose Mourinho rebuilt the side that had finished second under Claudio Ranieri, and turned Chelsea into the best side in England, it may be different this time round.

Mourinho wants to call the shots but the 2013 version of the Blues is not the same beast as the 2004 incarnation.

What is evident, unquestioned, is that Mourinho inherits a small and unbalanced squad, which must be significantly replenished.

In this debate, two sport analysts examine the significance of Mourinho’s return to Chelsea.

Chelsea Ready To Do Battle — Benitez

[highlight txtcolor=”#000FF”]Rafael Benitez believes Chelsea will learn from past mistakes as they bid to book their FA Cup final place.[/highlight]

The Blues will be facing Manchester City on Sunday in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, with the interim manager adamant he is pleased with the season so far.

City beat Chelsea 2-0 in February at the Etihad stadium, but Benitez says his team learned from the experience.

If Chelsea can beat Man City on Sunday, a cup double remains in their favour, having edged past Rubin Kazan to progress into the Europa league semi-finals.

Smoking Ba Sails Chelsea To FA Cup Semis

An unbelievable and well thought volley by Senegalese and Chelsea player; Demba Ba ensured that the European champions book a place in the FA Cup semi-final clash at the expense of rated almighty unbeatable Red Devils- Manchester United today as the game ended 1-0.

In a replay of the quarter final game between the heavyweights and one which bets favoured the Red devils, Ba’s strike made the difference in what would have gone either way going by the potential on both sides.

In what looked like a drab match in the first half, was kick-started which so much determination from both sides.

A save by Chelsea No.1 goalkeeper Petr Cech which will stand as one of the classic save of this season got everyone thinking a comeback from Ba’s effort would actually be cancelled. It was a superb effort by Javier Hernandez midway through the second half but Cech denied him that glorious moment.

The FA Cup holders will now lock horns with Manchester City for the semi-final, even though they finished today’s game with just 1-0 margin despite their dominance which a lot expected would produce more goals for the bridge boys.

Chelsea will be visiting Wembley on April 14 to keep alive their hopes of defending the crown they earned against Liverpool in last season’s final, this time to face City.

In the build-up to the goal that sank United today, Juan Mata who was the architect of Chelsea’s comeback to draw 2-2 in the first game at Old Trafford was again the brain behind Ba’s goal, with his notable contribution with a deliciously chipped pass to Ba.

Ba’s technique in goal sense matched his confidence as he stunned United’s De Gea with his volley as such came unexpected to him and after United cleaned off the shock of the goal, they roared with so much vigour that it almost produced a goal to cancel Chelsea’s goal after Hernandez’s diving header.

Robin van Persie and Ryan Giggs were then sent on in place of Cleverley and Nani to try and save United’s FA Cup campaign.

Chelsea on their were not asleep as they responded to every move made by United and this was evident after Hazard gave United a let-off after 67 minutes when he burst into the penalty area following a mistake from Carrick only to shoot a yard wide of the goal and after Harzard’s effort it was as if United went to sleep because it prompted a flurry of opportunities for Chelsea but due to poor finishing none of the notable efforts could be converted to goal.

Arsenal Prepares For Bayern Showdown

Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his side to forget their FA cup loss to second-tier Blackburn Rovers and concentrate on a 16 first-leg tie against runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich today at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal were booed off after the 1-nil 5th round home defeat by Blackburn, completing a cup exit double at the hands of lower league opposition, after a shock capital one quarter-final loss to fourth-tier Bradford.

Out of contention in the Premier League and with only a Champions League place to play for, Wenger says they need a big performance against Bayern.

Arsenal has lost in the last two seasons and are faced with a Bayern side cruising towards the Bundesliga title having won 18 of 22 league games.

Ba Signs Three And A Half Year Contract With Chelsea

Stamford Bridge club; Chelsea have confirmed competing Newcastle striker deal Demba Ba after the Striker signed a three and a half year contract with European Champions.

Though the fee remains undisclosed as at the time the information reached us but it is to be around the forward’s release clause of seven million pounds.

The Senegal international will wear the number 29 shirt for the Blues and will be eligible to feature in Saturday’s FA Cup tie away to Southampton.

The striker, who becomes the first Senegalese player to play for Chelsea, has hit 13 goals in the Premier League so far this season.

The striker has been on an 18-month spell for Newcastle United, but before then Demba Ba has been top of the club’s goal scoring charts this season.

Ba said “It feels good to be here, I’m very happy and very proud.” after the signing.

“It was important for me, and for Newcastle, to get my future sorted and now we can move on. Now they have the whole month to buy someone and for me as well, the sooner the better. Now I am here I just need to get settled in.

“When the club who won the Champions League wants you, the decision is very easy. This club is massive and that’s something that helped the decision a lot. It was not a hard one.”

Chelsea plans ‘Fright Night’ for United ahead of Capital One Cup clash

Chelsea promised to give United so much to worry on come Wednesday as the league leaders play host to United again in the  in the Capital One Cup.

Manchester United has been promised a “horror show” as Wednesday was tagged ‘Fright Night’ as the night will be a night of vengeance.

And after Sunday’s thrilling Premier League encounter, which ended with a controversial 3-2 victory for the visitors, Chelsea has encouraged Blues fans to turn up in west London in Halloween attire.

Chelsea Manager Roberto Di Matteo who has been desperate for revenge as well as his Chelsea players as they will be hoping to mess up their arch rivals on Wednesday night, and to also use the win to book their place in the competition’s quarter-finals, chasing out Sir Alex Ferguson’s side from the Capital One Cup in the process.

Fans were urged to wear their scariest fancy dress costumes, in a bid to terrify the Manchester United players and help Chelsea secure an easy win.

“Wednesday night sees Chelsea take on Manchester United in the League Cup and it’s sure to be a brilliant match, but it also happens to be Halloween – the spookiest night of the year,” read a statement on the club’s official website.

“We want all ‘bridge kids’ who have tickets for the game to come along early and wear their best Halloween outfits so that we can help scare the United players and help the Blues get a win.