FA Cup: Pogba and Herrera on target as Man United dump Chelsea

Manchester United yesterday bounced back to winning ways with a two nil win over Chelsea to advance to the quarter finals of the FA cup and pile more pressure on under fire Blues manager Maurizio Sarri.

Ander Herrera opened the scoring for the Red Devils following Paul Pogba’s cross and minutes later, Pogba headed in Marcus Rashford cross to give United a two nil lead at the break.

Manchester United players mobbed by fans as they take the train

Ander Herrera celebrates after opening the scoring for United against Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday night

Chelsea efforts to get a breakthrough in the second half were frustrated as United held on to secure their first win at the Bridge since 2012. United will play Wolves in the quarter finals while Manchester City will take on Swansea City.

United were better and appear to have been liberated by Solskjaer as much as Chelsea seem weighed down by Sarri’s dogma. His second half substitutions – the inevitable Ross Barkley-Mateo Kovacic switch, plus full-back Davide Zappacosta for Cesar Azpilicueta – bought equal parts mockery and outright disdain, with Callum Hudson-Odoi again imprisoned on the bench.

FA Cup: Man United beat Arsenal in 3-1 defeat of old foes

‘You don’t know what you’re doing,’ sang the locals, but that’s just the problem. He does. It’s just that what he is doing is increasingly unsuccessful and maddeningly repetitive. The same moves, born of the same principles, repeated endlessly with diminishing returns.

United focus now shifts to Sunday’s mega match against Liverpool while Chelsea will take on Manchester City on the same day in the Carabao Cup Final.

Chelsea: Manager Maurizio is on the brink of being fired

– Maurizio Sarri’s future at Chelsea remains in doubt after a difficult period

– One player thinks he will go if Chelsea don’t win one of their next two matches

– Roman Abramovich has not been to a game this season and is on the periphery

– There are frustrations at how star man N’Golo Kante has been used by Sarri

– Eden Hazard looks poised to leave this summer as problems continue to mount

After all but surrendering the Serie A title to Juventus in the spring of 2017, Maurizio Sarri’s outlook for his Napoli future was not promising. ‘Coaches are like fish,’ he mused. ‘After a while, they start to stink.’

The use-by date on Chelsea managers is always short, but in the case of Sarri matters have deteriorated at an alarming rate.

The club’s chairman, Bruce Buck, sat in on his pre-match press conference this week in Malmo, then Buck took the peculiar step of going pitchside on Thursday evening to get a close view of Chelsea’s warm-up drills.

The players’ senses are tingling. One confided in his adviser this week that he expected Sarri to be sacked if the club fail to win at least one of their next two games — against Manchester United in the FA Cup, and Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final.

Ultimately, the decision will not fall to Buck. Director Marina Granovskaia runs the show and she will make recommendations to owner Roman Abramovich, if he does not beat her to it.

Sarri admits he has not heard from Chelsea’s Russian owner in the past three weeks, and the growing impression is that of a club whose troubles extend beyond the dugout.

The financial news website Bloomberg has spoken of the ‘last days of Londongrad’. Abramovich has not attended a Chelsea match this season and has not been seen in London since his visa renewal application was denied last year

Dailymail

Manchester City apologise to Chelsea after playing Blues anthem

Manchester City bosses apologised to Chelsea after the west London club’s anthem ‘One Step Beyond’ was played after their 6-0 drubbing on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola‘s side tore their opponent’s to pieces as they returned to the top of the Premier League table.

Kalonzo hafai urais wala hana nyenzo za urais – Alfred Mutua

If the result alone was not hard enough for Chelsea fans to take, exiting the stadium to the sound of Madness’ ‘One Step Beyond’, a club anthem at Stamford Bridge, compounded the misery.

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According to the Evening Standard, City officials demanded the song be cut short and were quick to say apologise to the visitors for what many perceived as an act of gloating.

The song is regularly played after Chelsea win matches at Stamford Bridge and so hearing it after a 6-0 demolition left a bitter taste.

It was swiftly cut short but fans quickly took to social media to hail the person in charge of City’s PA system.

The humiliation had started long before the Madness track rang through the speakers as Sergio Aguero collected his second successive hat-trick at the Etihad.

Gor Mahia in top form as they beat AFC Leopards at Mashemeji Derby(Images)

Aguero is in a rich vein of form right now and could have scored more with Chelsea unable to nullify his threat as City were 4-0 up after just 25 minutes.

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Raheem Sterling scored the opener after four minutes, a sign that it was going to be a long afternoon for Maurizio Sarri’s side.

Aguero made it 2-0 nine minutes later with a stunning strike from distance and pressure was mounting with every goal conceded on Sarri.

Liverpool thrash Bournemouth after recent slump

Ilkay Gundogan got in on the act as Guardiola’s side continued to keep the pressure on title rivals Liverpool following their win over Bournemouth at Anfield.

Chelsea now need to haul themselves off the canvas for Thursday’s trip to face Malmo in the Europa League before taking on an in-form Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Sarri’s job on the line after Chelsea are thumped by Bournemouth

Maurizio Sarri is battling to save his job after Chelsea were thrashed 4-0 at Bournemouth on Wednesday night.

The Italian, brought in from Napoli in the summer to replace Antonio Conte, has been under pressure with his team falling well adrift in the title race and Wednesday night’s reverse saw them drop out of the top four.

Chelsea plot summer swoop for Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic

Josh King scored either side of a fine David Brooks goal at the Vitality Stadium, before Charlie Daniels added a fourth as Eddie Howe’s team condemned the visitors to a second consecutive Premier League defeat.

Following the match, Sarri said: ‘I feel frustrated. Not under pressure. I didn’t see the signal of my work. So I am frustrated.

‘Maybe it’s my fault, maybe I’m not able to motivate them. But the team is very strong, it is also able to win without the coach.’

In response to fans singing ‘you don’t know what you’re doing,’ he added: ‘We have only to say sorry to our fans. We can lose, of course, in every match, but not in this way. We need to solve the problem. We need to understand where the problem is.’

Sarri had left Callum Hudson-Odoi out of the squad — seen as a rap on the knuckles for the youngster for eyeing a move to Bayern Munich — and new signing Gonzalo Higuain looked horribly out of touch.

With Arsenal leap-frogging Chelsea into the Champions League positions, a place in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City next month may not be enough to save Sarri given owner Roman Abramovich’s renowned lack of patience.

Chelsea fans turned on him during the game with a chorus of boos after the final whistle.

FA CUP DRAW: Chelsea to host high-flying Man United in mouthwatering affair

According to reports, Sarri was still locked in the away dressing room with his players 40 minutes after the full-time whistle at the Vitality.

The 60-year-old removed his coaching staff from the room, ensuring it was just himself and his players.

Sarri said: ‘In that moment I wanted to talk to them alone, without anybody. I needed to understand, it was so different in the first and second half. I want to try again tomorrow.’

Meanwhile, Liverpool failed to capitalize on Manchester City’s misfortunes to extend their lead at the top of English Premier League table to seven points as they were held to a one all draw by Leicester at Anfield.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring for the reds in the 3rd minute but the Foxes responded at the stroke of half time through Harry Maguire. The draw leaves them ahead of City by five points. Elsewhere, Tottenham beat Watford 2-1.

-Dailymail

Chelsea plot summer swoop for Barcelona star Ivan Rakitic

There may be two days left until the end of the January transfer deadline looms, but Chelsea are already planning their shopping for the summer window.

And according to Spanish outlet Sport, the Blues have pinpointed Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic as one ideal addition.

The front cover of their publication on Tuesday leads with this story – stating that Chelsea are ready to negotiate with Barca over the possible signing.

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic is wanted by Chelsea, according to Spanish paper Sport

However, they report that the midfielder would prefer to remain at the Nou Camp – despite the imminent £65million acquisition Frenkie de Jong from Ajax.

Speaking about his future recently, Rakitic made it clear that he wishes to stay in Catalonia.

‘If I am here [at Barcelona], it’s to play,’ he said.

‘If anything has to change, we will speak. I have a lot of confidence. I know what I can give. I know who I am.

‘I want to be here and, if I can renew, to be here for even more years. I am really happy here, everyone knows it, above all the president. I have nothing else to say.

‘I am 30 and I am in the best moment of my career. I want to enjoy football and enjoy Barca.’

FA CUP DRAW: Chelsea to host high-flying Man United in mouthwatering affair

The draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup has been made, with the standout tie seeing Chelsea host Manchester United in a repeat of last season’s final.

Carabao cup: Five things you missed in Chelsea ‘s semi final win over Tottenham

Manchester United will face Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup in a giants clash

Holders Chelsea will be determined to secure victory as they aim to go all the way in the competition again, but they will have to stop a United team that has been in excellent form under the guidance of caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Blues have won their last three FA Cup games against United, all by a 1-0 scoreline.

‘We hope he’ll bring goals’ : Chelsea boss Sarri backs Higuain to galvanise attack

Elsewhere, League Two side Newport County will host Manchester City if they are able to get the better of Middlesbrough in a replay.

Elsewhere, Crystal Palace will face Doncaster Rovers away, while Bristol City will host Shrewsbury or Wolves and AFC Wimbledon’s reward for beating West Ham is a home game against Millwall.

Swansea will take on Barnet or Brentford, Portsmouth or QPR will play Watford and Brighton or West Brom will be up against Derby County.  The ties will take place between February 15-18.

League Two side Newport County could face Manchester City in the fifth round

FA CUP FIFTH ROUND DRAW

Bristol City v Shrewsbury/Wolves

AFC Wimbledon v Millwall

Doncaster Rovers v Crystal Palace

Middlesbrough/Newport County v Manchester City

Chelsea v Manchester United

Swansea City v Barnet/Brentford

Portsmouth/QPR v Watford

Brighton/West Brom v Derby County

-Dailymail

Carabao cup: Five things you missed in Chelsea ‘s semi final win over Tottenham

Maurizio Sarri was on the end of a booking from referee Martin Atkinson and Olivier Giroud saw an unwanted record end as Chelsea reached the Carabao Cup final.

Having gone ahead through N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard, the hosts were pegged back by Fernando Llorente’s header and needed penalties to book their place in the final.

‘We hope he’ll bring goals’ : Chelsea boss Sarri backs Higuain to galvanise attack

We take a look at at all the things you may have missed from the second Carabao Cup semi-final.  

MAURIZIO SARRI SEES YELLOW

Maurizio Sarri is shown a yellow by referee Martin Atkison during the Carabao Cup semi-final

A new addition for the Carabao Cup and FA Cup this season is yellow cards for the managers in an effort to improve touchline behaviour.

With tempers starting to fray in the semi-final, referee Martin Atkinson opted to brandish one at Chelsea boss Mauruzio Sarri.

Should a manager collect four yellow cards, they would receive an automatic one-match ban, with eight equalling a two-match band, while 16 would put them in front of an FA disciplinary committee.

Furious Maurizio Sarri blasts players after loss to Arsenal

OLIVIER’S BAD OMEN ENDS

Striker Olivier Giroud possesses a poor recent record against London rivals Tottenham

Before last night, Olivier Giroud had not won in his last 7 appearances against Tottenham.

Of those matches, he had lost four and been involved in three draws.

As a former Arsenal player, this unwanted record must have rankled for the big Frenchman.

Handed a rare start by Maurizio Sarri, Giroud played his part in helping the club to reach Wembley and ends this particular run.

KANTE CAN PROVIDE MAGIC IN ATTACK  

Letting fly from the edge of the box, N'Golo Kante's strike nutmegged three players

Having been thrust into a more advanced role by Maurizio Sarri this season, N’Golo Kante has had to face down many detractors.

He provided the perfect riposte with the opening goal on the night and the leveller on aggregate at Stamford Bridge.

More impressively, the midfielder’s effort from the edge of the box flew through three pairs of legs before nestling into the net.

The shot nutmegged Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko and keeper Paolo Gazzaniga, offering a showcase of Kante’s attacking talents as he registered his third goal in 11 games.

FERNANDO FINDS THE NET AGAIN FOR SPURS

Fernando Llorente has now scored eight goals in his last five starts for Tottenham

The subject of much criticism after a poor display against Fulham, Fernando Llorente found the net for Tottenham to continue his fine recent scoring record.

Llorente has been summoned to the first team following Harry Kane’s injury, set to rule him out until March.

And despite appearing to lack confidence at times, the Spaniard has now scored eight goals in his last five starts for Tottenham in all competitions to prove he can provide goals in the absence of the team’s star.

Europa League: Arsenal extend unbeaten run to 22, Chelsea struggle against Vidi

Twenty-two games and counting for Arsenal. Unai Emery’s men weren’t overly convincing against Qarabag – they didn’t need to be.

Alexandre Lacazette’s first half strike was enough to secure victory for Arsenal in their final Europa League group game.

The win over the Azerbaijanis matched Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run at the start of the 1986/87 campaign – George Graham’s first in charge of the club.

If Emery can replicate Graham’s success at Arsenal, then he’ll be a happy man.

They’re still quite a way off the club’s all-time record of 28 games unbeaten – but the way Arsenal are motoring along you wouldn’t bet against them.

In front of a half-empty Emirates Stadium, Emery played it relatively safe with his starting XI – fielding a largely understrength team.

There were starts, however, for Laurent Koscielny – making his first senior appearance since May after recovering from a ruptured achilles tendon and Mesut Ozil, who returned after two weeks out with a back injury.

On his return to action after seven months out, club captain Koscielny said: ‘It was very important for me, now I start a new chapter in my career and I think I’m better in my head and physically.

‘You have some difficult moments, this was my first big injury but you learn a lot about yourself and people around you.

‘With a smile can I restart the story now.’

Arsenal’s vital breakthrough arrived in the 16th minute; Ozil was the orchestrator, though Simeon Slavchev’s slip left Qarabag horribly exposed.

The finish when it arrived was unerring, Lacazette slipping past Rashad Sadygov and Badavi Huseynov to fire fiercely past Vagner.

In the other match played yesterday, Chelsea settled for a two all draw with Mol Vidi.

-Dailymail

Chelsea suspend four supporters from attending matches after alleged racist abuse of Sterling

Chelsea have suspended four people from attending matches following allegations that Raheem Sterling was racially abused at Stamford Bridge.

One of the group was named to the Daily Mail as Colin Wing, 60, from Beckenham.

Footage appeared to show a group of fans in the lower tier of the Matthew Harding Stand angrily shouting at the Manchester City player as he went to retrieve the ball during the 2-0 victory for the home side.

Sterling, who turned 24 that day, has said he heard racist insults and has spoken to the Metropolitan Police, who are also investigating.

A Chelsea spokesman said on Monday: ‘Our investigations into this matter are ongoing. We are fully supporting the police investigation and any information we gather will be passed on to them.

‘If there is evidence of ticket holders taking part in any racist behaviour, the club will issue severe sanctions, including bans. We will also fully support any criminal prosecutions.’

Chelsea were made aware of the footage towards the end of the fixture and officials and police spoke to those who are thought to have been involved.

Chelsea passed their details to the police and plan to speak to the group again, as do investigating officers. Some have claimed that a supporter in blue can be seen calling Sterling a ‘f****** black c***’, although there has been speculation the word used was ‘Manc’ and not ‘black’.

City said they welcomed the suspensions. A spokesman said the club and Sterling are ‘fully engaged’ with Chelsea and police.

Sterling spoke to Met Police detectives who travelled to Manchester on Sunday.

Crowds at Premier League matches are already closely monitored. Each fixture is overseen by a control room with a match commander, while stewards are trained to identify instances of abuse. Last year, Manchester United installed rotating cameras so all areas of their ground can be examined.

The Premier League has funded an app on which supporters can report racist behaviour they witness via their mobile phones.

The Professional Footballers’ Association said they stood ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Sterling.

-Dailymail

Europa League: Welbeck injured as Arsenal and Chelsea progress into round of 32

Arsenal drew this Europa League clash against Sporting Lisbon – but that was the last thing on anyone’s mind.

Instead, thoughts were firmly with Danny Welbeck, who is facing another arduous road back to fitness after suffering a sickening ankle injury in the first half.

It was one of those injuries you wish you never saw. One that you cannot erase from memory no matter how hard you try. Welbeck was taken straight to hospital, but you didn’t need to be medically trained to realise the severity of his injury. We’re looking at months, rather than weeks.

Given Welbeck’s entering the final six months of his contract, and the gruesome photos of his ankle twisted in the wrong direction – you wonder if we’ll ever see him in an Arsenal shirt again.

But that’s a debate for an altogether different day. Right now, you simply hope Welbeck makes a full recovery.

Unai Emery confirmed: ‘This is the worst news, it’s clear we are all with him. He’s in hospital, we think it is serious ankle injury.

‘When a player has an injury like that, your mind thinks of the player but we had to concentrate on the game and try to forget.

‘But after the final whistle we asked about him straight away.’

Meanwhile, Arsenal’s London rivals, Chelsea, all but booked their round of 32 spot after former Gunners forward, Olivier Giroud scored the lone goal against Bate Borisov.

For Giroud, it marked the end of a personal ordeal, as he scored his first Chelsea goal for 794 minutes – a run that stretched all the way back to May. For Chelsea, the relief was palpable.

Meanwhile, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he has not been approached by Real Madrid over their vacant managerial position.

Real Madrid Castilla manager Santiago Solari has been installed as the interim boss at the Santiago Bernabeu following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui last month. But newspaper reports in Spain claim the Champions League winners are in search of a long-term replacement.

Wenger dismissed claims he has been contacted by Real Madrid and reiterated he would make a decision on his future in the new year.

-Dailymail