Tag Archives: finals

ATP Monte Carlo Masters – Rafael Nadal beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Novak Djokovic beats Fabio Fognini in semis

Serving up a classic Djokovic and Nadal to meet in mouthwatering Monte Carlo final

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

17:40 GMT, 20 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 20 April 2013

Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal will lock horns with world No 1 Novak Djokovic for third time in the Monte Carlo Masters final after both sailed through their semi-finals with relative ease on Saturday.

Nadal was given a fight by Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga before the Spaniard won 6-3, 7-6 but Djokovic was dominant in a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing of Italian showman Fabio Fognini.

Former world No 1 Nadal, looking for his fourth title of the year in only his fifth event since returning from a long-standing knee injury, clinched a 46th consecutive victory at the traditional clay court event alongside the Mediterranean.

Winning run: Rafael Nadal beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets in his semi-final

Winning run: Rafael Nadal beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets in his semi-final

Serving up a classic: Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday in Monte Carlo

Serving up a classic: Nadal will play Novak Djokovic in the final on Sunday in Monte Carlo

The final against Djokovic will give a further measure of Nadal’s physical condition as he eyes the French Open, especially as the Serb is showing no sign of being worried by the ankle he twisted while on Davis Cup duty two weeks ago.

‘It’s fantastic to be in a fifth final in a row after seven months out,’ Nadal said. ‘Novak always pushes you to the limits.’

Djokovic, who has branded Nadal ‘the ultimate challenge on clay’, will hope to improve on his previous Monte Carlo finals against Nadal. He was beaten 6-3, 6-1 in the final last year and in three sets in 2009.

Looking to the heavens: Nadal beat the Frenchman Tsonga 6-3, 7-6

Looking to the heavens: Nadal beat the Frenchman Tsonga 6-3, 7-6

Smashing effort: Tsonga put up a fight in the second set but couldn't force a decider

Smashing effort: Tsonga put up a fight in the second set but couldn't force a decider

‘I will have to be at the top of my game. I’m ready for it. I know what I need to do,’ said Djokovic, who was pleased to have spent only 52 minutes on the court.

‘I had enough tests already this week so I’m happy I can be fresh,’ said the Serb, who was pushed to three sets in his first two matches.

Nadal set up a 16th tournament final against Djokovic despite a wobble from 5-1 up in the second set when Tsonga produced a late surge to make a match of it. Neither the cold wind gusting off the sea, nor the inconsistent Tsonga managed to upset a solid Nadal, who has made the Centre Court stage his own since 2005.

Drubbing: Novak Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-1 in his semi-final in Monte Carlo

Drubbing: Novak Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-1 in his semi-final in Monte Carlo

Drubbing: Novak Djokovic beat Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-1 in his semi-final in Monte Carlo

Sixth seed Tsonga made too many mistakes from the baseline as Nadal took a stranglehold on the match. However, a change of tactics when he began charging the net briefly unsettled Nadal to the delight of the previously subdued French crowd.

He attacked in waves and saved four match points to force a tie-break before running out off steam and allowing Nadal to take the match and avoid a third set.

Fognini played some crowd-pleasing winners against Djokovic but was no match for the ruthless Serb who was in no mood to mess around on the centre court.

The 32nd-ranked Italian, who has enjoyed a huge support this week at a stadium located just kilometres away from his home, offered little fight and was booed off court after only 50 minutes by the restless crowd.

She"s in safe hands! Fabregas posts photo of newborn daughter after making another Champions League semi-final

She's in safe hands! Fabregas posts photo of newborn daughter after making yet another Champions League semi-final

By
Gerard Brand

PUBLISHED:

17:09 GMT, 11 April 2013

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UPDATED:

19:09 GMT, 11 April 2013

Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas admitted yesterday was the happiest day of his life.

No, it wasn't just the fact he had made it through to an incredible fourth Champions League semi-final, but more the fact his girlfriend Daniella Semaan had given birth to their first child.

Newborn: Fabregas posted this picture of his daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan grasping his finger

Newborn: Fabregas posted this picture of his daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan grasping his finger

Fabregas played 62 minutes last night as his side reached the last four of the Champions League after a 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain at the Nou Camp saw them go through on away goals.

And it was the former Arsenal midfielder who made way for Lionel Messi with PSG leading 1-0, with the Argentinian changing the game for the hosts.

Game changer: Fabregas made way for Messi in the 62nd minute, ultimately changing the game

Game changer: Fabregas made way for Messi in the 62nd minute, ultimately changing the game

But even better news was around the corner, and he tweeted: 'Yesterday it was the happiest day of my life, our daugther Lia Fabregas Semaan was born. Both her and Daniella are doing very well.'

The 25-year-old then posted a picture of his newborn daugther grasping his finger, and he'll want to get his hands on his own prize at the end of May, having won just one of the four semi-finals he has been involved in with Arsenal and Barcelona.

Fabregas and his Barcelona teammates will discover who stands in their way of another Champions League final tomorrow, with the draw for the semi-finals taking place in Nyon at 11am BST.

Champion: If Fabregas plays in the last four, it will be his fourth Champions League semi-final appearance

Champion: If Fabregas plays in the last four, it will be his fourth Champions League semi-final appearance

Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas

Arsenal gunning for Tottenham after West Brom win at the Hawthorns

Watch out Tottenham: Arsenal are Gunning for you after West Bromwich victory

By
Laura Williamson

PUBLISHED:

21:30 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:10 GMT, 8 April 2013

Arsenal fans sang ‘Tottenham Hotspur, we’re coming for you,’ at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday as their team moved into fourth place in the Barclays Premier League for the first time since Boxing Day.

Their glee was understandable. Arsenal's victory at the Hawthorns was their sixth win in their last seven Premier League outings and allowed Arsene Wenger's side to put their feet up on Sunday and see how Champions League qualification rivals Tottenham and Chelsea responded.

'Playing on Saturday is fantastic when you win,' said Wenger. 'When you lose, it's a disaster. But, as long as we win, it's always better for me to play, if you can, before (our rivals).

Czech mate: Tomas Rosicky scored a first-half brace in Arsenal's 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion

Czech mate: Tomas Rosicky scored a first-half brace in Arsenal's 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion

Czech mate: Tomas Rosicky scored a first-half brace in Arsenal's 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion

Premier League table

'Ideally, I would like to be in the Champions League as well, but – if you are on a good run – maybe it can be a little advantage because you can recover more.'

Arsenal's league run has been marred by their FA Cup and Champions League exits and defeat in the North London derby, but Tottenham and Chelsea's exploits in the knock-out competitions have provided a little window of opportunity for Wenger's side.

Early bath: Per Mertesacker was shown a red card for hauling down Shane Long in the penalty area

Early bath: Per Mertesacker was shown a red card for hauling down Shane Long in the penalty area

Early bath: Per Mertesacker was shown a red card for hauling down Shane Long in the penalty area

Chelsea's FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City means their Premier League clash with Spurs at Stamford Bridge on April 14 has been postponed.

Arsenal will therefore contest two home games – against Norwich and Everton – before their main rivals for a Champions League spot play in the league again.

Chelsea and Spurs also, of course, have Europa League quarter-finals to consider. The scorer of both Arsenal goals in Saturday’s 2-1 win, Tomas Rosicky said: 'I hope that will happen (and we will take advantage).'

Gap: Arsenal are two points behind Tottenham with a game in hand after their rivals drew 2-2 with Everton on Sunday

Gap: Arsenal are two points behind Tottenham with a game in hand after their rivals drew 2-2 with Everton on Sunday

'We've got two home games which we've got to win if we're talking about fourth or third place. Our home form has to improve.

'But when you get a good run of results the confidence returns. Every day you have to be prepared 100 per cent to come to training and fight for your club.

'Sometimes it's not easy when you see and hear what is going on around. That's what you've got to do.

'We're in a position where we just need to concentrate on ourselves. Sometimes it is tricky to be saying where are Tottenham playing and when are Chelsea playing. It's important to just concentrate on ourselves and what we're producing.'

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Dortmund hoping Champions League history repeats itself

Dortmund hoping history repeats itself as they take on Malaga for place in Champions League semi-finals

By
Darren Witcoop

PUBLISHED:

12:55 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

13:02 GMT, 3 April 2013

Borussia Dortmund will still remain dark horses to win the Champions League, but the omens might just be in their favour if they can progress beyond Malaga in the quarter-final showdown.

Dortmund have given up the ghost retaining the Bundesliga title with runaway leaders Bayern Munich destined for the trophy.

But in Europe, it is a different matter all together.

Star man: Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski helped knock out Shakhtar Donetsk in the last-16 tie

Star man: Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski helped knock out Shakhtar Donetsk in the last-16 tie

Masked man: Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer will be forced to wear a mask in Malaga

Masked man: Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer will be forced to wear a mask in Malaga

There is little doubt Dortmund, who have already knocked out Manchester City, are an emerging team under highly-rated manager Juergen Klopp.

Now Malaga, another of the season's surprise packages, stand in their way of a semi-final place.

Dortmund's only ever win in Spain came in the same season when they won Europe's biggest club competition in 1997.

A coincidence or destiny Only time will tell.

No panic: Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp and Brazilian defender Felipe Santana are in relaxed mood ahead of the last-four tie

No panic: Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp and Brazilian defender Felipe Santana are in relaxed mood ahead of the last-four tie

But Klopp claims Dortmund's 2-1 bruising win over Stuttgart on the weekend, which took its toll on his players, was ideal preparation for the first-leg challenge that lies ahead.

'We got manhandled', he said.

'At times I was worried about the health of my players.

'But it was a good preparation for the Champions League game in Malaga, because they fly into challenges with just as much intensity.'

Despite their underdog tag, Malaga, the Qatari-backed side who were in Spain's Second Division just five years ago, will not just roll over.

Top job: Manuel Pellegrini has defied the odds to lead Malaga into the quarter-finals

Top job: Manuel Pellegrini has defied the odds to lead Malaga into the quarter-finals

The money might have dried up at this cash-strapped club but they have still punched above their weight this season.

As well as reaching the last eight of the Champions League, they are also in the hunt for a top-four finish in La Liga although UEFA have banned them from playing European football next season due to outstanding debts.

'Nobody gave us a chance at the start and yet the players have responded so well,” said coach Manuel Pellegrini.

'We eliminated Porto and that represented a huge achievement for the side. We don't want our run to end here.'

Prized possession: Isco is wanted by Europe's leading clubs

Prized possession: Isco is wanted by Europe's leading clubs

Dortmund will be favourites to progress but they have been hit with injuries.

Marcel Schmelzer will need a face-mask but is likely to play, despite breaking his nose against Stuttgart.

Jakub Blaszczykowski has travelled but is struggling to overcome a groin injury.

Midfielders Sven Bender and Kevin Grosskreutz (ankle) are doubts and Mats Hummels is certain to miss out.

Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 13 goals in as many games, will lead the line and will be supported by Mario Goetze and Marco Reus.

In contrast, Malaga have few injury worries.

Portuguese winger Eliseu has been ruled out with a knee ligament injury but defender Diego Lugano is likely to return.

Ignacio Camacho and Duda are also back in contention after serving suspensions and star striker Isco will start.

NextGen Series: Arsenal and Chelsea on course to meet in semi-finals, while Aston Villa play Sporting Lisbon

Arsenal and Chelsea on collision course in NextGen semi-finals as Villa face Sporting

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

16:06 GMT, 21 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:06 GMT, 21 March 2013

Arsenal and Chelsea are on a collision course in the semi-finals of the NextGen Series.

If the young Gunners side can beat CSKA Moscow at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night, they will face their London rivals in the last four.

Aston Villa, who beat Olympiakos 1-0 last night to progress, will play Sporting Lisbon, who beat Tottenham 5-3, in the other semi-final.

London Derby: Chelsea, who beat Juventus 4-1 in the quarter-finals, could face Arsenal in the last four of the NextGen Series

London Derby: Chelsea, who beat Juventus 4-1 in the quarter-finals, could face Arsenal in the last four of the NextGen Series

NextGen Series

QUARTER-FINAL RESULTS

(click for match report)

Chelsea 4 Juventus 1
Aston Villa 1 Olympiakos 0
Tottenham Hotspur 3 Sporting Lisbon 5 (aet)

REMAINING QUARTER-FINAL
Arsenal v CSKA Moscow – Monday March 25, 7pm (Emirates Stadium)

SEMI-FINAL DRAW
Chelsea v Arsenal/CSKA Moscow – Friday March 29, 3pm local time

Aston Villa v Sporting Lisbon – Friday March 29, 8pm local time

Both at Stadio G. Sinigaglia, Como, Italy

Both semis, as well as the final and third place play-off, will be played at Como FC in Italy over the Easter weekend.

Chelsea booked their place in the last four with a 4-1 win over Juventus last Sunday, thanks to goals from Lewis Baker, Alex Kiwomya and Islam Feruz.

Villa got through last night thanks to a first half strike from Graham Burke.

Sporting beat Spurs in a rollercoaster
match played at Leyton Orient – trailing 3-1 with minutes to spare,
they forced extra time thanks to a Laste Dombaxe penalty and Roman
Michael-Percil's last gasp equaliser.

However,
the Portuguese side proved stronger in extra time, with further strikes
from Alexandre Guedes and a 45-yard volley by defender Atud Fokobo
ending hopes of an all-English final four.

Arsenal will hope to join Chelsea and Villa when they host CSKA on Monday evening.

Winner: Graham Burke (centre) scored the winner as Aston Villa beat Olympiakos 1-0

Winner: Graham Burke (centre) scored the winner as Aston Villa beat Olympiakos 1-0

Dramatic game: Sporting's Ruben Semedo celebrates the penalty that restored his team's lead in extra time against Tottenham

Dramatic game: Sporting's Ruben Semedo celebrates the penalty that restored his team's lead in extra time against Tottenham

Aston Villa 1 Olympiakos 0 – NextGen match report

Aston Villa 1 Olympiakos 0: Burke fires dominant Villans in to NextGen semi-finals

By
Janine Self

PUBLISHED:

21:56 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

23:41 GMT, 20 March 2013

The present may be somewhat rocky for Aston Villa but the future is looking bright and rosy.

Graham Burke’s first-half goal was enough to see the U19s through to the semi-finals of the NextGen Series at Lake Como over Easter.

But it took a brilliant late save by Brad Watkins from a ridiculously long-range free kick by Leandro Pinto to make sure in a nervy finale.

On target: Graham Burke of Aston Villa (centre) celebrates after firing his side through

On target: Graham Burke of Aston Villa (centre) celebrates after firing his side through

Denied: Jack Grealish has his shot saved by Eleftherids Choutesiotis of Olympiacos

Denied: Jack Grealish has his shot saved by Eleftherids Choutesiotis of Olympiacos

Last year Villa went out at the quarter-final stage and the defeat against Marseille has clearly rankled ever since.

A season on, the side skippered by Sami Carruthers has come on in leaps and bounds. So much so that Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax number among the Villa scalps.

Villa owner Randy Lerner is a big believer in the homegrown system so would have been delighted to see a healthy crowd in the upper tier of the North Stand.

Surprisingly there were also a fair few Olympiakos supporters too, who generated plenty of noise on a freezing night. Hardly Greek weather, though.

The visiting players did not give them much to cheer in the first half as Villa pretty much took control from the first moment.

Carruthers, who has already had a fleeting introduction to the first-team squad, was a steady influence while striker Callum Robinson made quite a nuisance of himself.

The Olympiakos fans even booed when he was in possession, a major compliment to any player.

It was Robinson who fired the first shot in anger, a routine effort which still had Eleftherids Choutesiotis scrambling to block.

A couple of minutes later and Villa were in the lead through Burke, who took advantage of a bouncing ball in the area to poke it past the keeper.

That signalled a spell of superiority when Villa could easily have increased their lead and should have. It would have saved a lot of worry later on.

Tussle: Jordan Lyden and Dimitrios Siopis of Olympiacos compete for the ball

Tussle: Jordan Lyden and Dimitrios Siopis of Olympiacos compete for the ball

Carruthers fed Josh Barton, whose shot was batted away by a less than sure-gloved Choutesiotis.

Robinson also had a couple of openings but had his first shot cleared for a corner and the second one, after a wonderful turn, rolled wide of a post.

Whether it was the temperature, the stadium or just nerves, Olympiakos took an age to get into the tie but, once they did, they caused a few scares.

It meant that an under-worked Watkins in the Villa goal suddenly had something to do. He did it well, too, gathering Dimitrios Siopis’s low shot and pushing the same player’s next attempt wide.

That set the scene for the start of the second half. This time it was Klodian Gino who twice held his head in his hands after clipping woodwork and seeing the ball drift just wide.

Midfield battle: Konstantinos Rougkalas fights for the ball with Burke

Midfield battle: Konstantinos Rougkalas fights for the ball with Burke

Just as the one-goal lead was beginning to look somewhat fragile, Villa’s Republic of Ireland U17 player of the year, Grealish showed what a prospect he could be.

One jinking run sliced through the Olympiakos defence and should have been capped with a goal. Sadly for Grealish, he hit the post instead.

Minutes later the previously uncertain Choutesiostis proved that when it comes to reflex saves he is a master. Somehow he kept out Grealish’s close-range header, which meant his team-mates stayed in the hunt.

With a minute to go Pinto from 40 yards out forced Watkins into a flying save and Villa were on the plane to Italy.

Leap: Villa's Callum Robinson is challenged by Leandro Climacci Pinto

Leap: Villa's Callum Robinson is challenged by Leandro Climacci Pinto

Andy Murray beats Carlos Berlocq in straight sets to march into Indian Wells quarter-finals

Murray silences Berlocq with straight sets victory to march into Indian Wells last eight

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

02:22 GMT, 14 March 2013

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UPDATED:

06:07 GMT, 14 March 2013

Andy Murray fought out a niggly battle that did little to enhance relations between Britain and Argentina as he struggled to overcome the grunting Carlos Berlocq to reach the last eight of the BNP Paribas Open.

Amid accusations of deliberate stalling across the net and complaints to the umpire about the South American’s varied volume of lingering growl Murray eventually got the better of him in an ill-tempered affair, winning through 7-6 6-4 in an hour and 55 minutes.

He now meets another Argentinian in his fellow US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro, and will be relieved that he does not have to listen the ghastly soundtrack of Berlocq, which he described as ‘the worst I’ve ever heard on the men’s tour.'

On a run: Andy Murray sailed past Carlos Berlocq and into the quarter-finals

On a run: Andy Murray sailed past Carlos Berlocq and into the quarter-finals

Murray was particularly aggrieved that he was being warned about time violations between points while having to put up baritone groan of his muscular opponent.

'I’ve never experienced before when I’ve had to speak to an umpire about it,' he said. 'I’ve never found it to be that off-putting. But if it’s going to be suggested that I’m using gamesmanship by taking too long between points then you can’t be making noises like that on court. He was still making a noise when I was hitting the ball, it’s annoying. There was silence and then it was extremely loud, that’s off-putting.'

You wish other players would speak up against the habit, which is more associated with the women’s tour, but they rarely do.

As Murray admitted afterwards, he will have to play better if he is to progress further. 'It wasn’t the prettiest match and I’ve got to improve on it, but conditions were quite tough,' he said. 'When we went out there it was bright and in the 90s and the ball was bouncing very high, but as it got cooler and the sun went down my timing got better.'

Hot streak: Murray is enjoying his best run of results at Indian Wells

Hot streak: Murray is enjoying his best run of results at Indian Wells

Certainly you would not have expected Berlocq – happiest on clay, ranked 85 and never having been past the second round of a Grand Slam – to mount such a challenge, but he went for broke and hit some glorious winners to discomfort his opponent.

Having had six weeks off after the Australian Open Murray is yet to look entirely into his rhtythm at this tournament, where he has struggled before, although the fact is he is through to the last eight for the loss of just one set.

The only thing that will linger about the match was the bad blood that developed between the players from early in the first set onwards. Murray usually only gets cross with himself and rarely falls out with opponents, but he did not enjoy the way the barrel-chested Berlocq played the game and did not hide his feelings.

Having started in awkward conditions of glaring sun and mixed shadows across the court, he complained to his box – that contained his regular celebrity supporter Kevin Spacey – that 'I can’t see the ball!' as breaks were exchanged.

Outgunned: Argentine Berlocq was swatted aside by the world No 3

Outgunned: Argentine Berlocq was swatted aside by the world No 3

In the tenth game the two players swapped accusations that they were deliberately stalling, umpire Steve Ulrich taking Murray’s side. Playing very conservatively he was broken, but broke back in the next game and gave a huge ‘C’mon!’ and fist pump in Berlocq’s face at the net.

The tiebreak was a tense affair, settled at 6-4 when a scrambling Murray sent up a high lob and the Argentinian blasted an overhead long.

By now the 25 year-old Scot was getting very frustrated with Berlocq’s grunt/growl, as offensive as anything you hear in the women’s game. He complained early in the second set to Ulrich, saying it was ‘outrageous.’

Murray, whose forehand never fired and whose serve was more tentative than usual, could not hold on to an early break as Berlocq continued to hit out with massive, heavily spun groundstrokes.

Finally he got ahead with a backhand lob to break for 4-3, and from there just about managed to serve it out, although not before he had to save another break point at 5-3.

No, it was not pretty, but it got the job done.

Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup replay on Easter Monday, April 1

April duel day: Chelsea and United will replay FA Cup tie on Easter Monday (and both teams will play twice in 48 HOURS)

By
Ian Ladyman

PUBLISHED:

14:58 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:33 GMT, 13 March 2013

Manchester United and Chelsea will replay their FA Cup tie at 12.30pm on Easter Monday, April 1 at Stamford Bridge.

It means Chelsea's Barclays Premier League game against Southampton, scheduled for Easter Sunday, has been moved forward a day to Saturday March 30, kick-off 3pm.

This means Chelsea and United will play two games within the space of 48 hours as the Premier League leaders are playing at Sunderland at 12.45pm on the Saturday.

To be announced: Eden Hazard (left) celebrates on his way to earning Chelsea the replay causing the chaos

To be announced: Eden Hazard (left) celebrates on his way to earning Chelsea the replay causing the chaos

RE-ARRANGED DATES

Southampton v Chelsea, Saturday March 30, 3pm

West Ham v Manchester United, Wednesday April 17, 7.45pm

The replay date will play havoc with TV schedules because Chelsea's game at Southampton was meant to be live.

A statement from the FA said: 'Following consultation with all relevant stakeholders, The FA can confirm that The FA Cup with Budweiser Sixth Round Proper Replay between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge will take place on Easter Monday 1 April, live on ITV. Kick-off is at 12.30pm.'

The winners will face Manchester City in the semi-finals.

Easter weekend was always the most likely time for the replay to be take place.

The two-week international break
starting next Monday meant there were not many opportunities to fit the game
in before the Wembley semi-final weekend on April 13 and 14.

UEFA rules that forbid domestic games
taking place on the same night as Champions League or Europa League
games are only served to complicate the matter.

The decision means Chelsea's Barclays
Premier League fixture with Southampton, which had been due to take
place on Easter Sunday, will now take place a day earlier and with a 3pm
kick-off.

Close-run: United's Wayne Rooney (left) and Chelsea midfielder Ramires do battle the first time around

Close-run: United's Wayne Rooney (left) and Chelsea midfielder Ramires do battle the first time around

Chelsea's fixture pile-up

March 14 (h) v Steaua Bucharest (Europa League)
March 17 (h) v West Ham (Premier League)
March 18-27 international break
March 30 (a) v Southampton (Premier League)
April 1 (h) v Manchester United (FA Cup quarter-final replay)
April 4 (TBC) Europa League quarter-final first leg.
April 6/7 (h) v Sunderland (Premier League)
April 11 (TBC) Europa League quarter-final second leg.
April 13 & 14 FA Cup semi-final weekend.

Finding a suitable date for the fixture proved challenging due to Chelsea's involvement in the Europa League and the confirmed FA Cup semi-final dates of April 13 and 14.

It had been expected the FA would wait to see if Chelsea advance in the Europa League tomorrow before determining a date.

They must overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit to the Romanians to reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

The rescheduling means Chelsea and Manchester United, who visit Sunderland on March 30, play their Premier League matches on the same day, but has irked Southampton.

A statement on Southampton's official website read: 'The game had already been moved once for the purposes of live Sky TV coverage – to Sunday, March 31 – however, the Premier League have deemed it acceptable to move the fixture once more.

'The club is extremely disappointed that this decision has been taken; not least because of the significant inconvenience a second change to the fixture will cause our supporters.'

Gary Lineker and Arsenal fans fury at Arsene Wenger dropping players

It's a disgrace! Fans join Lineker in condemning Wenger's decision to rest key players for crunch Munich clash

By
Lee Bryan

PUBLISHED:

11:14 GMT, 13 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 13 March 2013

Gary Lineker has slammed Arsene Wenger’s decision to rest several key players for tonight’s Champions League last-16 second leg tie at Bayern Munich.

With the Gunners 3-1 down after the first leg at the Emirates and needing at least three goals in the Allianz Arena to progress to the quarter-finals the Arsenal boss has left first-team regulars Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Wojciech Szczesny and Per Mertesacker in England.

With Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Lukas Podolski already missing through injury Wenger has effectively thrown in the towel, despite the club being out of the FA Cup and 24 points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.

Scroll down for video of Arsene Wenger's press conference

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger has left several players in London

Under pressure: Arsene Wenger has left several players in London

Arsenal players warm-up during a training session

Arsene Wenger talks ahead of Champions League clash with Bayern…

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The Match of the Day presenter and former England striker tweeted: ‘They have no other cup competitions to worry about, why on earth would he feel the need to rest players’

One argument is that Arsenal need to rest players as they push for fourth place and Champions League qualification for next season, but Lineker dismissed that.

He tweeted: ‘Who he plays tonight will have no baring on where they finish in the league. Rotation is a myth.’

Left behind: Santi Cazorla (above) and Theo Walcott are missing in Munich

Left behind: Santi Cazorla (above) and Theo Walcott are missing in Munich

Theo Walcott

Another tweet read: ‘If they are injured, that’s a different matter. Top players rarely need a rest.’

Many Arsenal fans are furious with Wenger’s decision after they had already paid for the trip to Munich and tickets to the game.

One disrgruntled Gunner, Ken Barkway, tweeted: ‘Its a disgrace really. It is the final proof that the club is little more than a cash cow. Glory clearly no place in the agenda.’

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Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Alex Kiwomya"s late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-final

Derby 1 Chelsea 2: Kiwomya's late strike sends holders into FA Youth Cup semi-finals

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

02:06 GMT, 9 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:08 GMT, 9 March 2013

Chelsea's defence of the FA Youth Cup remains alive after they negotiated a tricky quarter-final assignment at Derby County thanks to Alex Kiwomya's late strike.

The Blues were matched all the way by a talented Derby side but eventually prevailed when Kiwomya, nephew of former Arsenal player Chris, found the bottom corner with a sweet drive on 82 minutes.

Extra time looked likely as Derby, who claimed a Premier League scalp in Manchester City in the last round, sniffed another when the excellent Mason Bennett equalised Lewis Baker's 16th minute penalty.

Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal

Traget man: Chelsea's Jeremie Boga has an effort on goal

But when Kiwomya received a through ball from substitute Charlie Colkett, he spun and fired beyond Rams goalkeeper Ross Etheridge to kill their hopes.

The win means Chelsea will face either Hull City or Liverpool in the last four as they seek to emulate last year's success.

Chelsea took the lead in controversial circumstances just after the quarter-hour – Reece Mitchell burst through the heart of the Derby defence and was clattered by Etheridge inside the box.

The keeper was fortunate not to be sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, referee Chris Sarginson showing mercy with just a yellow card.

Lewis Baker wasn't so sympathetic, however, finding the bottom corner with a textbook penalty while Mitchell hobbled off.

The Premier League side should have added to their lead as they controlled the first half, and Alex Kiwomya was guilty of missing two golden opportunities within a minute of each other.

Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike

Goal-den boy: Alex Kiwomya celebrates his strike

First, neat interplay between Baker and Jeremie Boga on the edge of the box teed Kiwomya up 12 yards out, but he somehow missed the target.

On Chelsea's next break, the front man was presented with an even easier chance by Baker, but his powerful shot directly in front of goal was blocked by Etheridge.

And there was nearly a sting in the tale when Bennett rose above Alex Davey to head an Andrew Dales cross against the post in the second minute of stoppage time.

It was their best effort of a first half in which they struggled to keep the ball for any length of time.

Jamie Hanson, goalscoring hero in the victories over Ipswich Town and Manchester City in the last two rounds, curled a vicious free-kick over the bar, but other sights of goal had been few and far between.

The hosts were energised by the half-time break and 16-year-old Bennett, the club's youngest first team debutant and goalscorer, and an England Under 17 starlet, began to show his class.

He warmed the hands of Mitchell Beeney with a hit from 30 yards and then scored the equaliser on 55 minutes – although whether he meant it only he knows.

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Tearing down the left side after robbing Fankaty Dabo of the ball, Bennett cut inside and surely intended to pick out a teammate in the centre with a low ball. It took a deflection off a Chelsea foot, however, and left Beeney helpless.

With his next touch of the ball, Bennett crossed for Andrew Dales inside the box. The midfielder unleashed a powerful effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.

But when Kiwomya struck it was a decisive blow, Derby unable to respond despite the encouragement of a 4,000-strong crowd.

In fact, Chelsea could have added to their lead in stoppage time when Jeremie Boga's lopping shot struck the top of the crossbar.

With the last kick of the game, Hanson was nearly Derby's hero again but his free-kick on the left clipped the top of the bar.

Blues brothers: Chelsea are through to semi-finals

Darren Wassall, Derby youth team coach, said: 'On the balance of the second half chances and play, then certainly we could have taken it to extra time.

'We said to the lads at half time you've seen how the crowd have got up in the last five minutes of the half and that's without scoring. So if you do score, this 4,000 crowd will be right behind you.

'When we equalised and when Mason went through, we had a real lively 20 minutes after the break. We had hit the bar and had a couple of chances we easily could have scored from. That's when we were in the ascendancy and that's when we should have taken advantage of that situation.

'Chelsea have got unlimited resources and they've got a lot of qualities – they played some great stuff, but so did we. We gave them a real fight. We competed against them for 95 minutes and I'm very proud of all the players.'

Wassall singled out Bennett for special praise: 'He was almost unplayable tonight for 20 minutes early in that second half. He scored the goal and caused havoc. It's all about progression into the first team and we're delighted with his performance tonight.'