Ritchie double takes Newcastle into round four

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 19, 2017 with No Comments
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Highlights: Newcastle 3-1 Birmingham

Matt Ritchie’s double helped Newcastle ease into the FA Cup fourth round with victory over fellow Championship side Birmingham at St James’ Park.

The hosts went ahead on nine minutes after Yoan Gouffran was felled by Blues keeper Adam Legzdins as he ran on to Jonjo Shelvey’s exquisite pass, with Ritchie converting the penalty.

Gouffran then scored an excellent second in a dominant first half for Newcastle, collecting Shelvey’s free-kick and finishing low on the half-volley.

A previously lacklustre Birmingham suddenly started to create chances after David Cotterill’s sliced strike on 71 minutes but the hosts ensured a fairer reflection of their control as Ritchie tapped in Shelvey’s cross late on.

Rafael Benitez’s side will travel to League One side Oxford United in round four on 28 January.

Defeat means Gianfranco Zola becomes the first Birmingham manager since 1889 to fail to win any of their first seven games in charge.

Shelvey stars


Report & highlights: Reds through after Lucas’ first goal in seven years

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Highlights: Plymouth 0-1 Liverpool

Lucas Leiva scored his first goal in seven years to send Liverpool into the fourth round of the FA Cup at the expense of League Two Plymouth.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had to make the 293-mile trip to Home Park after they were held to a frustrating goalless draw in the initial meeting between the two at Anfield.

However, Lucas ensured the long journey was not a wasted one when he headed home Philippe Coutinho’s corner early in the first half.

The win should have been more comfortable for the Reds but Divock Origi’s poor penalty was comfortably saved by home keeper Luke McCormick.

Plymouth, who are 66 places below Liverpool in the football pyramid, were not overawed by their Premier League opponents and came closest to equalising when Jake Jervis hit the post with a scissor kick midway through the second half.

Liverpool’s reward for victory is a home tie against Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers on 28 January.

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‘It is that long?’ Lucas ends wait


Man Utd overtake Real at top of record-breaking rich list

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Manchester United

Manchester United generated the most revenue of any football club in the world last season, according to a report published by Deloitte.

United dethrone Real Madrid – who held top spot for 11 years – after accumulating a record revenue of 689m euros (£515m) during the 2015-16 term.

The Premier League club saw commercial revenue grow by 100m euros (£71m).

Combined revenue for the top 20 clubs during the 2015-16 season grew 12% to 7.4bn euros (£6.41bn) – a new record.

It is the first time Manchester United have topped the annual Deloitte Football Money League since the 2003-04 season.

Real drop down to third, behind Spanish rivals Barcelona, who remain in second spot.

German giants Bayern Munich move up a position to fourth and Manchester City also climb a spot to fifth – having generated 524.9 euros (£392.6m) – up from 463.5 euros (£352.6m) during the previous season.

It is the first time they have reached the top five of the annual list.

Eight Premier League clubs make the top 20, with revenues totalling nearly 3.2bn euros (£2.4bn).

Champions Leicester City (20th) enter the top 20 for the first time. They produced a revenue of 172m euros (£128m) – which is almost five times the revenue generated two seasons before in 2013-14.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham remain in seventh, eighth, ninth and 12th place, with West Ham in 18th position.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said Manchester United’s record revenues were achieved by “phenomenal commercial revenue growth”.

He added: “In recent years, their ability to secure commercial partnerships with value in excess of that achievable by their peers has been the crucial factor in enabling the club to regain their place at the top of the money league.

“That said, they’ll face strong competition from Barcelona and Real Madrid to retain the top spot in next year’s edition, due to the lack of Champions League football, the weakening of the pound against the euro and, over the longer term, as other clubs enter the commercial market demanding similar deals, using United as the precedent.”

Take part in our Premier League Predictor game, which allows you to create leagues with friends.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38655480

Why defending is not Guardiola’s only problem

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Match of the Day 2 analysis

It is too easy to score goals against Manchester City, but that is not Pep Guardiola’s only problem at the moment.

As we saw in Sunday’s 4-0 defeat by Everton, who scored with every shot they had on target, teams do not need to create many chances to get past City.

That is a criticism of their back four and their goalkeeper, but another reason they have fallen off the pace in the title race is their lack of threat going forward.

It was not difficult for Everton to defend against them at Goodison Park. Yes, City had a penalty shout and a couple of half-chances in the first half but at the moment, if you get back into shape against them and close off the gaps, then it is also easy to keep them out.


Liverpool bettered ‘long-ball’ Man Utd

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MOTD2 analysis: How Mourinho changes countered Klopp

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho applauded Liverpool’s defensive display, while opposite number Jurgen Klopp said the hosts resorted to long balls in a feisty draw at Old Trafford.

United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late header levelled James Milner’s penalty on Sunday, leaving the Reds without a win in four matches.

“We attacked and Liverpool were the team that defended,” said Mourinho.

Klopp said: “We were the better side. They play long balls in a wild game.”

“We played the better football and had the better plan,” added the German.

Mourinho was criticised for negative tactics in United’s goalless draw at Anfield earlier in the season but said he wanted to “see if the critics are fair” after Sunday’s draw, after which he said Liverpool were “happy with a point”.

“They were clever,” added Mourinho. “They took their time, they know how to play football and control the emotions of the game.

“They knew they would be in trouble in the final few minutes.”

Defensive Reds a pain in the neck for Mourinho

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Liverpool much more defensive – Mourinho

Mourinho said the number of men defending Liverpool’s area prompted his decision to introduce the physical Marouane Fellaini for full-back Matteo Darmian on 76 minutes.

The Belgian headed against the post in the build-up to Ibrahimovic’s equaliser, although the switch to a more direct style triggered by the Belgian’s arrival resulted in just five United touches in the Liverpool area.

Mourinho added: “The people need to know what Marouane Fellaini is great at and what he is not so good at. Marouane is very good in some aspects.”

He added: “I have a problem with my neck because I was always looking to the left in the second half and I saw so many yellow shirts in front of me I thought ‘let’s go for it’.

“We lost two points when we wanted all three.”

United, now unbeaten in the league since October, remain sixth, two points adrift of local rivals Manchester City and 12 behind leaders Chelsea.

Long ball saved Man Utd – Klopp


Man City title challenge over after loss to Everton

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Man City ‘not strong enough in the box’

Manchester City are out of the Premier League title race after a 4-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park, according to manager Pep Guardiola.

City are now 10 points behind leaders Chelsea after defeat on Merseyside – the heaviest league loss in Guardiola’s managerial career.

Asked if the gap was too great, he said: “Yes. Ten is a lot of points.”

Guardiola, 45, has told his players to unite “in the bad moments” and “forget the table” until the end of the season.

He added: “At the end of the season, we our going to evaluate our level and how our performance was, how the coach was, how the players were. After that we are going to decide.”

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss insisted he was “so happy in Manchester” despite his side sitting fifth, two points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

‘Unite and be clinical’


Lawro’s Premier League predictions v UFC star Michael Bisping

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 14, 2017 with No Comments
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BBC Sport expert Mark Lawrenson

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  • Play the Premier League Predictor

BBC Sport’s football expert Mark Lawrenson will be making a prediction for all 380 Premier League games this season against a variety of guests.

Lawro’s opponent for this week’s Premier League fixtures is UFC star Michael Bisping.

Englishman Bisping, who is also starring in new action film xXx: Return of Xander Cage, is a Manchester United fan – and unsurprisingly backs them to beat old foes Liverpool.

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UFC’s Michael Bisping’s Premier League predictions

You can make your Premier League predictions now, compare them with those of Lawro and other fans, and try to take your team to the top of the leaderboard by playing the BBC Sport Predictor game.

A correct result (picking a win, draw or defeat) is worth 10 points. The exact score earns 40 points.

On FA Cup third-round weekend, Lawro got nine correct results, including three perfect scores from the 32 ties for a total of 180 points.

He was up against a trio of YouTubers – Manchester City fan Alex from Blue Moon Rising TV, Tottenham supporter Barnaby from Spurred On and Arsenal fan Reev.

Alex came out on top, with 14 correct predictions, including three perfect scores.

Those scores do not count towards Lawro’s total for the season from Premier League fixtures or appear on the guest leaderboard.


All kick-offs 15:00 GMT unless otherwise stated.



Diego Costa: Chelsea striker is dropped after dispute over fitness with coach

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Diego Costa

Costa joined the Blues from Spanish club from Atletico Madrid for £32m in 2014

Striker Diego Costa has been left out of the Chelsea squad to face Leicester on Saturday after a dispute with a coach over his fitness.

The Spain international has not trained for three days and has not travelled for the Premier League leaders’ match with the champions (17:30 GMT).

The news comes amid reports he is the subject of an offer to move to China that would be worth £30m a year.

Costa, 28, has scored 14 goals and provided five assists this season.

Chelsea declined to comment.

It is understood Blues owner Roman Abramovich is not interested in releasing him from his contract, which expires in 2019, and would not entertain the idea of being forced to do so.

Speaking in early January, Costa admitted he wanted to leave Chelsea last summer, but said he was now happy to stay.

Chelsea had been hopeful of agreeing a contract extension with the Brazil-born forward, but the dispute with fitness coach Julio Tous raises new doubts.


Kane hits hat-trick as Spurs hammer West Brom

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Harry Kane had 11 shots in all against West Brom

Harry Kane had 11 shots in all against West Brom

Harry Kane struck a hat-trick as Tottenham moved second in the Premier League table with a display of total dominance against West Brom at White Hart Lane.

Spurs equalled their club record of six straight Premier League wins with ease as they set about dismantling their visitors, amassing 10 shots and 78% possession by half-time.

Kane smartly lifted Christian Eriksen’s neat through ball in off the upright, before Eriksen’s own effort went in via Gareth McAuley.

England striker Kane – who became a father this week – was a continued threat and he turned in Kyle Walker’s low cross, before completing his treble with a low finish across Ben Foster.

There was one black mark for Spurs in the form of an injury to Jan Vertonghen, which boss Mauricio Pochettino said “looks bad”.

But his side are now showing real momentum and they simply outclassed Tony Pulis’ Baggies, who stay eighth.

  • Relive Harry Kane’s hat-trick against West Brom

Unstoppable Tottenham


‘A beleaguered England manager, but one of the best English managers’

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38597194