Chelsea Edge Into FA Cup Fourth Round

Chelsea’s Brazilian defender David Luiz looks on (L) as Chelsea’s English defender Ethan Ampadu (C) vies with Norwich City’s English midfielder Josh Murphy during the FA Cup third round replay at Stamford Bridge in London on January 17, 2018. Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea needed a penalty shoot-out before finally killing off Norwich after a 1-1 draw in Wednesday’s FA Cup third-round replay, while Bournemouth slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Wigan.

Antonio Conte’s side finished extra-time down to nine men after late red cards for Pedro and Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge.

They had been forced into the extra period when Jamal Lewis’s last-gasp equaliser cancelled out Michy Batshuayi’s strike.

Chelsea’s reserve goalkeeper Willy Caballero made the crucial save from Nelson Oliveira in the 5-3 shoot-out win to send the Blues through to host Newcastle in the fourth round.

It was a first win in 2018 for Chelsea, who had drawn their four previous matches in all competitions this year.

“It is the FA Cup, it is not easy to win the game. We gave everything, at the end of the game we played 9 v 11 so we showed great character,” Chelsea star Eden Hazard said.

“We are happy but also sad that we lost two players. Now we can focus on the league.”

Norwich manager Daniel Farke added: “To be honest it’s a big disappointment, some of the lads are sitting with tears in their eyes in the dressing room.”

Conte had made nine changes from the 0-0 draw with Leicester on Saturday, with Hazard, Cesc Fabregas, Thibaut Courtois and N’Golo Kante left out of the starting line-up.

After the kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes due to traffic congestion around the stadium, Chelsea dominated the first half and almost went ahead when Danny Drinkwater’s 25-yard drive hit the crossbar.

But they couldn’t find the breakthrough and Oliveira nearly provided it for Norwich instead when his effort hit the bar.

The Blues finally ended their three-match goal drought in the 55th minute when Belgian striker Batshuayi finished off Kenedy’s cross from close range for his first senior goal since October.

Josh Murphy hit the post as Norwich pushed for an equaliser before the out-of-form Morata came off the bench and missed a chance to wrap up the win.

That blunder from Morata came back to haunt Chelsea in the fourth minute of stoppage-time when Timm Klose whipped in a fine cross and teenage defender Lewis rose to glance his first professional goal in off the far post.

Conte was furious that the video assistant referee didn’t intervene when Willian was denied a penalty and booked for diving after a challenge from Klose caught the Brazilian in extra-time.

Controversy

Chelsea were reduced to 10 men when Pedro earned a second booking for a foul on Wes Hoolahan.

And there was more controversy in the final seconds when Morata was booked for fall in the area and then protested so vehemently that referee Graham Scott sent off the forward for a second yellow card.

In the shoot-out, Oliveira’s kick was saved by Caballero, while Willian, David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta, Kante and substitute Hazard converted for Chelsea.

At the DW Stadium, third-tier Wigan, who won the FA Cup in 2013, brushed aside under-strength Bournemouth in their third round replay.

Eddie Howe made eight changes to the team that beat Arsenal on Sunday and Bournemouth, 13th in the Premier League, looked lost with their understudies in action.

Sam Morsy put Wigan on course for the upset with the ninth-minute opener.

Dan Burn’s shot went in off the crossbar to double Wigan’s lead in the 73rd minute before Callum Elder’s header three minutes later wrapped up the victory.

Wigan next face a fourth-round tie at home to West Ham.

Wilfried Bony gave Premier League strugglers Swansea a 2-1 win over Championship leaders Wolves in their third round replay.

Jordan Ayew also scored for Swansea, who travel to fourth-tier Notts County in the next round.

Premier League: Arsenal, Man City Win Big As Spurs Draw

Premier LeagueHarry Kane’s 63rd minute equaliser for Premier League title contenders Tottenham Hotspurs against Liverpool rescued his team from defeat at Anfield and gave them a share of the spoils.

Elsewhere Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi helped Arsenal beat Odion Ighalo’s Watford 4-0 at the Emirates.

The 19-year-old set up Alexis Sanchez for the gunners first in the 4th minute, before adding his second EPL strike in his second start on 38 minutes. Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott scored Arsenal’s 3rd and 4th goals.

In other matches, Manchester City maintain 4th spot on the log with a 4-0 win over Bournemouth, while West Ham’s push for a top 4 finish was slowed by Crystal Palace in a 2-2 draw at the Boleyn ground.

Norwich City also edged Newcastle United 3-2 to boost their chances of avoiding relegation. Stoke City and Swansea City battled to a 2-2 draw, while Sunderland and West Brom played goalless.

In the day’s lunch-time kick-off, Alexandre Pato marked his Chelsea debut with a goal as the Barclays Premier League champions won 4-0 to leave Aston Villa on the brink of relegation.

 

 

Manchester City Coach Warns Players Ahead Kiev Clash

Manchester CityManchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, has tasked his team to put in their best in Tuesday night’s UEFA Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev.

City are in prime position to reach the quarter-finals for the first time after a 3-1 advantage from the first leg.

Pellegrini, however, warned his side not to falter against opponents who have never won a game on English soil.

Manchester City goalkeeper, Joe Hart, has also warned that Kiev would be a different proposition compared to the team they met in Ukraine, who had just returned from a mid-winter break.

He expressed hope that his team can still win this season’s Champions League, despite their failure to live with the pace in the English Premier League.

Midfielder Yaya Toure has been decalred fit to face Dynamo Kiev at the Etihad Stadium after missing Saturday’s Premier League draw with Norwich City.

Arsenal-Leicester: Wenger Says Both Teams Under Pressure

wengerArsène Wenger says his side cannot wait for Sunday’s top-of-the-table fixture against Leicester City because it is the kind of game they relish.

Arsenal have taken 10 points from four matches against the other sides in the top five so far this season, and won 5-2 at King Power Stadium back in September.

The Foxes have lost only one Premier League match since and go into Sunday’s match five points clear at the top, but Wenger believes his side will rise to the challenge.

“What is important is to find the momentum back and that means that you win a few games,” the boss said. “After, let’s not count too much on the weakness of Leicester because they have not shown too many.

“We want to find a consistency in our results until the end of the season, because we have big game after big game now.

“What I believe is that you do not have to be a super mathematician to analyse that it is a very important game, maybe not a decisive one for the Premier League but it is not far away from that.

“The pressure is on us as well, of course. I don’t deny that but I take that in a very positive way and as an opportunity to show how strong we are.

“I think the biggest pressure in our job is to play games without pressure. This is the kind of game we want – the kind of game we relish. When you play at Arsenal Football Club, that’s what you want.

“(Leicester) are still in a position where they think they have nothing to lose. But once you are top of the league, you can also think about losing what you have.

“That is where the nerves come in a little bit. I do not know how they will respond to that.”

EPL Results: Leicester City Beat Manchester City 3-1

leicesterEnglish Premier League leaders Leicester City’s title challenge have reached unprecedented heights as they went six points clear at the top after beating Manchester City 3-1.

It was Manchester City’s first defeat in seven Premier League games as frailties in their back-line were once again miserably exposed this time by the scintillating Foxes attack.

Robert Huth turned in Riyad Mahrez’s corner to give the Foxes an early lead.

Mahrez made it 2-0 with a step-over and finish, and Huth found space to head home a Christian Fuchs corner before Sergio Aguero’s late consolation.

Riyad Mahrez ended a personal goal drought and was the first player this season to achieve a significant goals mark.

It was also the second time in his Barclays Premier League career that Huth has scored more than once in a match, last scoring a brace in February 2011 for Stoke against Sunderland.

Sergio Aguero’s late consolation for Man City was his first Barclays Premier League goal against Leicester and as a result the striker has scored against 26 of the 28 different opponents he has faced in the competition (Bolton and Burnley are the exceptions).

The defeat was Man City’s third at home this season as they continued their run of failing to beat any opponent in the top six in 2015/16.

Other Results

Aston Villa     2 – 0  Norwich City

Liverpool       2 – 2   Sunderland

Newcastle       1 – 0  West Bromwich Albion

Stoke City      0 – 3   Everton

Swansea City    1 – 1   Crystal Palace

Tottenham       1 – 0   Watford

Southampton 1 – 0   West Ham

EPL: Man City, Tottenham, Bournemouth Earn Convincing Victories

EPLTottenham Hotspur beat Sunderland 4-1 at White Hart Lane in the English Premier League early kick off on Saturday.

Bournemouth also defeated Norwich city 3-0 at the Vitality Stadium to move further above relegation in the EPL.

Goals from Fabian Delph, David Silva and a brace from Sergio Aguero ensured that Manchester City thrashed Crystal Palace 4-0 at the Ethihad Stadium.

Elsewhere Steve Mclaren’s Newcastle United defeated West Ham 2-1 at Saint James’ Park while Southampton secured a convincing 3-nil victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Chelsea captain, John Terry, came from being the villain to a hero as the Blues escaped another home defeat on Saturday.

A late equalizer by the 35-year-old ensured the game against Everton ended 3-3 at Stamford Bridge.

 

Iheanacho Scores Last-Gasp Winner As City Beat Palace

iheanachoNigerian youth international, Kelechi Iheanacho, scored a last-gasp winner as Manchester City edged Crystal Palace on Saturday to maintain their 100 per cent start to the 2015/2016 premier league season.

Iheanacho’s late goal helped Manchester City beat Crystal Palace 1-0 in their English Premier League match at Selhurst Park.

Super Eagles forward, Odion Ighalo also scored the winner for Watford in their 1-nil win over Swansea City.

Premier League Champions, Chelsea lost for the 3rd time this season with Stephen Naismith inspiring Everton to a 3-1 win at Goodison Park.

In other results, Arsenal beat Stoke City 2-0, Norwich City beat Bournemouth 3-1, West Brom and Southampton battled to a goalless draw, while Manchester United beat Liverpool 3-1 in the day’s last game.

Robin Van Persie scores fastest goal of the season

Manchester United did well on Wednesday to preserve their lead in the Premier League, thanks to Dutchman Robin Van Persie after he scored what will be the quickest goal of the season for now (That is if another goal beats the time) as he latched home the goal against West Ham after just 32 seconds in a game that ended 1-0 in favour of the Red Devils.

Defending champion Manchester City remained a point behind its neighbour thanks to a 2-0 victory at Wigan, courtesy of goals by Mario Balotelli and James Milner, but Rafa Benitez’s tough start to life as interim Chelsea manager continued with a lacklustre 0-0 home draw against Fulham.

The point at least lifted Chelsea into third place above West Bromwich Albion, which lost 3-1 at Swansea to end a four-match winning run in the league and bring the team back down to earth after its surprise start to the season.

Tottenham climbed to fifth place by beating Liverpool 2-1, with Spurs winger Gareth Bale scoring at both ends, while Arsenal was held 1-1 at Everton after also taking the lead after less than a minute through Theo Walcott.

Stoke came from behind to beat Newcastle 2-1, a fourth straight loss for the visitors, while Mark Clattenburg — the referee at the center of recent racism accusations — made his return to the middle in Southampton’s 1-1 draw at home to Norwich.

Benitez was greeted with roars of disapproval prior to his first match in charge — a 0-0 home draw with Man City on Sunday — but fans gave him a less hostile reception three days on.

Instead, there was a general feeling of apathy that lingered throughout a listless encounter at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea has clearly improved defensively under the pragmatic Benitez but the attacking spark that marked the bright start to its season has disappeared. Boos rang out at the final whistle, with Chelsea having created few clear-cut chances in front of watching owner Roman Abramovich.

“It’s still a long way to go. We have to keep going. We’ll have chances,” Benitez said.

The Spaniard needs a slice of luck that Van Persie was granted at Old Trafford, with the Netherlands striker’s shot looping up off James Collins and over stranded goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Carrick says Man. United must bounce back from last defeat

Michael Carrick has insisted that Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils must put behind last week’s shocking defeat at Carrow Road against Norwich City.

The 31-year-old argued that Manchester United has enjoyed a reasonably good start to the season and the Red Devils must continue in that line so as to clinch the EPL title.

The Red Devils got a shock of the season from Norwich last weekend when a second-half goal by Norwich City’s Anthony Pilkington delivered the game to the Canaries with a scoreline of 1-0 at Old Trafford and the loss to Norwich City forced Manchester United to relinquish the number one spot to Manchester City.

United host struggling QPR on Saturday and Carrick believes that, despite enjoying a good start to the season, the pressure is on to earn all three points at Old Trafford.

“We need to come back quickly and kick on. It’s been a reasonably good start so far, really. We’ve obviously had a couple of defeats but we’ve bounced back each time and now we’re in a good position, so we can be happy. But we’re not getting carried away. We have to be focused.”

The defeat to Norwich marked Carrick’s 400th league appearance but the England international had not even been aware of the milestone.

 

Villas-Boas unhappy with Tottenham’s sloppy display

Former Chelsea manager now Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas expressed his displeasure the lacklustre display of his team Tottenham over the weekend against Norwich secure a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Spurs are yet to claim their first win of the season after an opening day loss to Newcastle and a disappointing home draw against West Brom.

New signing Moussa Dembele made the perfect start to his career as a Tottenham player when he found the net in the 68th minute but Norwich levelled with just five minutes remaining to secure a valuable away point.

It was the second time in a week that Tottenham had conceded a late equaliser with James Morrison and Robert Snodgrass denying a first competitive win for Villas-Boas.
The former Chelsea manager was unhappy with the performance of the side as he felt they failed to concentrate for the full ninety minutes.

Villas-Boas will now have some time to work with the squad, due to the international break, and will hope that he can secure his first win of the season when Spurs take on newly-promoted Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday 16 September.

Villas-Boas said it was a different game as they didn’t play as well as last week.

He said the team fought hard in the second half, mainly because the first half was poor as the play look a little sloppy in passes.

He admitted that there was a little improvement in the second half for the players wanted to win and they worked hard but couldn’t earn it, so they deserve it.
Villa Boas said the team has assumed responsibility for what is happening, even though it is disappointing.

“We got the goal but again, we conceded in the last minutes so we have to improve on this sharpness, this reaction, this concentration’ he concluded.