Everton v Oldham – FA Cup preview and team news

Everton will be confident of seeing off Oldham at the second time of asking at Goodison Park and secure a second consecutive place in the FA Cup quarter finals. Indeed, with a clash against lowly Wigan Athletic to come, the Toffees will know that victory over League 1 opposition on Tuesday night would put them within touching distance of yet another trip to Wembley, their fourth since the stadium’s conception. David Moyes men have seen their charge for a Champions League place falter in recent weeks after morale-sapping defeats to…

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Tiredness a factor at Chelsea, says Cahill

Gary Cahill is concerned that Chelsea’s hectic schedule is harming their performances in the Premier League, ESPN has reported. No team in England has played more matches than Chelsea this season, with the Blues taking part in the Community Shield, the European Super Cup, the Champions League, the Europa League and the Club World Cup, as well as reaching the two-legged semi-final stage of the Capital One Cup – and going to an FA Cup replay with League One side Brentford. And Chelsea are facing the prospect of playing four…

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Man City’s Hart not ready to give up Premier League title

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is not ready to surrender the Premier League title to Manchester United, the Guardian has reported, with the England international calling for his club colleagues to give the rest of the season a “damn good go.” Hart saved a penalty as City beat Chelsea 2-0 on Sunday, keeping the gap between themselves in second and league leaders Manchester United at 12 points with 11 games to play. The second Manchester derby of the season, to be played at United’s Old Trafford, is to come in…

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Liverpool starlet Sterling keeping feet on the ground

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling is not complaining about being out of the Reds’ starting XI lately, the Daily Mirror has reported – instead the England international accepts that it is part of the learning curve at Anfield. Sterling forced his way into Brendan Rodgers’ first team earlier in the season and was for a while a fixture in the side, with the Mirror pointing out that the only two players to have appeared more often for Liverpool this season are Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard. But recent weeks have seen…

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Swansea would survive Laudrup loss, says Dyer

Nathan Dyer believes Swansea City would survive the departure of Michael Laudrup, the manager who delivered the League Cup to the Welsh club, the Daily Mirror has reported. Dyer pointed out that Swansea have changed managers on a somewhat routine basis, with Laudrup himself not yet in the post for a full year after replacing Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers, the manager who took Swansea into the Premier League, left last summer after two years in Wales to take the Liverpool job. Swansea have also been led by Paulo Sousa and Roberto…

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Arsenal finances show Gunners in good health but fans angry over investment

Arsenal have published their financial results and the club appears to be in good health – news that could cause a backlash from fans unhappy manager Arsene Wenger has not invested more heavily in the playing squad, the Daily Mail has reported. Peter Hill-Wood, the Arsenal chairman, confirmed the club had reserves of more than £120m, having announced a pre-tax profit of £17.8m for the six months to November. Hill-Wood said he understood the concern of fans, with the club going trophy-less since 2005 and facing a struggle to qualify…

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Chelsea line up Southampton’s Shaw as Cole replacement

Chelsea have identified Southampton left-back Luke Shaw as the player to replace Ashley Cole in the long-run, having already had a £10m offer rejected for the teenager, the Daily Mail has reported. Southampton turned down the offer in the January transfer window but Chelsea have not given up on signing the 17-year-old yet. Shaw, an England U-21 international, has also caught the eye of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, but Chelsea are believed to be the favourites to sign the player if he does leave the south coast this summer. Shaw…

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Liverpool’s Skrtel unhappy with Rodgers’ explanation over why he was dropped

Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel has questioned the honesty of manager Brendan Rodgers after revealing he is not sure Rodgers has given him the real reason for why he has been out of the starting XI of late, the Daily Telegraph has reported. Skrtel was dropped after a poor performance in the FA Cup at Oldham Athletic, one of a series of sub-par displays, the newspaper suggests. Jamie Carragher came into the side in Skrtel’s place and Rodgers has spoken of the need to bring more leadership into the side. However,…

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Benitez rows with Chelsea squad after criticising players’ effort

Rafael Benitez laid into his Chelsea players the day after the defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League, only for the players – including captain John Terry – to stand their corner, with one suggesting the Spaniard is at fault for their poor results, the Daily Mail has reported. Benitez is said by the newspaper to have “lectured” the players on tactics and criticised them over a lack of effort. The former Liverpool boss is also alleged to have accused the players of not trying since Roberto Di Matteo…

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Villas-Boas hails “inspirational” Bale as Tottenham beat West Ham

Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas has hailed the performance of Gareth Bale after the Wales midfielder scored twice against West Ham to send his team third in the Premier League, BBC Sport has reported. Bale scored the first and last goals of the game as Tottenham beat the Hammers 3-2 at Upton Park, the final effort a spectacular, long-rage strike in the last minute of the game. Bale’s first was a drive from distance in the 13th minute, and the 23-year-old now has eight goals in his last six…

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Pulis backs Stoke style

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has talked of the evolution of his side over recent seasons, and insists his team have maintained their identity through recent changes. Pulis has been in charge at the Britannia Stadium for six years, winning promotion to the Premier League, and achieving an FA Cup final spot in 2011. And despite coming under criticism for their direct style of play at times, Pulis believes his side have matured into a better footballing side, while maintaining a direct style: “I think we’ve grown in terms of…

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Tottenham Focus – Third place there for the taking

With Chelsea’s sterile loss in Manchester yesterday, Tottenham know that victory tonight at Upton Park will see the Lilywhites go third. No other motivation should be needed but Spurs should be eager to keep their impressive run going and head the London clubs chasing second. Spurs are unbeaten in the league in 10, and have only lost once in 14 [in the FA Cup]. By contrast, West Ham have been struggling to put any consistent run together, taking only 12 points since the beginning of December. Their home form may…

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West Ham v Tottenham – Match preview and team news

Tottenham make the short trip to Upton Park looking to get the three points that would move them above Chelsea into third in the Premier League. The Hammers meanwhile aim to continue a run of four games unbeaten at home. Spurs come into the match on the back of just two defeats in their last 20 outings, the most recent of which being their 1-1 draw away to Lyon in the Europa League on Thursday. A mostly full-strength side took part in that clash, although Michael Dawson and Hugo Lloris…

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Fellaini confirms interest in Chelsea move

Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini has confirmed his desire to play Champions League football next season, putting Chelsea on high alert, says ESPN.co.uk. The Belgian midfielder has been linked with the Blues for some time, having impressed for David Moyes’ men since signing from Standard Liege in 2008. But while Fellaini admits he would be tempted by the lure of playing in Europe’s elite competition, he insists that he would not force a move away from Goodison Park. Fellaini said: “Am I interested in Chelsea? It’s normal, right? I’ve never played…

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Arsenal and Man Utd target Cabaye move

Arsenal and Manchester United are set to go head-to-head in an attempt to sign Newcastle United playmaker Yohan Cabaye, according to the Daily Express. The French midfielder has impressed for Alan Pardew’s since signing from Lille for £4.8million in 2011, and helped the Magpies qualify for the Europa League last season. And Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson appear to be keen to add to their midfield options – with Cabaye at the forefront of their plans. Reportedly, the Arsenal board will hand Wenger a £70million war chest in the…

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Tottenham not reliant on Bale says Taylor

West Ham midfielder Matt Taylor doesn’t believe that Tottenham Hotspur are over-reliant on Gareth Bale, according to the club’s official website. Spurs’ Welsh winger has shone for the club this season, scoring six of Andre Villas-Boas’ side’s last seven goals. But Taylor says that the Hammers’ opponents on Monday are full of exceptional talents, with Bale being just one of them. Taylor said: “Everybody’s talking about Gareth Bale because he’s playing well and scoring goals. He’s one of a number of players that we’re going to try to have shackle…

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Aston Villa Focus – Spirited performance but time is running out

The first of Aston Villa’s ’12 cup finals’ ended in defeat at the weekend, as the 2-1 loss away to out of form Arsenal saw the club drop into 18th position in the Premier League, level on points with Wigan who moved up to 17th after their 3-0 victory over Reading. It was a good performance from Villa, but with only 11 games remaining until the season finishes, and champions Manchester City next on the fixture list, Villa are running out of time to keep their elite status in English…

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Toure ready to commit to Man City

Manchester City’s midfield linchpin, Yaya Toure is ready to commit his long-term future to the club, according to the Daily Express. The 29-year-old returned from a disappointing tournament for the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations to find the current Premier League champions trailing Manchester United by a mammoth 15 points. Ahead of this afternoon’s encounter with Chelsea, the African midfielder admitted that he is settled with life in Manchester, and wants to stay at Eastlands for the duration of his career. He said: “Of course, I’d love…

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Fernandes not giving up on QPR

Under pressure Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes has once again come out in support of the club and insists he is going nowhere. He also said in a story reported by Sky Sports that he expects Harry Redknapp to continue on at Loftus Road whatever happens to the club in the short-term. Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to runaway Premier League leaders Manchester United leaves the west Londoners seven points adrift of 17th placed Wigan Athletic. Rangers have only won four games all season in all competitions, and their only…

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Van Persie injury taints United victory

Manchester United’s comfortable 2-0 away victory at QPR on Saturday afternoon came at a cost, as BBC Sport reports. Flying Dutchman Robin van Persie picked up a bizarre injury which forced him off at Loftus Road five minutes before half-time. The 29-year-old tumbled down a television camera bunker as he assisted Rafael to score his brilliant opener. Although he struggled on for a while, he was replaced shortly before the interval by Danny Welbeck. It is thought the decision was taken on a precautionary scale, but Sir Alex Ferguson will…

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West Brom’s Odemwingie gets hostile reception

West Brom fans gave Peter Odemwingie a hostile reception on his return to the Albion first team on Saturday. The Daily Mail leads with this story, as the Nigerian returned to the fold as a late substitute in the side’s 2-1 home victory over Sunderland. Manager Steve Clarke brought him on in the 87th minute for goalscoring hero Romelu Lukaku, who had netted both of the Baggies strikes against the Black Cats. The cheers for Lukaku turned into boos for Odemwingie following his rants about the club on Twitter before…

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Benitez believes he has improved Chelsea

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez is confident that he will leave a legacy at Stamford Bridge, should he depart the club in the summer, according to The Guardian. The Spanish boss doesn’t expect to be offered a new deal to stay in west London having experienced a mixed period in charge of the Champions League winners. However he is adamant that he will leave the Blues in a better state than when he arrived at the club in November 2012. Benitez said: “Analyse the squad at the beginning when we came…

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Liverpool, Everton and Spurs chase Feyenoord duo

Feyenoord central defenders Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi are summer targets for Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham, says the Daily Mirror. The Dutch duo have received glowing reports from Premier League scouts this season, sparking mass interest from a host of English top division clubs, who are willing to pay the combined fee of £25million that the pair would cost. De Vrijj currently captains the Eredivisie side but, in the wake of interest from bigger sides, has told his employers that he is not willing to sign a new…

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Tottenham are better than Arsenal, says Bale

Gareth Bale believes Tottenham Hotspur are now the biggest club in north London, eclipsing local rivals Arsenal, according to the Mail on Sunday. The Spurs winger makes the claim ahead of next week’s clash with the Gunners – which is made even more vital by the ongoing race to secure fourth place, and Champions League qualification, in the Premier League. And the Welshman says that Andre Villas-Boas’ men have now overtaken Arsene Wenger’s side, particularly in terms of ability on the pitch. Bale said: “‘Over the past few seasons we…

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Torres will find form again, says Cech

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has backed misfiring striker Fernando Torres to come good again, says ESPN.co.uk. The 28-year-old Spanish frontman is yet to find the dazzling form he demonstrated during his time at Premier League rivals Liverpool, having found the net just 14 times in 72 league matches for the Blues. Having failed to score against Sparta Prague in midweek, Torres is now without a goal in five games, but Cech believes that it’s only a matter of time before his team mate rediscovers his goalscoring exploits. Cech said: “During…

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