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Everton defeats Arsenal 2:1
The long run is over. Arsenal – boasting a proud unbeaten record stretching back to the middle of August – came undone in the inhospitable setting of Goodison Park. Arsene Wenger’s team got themselves into a deserved lead in an atmosphere that was strangely muted but Everton ratcheted up the tempo midway through the first half and Arsenal wilted.

This wasn’t the School of Science; it was the School of Hard Knocks. Seamus Coleman – who scored the equaliser – tangled with Mesut Ozil as both teams made their way off at the interval and it sparked a mass brawl of sorts.

James McCarthy clattered Francois Coquelin with a rude tackle from behind. Where Everton had been standoffish through the opening stages they instead got in the Gunners’ faces. It was a gritty, old-fashioned win and one which confirmed the areas in which Arsenal are lacking. In the run-up to Alexis Sanchez’s opener Ashley Williams even produced a clattering tackle on his team-mate Idrissa Gueye. Those were the desire levels on display.

“It was a very physical game, we faced many challenges and we lost as well some balls that we are not used to, and I think it disturbed our game,” Wenger told BT Sport afterwards. “And at the end of the day I must say we were a bit unlucky to lose as well.

“We had the first chances in the second half, especially through Mesut. After that they defended very well. You have to give them credit, they played a cup game. For us [the key] was to not give them anything on set pieces and crosses and at the end of the day it was two defenders in their team who scored.”

Ozil – a key passer and maker of chances – arguably had the outcome of the game in his hands early in the second half. He leaned back on the ball as it made its way into the box and skied it over. Ozil is reportedly looking for close to £400,000 to sign a new contract. His finishing is not worth 20 per cent of that sum.

Two of Everton’s back four, meanwhile, managed to find space in the Arsenal area to aim headers past Petr Cech. To miss Coleman ghosting in on the blindside for the leveller is one thing but to allow Williams – one of the best attacking central defenders in the league – enough space to score the winner with barely five minutes to go is inexcusable.

This is a week in which the Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is facing criticism for his perceived unwillingness to adapt to English football but a man with 20 more years’ experience than the Spaniard should have seen this coming. Everton did not dazzle Arsenal with their football, nor did they have to go on lockdown at the back. They resisted Arsenal without looking under siege. There was steeliness in their display and a desire to make Arsenal suffer.

Alexis – a world leader now in his position – remains the Gunners’ go-to guy and his goal, while fortuitous, was deserved. He led the line brilliantly from minute one, when he chased down a poor Leighton Baines back pass. Too often it is the Chilean who looks the only man with the guts for the fight.

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Football News

Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights – Antonio Conte

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Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights - Antonio Conte

Barcelona, Lionel Messi gives me Sleepless Nights – Antonio Conte

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte has revealed that the thought of playing against Barcelona and Lionel Messi gives him sleepless nights.

The Italian’s men will host the Catalan giants in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. According to him;

“In these days after the game in the FA Cup, I must be honest, it was a bit difficult to sleep well,” he said.

“When you have to play this type of game, you have to prepare. You have to prepare everything. You have to prepare big things, but the smaller details too.

“They can move a result a lot of the time. We have an idea. We have a plan in our heads. I think that, in this specific moment, it’s very important to pick the players who are at the top of their form and then try and do our best to win the game.”

Barcelona vs Chelsea meetings is best remembered by their semi-final meeting in this competition in 2012 when they surrendered a two-goal lead to crash out at the Nou Camp as Roberto Di Matteo’s side went on to lift the Champions League for the first time.

Lionel Messi will be hoping to score his first goal against Chelsea, having drawn a blank in his previous eight outings in this fixture.

Anthonio Conte however knows it will be difficult to keep Messi quiet. According to him,

“We are talking about the best player in the world,” he said when asked about a plan to cope with the Argentina ace.

“Messi has the capacity to solve the situation and create a chance when you are not seeing the chance to score.

“We are talking about a fantastic player. We have to pay great attention, but not only to Messi.

“We have to know that, during the game, we must be prepared to suffer. But, at the same time, we must have the idea to go and score at any moment.”

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Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

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Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

Wigan Athletic Eliminates Manchester City from the FA Cup

League 1 side Wigan Athletic stunned a 10-man Manchester City’s hopes of a quadruple with a shock 1-0 win in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday.

Will Grigg scored the winner for the underdogs in the 79th minute when he finished brilliantly from the edge of the box.

Manchester City dominated the match, having 29 shots and 83 per cent of the possession, despite Fabian Delph’s Red Card at the end of the first half for a high tackle on Max Power.

The defeat is City’s third of the season who had created enough good chances to win the game, especially in the first half, despite Wigan looking dangerous on the break.

 

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Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

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Romelu Lukaku to appear in Los Angeles court today over July arrest

Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

Manchester United has booked their place  in the FA Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 win at Huddersfield on Saturday night.

It was more of a “Monkey working while the baboon eats” and a night of VAR controversy after Juan Mata’s goal was ruled out .

Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net  just three minutes after kick off and the second just after the break (55) – but it was Mata’s disallowed effort for which the game will be remembered for.

Romelu Lukaku Leads Manchester United into FA Cup quarter-finals

With VAR in use, Mata thought he had made it 2-0 just before half-time when breaking in behind and finishing past Jonas Lossl. However, after a big delay and confusion with the VAR pictures, Kevin Friend ruled out the goal as Mata’s knee was marginally offside despite the lines used by VAR not looking straight.

Huddersfield enjoyed plenty of possession and registered 19 shots on goal but United’s defence – marshalled by the excellent Chris Smalling – kept their eighth clean sheet from their last 10 matches.

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