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Chelsea 4-0 Hull: Willian shines as Blues reach FA Cup last eight

Willian scored twice as a first-half blitz from Chelsea secured an emphatic 4-0 win over Hull City at Stamford Bridge to book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals. The Brazilian opened the scoring after just 106 seconds with a composed finish, before Pedro doubled the home side's advantage after being put through by Cesc Fabregas (27). Willian capitalised on more slack defending from the Tigers to stroke in his second (32) and Olivier Giroud then met fellow new signing Emerson Palmieri's cross at the near post to stretch the lead three minutes before half-time. David Meyler missed a second-half penalty for Nigel Adkins' side as Chelsea cruised into the next round ahead of next week's Champions League showdown with Barcelona. Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Pedro salutes his goal against the Tigers Chelsea's Spanish midfielder Pedro salutes his goal against the Tigers Player ratings Chelsea: Caballero (7), Rudiger (7), Cahill (7), Ampadu (8), Zappacosta (7), Drinkwater (7), Fabregas (8), Emerson (7), Pedro (8), Willian (9), Giroud (8). Subs: Scott (6), Hudson-Odoi (7) Hull: Marshall (7), Clark (5), MacDonald (5), Dawson (6), Meyler (5), Irvine (6) Stewart (5), Wilson (6), Diomande (5), Evandro (5), Dicko (5). Subs: Toral (6), Batty (6), Campbell (6) Man of the match: Willian Only Swindon and Wolves have been relegated from the Premier League to the third tier in successive seasons, but with just six Championship wins to their name this campaign, it was understandable that Hull manager Adkins rung the changes. But the performance of those handed the opportunity to impress was disjointed and indicative of a side missing 12 first-team players as Chelsea wreaked havoc to reach the last eight. Hull made the worst possible start as Kevin Stewart was dispossessed by Giroud in the second minute before Willian used the Frenchman as a decoy as he bent his left-footed shot into David Marshall's bottom right corner. Olivier Giroud is congratulated by Emerson after making in 4-0 Olivier Giroud is congratulated by Emerson after making in 4-0 Team news Chelsea made six changes to the side that beat West Brom. Willy Caballero, Emerson Palmieri, Ethan Ampadu, Gary Cahill, Danny Drinkwater and Willian all started. There were seven changes for Hull with David Marshall, David Meyler, Michael Dawson, Kevin Stewart, Evandro, Adama Diomande and Nouha Dicko all coming into the side. Chelsea doubled their lead after a sublime ball from Fabregas over a depleted Hull defence enabled Pedro to slot home, and worse was to come five minutes later. Stewart failed to intercept Willian's attempted flick and, after Giroud worked the ball back into his path, the Brazilian curled a shot beyond the hapless Marshall via the left-hand post. Giroud's link-up play was a feature of the match and, having provided two assists, the striker opened his Chelsea account with a smart finish at the near post following good work down the left by debutant Emerson. Chelsea blooded youth in the second period as Callum Hudson-Odoi and Kyle Scott entered the fray, but the visitors restored some pride with an improved display that was very nearly capped by a consolation six minutes after the restart. Fabregas was late on Harry Wilson, and referee Andre Marriner had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, but Blues 'keeper Willy Caballero denied Meyler with a comfortable save to his right to keep his clean sheet intact. Willian came close t

My fixtures News

2018-02-17 02:00:00

Charlie Nicholas' FA Cup predictions: Huddersfield to trouble Manchester United again?

Charlie Nicholas delivers his predictions for the FA Cup fifth round - and backs Huddersfield to trouble Manchester United again. Liverpool followed Arsenal in suffering a surprise exit in the last round of action and, after avoiding each other in the fifth-round draw, the remaining members of the top six will be looking to avoid upsets. Here's what Charlie is predicting for the eight ties... Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea (Saturday, 12.30pm) We always have to take on board the situations the sides are trapped in and Swansea's position is clearly one which makes this match less important. However, Carvahal will want to prove a point and say: 'I actually did really well for two seasons and you turned on me after one bad derby result'. Carlos Carvalhal has masterminded Swansea's upturn after leaving Sheffield Wednesday Carlos Carvalhal has masterminded Swansea's upturn after leaving Sheffield Wednesday A replay won't suit either of these but I think that will be what they end up with after a feisty affair. Charlie predicts: 1-1 and Lucas Joao to score first (22/1 with Sky Bet) Brighton v Coventry (Saturday, 3pm) With Coventry in the shake-up for the play-offs and Brighton still in the relegation mix, neither of these sides really need this game right now. Coventry shocked Stoke in the third round Coventry shocked Stoke in the third round Brighton are at home and they've got a bit of momentum, which is so important at this time of the year, so I'd like to think they'll look to build on that by going with a strong side. Charlie predicts: 3-0 and Jose Izquierdo to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet) West Brom v Southampton (Saturday, 3pm) Who wants this game less? Which line-up will they play? The win West Brom got at Exeter, when Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon scored, put them on a nice little run which made you think they could get out of the relegation mix. Jay Rodriguez has been tipped to be the matchwinner in an all-Premier League affair Jay Rodriguez has been tipped to be the matchwinner in an all-Premier League affair I think West Brom will be marginally more positive as they're at home and I'm going for Rodriguez to score against his old club in a tetchy affair. Charlie predicts: 1-0 and Rodriguez to score first (25/1 with Sky Bet) Huddersfield v Manchester United (Saturday, 5.30pm) After last Sunday you've got to think Huddersfield must fancy a repeat of their victory back in October. Jose Mourinho won't want his side embarrassed twice but they've a Champions League tie in Seville midweek to think about. Huddersfield players celebrate after beating Manchester United 2-1 in the league Huddersfield players celebrate after beating Manchester United 2-1 in the league Manchester United are going through this dilemma as to how they fit in Alexis Sanchez. They want to give him the free role but that means Paul Pogba can't have that freedom. Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard have gone a bit cold after doing so well, so I can see another dangerous game for United. Charlie predicts: 2-2 and Sanchez to score first (55/1 with Sky Bet) Fantasy Six-a-Side Think you can beat Merse's team? Pick yours for free to win the

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2018-02-17 02:00:00

West Brom's Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore, Boaz Myhill apologise as police probe taxi theft

Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill have apologised for breaking a West Brom curfew during a training camp in Barcelona. The quartet have come forward following a statement earlier on Friday in which the club said they were investigating an "incident" during their stay in the city, which has left boss Alan Pardew feeling "let down". According to Reuters, four West Brom players were questioned by police over the alleged theft of a taxi this week. In a statement ahead of their FA Cup clash with Southampton this weekend, club captain Evans, Barry, Livermore and Myhill said they "felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident in Spain". They said: "We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our team-mates, the head coach, the club and especially the supporters for the events which have been the subject of widespread and negative publicity. "We felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident which occurred during the training camp in Spain this week out of respect for team-mates who otherwise could be implicated by association. "We freely acknowledge and apologise for the break of curfew which we accept represented a breach of the standards of professionalism required of us as representatives of West Bromwich Albion FC.

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2018-02-17 02:00:00

Arsene Wenger salutes Arsenal adaptation after Europa League stroll at Ostersunds

Arsene Wenger praised his Arsenal side for the way they performed in unfamiliar surroundings as they left Ostersunds with one foot in the last 16 of the Europa League. Surrounded by snow drifts at the Jamtkraft Arena and playing on an unfamiliar 4G pitch, a strong Arsenal side overcame trying conditions to win 3-0. Wenger got out of the group stages by largely utilising his fringe players and young prospects but, now sitting eight points off the top four, winning the Europa League arguably presents the Gunners with their best shot of returning to the Champions League. That explains why the likes of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were included here and it was the former who rounded off a straightforward win after a Nacho Monreal effort and a Sotirios Papagiannopoulos own goal had set Arsenal on their way, with Ostersund missing a last-gasp penalty. "I think we adapted quite well to the pitch," Wenger said after the game.

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2018-02-16 02:00:00

Premier League clubs are now the dominant force in Europe, says Paul Merson

Premier League clubs are now the dominant force in Europe and their achievements in the Champions League should not be downplayed, says Paul Merson. Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham all shone in the Champions League this week, earning positive results which left all of them in pole position to reach the quarter-finals. And Merse highlighted Spurs' come-from-behind 2-2 draw at Serie A champions Juventus as evidence Europe's top sides are unable to cope with the Premier League's brand of football. "What Tottenham did to Juventus was mind-blowing," he told The Debate. "We don't give credit when credit is due in this country, we often put great results down to luck or the opposition having an off day. "Spurs were 2-0 down to a last season's finalists, a team that had won 10 on the trot, and came back to dominate. They were phenomenal - I loved watching them. "They took the game to Juventus. They were so much better that they were scary. For me, that told us the Premier League is right up there. "Our clubs played at the pace of the Premier League with power and pace, and teams couldn't live with us." Christian Eriksen celebrates after equalising with a free-kick against Juventus Christian Eriksen celebrates after equalising with a free-kick against Juventus Liverpool thrashed Portuguese champions Porto 5-0 in their own backyard 24 hours after Manchester City closed in on the last eight with a 4-0 triumph at Basel. And Merse believes the form of Pep Guardiola's runaway Premier League leaders will have Europe's heavyweights quaking in their boots. "I think Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are all fearful of Manchester City," he added. Man City put on foot in the quarter-finals with a 4-0 win at Basel Man City put on foot in the quarter-finals with a 4-0 win at Basel "Their 4-0 win at Basel was equally as impressive. It's funny because you sort of expect them to blow teams away now, they are that good. "Barca, Real and Bayern will not want to face them over two legs, they may fancy their chances in a one-off game, but they will want to avoid drawing them."

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2018-02-16 02:00:00

Celtic 1-0 Zenit: Callum McGregor scores late winner as Celtic start Europa League campaign on a high

A wonderful late goal from Callum McGregor got Celtic

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2018-02-16 02:00:00

Ostersunds 0-3 Arsenal: Advantage Arsenal after dominant Europa League round-of-32 first leg

Arsenal took a huge stride towards the last 16 of the Europa League with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Ostersunds at the Jamtkraft Arena. Nacho Monreal's first ever European goal (13) and a Sotirios Papagiannopoulos own goal (24) got the Gunners off to the perfect start before Mesut Ozil (58) wrapped things up with the third after the break. Ostersunds could have grabbed a late consolation but captain David Ospina saved Tom Pettersson's tame stoppage-time penalty to ensure Arsenal hold the advantage ahead of next Thursday's return at the Emirates. With sub-zero conditions and a 4G pitch to contend with in Sweden, Arsenal's ability to adjust to their surroundings was questioned ahead of kick-off, but the Gunners settled immediately on their way to a dominant start. Ostersunds' last competitive game was in December and it showed against a slick Arsenal attack, who would have taken a 12th-minute lead had Papagiannopoulos not blocked Henrikh Mkhitaryan's goal-bound effort off the line. But the Arsenal pressure told a minute later as goalkeeper Aly Keita fumbled a tame Alex Iwobi shot into the path of Monreal, who stroked home from six yards.

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2018-02-16 02:00:00

Luis Enrique has been approached by Chelsea and PSG, says Guillem Balague

Guillem Balague runs through five things coming out of Spain this weekend, explaining that former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has had calls from both Chelsea and PSG. In the La Liga title race, Atletico Madrid are now seven points behind leaders Barcelona after their win over Malaga, while Barca could only draw with Getafe. Real Madrid saw off Real Sociedad 5-2, plus there's positive news from Sevilla. The former Barcelona manager has been approached by intermediates who say they are calling on behalf of both Chelsea and PSG. It will be an interesting dilemma for him, because he of course will want to go to a team who can challenge for absolutely everything.

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2018-02-13 02:00:00

Riyad Mahrez made a mistake with self-imposed exile, says Leicester boss Claude Puel

Leicester boss Claude Puel has described Riyad Mahrez's self-imposed exile from the club after a Deadline Day move to Manchester City failed to materialise as a "mistake". The winger, subject of a

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2018-02-13 02:00:00

Antonio Conte explains Olivier Giroud's importance to Chelsea

Antonio Conte feels Olivier Giroud could become an important player for Chelsea - both on the pitch and for strike rival Alvaro Morata. Giroud provided an assist on his full debut in the Blues' 3-0 win over West Brom, and missed a good chance for a goal too when he shot straight at Ben Foster from close range. He was removed after an hour for Morata, who has not scored since Boxing Day but looked re-invigorated and perhaps stimulated by the new competition for his place. "To have two strikers in contention for us is very important," said Conte. "Giroud could become an important player and at the same time I had a good answer from Alvaro and we must be happy. "We forced Giroud to play because we had Morata injured, and it was important to have a point of reference like him on the pitch." The win moved Chelsea back into the top four, and only three points off second-placed Manchester United, easing the pressure on Conte following back-to-back defeats by Bournemouth and Watford.

My fixtures News

2018-02-13 02:00:00
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