Category Archive: FA Cup

FA Cup News

Mar 19

German PoW and hero goalie stars in tale of reconciliation

Film tells how Bert Trautmann, who played in Cup final with broken neck, overcame Nazi pastAs a piece of fiction, a film about a former Nazi paratrooper who becomes a hero of English football might struggle to convince audiences. But the true story of …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/19/bert-trautmann-new-film-nazi-past-fa-cup-manchester-city

Mar 15

The five outsiders who deserve to be called up to the England squad

Gareth Southgate should consider Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire, Michael Keane, Ross Barkley and Nathan Redmond before posting his squad on ThursdayBy Martin Laurence for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkGareth Southgate has a number of de…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/who-scored-blog/2017/mar/15/england-squad-gareth-southgate-five-outsiders

Mar 14

David Squires on … the FA Cup quarter-finals

Our resident cartoonist looks back on the tear-ups, flare-ups, gatecrashing and manager-bashing that went on in the last-eight ties of the competition

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/ng-interactive/2017/mar/14/david-squires-on-fa-cup-quarter-finals

Mar 14

‘Judas is No1,’ says Mourinho after Manchester United lose at Chelsea – video

José Mourinho gives his reaction after Chelsea defeated Manchester United 1-0 in their FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge. Mourinho states that ‘Judas is No1’, a reply to those home fans who accused him of betrayal for managing a Premier League rival after he was sacked by the Blues in 2015

José Mourinho hits back at Chelsea fans and Conte: ‘Judas is still No1’

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/video/2017/mar/14/judas-is-no1-says-mourinho-after-manchester-united-lose-at-chelsea-video

Mar 13

José Mourinho hits back at Chelsea fans and Conte: ‘Judas is still No1’

• Manchester United manager defends gesture at Stamford Bridge crowd
• Conte says ‘kicking Eden Hazard is not football’ after clash with Mourinho

José Mourinho hit back at Antonio Conte and a section of the home support by insisting “Judas is still No1” at Chelsea as Manchester United’s defence of the FA Cup came to a juddering halt at the hands of his former club.

Related: N’Golo Kanté sends Chelsea past 10-man Manchester United in FA Cup

Related: Mourinho’s cynical Eden Project falters at Hazard’s twinkling feet | Barney Ronay

Related: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: five talking points from the FA Cup tie

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/13/jose-mourinho-chelsea-fans-conte-judas-no1-manchester-united

Mar 13

Mourinho’s cynical Eden Project falters at Hazard’s twinkling feet | Barney Ronay

Manchester United’s strategy was to shackle Chelsea’s main creative force by any means and Phil Jones could have been sent off before Ander Herrera was

Midway through a thrilling, slightly wild first half at Stamford Bridge Phil Jones could be seen bumping and jouncing into the back of Eden Hazard on the edge of the Chelsea box like a middle-aged man performing an aggressively drunken conga at the office party. As Hazard fell Jones also stood on his hand, no doubt balancing up the throb in Hazard’s right cheek, where Ander Herrera had left his shoulder a few minutes before.

The match facts will reveal that this 1-0 FA Cup quarter final victory was decided by N’Golo Kanté’s clinching goal just after the break, and nudged one way by the red card shown to Herrera towards the end of the first half. But it was fear of Hazard that dominated United’s game plan here, that dominated the active parts of this game, and which led indirectly to both these decisive events.

Related: N’Golo Kanté sends Chelsea past 10-man Manchester United in FA Cup

Related: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: five talking points from the FA Cup tie

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/13/mourinho-eden-hazard-chelsea-manchester-united-fa-cup

Mar 13

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: five talking points from the FA Cup tie

There is needle to the relationship between Antonio Conte and José Mourinho; goalkeepers may tempt Real Madrid; and N’Golo Kanté is a bargain

José Mourinho tends to single out those he considers threats and Antonio Conte, the permanent successor to his crown, is his target of choice. Having spent the buildup suggesting Chelsea play a more defensive style of football than under his stewardship, and that the Premier League leaders have benefited from a lack of European football, all that frustration that has simmered since the 4-0 humiliation here in October came pouring out. The pair do not know each other well but there is needle already to their relationship. The fourth official, Mike Jones, found himself sandwiched as they screamed at each other, an exchange which made Mourinho airing his post-mach complaint into the Italian’s ear back in the autumn feel tame. Conte had previously been unflappable all season. Mourinho has got under his skin.

Related: N’Golo Kanté sends Chelsea past 10-man Manchester United in FA Cup

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/13/chelsea-1-0-manchester-united-five-talking-points-from-fa-cup-tie

Mar 13

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: FA Cup – as it happened

N’Golo Kanté scored from long range to earn Chelsea a place in the FA Cup semi-finals, after Ander Herrera was sent off for two yellow cards

9.56pm GMT

Related: N’Golo Kanté sends Chelsea past 10-man Manchester United in FA Cup

9.41pm GMT

Jose Mourinho is on the pitch congratulating his players and applauding the away end. I suspect he’ll have a few things to say about the officiating in his press conference. Complaining about Ander Herrera’s red card won’t change anything, though, and it’s Chelsea who go through thanks to N’Golo Kante’s goal in the second half. Thanks for emailing and reading. Join me for coverage of the semi-final draw elsewhere. Bye.

Related: FA Cup semi-final draw – live!

9.39pm GMT

It’s all over! N’Golo Kante’s winner has sent Chelsea into the last four of the FA Cup!

9.38pm GMT

90 min+5: Get Iniesta on.

9.37pm GMT

90 min+4: Costa finally leaves the field. Batshuayi is on.

9.36pm GMT

90 min+3: Chelsea are bringing Costa off. He’ll take his sweet time about it.

9.34pm GMT

90 min+1: Rashford, who’s still running, peels away from Luiz on the left. Cahill clears his cross. Chelsea storm up the other end and De Gea saves Fabregas’s drive.

9.33pm GMT

90 min: There will be four added minutes.

9.32pm GMT

89 min: Kurt Zouma replaces Victor Moses. He’s immediately into the thick of things, winning a header against Pogba in the Chelsea area.

9.31pm GMT

88 min: Victor Moses is down receiving treatment.

9.30pm GMT

87 min: Diego Costa loses his cool at last and catches Jones late. He’s booked.

9.28pm GMT

85 min: Chelsea counter, Costa spraying it out to Alonso on the left, but Valencia puts his low centre behind before it reaches Hazard.

9.26pm GMT

82 min: A rare United attack ends with a loose ball running to Pogba, who skims a shot a few yards wide of the left post. “As a United fan, may I please remind everyone that N’Golo Kante’s transfer fee (£29M) was one-third of Paul Pogba’s (£89M)?” says Brian Gallaway. “Which of those two has been three times the better player this game, much less this season?”

9.24pm GMT

80 min: Pogba finally makes a meaningful contribution, hauling Kante down. The break in play allows Chelsea to bring on Cesc Fabregas for Willian. Manchester United make their second change, cup specialist Jesse Lingard on for Ashley Young.

9.22pm GMT

79 min: Jesse Lingard is getting ready to come on.

9.21pm GMT

78 min: Valencia jumps into a tackle on Kante. He is very lucky not to be booked. Michael Oliver tells him to calm down. Moments later, Young hacks Moses down from behind and earns a yellow card.

9.20pm GMT

77 min: Young gifts Chelsea a corner on the right with an errant header. It’s cleared.

9.19pm GMT

75 min: Rojo sells himself by going to ground, allowing Willian to skip round him on the right. Willian flashes a low ball into the middle but Costa can’t make contact with the ball in the six yard box and United live on.

9.17pm GMT

74 min: United can’t cross the halfway line. “What do you think is in the part of Diego Costa’s brain where his shame is supposed to be?” says JR in Illinois.

9.16pm GMT

73 min: Kante threads a pass through to Willian on the right. The Brazilian turns and shoots viciously towards the near post. De Gea pushes it over. The danger for Chelsea is giving United hope if they don’t kill this off with a second goal.

9.14pm GMT

71 min: The game is being played exclusively in United’s half.

9.13pm GMT

70 min: “Whether you have sympathy or not for them changes little or nothing,” says Dael Morris. “The referee is required to apply the rules, not some fancy of the fans’ making.”

He did apply the rules. A player got booked for a foul.

9.11pm GMT

68 min: Moses swings in a deep cross from the right. Jones heads behind for a Chelsea corner.Nothing comes from it.

9.10pm GMT

67 min: Willian lobs a pass over to the top to Costa. He’s offside. The whistle blows. Rojo barges him over anyway and Costa goes down like he’s broken his leg. These two will come to blows before the final whistle. They’re both trying to get each other sent off.

9.08pm GMT

65 min: Hazard decides to try his luck from long range. His luck’s out.

9.07pm GMT

63 min: Costa goes down in the United area, looking for a penalty, but it’s an expert challenge from Rojo.

9.06pm GMT

62 min: N’Golo Kante finds himself with the ball on the edge of the United area again. He tricks his way past Fellaini and the crowd urges him to shoot again. Instead he tees up Willian, who bends one inches over from 20 yards. De Gea wouldn’t have saved that.

9.05pm GMT

60 min: From there, Chelsea break, N’Golo Kante storming upfield with options left and right. He opts to play it to Matic on the left, but his pass just forces the Serbian a tad wide, stalling his momentum. He chips it to the far post and Hazard wins a corner. Willian flashes it to the near post, where the unmarked Costa somehow heads wide.

9.04pm GMT

59 min: Chris Smalling Beckenbauers out of defence and clumps a ball down the left. David Luiz steps out of defence, ready to chest it clear, but then apparently has a flashback to Belo Horizonte in 2014 and runs off in tears, leaving Rashford to run the isolated Cahill. He’s got the beating off the England defender, twisting him this way and that and leaving him for dead before sizing up Thibaut Courtois. He tries to slide it underneath the Belgian and this looks like the equaliser. But Courtois sticks out a leg to divert it wide! What a save!

9.00pm GMT

57 min: “Michael Oliver was in charge of the FA Cup QF game against Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2015,” says Admir Pajic. “He sent off Di Maria and United lost 2:1. Is there a pattern or we need a red card for Marouane Fellaini in FA Cup 2019 for confirmation?”

8.59pm GMT

56 min: Azpilicueta has another shot from 25 yards. It flies over again.

8.58pm GMT

55 min: It was a surprise to see De Gea beaten from that range. Kante’s shot was accurate, but he didn’t hit it especially viciously. I think De Gea was slow to react.

8.56pm GMT

53 min: How on earth are United going to score?

8.56pm GMT

Chelsea probe for a while, searching for a way through. Manchester United look so solid. Where’s the gap? Eventually the ball comes to N’Golo Kante, 25 yards out. Paul Pogba’s let him go. Kante takes a touch and then whips a low shot into the bottom right corner, seemingly taking De Gea by surprise.

8.53pm GMT

50 min: Azpilicueta wastefully shoots miles over from 25 yards.

8.52pm GMT

49 min: This is going to be attack versus defence all the way, until Manchester United win 1-0 on penalties.

8.50pm GMT

47 min: “The rules don’t allow you to make an example of someone who didn’t contravene them.” says Dael Morris.

I have absolutely no sympathy for Ander Herrera or Jose Mourinho. It’s not unusual to see someone booked for persistent fouling anyway.

8.49pm GMT

46 min: Manchester United get the second half underway. “This game resembles a Man Utd vs Chelsea game of Ferguson-Mourinho days, which says a lot about Jose,” says Ben Simmons. “His systematic dismantling of club footballing traditions as a means to satisfy his niggling-foul fetish really needs to come to an end. That instant replacing of Mkhitaryan with Fellaini just about sums it up. The man is sick. Props to Michael Oliver for the decision.”

8.47pm GMT

“Lots of talking points after an exciting half but yet again the same old issue raises it’s head to detract from the football being played…what on earth is going on with Darmians beard?” says John Delaney.

8.46pm GMT

The second Herrera booking wasn’t worth a booking in isolation, but it needs to be viewed in context. Phil Jones had fouled Hazard around 0.00001 seconds earlier and Michael Oliver had spotted that they were doing it on rotation. Oh well. “This first half fouling extraganza from United reminds me of the time Mourinho’s Madrid players took turns fouling Messi in one of the 173 Clasicos between him and Pep,” says Nas Iqbal. “They rarely finished with 11 men.”

8.35pm GMT

Michael Oliver peeps his whistle. Ander Herrera’s red card has left Manchester United in something of a pickle.

8.31pm GMT

45 min+1: There will be two added minutes. “A ten-man, backs-against-the-wall war of attrition against a club that sacked him,” says Justin Kavanagh. “Is there a game that the Moudy one would love to win more than this?”

8.31pm GMT

45 min: Pogba relieves some of the pressure on United with a driving run. Kante stops him.

8.29pm GMT

43 min: “Since Mourinho’s plan was, obviously, to kick Hazard out of the game, he can have no complaints,” Lou Roper said. “Indeed, Mr Oliver has been rather too patient.”

8.28pm GMT

42 min: Costa lays the ball off to the onrushing Willian, who trips over his own feet. No penalty. “Stone wall red card, clear second yellow, in my view,” says Chris Goddard. “Michael Oliver had literally JUST finished warning them about persistent fouls on Hazard. Five seconds later, a blatant trip. Only one choice…”

8.27pm GMT

41 min: Conte completely lost it after that foul on Alonso. He was screaming in Mourinho’s face. I don’t think Conte screaming at you would be a pleasant experience. The fourth official managed to keep the pair of them apart, though, and Michael Oliver’s trying to calm things down. Tempers are frayed.

8.26pm GMT

40 min: Victor Moses lets fly with a fierce effort from the right of the area, but it soars over the bar.

8.25pm GMT

39 min: Off camera, Conte and Mourinho have clashed on the touchline. It came after Valencia fouled Alonso on the left.

8.24pm GMT

37 min: Marouane Fellaini replaces Henrikh Mkhitaryan. United still have a free-kick to defend. It’s tossed high into the middle and De Gea punches it clear before going down after catching an accidental elbow from Costa – if such a thing exists – in the ribs. He needs some treatment.

8.23pm GMT

35 min: Manchester United are down to 10 men! There had been a whiff of this in the air. Phil Jones had just received a final warning from Michael Oliver for bundling Hazard over. Play resumed, Hazard set off on another dribble and Herrera, already on a booking, trips him from behind. Foolish. Mourinho is smirking, United are fuming, but they’ve paid for too many fouls.

8.19pm GMT

34 min: “I’m really not a fan of Cahill on the left side of defence,” says Leo Madden. “He is not mobile or good on the ball and struggles to do anything meaningful with the ball. I can’t see Conte sticking with him in the long term, as good as the defence has been this season.”

8.19pm GMT

32 min: Some Chelsea fans were telling Mourinho to eff off a few moments ago. He responded by

gouging them all in the eye
reminding them that he won them three titles.

8.16pm GMT

30 min: Phil Jones tackles Kante cleanly, but the ball runs to Hazard, who’s lost his shadow. He skedaddles into the area, but blazes high and wide.

8.15pm GMT

28 min: “Is Jones man-marking Hazard?” says JR in Illinois. “I sense no danger… But seriously, Phil Jones is a menace. I figure Mourinho is hoping he hurts an opponent as opposed to himself or a teammate. I’ve never seen him hurt a referee though so Michael Oliver should be okay.”

I think United are playing with four narrow defenders, the wingers dropping deep, Herrera deep in the middle, Pogba on Kante, Mkhitaryan doing busywork and Rashford bounding around after scraps up front. It’s just like chess.

8.13pm GMT

27 min: Hazard schemes again, but Pogba nicks the ball away with a sliding tackle from behind. Michael Oliver rules that he timed it perfectly.

8.11pm GMT

25 min: You could spend the next 20 minutes trying to decipher United’s formation.

8.10pm GMT

24 min: United’s formation is still quite hard to work out. I initially thought that Jones would be in central midfield, but it looks like he’s tracking Hazard. Or at least trying to. That’s a thankless task.

8.08pm GMT

23 min: Matic shoots from 30 yards. The ball lands in the Shed Upper.

8.08pm GMT

22 min: Ander Herrera has become Jose Mourinho’s on-pitch Rui Faria, hasn’t he? I didn’t know he had it in him. But then he did manage to corrupt Xabi Alonso.

8.07pm GMT

20 min: Chelsea attack again, Eden Hazard at the heart of things and trying to play a give and go with Costa. Ander Herrera stands in Hazard’s way and blocks him off, knocking the Belgian to the floor. Michael Oliver plays the advantage and the attack breaks down when Costa confuses himself on the left. The break in play allows Oliver to book Herrera for that moment of Jose-scented cynicism.

8.05pm GMT

18 min: The Chelsea pressure subsides when Costa heads over from Willian’s corner. David De Gea, though.

8.05pm GMT

17 min: Chelsea have woken up now. Marcus Alonso volleys dangerously into the six-yard box from the left and it’s turned over by Smalling before Costa can tap it in. Chelsea continue to press, though Michael Oliver first has to sort out some nonsense between Costa and Rojo in the middle. Watch this space.

8.04pm GMT

16 min: Eden Hazard, quiet in the opening 15 minutes, suddenly comes alive, embarrassing Chris Smalling with a glorious Cruyff turn to wriggle away from the United defender. Off he goes, dribbling brilliantly through the middle. He skips past another defender, scooting to the right, and aims for the far corner with a low drive. De Gea brilliantly tips it wide. Corner to Chelsea. Willian swings it into the area and Cahill wins a wrestling match before jabbing a low drive towards the same corner. De Gea’s reflexes are magnificent again, though, and Chelsea have to settle for another corner.

8.00pm GMT

14 min: David Luiz taps the free-kick to William, who’s promptly tackled by Ashley Young. Chelsea made a right mess of that. They’re back on the front foot soon enough, though, and space opens up for Kante 20 yards from goal, but his shot’s blocked.

7.59pm GMT

13 min: Willian embarks on a mischievous dribble down the inside left flank and Darmian scythes him down from behind. He’s fortunate not to be booked.

7.58pm GMT

12 min: Marcus Rashford uses his pace to hare after a long punt up field. He’s away from David Luiz, but Cesar Azpilicueta steps across to halt him with a fine challenge. The ball breaks to Mkhitaryan, though, and he has a go from 20 yards. His low shot fizzes just wide.

7.57pm GMT

11 min: Cahill sends a pass down the left flank. It rolls straight out of play for a throw.

7.55pm GMT

10 min: United have started impressively. They’re pressing high and squeezing Chelsea, who look a bit confused at the moment.

7.53pm GMT

8 min: Chelsea haven’t got into their flow yet. United are working hard to keep a solid shape and restrict their options.

7.52pm GMT

6 min: The Manchester United fans are having a lovely sing-song in the away end. It’s great to see the underdogs get their big day out in the FA Cup.

7.51pm GMT

5 min: Diego Costa bumps into Ander Herrera on the halfway line. They shake hands like a right pair of gentlemen.

7.50pm GMT

4 min: It’s Chelsea’s turn to attack, Willian probing on the right and finding Nemanja Matic on the edge of the area. He shuffles it to the left for Marcos Alonso, but the Spaniard can’t find Eden Hazard.

7.48pm GMT

2 min: Manchester United haven’t conceded after 30 seconds. That’s another sign of their progress under Jose Mourinho. They’ve also started well here, winning a corner on the right. Ashley Young whips it in, but Rojo heads over. Meanwhile they’ve not lined up in a 3-4-3 system. Instead it’s 4-2-3-1, with Phil Jones in central midfield, a role he performed with distinction against Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid four years ago.

7.46pm GMT

And we’re off! Chelsea, in their blue home strip, get the ball rolling. They’re kicking from right to left in the first half. The first task for Manchester United is to go one better than the league game and not concede after 30 seconds.

7.45pm GMT

The teams are out and that means it’s time for the Liquidator. And almost time for kick-off.

7.42pm GMT

Jose Mourinho’s calling Chelsea defensive again in a BBC interview. Antonio Conte disagrees. For what it’s worth, Chelsea have scored 18 more goals than United in the league this season.

Related: Chelsea’s Antonio Conte: I never, ever, ever train for the counterattack

7.40pm GMT

It’s been 18 years since Dwight Yorke’s double at Stamford Bridge kept Manchester United on course for the treble.

7.24pm GMT

Jose Mourinho – the man who stole the show. pic.twitter.com/BNKnGWTVRT

6.59pm GMT

Despite making two changes, Chelsea aren’t playing a weakened team at all. Antonio Conte hasn’t allowed sentiment to cloud his judgement and there’s no start for John Terry, even though this could be his final FA Cup tie at Stamford Bridge. Willian and Nemanja Matic are the players to come in from the win at West Ham last Monday, Pedro and Cesc Fabregas dropping to the bench,

As for Manchester United, it looks like Jose Mourinho has replicated Conte’s 3-4-3 system. Or it could be 7-0-3. Or 7-2-1. Or 7-3-0. Or 10-0-0. Alternatives are that it’s a 4-2-3-1, either with Matteo Darmian at right-back or central midfield. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are nowhere to be seen, of course, but United haven’t had to stoop so low as putting Marouane Fellaini up front. Instead it turns out Marcus Rashford isn’t ill after all. That Mourinho. He’s made fools of us all!

6.55pm GMT

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso; Willian, Costa, Hazard. Subs: Begovic, Terry, Zouma, Chalobah, Fabregas, Pedro, Batshuayi.

Manchester United: De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Rojo; Valencia, Herrera, Pogba, Darmian; Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Young. Subs: Romero, Bailly, Blind, Lingard, Carrick, Fellaini, Mata.

6.46pm GMT

Scrap the entire preamble! Despite suffering from the sniffles, Marcus Rashford starts up front for Manchester United. I’ll have the full team news shortly.

10.26am GMT

Hello. It’s always satisfying to see your ex in a miserable state. But while Chelsea are smitten with their youthful, energetic, handsome Italian manager these days, they would be wise not to become complacent if Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge looking like Tony Soprano in the midst of one of his misery bouts, complete with unkempt hair, crumbs in his beard, and ketchup stains on his dressing gown. They’ll point and whisper and snigger at how he’s let himself go. Remember how dashing he used to be? To think he used to make us go weak at the knees.

Manchester United have travelled down to Stamford Bridge for this FA Cup quarter-final in the position of world’s most unlikeliest underdogs. They don’t exactly belong in the same category as your Lincolns or Millwalls, but they do have problems, namely a total lack of anyone to play up front. The, er, Ferguson Association has banned Zlatan Ibrahimovic for resting his elbow on Tyrone Mings’s jaw, Anthony Martial’s got a knock, Marcus Rashford’s ill and Wayne Rooney’s made the mistake of going near Phil Jones during a training session, all of which means we could be treated to the spectacle of Marouane Fellaini’s Zlatan impression. It’s Jose against the world, and life is so very unfair.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/mar/13/chelsea-v-manchester-united-fa-cup-live

Mar 13

FA Cup semi-final draw – as it happened

Chelsea were drawn against Tottenham, while Arsenal and Manchester City will meet in the other FA Cup semi-final, with the ties played on 22 and 23 April

9.52pm GMT

Prediction:

Arsenal v Tottenham Tottenham v Manchester City Chelsea v Arsenal
Chelsea v Manchester City final. But there’s only one way to be sure! They’ll have to play those semi-finals on 22 and 23 April. Bye!

9.49pm GMT

Arsenal v Manchester City

9.49pm GMT

Chelsea v Tottenham

9.49pm GMT

The balls are in the pot… THE BALLS ARE IN THE POT.

9.44pm GMT

Hello. It’s almost time for the semi-final draw. Chelsea have just joined Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham in the last four. Ah, the romance.

10.27am GMT

It’s an all-star cast of Premier League heavyweights in the FA Cup semi-finals but who will be paired together? Here are your balls:

Related: Premier League and FA Cup: talking points from the weekend’s action

Related: Son’s hat-trick for Tottenham the perfect response to Millwall’s idiot minority | Dominic Fifield

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/live/2017/mar/13/fa-cup-semi-final-draw-live

Mar 13

N’Golo Kanté sends Chelsea past 10-man Manchester United in FA Cup

Perhaps there will be another time when José Mourinho can return to Stamford Bridge without the rancour and acrimony that accompanied this match. It might be a long time, however, judging by the bad feeling that gathered on another triumphant night for Chelsea and another ordeal for Mourinho at the ground that once meant so much to him.

By the time it was all done Antonio Conte’s team were in the semi-finals and, barring an almost implausible collapse in the Premier League, Chelsea’s manager is now two wins away from emulating Carlo Ancelotti and finishing his first season in London with the double.

Related: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United: FA Cup – as it happened

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/13/chelsea-manchester-united-fa-cup-match-report

Mar 13

Tottenham will pass video to FA and police after racist chanting at Millwall tie

• FA opens inquiry after Millwall fans target Son Heung-min
• Spurs chants referred to visiting supporters as ‘pikey boys’

Millwall and Tottenham Hotspur are assisting the Football Association and police with their investigations into the racist and discriminatory chanting which marred the FA Cup quarter-final between the clubs at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Sections of the visiting support directed chants of “DVD” and “He’s selling three for a fiver” at the Spurs forward Son Heung-min, who scored a hat-trick in the hosts’ 6-0 win. Although both managers said they had not heard the songs, the Tottenham substitute Kyle Walker appeared to acknowledge the tone of the chants by pointing angrily towards the Millwall fans after Son scored the first of his goals.

Related: Son’s hat-trick for Tottenham the perfect response to Millwall’s idiot minority | Dominic Fifield

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/13/tottenham-video-fa-racist-chanting-millwall

Mar 13

Son’s hat-trick for Tottenham the perfect response to Millwall’s idiot minority | Dominic Fifield

Son Heung-min was subjected to racist abuse by Millwall fans on Sunday. His hat-trick was a fine riposte, and gives Tottenham hope after Harry Kane’s injury

As a riposte, it was about as emphatic as they come. Son Heung-min was actually stumbling, the loose ball ricocheting awkwardly between his legs, when a section of the Millwall fans situated in that nearby corner of the arena began bellowing their latest chorus of “DVD”. He had to edge back rather apologetically towards the touchline to gather but, with Jake Cooper wary of darting from the penalty area, there was still time to readjust, wriggle towards the edge of the penalty area and curl his shot gloriously into the far corner beyond Tom King.

Related: Tottenham Hotspur hammer Millwall in Cup with Son Heung-min hat-trick

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/13/son-heung-min-tottenham-hat-trick-millwall-racist-chants

Mar 13

Premier League and FA Cup: talking points from the weekend’s action

Arsène Wenger overcomes resistance to change, Aitor Karanka wants fighters more than Stewart Downing, and José Mourinho has more pressing concerns than getting revenge at Chelsea

One of the many criticisms routinely directed at Arsène Wenger concerns his tactical conservatism and it is fair to say that he has seldom deviated from his preferred and predictable 4-2-3-1 in recent years. But on the back of a crucial drop in form Wenger has actually started the last two games with a new plan, playing 4-3-3 against Bayern Munich and Lincoln to address the malfunctioning midfield by adding an extra man. He thinks some of his midfielders, namely Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, benefit from being in a three and perhaps it is also designed to relieve some pressure on the struggling Granit Xhaka. Although he has had to change things around in both games (after Laurent Koscielny’s red card against Bayern and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s hamstring strain against Lincoln) it is revealing that Wenger is trying something tactically new in a bid to save Arsenal’s season. It is, of course, a credit to Lincoln that he would play his strongest team, in its potentially most solid guise, against the non-league flagbearers.

We know we have a top manager in charge and we’re right behind Aitor

Related: Danny Cowley revels in Lincoln’s brush with big time and praises Arsène Wenger | Amy Lawrence

Related: Pep Guardiola glows as praxis starts to make perfect at Manchester City | Louise Taylor

It’s not an ideal situation when you have a game the night before, any game – never mind rugby league.

Related: Rejuvenated Ross Barkley reaps benefits of Everton’s midfield makeover

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/13/premier-league-fa-cup-talking-points

Mar 12

Danny Cowley revels in Lincoln’s brush with big time and praises Arsène Wenger | Amy Lawrence

Cowley will now focus on Lincoln’s National League and FA Trophy campaigns, while his Arsenal counterpart admitted there is no escape from criticism

As Lincoln’s players absorbed the experience by accepting the invitation to mingle with their counterparts in the home dressing room at the end of it all, it was important to make sure that City took care of some essential business. A member of Arsenal’s staff duly emerged from a cupboard with a broom, remarking: “They’ve asked for a hoover.” The broom was the best they could magic up at that moment. At Premier League level they are not used to requests from the opposition to clean the visitors’ dressing room. Whatever the circumstances, though, Danny Cowley insists on it. “The All Blacks call it ‘sweep the decks’, don’t they? If it is good enough for the All Blacks, it’s good enough for us,” he says.

The gesture felt poignant, especially as there had been a brief commotion when Arsenal left their dressing room at non-league Sutton United in the previous round strewn with discarded strappings and drinks bottles. That contrast emphasised the different worlds usually inhabited by those from non-league and Premier League although, looking at the bigger picture, that is a chasm that Cowley hopes some of his contemporaries and colleagues can one day bridge. “There’s some great footballers at non-league level and hopefully some OK managers too,” Cowley notes. “We’ve seen what happened with Jamie Vardy. It shows you there is real depth in English football.”

Related: Arsène Wenger still obsessed with Bayern despite high five against Lincoln

Related: Arsenal’s Theo Walcott opens floodgates to wash away Lincoln fairytale

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/12/danny-cowley-lincoln-city-arsene-wenger-arsenal-fa-cup

Mar 12

Manchester United’s striking crisis: four forwards to miss Chelsea tie

• Rooney, Rashford and Martial ill or injured; Ibrahimovic suspended
• Mourinho may push Mkhitaryan forward in Stamford Bridge quarter-final

Manchester United’s hopes of defending the FA Cup were dealt a severe blow after Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were all ruled out on the eve of Monday night’s quarter-final against Chelsea.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic starting a three-match suspension it means José Mourinho is without all of his frontline strikers for the trip to Stamford Bridge. The manager had planned to field one of Rooney, Rashford and Martial at No9 in the absence of Ibrahimovic. But with Rooney injuring himself in an training accident with Phil Jones on Sunday, Rashford falling ill on the same day and Martial also suffering an unspecified problem Mourinho will now have to field a makeshift forward line at his former club.

Related: José Mourinho left trailing by calmed-down Antonio Conte | Daniel Taylor

Related: Antonio Conte will stay exuberant when Chelsea face Manchester United

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/mar/12/manchester-uniteds-striking-crisis-four-forwards-to-miss-chelsea-tie

Mar 12

Pep Guardiola glows as praxis starts to make perfect at Manchester City | Louise Taylor

The Catalan has not had the easiest start in England but the manner of his side’s dispatching of Middlesbrough suggests his ideology is starting to take hold

Pep Guardiola’s eyes sparkled with the evangelical glint of a conviction politician. Manchester City’s manager does not care much for consensus, compromise or pragmatism and his barely contained post-match excitement at Middlesbrough reflected the Catalan’s belief that his philosophy is, once again, being vindicated.

Related: Manchester City and David Silva catch Middlesbrough cold to reach semi

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/mar/12/pep-guardiola-ideology-machnester-city

Older posts «