Chelsea held to goalless draw by Norwich in FA Cup

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Chelsea‘s peripheral players failed to impress in a goalless draw at Carrow Road as Norwich earned an FA Cup third-round replay.

Chelsea struggled against the Canaries, for whom Alex Pritchard, Josh Murphy and James Maddison excelled going forwards.

Given Antonio Conte‘s regular fixture complaints, he would not have wanted a replay, but Championship Norwich frustrated the Blues, who came closest when Willian’s effort was turned round a post by Angus Gunn.

And Chelsea, Premier League champions and FA Cup finalists last season, will now host Daniel Farke’s men at Stamford Bridge in 10 days’ time.

Conte, as promised, rotated his side, with Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg with Arsenal in mind.

Nine changes were made following the midweek Premier League draw at Arsenal as Conte reverted to his cup side.

David Luiz played his second game since October after a rumoured fallout with Conte and a subsequent knee injury.

The Brazil defender is not the only person to get on the wrong side of Conte this season, with the Italian’s feud with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho escalating on Friday.

Conte says he is “ready to fight…with everyone”. And he was as animated as ever in his technical area, despite the “clown” comment from Mourinho which the United boss had insisted was self-deprecating, rather than aimed at the Italian.

Norwich troubled their visitors. Murphy’s runs made Antonio Rudiger uncomfortable and Pritchard pounced on two Luiz lapses.

Pritchard stole the ball when Luiz received a Willy Cabellero pass, but his heavy touch saw the ball go out for a goal kick.

Next Luiz’s mis-kick was seized upon by Murphy and Pritchard created a chance, but Luiz recovered to block.
This was not to be as straightforward as Luiz’s last appearance, a 4-0 win over Qarabag in Baku on November 22.

Michy Batshuayi

Chelsea were seeking an outlet, but Michy Batshuayi’s control continually let him down, up against imposing pair Christoph Zimmermann and Grant Hanley.

Willian and Pedro, under pressure to perform following the arrival of Ross Barkley, offered little support, while Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater could not get a foothold in midfield.

Murphy again ran at and beat Rudiger, but appeared caught by indecision as his final ball was neither a shot nor a cross. The ball went out for a throw in.

Luiz was booked for catching Maddison late and Batshuayi made his frustration clear by squabbling with Hanley at half-time.

Batshuayi’s tame effort early in the second half was Chelsea’s first on target. There were plenty off target.

Chelsea’s best chance was fashioned by Willian, but Gunn turned his shot around a post. The goalkeeper held another effort from the Brazilian soon afterwards.

Norwich continued to cause problems and Conte had seen enough.

With 16 minutes remaining Alvaro Morata was on, with Batshuayi withdrawn.

Charly Musonda was also sent on, for Kenedy, but Davide Zappacosta’s stoppage-time volley wide from distance was the closest Chelsea came to breaking the deadlock.

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Philippe Coutinho joins likes of Ronaldinho in long list of Barcelona's brilliant Brazilians

Niall McCague 6/01/2018

Barcelona appear to have finally succeeded in their long pursuit of Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

Reports in both Spain and the UK suggest a British record fee of £142 million - with £105 m up front - has been agreed for the Brazil international.

That would be a considerable increase on the £118 m which the Catalan club offered and had rejected in August when they made their third unsuccessful bid of the summer.

The 25-year-old, who has not played since the transfer window opened because of a thigh problem, did not travel with the squad for their warm weather training camp in Dubai. It is now claimed he is travelling to Spain on Saturday night ahead of his presentation on Sunday.
He'll join a host of Brazilian legends to have sported the Blaugrana jersey over the years. Here's a look at ten of the best.

RONALDINHO (2003-2008)

Ronaldinho joined Barcelona in 2003 after the club finished sixth in La Liga – and just nine points from the bottom half of the table. But, the Brazilian ace transformed the side with his sparkling skills, guiding Barcelona to two La Liga titles and one Champions League triumph. He was also crowned Ballon d’Or winner in 2005. He moved to Milan in 2008 after scoring 70 games in 145 games for the Catalan giants. Ronaldinho Ronaldinho

RONALDO (1996-1997)

At his peak he was close to unstoppable. The ace marksman moved to Barcelona in 1996 from PSV – for a then world-record transfer fee of £19.5 million. During his sole season in Catalonia, he netted 47 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions to win both the La Liga top scorer and European Golden Shoe awards. At the end of 1996, he became the youngest player to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Ronaldo Ronaldo

ROMARIO (1993-1995)

Romario was a mainstay in Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’, which featured legends such as Pep Guardiola, Michael Laudrup and Ronald Koeman. During their La Liga triumph in 1993-1994, Romario finished as top scorer with 30 goals in 33 games. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1994. Romario Romario

NEYMAR (2013-2017)

Another player that needs no introduction. The Brazilian was a vital cog in the lethal MSN front three alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as the trio dominated Spanish football. He recently signed a long-term contract at PSG - after the French giants met his mega release clause of €222 million. Neymar Neymar

DANI ALVES (2008-2016)

The full-back was a talismanic presence during his eight seasons at Barcelona, winning six La Liga titles and two Champions League crowns. Such was his dominance as a defender, he was included in the FIFPRO World XI on six occasions. At the time of his departure to PSG, he was second on Barca’s all-time appearance list behind Lionel Messi with 414 outings. Dani Alves Dani Alves

RIVALDO (1997-2002)

Finished his first two seasons at the club as second-highest goal scorer as Barcelona clinched back-to-back La Liga titles. Rivaldo scored a sensational 136 goals in 253 appearances during his five seasons at the Blaugrana. He was rewarded for his clinical finishing with the Ballon d’Or in 1999. Rivaldo Rivaldo

SYLVINHO (2004-2009)

Signed from Celta Vigo in 2004 and went on to win three La Liga titles, as well as two Champions Leagues in 2006 and 2009. He played the full match in Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Manchester United in the 2009 Champions League final, ahead of the suspended Eric Abidal. Sylvinho Sylvinho

EDMILSON (2004-2008)

Played a key role during the 2005-2006 season under Frank Rijkaard, winning La Liga and Champions League trophies. After a poor final season at the club, Edmilson’s contract was not renewed and he signed for Villarreal. Edmilson Edmilson

MAXWELL (2009-2012)

The Brazilian moved from Inter on a five-year deal in 2009 – and played an integral role in the club’s league triumph when Abidal was injured. He struggled to establish himself as a first-team player and left for PSG after three seasons, winning nine pieces of silverware. Maxwell Maxwell

THIAGO MOTTA (2001-2007)

Signed for Barcelona as a 17-year-old and played six seasons at the club. Despite winning two La Liga titles and a Champions League, Motta was curtailed by injuries during a large part of his time at the club. He left for PSG in 2007  - where he continues to line out as a solid midfielder - at the tender age of 34. Thiago Motta Thiago Motta

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Jesse Lingard stunner propels Man United to FA Cup win over Derby

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Jesse Lingard’s latest scintillating strike and substitute Romelu Lukaku’s late effort secured Manchester United a 2-0 victory over Derby in the third round of the FA Cup.

United had lost just one of their previous 35 FA Cup games against lower-league sides but were heading for a replay until one-time Rams loanee Lingard, with his eighth goal in 10 games, smashed home a swerving volley, with Lukaku then adding a second having broken from the halfway line.

Derby were encouraged by a couple of runs from former United youngster Tom Lawrence, while Marcus Olsson forced Sergio Romero to tip his header over the crossbar, with Alex Pearce heading the resulting corner into the Stretford End.

That was a good opening but nothing like the one Rashford spurned 10 minutes before the break.

For once Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s delivery was perfect and an unmarked Rashford glanced a header onto a post from six yards out.

It was the type of miss which epitomised why Mourinho is reluctant to consider him as a central-striking alternative to Lukaku, whose arrival for the disappointing Mkhitaryan would soon come.

Before the interval there was still time for Rams stopper Scott Carson to make two saves, one a routine stop from another Rashford header and the other a more aesthetically pleasing palm over the top from a Pogba free-kick destined for the top corner.

Half-time substitute Lukaku’s first significant act was to close down Tom Huddlestone as the midfielder struck an effort that flew wide via an unsuspecting Luke Shaw.

Rashford’s confidence, like Mkhitaryan’s, looked shot and a free-kick that failed to get beyond a one-man wall was proof of that.

After Pogba had placed an attempt just wide, Rashford was once again denied by the woodwork.

Martial’s introduction had seen Rashford shift to the right and the England international collected a pass from Lingard and unleashed a well-struck attempt that beat Carson but came back off the base of a post.

Yet Lingard would finally break the visitors’ resistance, collecting a lay-off from Lukaku, teeing himself up and dispatching a swerving attempt into the corner of the net.

His 11th of the season was every bit as special as the efforts against Watford, Burnley and Everton.

Lukaku got in the act in the 90th minute, controlling Pogba’s long clearance on his chest in midfield before playing a one-two with Martial and beating Carson with a powerful strike to wrap it up.

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