Conte Urges Spurs To Be ‘Brave’ Against Fearsome Liverpool

In this file photo, Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s third goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 19, 2022.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Antonio Conte has urged Tottenham to be “brave” when they face quadruple-chasing Liverpool in the Premier League on Saturday in a match that could prove pivotal for both teams.

Spurs are two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal but Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool similarly need the win if they are to catch Manchester City, who are one point clear at the top of the table.

The Reds have only dropped two points in the Premier League since January 2 — a draw against Pep Guardiola’s City — and this week booked their place in the Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Klopp’s men already have the League Cup in the trophy cabinet and face Chelsea in the FA Cup final later this month as they hunt an unprecedented clean sweep of silverware.

READ ALSO: Real Madrid And Liverpool Set For Paris Rematch

“When you arrive at this point of the season and you are in a race for every target, it gives you a big, big push to do something incredible,” Spurs boss Conte said on Thursday.

“I think Jurgen Klopp is doing a fantastic job with his team. It is not easy, especially for an English team to arrive at the end of the season to stay in the race for all the competitions that you compete (in).

“It is incredible. You can see Liverpool’s players run a lot, they have not had many injuries. Their enthusiasm is not 100 percent, it is 200 percent. You don’t feel the fatigue when you reach this point.”

The Italian, desperate to secure Champions League football next season, said he wanted his side to play their own game at Anfield after drawing 2-2 against Liverpool at home earlier in the season.

Spurs have also beaten Premier League leaders City home and away during the current campaign.

“I said this to my players, we need to play a good game and be brave when we have the ball, don’t be scared for all the pressure, and to find the solution,” said Conte.

“We have improved a lot. We are in this race for a place in the Champions League and for this reason we need to get points in every game. Every game is a big chance for us to improve the table. In this game we have to try and beat Liverpool.”

Conte also said at his pre-match press conference that loan star Dejan Kulusevski was “100 percent” a Tottenham player.

The Swede, who has impressed since joining from Juventus in the January transfer window, is on an 18-month loan but Spurs have the option to buy, which would turn into an obligation should certain on-field criteria be met.

Conte has no concerns about Kulusevski’s future, saying: “He’s a Tottenham player, 100 percent in every aspect. Not officially but he’s 100 percent a Tottenham player.”

AFP

Liverpool Face Fixture Crunch In Premier League Title Bid

In this file photo, Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane celebrates with teammates after scoring his team third goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 19, 2022.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Title-chasing Liverpool will play two Premier League games in the final week of the campaign after their match against Southampton was rescheduled due to their participation in the FA Cup final.

Jurgen Klopp’s men will travel to the south coast for their penultimate fixture of the league season on Tuesday, May 17, three days after their date at Wembley with Chelsea.

READ ALSO: Mourinho Rebuilding Reputation As Revitalised Roma Eye European Glory

Quadruple-chasing Liverpool, who already have the League Cup in their trophy cabinet, are going head to head with reigning champions Manchester City for the title.

They are one point behind Pep Guardiola’s City with five games remaining for both teams.

City’s trip to Wolves, which was postponed due to their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool, has been scheduled for May 11.

Guardiola’s men face a tough trip to West Ham on May 15 and conclude their season a week later at home to Aston Villa, while Liverpool host Wolves on the final day.

Liverpool and City could also meet in the final of the Champions League if both win their semi-final ties.

AFP

Klopp Plays Down ‘Crazy’ Liverpool Quadruple Talk

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp takes a training session at the Axa training centre in Kirkby, north of Liverpool in north-west England on November 23, 2021, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League, Group B football match against Porto. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says it is “crazy” to even think about an unprecedented quadruple of trophies as he prepares his League Cup winners for Wednesday’s FA Cup tie against Norwich.

The Reds beat Chelsea 11-10 in a dramatic penalty shootout at Wembley on Sunday to win the first piece of domestic silverware on offer in the English season and are still chasing glory on three other fronts.

Victory against Premer League strugglers Norwich would take Liverpool through to the FA Cup quarter-finals, while they are 2-0 up after the first leg of their elite European Champions League last-16 game against Inter Milan.

Klopp’s men are six points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, with a match in hand, after a run of six consecutive league wins.

But the German is not entertaining the thought of winning all four trophies, with months of the season still to come.

“No team in the history of English football has won the quadruple, right? That is because it is incredibly difficult,” Klopp said on Tuesday.

“We are still behind Manchester City (in the Premier League). We are not close to thinking about any crazy stuff like that.

“The only team who could get it is us because we won the first final but even City, with all the quality they have in the last years, couldn’t win the quadruple.”

Klopp said it was important to keep the focus on the “next step” and not become distracted.

There are likely to be plenty of changes for the visit of Norwich after a number of Liverpool players featured for 120 minutes at Wembley.

The celebrations were relatively short-lived and Klopp does not think there will be a problem refocusing for the FA Cup tie against the Canaries.

He said: “The party was in the dressing room and then we were all in the bus…. Then we had loud music in the bus, no music in the plane, maybe some in the cars and then home at 12:30 pm (0030 GMT).

“Then you cannot sleep, or at least I can’t, and we gave the boys the day off yesterday.”

Klopp has also played down the seriousness of 18-year-old Harvey Elliott’s celebrations after the Football Association asked him for an explanation as to why he celebrated on the pitch holding a flare.

“He made a mistake but only because of the role model we have as people working in public. I will tell him, I can promise he will not do it again,” said the manager.

“Do I think it is the worst thing that happened in the world of football? No.

“But in the moment I got carried away, and I am nearly four times as old as him, so it can happen.”

AFP

Chelsea Beat Tottenham To Reach League Cup Final


Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the second leg of the English League Cup semi-final football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in London on January 12, 2022. Glyn KIRK / IKIMAGES / AFP

 

Chelsea reached the League Cup final with a 1-0 win at Tottenham as Antonio Rudiger’s goal and three VAR decisions helped the Blues seal a 3-0 aggregate success on Wednesday.

Rudiger’s first-half header ensured Chelsea pressed home the advantage they had earned with a 2-0 win in the first leg last week.

Thomas Tuchel’s team also had VAR official Mike Dean on their side as Tottenham were given two penalties by Andre Marriner, only for reviews to overturn both, while Harry Kane saw a goal disallowed for offside.

READ ALSO: Real Madrid Down Barcelona To Reach Spanish Super Cup Final

Chelsea will play Liverpool or Arsenal in the final at Wembley on February 27.

Liverpool host the coronavirus-delayed first leg of their semi-final against the Gunners on Thursday.

It is Chelsea’s first League Cup final appearance since 2019 as they aim to win the competition for the first time since 2015.

Tuchel has now taken Chelsea to three finals since taking over from Frank Lampard in January 2020.

They lost to Leicester in the FA Cup final before beating Manchester City to win the Champions League.

Securing a Wembley berth was the ideal preparation for Chelsea’s crucial date with Premier League leaders City on Saturday.

Tottenham have not won a major trophy since lifting the League Cup in 2008 and their options for ending that drought this season are dwindling.

Antonio Conte had conceded it would be hard to overturn the deficit against a team of Chelsea’s quality.

And the Tottenham manager’s pessimism proved well founded as Chelsea quickly put a stranglehold on the tie in north London.

Romelu Lukaku almost bagged an early goal when the Chelsea striker barged past Ben Davies for a strike that was saved by Pierluigi Gollini, with the rebound off Japhet Tanganga drifting just wide.

Tottenham’s bid to become just the second team to reach the League Cup final after losing the first leg by more than one goal was shattered in the 18th minute.

VAR Drama

Gollini was a surprise starter for Tottenham instead of Hugo Lloris, a Conte gamble that backfired as the keeper was at fault for Chelsea’s opener.

It was a shambolic goal to concede as Gollini came off his line in a failed attempt to punch clear from Mason Mount’s inswinging corner, allowing the unmarked Rudiger to guide his header into the top corner via the underside of the bar.

Rudiger had already scored in Chelsea’s Premier League win at Tottenham this term and once again the German defender’s aggression was too much for the north Londoners to handle.

Callum Hudson-Odoi had a chance to double Chelsea’s lead with a low shot from inside the area, but this time Gollini was equal to the threat.

Chelsea were dominating possession but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg almost grabbed a lifeline for Tottenham when his deflected effort flashed just wide.

Tottenham thought they had won a penalty when Rudiger sent Hojbjerg tumbling with a sliding tackle on the Dane, but VAR changed Marriner’s decision to a free-kick as the tackle was clearly made outside the area.

Giovani Lo Celso wasted the set-piece and Tottenham were booed off at half-time as their Wembley hopes faded.

Marriner’s poor decisions were only adding to Tottenham’s frustration and the referee was forced to deny the hosts another penalty in the second half.

Kane’s pass sent Lucas Moura through on goal, but Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga made a well-timed block with his legs and, after Marriner errantly pointed to the spot, VAR intervened to change the decision.

Kepa made another important save moments later, leaping to his left to claw away Emerson Royal’s header.

Incredibly, Tottenham endured a third VAR reversal when Kane swept his shot into the far corner in the 63rd minute, only for the review to show he was inches offside.

AFP

Nketiah Hat-Trick Sends Arsenal Into League Cup Semi-Finals


Arsenal’s English striker Eddie Nketiah (R) with the match-ball celebrates with Arsenal’s English midfielder Charlie Patino (L) on the pitch after the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 21, 2021. Arsenal won the game 5-1. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Eddie Nketiah scored a hat-trick as a much-changed Arsenal marched into the League Cup semi-finals by beating Sunderland 5-1 on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old striker is out of contract at the end of the season and gave potential suitors in the January transfer window a reminder of his predatory prowess in front of goal.

Nicolas Pepe and Charlie Patino on his debut were also on target for the Gunners as the match went ahead at the Emirates without any restrictions on crowd numbers despite London mayor Sadiq Khan declaring a “major incident” in the English capital due to spiralling coronavirus infection numbers.

Arsenal were one of just eight sides in Premier League action last weekend as the wave of Covid cases caused by the new Omicron variant decimated the English football calendar.

READ ALSO: Arsenal Thrash Leeds To Tighten Grip On Fourth Place

Mikel Arteta made nine changes from the side that thrashed Leeds 4-1, but Arsenal were never in danger of suffering an upset.

Nketiah opened the scoring on 17 minutes as he bundled the ball home from close range after Rob Holding’s header was parried by Sunderland goalkeeper Lee Burge.

Pepe remains Arsenal’s record signing, but has been dropped down the pecking order this season due to the form of youngsters Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli.

The Ivorian took his rare chance to shine as he exchanged passes with Cedric Soares before seeing his strike deflected past the helpless Burge.

Nathan Broadhead pulled a goal back for League One Sunderland before half-time.

But Nketiah quickly restored Arsenal’s two-goal advantage five minutes into the second half, flicking in a Nuno Tavares cross at the near post.

Nketiah completed his hat-trick in impressive fashion soon afterward as he backheeled Pepe’s cross beyond Burge.


Arsenal’s English midfielder Charlie Patino (2nd R) celebrates with teammates after scoring their fifth goal on his debut during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 21, 2021.  Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Arteta then handed the highly-rated Patino his debut 10 minutes from time.

And the 18-year-old rounded off the scoring when he slotted home another Pepe pass.

The other three quarter-finals take place on Wednesday as Tottenham host West Ham, Liverpool take on Leicester and Chelsea face Brentford.

AFP

West Ham End Man City’s Four-Year Hold On League Cup


Manchester City’s US goalkeeper Zack Steffen catches the ball during the English League Cup round of 16 football match between West Ham United and Manchester City at The London Stadium in east London on October 27, 2021. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

West Ham ended Manchester City’s four-year hold on the League Cup on Wednesday as Liverpool and Tottenham booked their places in the quarter-finals.

City’s record run in the competition came to an end at the London Stadium as the Hammers emerged 5-3 winners from a penalty shootout after both sides were guilty of missing plenty of chances in a 0-0 draw.

Phil Foden was the only man to miss from the spot as Mark Noble, Jarrod Bowen, Craig Dawson, Aaron Cresswell, and Said Benrahma all found the net for David Moyes’ men.

“Nothing is eternal,” said City boss Pep Guardiola. “We fought a lot to win and win and win this competition.

“Four times in a row is a fantastic achievement and next season we come back to try and win it again.”

West Ham United’s Algerian midfielder Said Benrahma (C) celebrates with teammates after he scores his penalty in the shoot-out to put West Ham through in the English League Cup round of 16 football match between West Ham United and Manchester City at The London Stadium in east London on October 27, 2021. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Nathan Ake, John Stones, Ilkay Gundogan, and Raheem Sterling all wasted big opportunities to extend City’s 21-game unbeaten run in the competition as the scoreline belied a contest that raged from one end to the other.

Foden was thrown on along with Jack Grealish in an attempt to win the game from Guardiola.

But the England international pulled City’s first penalty wide and stand-in goalkeeper Zack Steffen could not bail his teammate out despite getting a hand to Bowen and Benrahma’s strikes.

Liverpool players celebrate a goal against Preston. Photo: Facebook/Liverpool FC

 

Liverpool will now fancy their chances of winning the League Cup for the first time in nine years, but had to overcome a poor start to win 2-0 at Preston.

The Reds had scored 30 goals in eight previous away games this season, but a much-changed side from Jurgen Klopp failed to hit the heights of Sunday’s famous 5-0 win at Manchester United.

“As a team we can play better, but individually I saw a few really nice performances and that’s absolutely OK,” said Klopp.

“It’s all about getting through to the next round, that’s what we did. That it would be difficult with 11 changes was clear.”

Preston had by far the better of the first half as Adrian made a point-blank save from Sean Maguire, Neco Williams cleared off the line and Brad Potts fired over within a matter of seconds.

Liverpool were clinical as they went in front with their first shot on target just after the hour mark as Williams’ cross was acrobatically flicked home by Takumi Minamino.

Klopp’s men then controlled the final half-hour and doubled their lead in spectacular fashion when Divock Origi’s back heel dinked the ball over Declan Rudd.

Tottenham’s bid for a first trophy since they last won the League Cup in 2008 remains on course as Nuno Espirito Santo was rewarded for naming a strong side with a 1-0 win at Burnley.

Lucas Moura scored the only goal 22 minutes from time with a powerful downward header from Emerson Royale’s cross.

Leicester also needed penalties to see off Brighton after an entertaining game ended 2-2.

The Foxes twice pounced on Brighton gifting possession away in dangerous areas to take the lead through Harvey Barnes and Ademola Lookman in the first half.

Adam Webster and Enock Mwepu levelled for the Seagulls, but Mwepu and Neal Maupay failed to beat Danny Ward from the spot.

Brentford reached the last eight for the second consecutive season with a 2-1 win at Stoke thanks to first-half goals from Sergi Canos and Ivan Toney.

AFP

Man City Beat Spurs To Win Fourth Consecutive League Cup


Manchester City players celebrate with the trophy after winning the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, northwest London on April 25, 2021. CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester City claimed a fourth consecutive League Cup on Sunday with a dominant display to beat Tottenham 1-0 in front of 8,000 fans at Wembley.

Aymeric Laporte’s header eight minutes from time finally ended Tottenham’s resistance as their 13-year wait to win a trophy goes on.

For the first time in 13 months, a football match in England had designated fans from both teams inside the stadium in one of a series of test events at Wembley as coronavirus restrictions are eased.


Fans cheer during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, northwest London on April 25, 2021. CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP

 

Defeat by Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals last weekend means City cannot claim an unprecedented quadruple of trophies this season.

However, they remain on course for a treble with the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain to come on Wednesday before possibly sealing the Premier League title next weekend.

 

Pep Guardiola’s men played like champions as after a slight dip in form in recent weeks, they pinned Tottenham back from the first whistle and should have won by a far more comfortable scoreline.

Spurs sacked manager Jose Mourinho on Monday amid a chaotic week as both City and Tottenham also quickly withdrew from plans to join a European Super League.

But City looked in a different league from the off as they peppered Hugo Lloris’s goal without finding the breakthrough.

Raheem Sterling saw a goalbound effort blocked by Toby Alderweireld before Lloris made a stunning save from point-blank range to turn behind Phil Foden’s shot.

A Sterling dink over Lloris then spun just wide before Riyad Mahrez twice flashed powerful efforts inches wide.

Spurs somehow held out without conceding until half-time as Lloris was called into action again to deny Joao Cancelo.


Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (R) vies with Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, northwest London on April 25, 2021. CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP

 

Despite Harry Kane’s recovery from an ankle injury to start, Tottenham had offered nothing as an attacking threat until Giovani Lo Celso forced Zack Steffen into a fine save a minute into the second half.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Held By Leeds As Burnley Pull Clear Of Danger

However, the majority of the chances continued to come and go at the other end.

Ilkay Gundogan sliced wide at the near post before Lloris was forced into another flying save to deny Mahrez.

When the breakthrough finally arrived, it came from an unlikely source as Laporte rose highest to head home Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick at the back post.

Under interim boss Ryan Mason for just the second time, Spurs’ energies were spent after conceding as they failed to muster any response to try and take the game to extra time.

 


Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (L) and Tottenham Hotspur’s interim head coach Ryan Mason watches his players from the touchline during the English League Cup final football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium, northwest London on April 25, 2021. CARL RECINE / POOL / AFP

 

Sterling and Foden were guilty of being wasteful once more in front of goal in the closing minutes, while Mahrez had a second goal ruled out for offside.

But one goal was enough to secure a seventh major trophy in Guardiola’s five seasons in charge in Manchester.

AFP

We Met The Best Team In England, Solskjaer Admits After Fourth Semi-Final Loss In Two Years

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi-final football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on January 6, 2021.
PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP

 

Manchester United coach, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Wednesday admitted that Manchester City were a better side following his team’s 0-2 loss to their city rivals in the semi-final of the League Cup. 

It was United’s fourth semi-final loss in two years with John Stones and Fernandinho the unlikely goalscorers for Guardiola’s men, who will face Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham in the final at Wembley on April 25.

READ ALSO: Manchester City Confirm Three More COVID-19 Cases

“It’s not psychological, sometimes you meet good teams in the semis,” said Solskjaer, whose side also lost to City at this stage of the competition last season.

“We met the best team in England and for me we didn’t have enough today.

“But we’re getting closer. This is a much better Manchester United compared to a year ago in those semis, that’s positive but not enough.”

 

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (C) and players react at the final whistle during the English League Cup semi final first leg football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 6, 2021.

 

Mourinho was United boss the last time they lifted a trophy in 2017 and the Red Devils’ wait for silverware under Solskjaer continue.

Guardiola had also dedicated the victory to club legend, Colin Bell, a day after the City great died aged 74.

“That’s for him and his family. This person helps to build something for this club,” said Guardiola about Bell who scored 152 goals in 492 appearances for City during a 13-year career in which he won five major trophies.

“It is an incredible victory for us to beat United away and reach another final and, especially today, it is for him.”

City players warmed up in number eight shirts in honour of Bell’s old number.

A minute’s silence was held before kick-off with Bell’s former teammate Mike Summerbee reduced to tears as he watched on from the stands.

 

Tottenham Beat Chelsea On Penalties To Progress In League Cup

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (L) and Tottenham Hotspur's Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela celebrate victory after Chelsea's English midfielder Mason Mount missed his penalty during the English League Cup fourth round football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 29, 2020. Matt Dunham / AFP
Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) and Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela celebrate.

 

Mason Mount missed the final spot-kick as Tottenham beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to progress to the quarter-finals of the League Cup after a 1-1 draw.

Timo Werner’s first goal for Chelsea put Frank Lampard’s men in command against a much-changed Tottenham team playing the second of four games in eight days.

But Erik Lamela deservedly levelled for Spurs seven minutes from time and new Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was unable to stop Eric Dier, Lamela, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane scoring from the spot.

Tammy Abraham, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Emerson also converted their penalties as the first nine of the shootout were successful.

But Mount’s effort clipped the post to the delight of the watching Gareth Bale, who could be fit to feature in the last eight with the quarter-finals not till late December.

Mourinho claimed the fixture pile up gave him no choice but to prioritise Thursday’s Europa League tie against Maccabi Haifa given the financial incentive on offer for the club.

But despite making nine changes, he named a strong side, including captain Hugo Lloris, club record signing Tanguy Ndombele and new signing Sergio Reguilon on his debut.

Chelsea also handed a debut to Mendy and the early signs from the Frenchman were encouraging that he can solve the Blues’ problem position.

Lampard made eight changes, but Werner was one of those retained from the 3-3 draw at West Brom on Saturday and he took the opportunity to get his first goal for the club after a big money move from RB Leipzig.

Reguilon was twice at fault in the build up as he gifted possession to Azpilicueta and then dived in trying to block the Spaniard’s cross, which allowed the Chelsea captain to pick out Werner at the edge of the box to arrow a shot into the bottom corner.

Tottenham responded well to going behind as only a last-ditch intervention from Kurt Zouma denied Gedson Fernandes an equaliser.

Lampard had won his previous three meetings against his former manager Mourinho and the tensions between the two flared during the first-half as they exchanged angry words on the touchline.

On the field, Spurs were the better side as Mendy made important saves from Lamela and Reguilon either side of half-time.

Mourinho showed his intent by introducing Harry Kane from the bench with 20 minutes to go.

Moments later the Portuguese was marching down the tunnel after Dier as the defender made a dash to the dressing room before quickly returning.

Chelsea did not make the most of a brief period with an extra man as Callum Hudson-Odoi fired over and Werner’s fierce effort was saved by Lloris.

And the visitors were punished seven minutes from time when Lamela slotted home at the far post from Reguilon’s cross to send the game to a shootout and ultimately Spurs into the last eight.

 

AFP

Man City, Liverpool Reach League Cup Fourth Round

Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (2nd R) shoots through players during the English League Cup third round football match between Manchester City and Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west of England, on September 24, 2020. Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP

 

Holders Manchester City needed a Phil Foden goal 15 minutes from time to see off Bournemouth 2-1 and reach the fourth round of the League Cup, while Liverpool ran riot in a 7-2 win at Lincoln on Thursday.

City have won the competition for the past three years, but Pep Guardiola admitted he had been forced to name a youthful side to prioritise their Premier League campaign due to a shortened pre-season and a series of positive coronavirus tests.

Liam Delap, son of former Stoke midfielder Rory Delap, took just 18 minutes to score on his City debut with a fine finish into the top corner from Foden’s pass.

However, the lead lasted just four minutes as Bournemouth’s Sam Sturridge spun inside the City box before firing into the far corner.

Guardiola introduced the artillery he had on the bench after half-time in Kevin de Bruyne and Raheem Sterling, but it was another first-team regular in Foden who made the breakthrough after Riyad Mahrez’s shot came back off the post. City will travel to Burnley in the last 16.

Manchester City’s English midfielder Phil Foden (L) celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during the English League Cup third round football match between Manchester City and Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west of England, on September 24, 2020. Laurence Griffiths / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool will face Arsenal twice at Anfield in three days next week after Jurgen Klopp’s much-changed side hit Lincoln for seven with Takumi Minamino and Curtis Jones both scoring twice.

Xherdan Shaqiri opened the floodgates with a brilliant free-kick that clipped the underside of the bar.

Minamino curled home to double the Premier League champions’ lead before Curtis Jones struck twice in four minutes to make it 4-0 before half-time.

A minute into the second-half, Minamino had his second, but League One Lincoln responded to get two goals to remember the night by.

Tayo Edun finished off a great team move and Lewis Montsma headed home a corner.

But Liverpool continued to find the net at the other end as Marko Grujic briefly made it 6-1 before Divock Origi rounded off the scoring.

Bertrand Traore marked his Aston Villa debut with a stunning side-foot volley to score his side’s second goal in a comfortable 3-0 win at Bristol City.

Anwar El Ghazi opened the scoring 11 minutes in before Traore showed why Villa spent £17 million ($21 million) to sign him from Lyon last week with a cute finish from a narrow angle.

Another Villa new boy Ollie Watkins then grabbed his first goal for the club 17 minutes from time as Dean Smith’s men set up a last 16 clash with Stoke.

AFP

Tottenham’s League Cup Tie Postponed Due To Coronavirus

Son shone like a million star in the game. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

Tottenham’s League Cup tie at Leyton Orient was called off on Tuesday after several of their League Two opponents tested positive for the coronavirus.

Just two hours before Jose Mourinho’s side were due to play the third round match at the Breyer Group Stadium, the English Football League announced it had been postponed.

Orient had already shut down their training ground as a result of the virus outbreak in their first-team squad.

“Tonight’s Carabao Cup match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur is not taking place this evening as scheduled,” an Orient statement said.

“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders in regards to the implications of the fixture not taking place tonight and a further update will be provided in due course.

“Leyton Orient, the EFL and the relevant authorities are conducting a thorough review of the club’s Covid-19 secure procedures with the view to reopening the stadium and training ground as soon as possible.”

Reports said Tottenham could be awarded a bye into the fourth round against Chelsea or Barnsley under League Cup rules.

Orient are keen for the tie to be rearranged, but with the next round scheduled for next week there is little room to fit it in.

The fourth tier club had revealed the positive cases on Monday, with reports claiming Tottenham had paid for their opponents’ testing after Orient’s game against Mansfield on Saturday.

Football League clubs no longer have to conduct mandatory tests on their players and staff for Covid-19 on a weekly basis this season, as is still the case in the Premier League.

Tottenham may not be disappointed at the match being called off in the midst of a hectic spell of five games in 10 days that Mourinho had branded “crazy”.

They played on Sunday at Southampton in the Premier League and will travel to Macedonia for their Europa League third qualifying round tie against Shkendija on Thursday.

AFP

FA Cup Replays Scrapped For Next Season

The FA Cup trophy. Photo: [email protected] Emirates FA Cup

 

FA Cup replays will be scrapped for the 2020-21 season in a bid to ease the strain on clubs during the coronavirus pandemic, the Football Association announced on Thursday.

With a shortened season starting a month later than usual in September there is more pressure on an already hectic calendar.

The FA has taken the decision that all ties in the FA Cup will be decided on the day rather than allowing for the usual replay.

“In order to assist in easing pressure on the football schedule, there will be no replays for the 2020-21 season,” the FA said in a statement.

“After two seasons of record levels of prize funds, the Emirates FA Cup prize fund has returned back in line with 2017-18 levels due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Significant changes have also been made by the English Football League to the League Cup in a bid to help teams cope with the schedule.

The first four rounds will be compressed into consecutive weeks in September, with the fifth round held the week before Christmas to avoid clashes with the Champions League.

The two-legged semi-finals, often criticised by managers, will now be played on January 5 or 6, with the club drawn first benefiting from home advantage.

Premier League clubs will enter the competition in either round two, or round three for sides with European commitments.

AFP