Sunday, 25 December 2016

Chelsea Top Of The Tree As Reds Secure Derby Delight

Ahead of a packed festive period, gameweek 17 of Premier League action saw a low scoring weekend compared to the highs of the previous week.

The weekend opened with a London derby as Crystal Palace hosted leaders Chelsea to Selhurst Park. The sides played out a tight game overall with the Blues securing a narrow 1-0 win with Diego Costa striking the winning goal on 44 minutes.The loss would prove to be a costly one for Eagles manager Alan Pardew who was sacked on Thursday.

Middlesbrough ensured they would go into the festive period clear of the bottom three with a 3-0 win over struggling Swansea City.
The Swans remain in the bottom three after slipping two goals inside the half hour mark as Alvaro Negredo opened the scoring on 18 minutes followed by a 28th minute penalty. Marten De Roon finished off the Swans hopes just before the hour mark.

Leicester City remain just outside the drop zone after salvaging a 2-2 draw away to Stoke City. The Foxes had to do it the hard way after Jamie Vardy's 28th minute dismissal was followed by a penalty from Bojan Krkic and strike from Joe Allen just before half-time.

The ten men fought back superbly with a Leonardo Ulloa effort on 75 minutes before Daniel Amartey secured a point with two minutes to go.

Sunderland closed the gap to safety with a narrow 1-0 win over Watford at the Stadium of Light.

The winning goal came just four minutes after halftime as Patrick Van Aanholt struck.

Hull City go into the festive period propping up the table after a 1-0 defeat to West Ham United.

The winning goal came on 76 minutes as Mark Noble struck from the penalty spot.

Manchester United closed up on the top four with a 2-0 win away to West Bromwich Albion.

The visitors went ahead early on as Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring on five minutes and he confirmed the three points in the second half with a 55th minute effort.

Southampton moved up to seventh spot with a 3-1 win in the south coast derby against Bournemouth on Sunday.

The Cherries went ahead inside six minutes through Nathan Ake before being pegged back by a leveller from Ryan Bertrand just eight minutes later. A brace from Jay Rodriguez sealed the points for the Saints as he struck on 48 and 85 minutes.

A battle in the top four saw Manchester City edge out Arsenal 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

A rapid opener from Theo Walcott saw the Gunners lead inside six minutes before Leroy Sane levelled just after half-time. The win was sealed on 72 minutes via a strike from Raheem Sterling. 

Tottenham Hotspur closed the gap to the top four with a 2-1 win over Burnley at White Hart Lane.

The Clarets opened the scoring through Ashley Barnes on 21 minutes before being swiftly pegged back by Dele Alli's leveller on 27 minutes. The points were sealed on 70 minutes by Danny Rose's effort.

The final game of the weekend was Mersey Monday as Everton hosted neighbours Liverpool in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

The sides played out a classic with strong attack meeting strong defence but the Reds prevailed late on as Sadio Mane secured a 1-0 win in the fourth minute of added time.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Chelsea Remain Clear After Reds Deny Hammers/Defeat Boro

A double post this week features game-weeks 15 and 16 with the weekend programme swiftly followed by the traditional mid-December midweek fixtures.

The weekend opened with the 'Z Cars' derby as Watford hosted Everton at Vicarage Road. The sides both played their part in a five goal thriller which was Romelu Lukaku put the Blues ahead on 18 minutes.

Stefano Okaka levelled for the hosts ahead of the interval before Sebastian Prodl completed the comeback on 59 minutes. Okaka struck for a second time five minutes later to make it 3-1 with Lukaku setting up a tense finish with his second goal on 87 minutes.

Arsenal extended their unbeaten run with a comfortable 3-1 win over struggling Stoke City. The Potters took a surprise lead on 29 minutes with a penalty from Charlie Adam before Theo Walcott levelled for the Gunners just before the interval. Mesut Ozil completed a quick turnaround for 2-1 less than four minutes into the second half and a fine home win was completed by Alex Iwobi in the 75th minute.

Burnley and Bournemouth battled in a five goal thriller which saw the Clarets come out on top with a 3-2 win. The hosts raced into a 2-0 lead inside 16 minutes with a stunning opener from Jeff Hendrick followed by an effort from Stephen Ward. 

The Cherries hit back just before the interval through Benik Afobe but went 3-1 down midway through the second half to George Boyd's strike. There would be a tense finish though with Charlie Daniels scoring late on for the visitors.

Hull City and Crystal Palace shared the points in a 3-3 draw. Robert Snodgrass put the hosts ahead with a contentious penalty on 28 minutes with Christian Benteke equalising from the spot on 52 minutes.

Wilfried Zaha gave the Eagles a 2-1 lead on 70 minutes only to have the advantage cancelled out by Adama Diomande's equaliser and Jake Livermore's effort six minutes later which made it 3-2 to City. Palace were not to be denied a point though as Fraizer Campbell struck an 89th minute leveller.

A battle at the bottom saw Swansea City overpower fellow strugglers Sunderland as they triumphed 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium.

A goalless first half saw the visitors then hit by a quick double after the interval with Gylfi Sigurdsson converting a penalty ahead of an effort from Fernando Llorente. Llorente finished off a fine home performance with his second goal ten minutes from the end.

Leicester City stunned title challenging Manchester City with a 4-2 win at the King Power Stadium. A rapid start from the Foxes saw Jamie Vardy and Andy King striking for a 2-0 advantage inside just five minutes. Vardy scored again for a 3-0 lead with just 20 minutes on the clock before completing his hat-trick with 11 minutes to go. City avoided a rout with two late goals as Aleksandar Kolarov got them off the mark before an effort from Nolito.

Chelsea extended their stay at the top with a narrow 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.

The crucial strike came with 14 minutes left of the 90 as Diego Costa continued his fine scoring form.

Tottenham Hotspur missed the chance to close up on the top four as they went down to a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United.

United secured the three points with a first league goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the 29th minute.

Middlesbrough remain on the fringes of the drop zone after suffering a narrow 1-0 defeat to Southampton.

The Saints secured the three points on 53 minutes with a strike from Sofiane Boufal.

Liverpool denied West Ham United the chance to move clear of the bottom three as the Reds salvaged a point in a 2-2 draw. The Reds made a rapid start as Adam Lallana struck the opening goal inside five minutes.

A superb free-kick from Dmitri Payet drew the Hammers level on 29 minutes and Michail Antonio put them ahead on 39 minute after a great move. However, Liverpool would avoid a third loss of the season as Divock Origi continued his fine scoring streak with a leveller on 48 minutes.

The midweek action saw two games on Tuesday night starting with Leicester City visiting Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

After their superb weekend win, the Foxes were brought down to earth in a 1-0 loss that saw Marc Pugh strike the winner for the Cherries on 34 minutes.

Everton ended Arsenal's unbeaten run with a 2-1 win which moved the Toffees up to eighth spot. 

Alexis Sanchez had put the Gunners ahead after 20 minutes but a leveller just before the interval from Seamus Coleman was followed by a superb winner from Ashley Willams with four minutes to go. A slight dent in a great night for the hosts came late on with the dismissal of Phil Jagielka. 

Wednesday's action began at the Riverside Stadium as Middlesbrough fell to a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool who moved up to second spot.

The Reds went ahead on 29 minutes as Adam Lallana continued his scoring streak before Divock Origi made it five goals in as many games on the hour mark. The win was sealed just eight minutes later as Lallana struck for a second time.

Chelsea kept up their six point gap at the top with a 1-0 win over struggling Sunderland. The Blues secured the three points with a goal on 40 minutes from Cesc Fabregas. 

West Ham United opened up a gap to the bottom three with a narrow 1-0 win over Burnley at London Stadium.

The winning goal came just before half-time as after having his penalty saved, Mark Noble slotted in the resulting rebound.

Manchester United left it late to deny Crystal Palace from claiming at point as Selhurst Park as they claimed a 2-1 win.

The visitors struck an opener just before half-time through Paul Pogba only to be pegged back by James McArthur's leveller on 65 minutes. The game looked to be heading to a draw but Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed the win with two minutes to go.

Manchester City bounced back from their weekend defeat with a 2-0 win at home to Watford at the Etihad Stadium.

Pablo Zabaleta got the hosts off the mark on 33 minutes before David Silva confirmed the win with five minutes to go.

Stoke City and Southampton shared the points in a 0-0 draw at the Bet 365 Stadium.

The Potters were the happier of the two sides when the final whistle went as they had held on for over an hour with ten men after the dismissal of Marko Arnautovic after just 22 minutes.

Hull City remain in the bottom three after falling to a 3-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.

The hosts went ahead with a 14th minute opener from Christian Eriksen with the Spurs attacker doubling the lead in the 64th minute. The win was confirmed just eight minutes later as Victor Wanyama struck.

West Bromwich Albion moved up to seventh spot with a 3-1 win over struggling Swansea City.

The Baggies claimed the points with a superb 13 minute hat-trick from Salomon Rondon whose treble of headers was the first in the league since Duncan Ferguson' against Bolton in 1997. Swansea did claim a consolation though as Wayne Routledge score in the 78th minute.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Europa League Matchday Six Review

Ahead of the European winter break in all but one of the elite leagues, the final matchday of the Champions League group stage saw the final spots in the knockout stages confirmed.

A-Fenerbache advanced to the next stage as group winners after narrow 1-0 win over third placed Feyernoord. The crucial strike came on 20 minutes from Sow.

Manchester United join Fenerbache in the next stage after they claimed a 2-0 win over bottom side Zorya Luhansk. Henrikh Mkhitaryan fired the visitors ahead three minutes after half-time before Zlatan Ibrahimovic confirmed the win two minutes from the end of the 90.

B- Apoel Nicosia advanced as group winners after a 2-0 win over Olympiakos who advanced despite the loss. The hosts were gifted the lead on 20 minutes by a Da Costa own goal before De Camargo wrapped up the points with an 83rd minute strike.

Young Boys missed out on qualification via an inferior head-to-head record with Olympiakos but ended on a high with a 3-0 win over FC Astana. The Swiss side opened the scoring three minutes after the hour mark through Frey before two goals in five minutes from Hoarau and Schick wrapped up the win.

C- FK Qabala completed a miserable campaign with a sixth consecutive loss as they went down 2-0 to FSV Mainz 05. The hosts took the lead on 29 minutes with a strike from Hack before De Blasis sealed the points five minutes before the interval.

The battle to secure top spot saw Saint Etienne advance as group winners after a 3-2 win over fellow qualifiers RSC Anderlecht. The Belgians raced into a 2-0 lead with goals from Chipciu and Stanciu in the 21st and 31st minutes.

However, five minute spree after the hour mark saw the visitors draw level with a brace from Soderland. The comeback was completed on 74 minutes as Monnet-Paquet sealed the win.

D- AZ Alkmaar secured a spot in the next stage with a 3-2 win that ended group winners Zenit Saint Petersburg's hopes of a 100% record. The hosts struck an early opener through Rienstra with Haps doubling the advantage just before the interval.  Zenit pulled one back through De Paula just before the hour before Tankovic restored the two goal gap. The last say went to the visitors they were gifted at 3-2 with a Wuytens own goal.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv avoided finishing bottom as they defeated Dundalk 2-1 with the Irish side replacing them as the bottom side in the group. Ben Haim put the hosts ahead with a penalty on 21 minutes before the visitors drew level with an own goal from Dasa. The points were sealed by an effort on 38 minutes from Micha.

E- Roma advanced as group winners and with an unbeaten record after drawing 0-0 with Astra Giurgiu who joined the Italians in the next stage.

Viktoria Plzen won the battle to avoid bottom spot in the group as they edged a 3-2 win over Austria Vienna. An early blow for the hosts saw Hedja dismissed after just 18 minutes with Holzhauser converting the resulting penalty. Rotpuller doubled the lead in the 40th minute before Horava pulled one back just before the interval.  A brace from Duric saw the hosts level on 72 minutes before sealing the win on 84 minutes.

F- Athletico Bilbao kept up their hopes of winning the group as they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Rapid Vienna. The Austrians took the lead in the second half as De Lira struck on 72 minutes but were denied the win by an 84th minute leveller from Teixidor. Bibao would have to wait to win the group with the other game postponed.

Sassuolo and Genk met on Friday afternoon after the original game had been called off due to adverse weather and the Belgians secured top spot in the group with a 2-0 win. They led just before the hour with a strike from Heynen before Trossard confirmed the win ten minutes from the end.

G- Celta Vigo secured a place in the next stage after a 2-0 win over Panathinaikos who ended their campaign without a win. Celta went ahead after just 14 minutes with an opener from Guidetti with the points wrapped up by a 76th minute penalty from Orrellana. 

Ajax advanced as group winners with an unbeaten record after a 1-1 draw with Standard Liege. The visitors led after 27 minutes with an opener from El Ghazi but the win was denied late on by an 84th minute leveller from Raman. 

H- KAA Gent secured a spot in the next stage with a last-gasp 1-0 win over Konyaspor who ended their campaign without a win. The winning goal came in the final minute of the game as Coulibaly struck.

Shakthar Donetsk completed a perfect group stage with a 4-2 win over Sporting Braga. The group winners took the lead with a 22nd minute effort from Kritsov before Taison doubled the lead on 39 minutes. Stojilkovic cut the gap just before the interval but the points were sealed by two goals in four minutes after the hour as Kritsov and Taison struck for a second time. The final say on the scoreline came in the 89th minute as Vukcevic made it 4-2.

I- Red Bull Salzburg ended Schalke 04's hopes of an unbeaten campaign as they claimed a 2-0 win but missed out on advancing due to an inferior record to Krasnodar. The hosts took the lead with a Schlager opener on 22 minutes before Radosevic completed the win late on.

OGC Nice ended their campaign on a high as they secured a 2-1 win over Krasnodar who advanced despite the loss. Smolov put the visitors ahead on 51 minutes before they went down to ten men with the dismissal of Granqvist on the hour. The hosts utilised the man advantage quickly as Bosetti converted a penalty before Le Marchand completed the comeback on 77 minutes.

J- Fiorentina advanced as group winners after a 2-1 win over FK Qarabag. The visitors went ahead with an effort from Vecino on the hour before Dos Santos Silva levelled with a 73rd minute penalty. Chiesa sealed the win for the visitors three minutes later before being sent off six minutes from the end.

PAOK Salonika secured a spot in the next stage with a 2-0 win over Slovan Liberec who finished bottom. Mendes Rodrigues put the hosts ahead on 29 minutes with Pelkas confirming their qualification with a 67th minute effort.

K- Sparta Prague advanced as group winners despite a 2-1 loss to Inter Milan. The Italians went ahead with an effort from Eder on 23 minutes before being pegged back by Marecek's equaliser on 54 minutes. The hosts were not to be denied a win though as Eder struck his second goal and the winner in added time.

The battle to secure a spot in the next stage saw Hapoel Beer Sheva claim success despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton who needed a win to advance. Bar Buzaglo put the visitors ahead on 78 minutes with Virgil van Dijk levelling in added time.

L- Osmanlispor advanced as group winners after a 2-0 win over FC Zurich. The hosts secured the points in the final 20 minutes as Delarge struck a 73rd minute opener before an 89th minute strike from Kilicaslan. 

Villarreal also reached the next stage as they claimed a 2-1 win over Steaua Bucharest. The hosts led early on with a 15th minute effort from Sansone but were pegged back by a leveller from Achim on 55 minutes. Tamas was dismissed for the visitors on 79 minutes before their evening ended in defeat after Munoz struck an 88th minute winner. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Champions League Matchday Six Review

Ahead of the European winter break in all but one of the elite leagues, the final matchday of the Champions League group stage saw the final spots in the knockout stages confirmed.

A- Arsenal advanced as group winners after a comfortable 4-1 win away to FC Basel who finish bottom.

The Gunners raced into a 2-0 lead inside 17 minutes with a brace from Lucas Perez with the young striker completing his hat-trick three minutes after the interval for 3-0.

Alex Iwobi made it 4-0 with just 53 minutes on the clock with the last say on the scoreline coming on 78 minutes as Doumbia struck for Basel.

Ludogorets Razgrad were denied their first win of the campaign by Paris Saint Germain who salvaged a 2-2 draw late on. The visitors opened the scoring with a 16th minute strike from Misidjan before Edinson Cavani levelled on the hour. Wanderson restored the visitors lead on 69 minutes but their hopes of a first win were ended in added time by Angel Di Maria's equaliser.

B-The battle for top spot saw Napoli come out as winner with a 2-1 victory away to Benfica who advance in second spot.

The Italians took the lead just before the hour mark with Callejon's strike before Dries Mertens looked to have sealed the win on 79 minutes. A late effort from Rodriguez with 87 minutes played set up a tense finish but the hosts were unable to avoid defeat.

A shock result saw already eliminated Dyanmo Kiev thrash Besiktas 6-0 to deny the Turks a spot in the next stage. Besedin fired the hosts ahead before a triple blow for the visitors saw Beck dismissed, Yarmolenko doubling the lead with the resulting penalty and Buyalsky instantly making it 3-0.

Kiev were 4-0 ahead at the interval with Gonzalez striking late on before the miserable trip for Besiktas got far worse with Aboubakar dismissed ahead of strikes from Sydorchuk and Moraes to complete the rout.

C- Barcelona made it five wins out of six with a comfortable 4-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach who slip into the Europa League. Lionel Messi opened the scoring on 17 minutes before a 17 minute second half hat-trick from Arda Turan (50,52,67) completed the rout.

Manchester City ensured Celtic ended their woeful campaign without a win as they shared the points in a 1-1 draw. The goals came early on as Patrick Roberts gave the visitors a surprise lead with just four minute played before Kelechi Iheanacho levelled in the eighth minute.

Bayern Munich ended Atletico Madrid's hopes of a perfect campaign as they secured a 1-0 win.

The crucial strike came early on as Robert Lewandowski scored in the 28th minute.

FC Rostov secured the Europa League spot as they shared the points in a 0-0 draw with PSV Eindhoven.

A draw which left the Dutch side not only eliminated from European competition but ending the campaign without a win.

E- Monaco advanced as group winners despite suffering a 3-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen who also reached the next stage. The hosts went ahead on the half hour as Yurchenko struck before Brandt doubled the lead four minutes after the interval.

The visitors' miserable night was completed seven minutes from the end as De Sanctis scored an own goal.

Tottenham Hotspur drop into the Europa League despite a 3-1 win over CSKA Moscow. The visitors went ahead as Alan Dzagoev scored on 33 minutes but Spurs went into the interval 2-1 ahead after Dele Alli levelled and Harry Kane gave them the lead. After conceding for the 39th game in a row in the competition, Igor Akinfeev capped off a miserable campaign with a 77th minute own goal.

F- Legia Warsaw secured their first win and in doing so claimed the Europa League spot after defeating Sporting Lisbon 1-0.

The crucial strike came on the half hour mark as Costa Marques struck and the evening got worse for the visitors late on with Carvalho's 85th minute dismissal.

Borussia Dortmund advanced as group winners after salvaging a 2-2 draw with fellow qualifiers Real Madrid. A brace from Karim Benzema either side of half time gave Madrid a 2-0 advantage but Dortmund were not to be outdone as Pierre Aubameyang struck on the hour with Marco Reus securinga point two minutes from the end.

G-Club Brugge completed a miserable campaign, without a win or a point after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Europa League bound FC Copenhagen.

The Danes struck both goals early on as Mechele scored an own goal inside seven minutes before Jorgensen doubled the lead on 15 minutes.

FC Porto advanced to the next stage after ruining Leicester City's hopes of an unbeaten campaign with a 5-0 thrashing.  An early opener from Andre Silva was followed by a strike from Corona to double the lead.

Brahimi extended the lead to 3-0 before the interval with Silva striking for a second time just after the hour mark. The rout was completed on 77 minutes as Teixeira struck to hand leave the Foxes with the unwanted record of heaviest defeat for an English side in the competition.

H- Juventus claimed top spot in the group after securing a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb without a win or even a point.

The Italians took the lead with 52 minutes on the clock as Gonzalo Higuain struck before Rugani confirmed the win with a 72nd minute strike.

Olympique Lyonnais drop into the Europa League after a 0-0 draw with Sevilla who advanced in second spot.

Chelsea Clear After Cherries Stun Reds

As the packed Xmas schedule grow near, game-week 14 of Premier League action saw a number of high scoring games with three sides scoring four or more which made it no surprise that there were only four shut-outs.

The weekend began with the meeting between title rivals Manchester City and Chelsea. The hosts were gifted the lead just before the interval as Gary Cahill hit into his own net for a 1-0 advantage that was cancelled out by Diego Costa on the hour.

Willian completed the comeback for the visitors before Eden Hazard sealed a 3-1 win. The game had a fiery end though as a tackle from Sergio Aguero on David Luiz saw the Argentine sent off before a brawl between the sides saw Fernandinho dismissed among many bookings.

Crystal Palace moved clear of the bottom three with a comfortable 3-0 win over Southampton.

The hosts went ahead after Saints 'keeper Fraser Forster gifted an opener to Christian Benteke. James Tomkins doubled the lead for the Eagles who would go onto score their third late on as Benteke rounded off a good performance with his second strike on 84 minutes.

Stoke City sit just inside the top half after securing a 2-0 victory against Burnley.

The Potters went ahead with 20 minutes on the clock as Jon Walters struck for 1-0 and the points were to be sealed by a 35th minute goal from Marc Muniesa.

Sunderland continued their stay off the bottom with a surprise 2-1 win at home to champions Leicester City.

The Foxes gifted their hosts the lead with 64 minutes played as former Black Cats defender Robert Huth hit into his own net before Jermain Defoe continued his superb scoring form with what proved to be the winning goal on 77 minutes. The visitors pulled one back just three minutes later as Shinji Okazaki made it 2-1 but it proved to be only a consolation.

Tottenham Hotspur closed the gap to the top four as they thrashed struggling Swansea City 5-0.

The Swans did well to hold off their hosts in the first half until a double blow saw Harry Kane open the scoring with a penalty before Son Heung-Min struck before the interval for 2-0.

Kane extended the lead within four minutes of the restart before a brace from Christian Eriksen completed the rout.

West Bromwich Albion hit the heights of seventh spot after claiming a 3-1 win at home to Watford.

Jonny Evans put the Baggies ahead after just 16 minutes with Chris Brunt doubling the lead before the interval. Christian Kabasele opened his account for the Hornets on the hour mark before their hopes of a late comeback were dealt a blow as Roberto Pereyra was dismissed on 84 minutes. Their misery was to be extended though as Matt Phillips struck late on.

West Ham United remain on the fringes of the drop zone after a 5-1 humbling by Arsenal in a Saturday evening London derby. An opener from Mesut Ozil on 24 minutes put the Gunners into a 1-0 lead but the match would not spring into action until the final 20 minutes as Alexis Sanchez struck twice in eight minutes for 3-0.

Andy Carroll pulled one back for the Hammers only to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain instantly regain a three-goal advantage with Sanchez's hat-trick strike completing the rout.

Bournemouth prevented Liverpool from closing the gap to leaders Chelsea as they staged a huge comeback to win 4-3. The Reds raced into a 2-0 lead with two strikes in as as many minutes from Sadio Mane and Divock Origi. 

Callum Wilson cut the gap with a penalty on 55 minutes ahead of a stunning effort from Emre Can restored the visitors' two goal advantage. However, the Cherries staged a superb comeback with two goals in three minutes from Ryan Fraser and a superb Steve Cook effort to draw level at 3-3. The winning goal came as Reds 'keeper Loris Karius fumbled and allowed Nathan Ake to strike in added time.

Sunday's final game saw Everton and Manchester United share the points in a tight 1-1 draw. The visitors took the lead three minutes before the interval with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's striking.

However, it was a former Toffee who would dent United's lead as Marouane Fellaini conceded a penalty which Leighton Baines converted in the 89th minute.

Monday night saw the weekend rounded off as Middlesbrough secured a 1-0 win over Hull City. After a number of former players inadvertently aided their former side, Gaston Ramirez haunted his former side with the winning goal in the 61st minute.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

EFL Cup Quarter Final Review

After a gap from the fourth round, the EFL Cup resumed at the quarter final stage with two Championship sides looking to stage a shock against top-flight opposition while four top-flight sides also faced off.

Tuesday evening saw Hull City host Championship high-flyer's Newcastle United at the KCOM Stadium  A tight game saw the sides remain locked at 0-0 until the final whistle though the hosts suffered a late blow with the dismissal of Dieumerci Mbokani.

 Extra time saw Mo Diame put the Magpies ahead on 98 minutes before an instant reply saw Robert Snodgrass strike for 1-1. The game was to be decided in a shootout and Hull came out on top winning 3-1 on penalties to reach the last four for the first time.

Liverpool hosted Leeds United at Anfield looking to secure a record 17th semi final spot and they were made to work hard as the visitors kept the game at 0-0 long past the hour mark.

As with their weekend win, the Reds went ahead on 76 minutes through Divock Origi before an historic second goal with eight minutes left as Ben Woodburn became the Reds' youngest goalscorer at 17yrs 45 days eclipsing Michael Owen's record by 100 days. The young striker's effort was enough to confirm a 2-0 win.

Wednesday night saw Arsenal and Southampton make numerous changes as they met at the Emirates.

The Saints took an early lead as Jordy Clasie struck on 13 minutes and they were two goals to the good before the interval as Ryan Bertrand stuck on 38 minutes. The advantage lasted as the Saints secured a spot in the last four for the first time since 1987.

After a 1-1 draw on Sunday, Manchester United and West Ham United reconvened at Old Trafford and alike the previous meeting, the opening goal came after just to minutes. However, it was the hosts who led as Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck but they would go into the interval on level terms as Ashley Fletcher equalised against his former club on 35 minutes. The hosts regained the lead just three minutes into the second half as Anthony Martial struck for 2-1 and he got a second in style just after the hour mark. The win was completed late on as Ibrahimovic tapped in his second and United's fourth for a 4-1 win.

The draw for the semi-finals saw the two big guns of Liverpool and Manchester United avoid each other with Southampton given the chance to get revenge for their quarter final exit to Liverpool from last season while Hull City will face Manchester United.

Chelsea Stay Top While Reds Defeat Sunderland

Game-week 13 was to be a lucky one for some and unlucky one for others with a nine goal thriller the highlight of the weekend.

Saturday's opening game saw Burnley host Manchester City at Turf Moor and the Clarets took a surprise early lead on 14 minutes through Dean Marney. 

City levelled on 36 minutes through Sergio Aguero and the Argentine struck the winner for the visitors on the hour mark for 2-1.

Hull City looked to move out of the bottom three as they hosted West Bromwich Albion at the KCOM Stadium.

The Baggies opened the scoring on 35 minutes through Gareth McAuley before being pegged back on 75 minutes as Michael Dawson salvaged a point at 1-1.

Leicester City and Middlesbrough both looked to move clear of the drop zone when they met at the King Power Stadium.'Boro took an early lead as Alvaro Negredo netted for the first time since the opening week of the season on 13 minutes.

Riyad Mahrez equalised with a penalty on 34 minutes before Negredo restored 'Boro's lead midway through the second half. They would have to settle for a point though as Islam Slimani made it 2-2 late on.

Liverpool had the chance to regain top spot as they welcomed struggling Sunderland to Anfield.

The Reds found it hard to break down a resolute Sunderland defence that held firm long after the hour mark but was finally carved open as Divock Origi fired the hosts ahead on 75 minutes. Sunderland fought to draw level but the defeat was confirmed in added time as James Milner slotted in a penalty for 2-0.

Swansea looked to move off the bottom as they hosted Crystal Palace at the Liberty Stadium and the two sides played their part in a nine-goal thriller. Wilfried Zaha put the Eagles ahead in the 18th minute before Gylfi Sigurdsson levelled before the interval.

A rapid brace from Leroy Fer gave the Swans a 3-1 lead but a three goal spree in nine minutes from Palace saw them lead 4-3 with James Tomkins and Christian Benteke striking either side of a Jack Cork own goal.

The Swans were not to be outdone though as Fernando Llorente levelled in the 90th minute before sealing a 5-4 win in added time.

Chelsea hoped to regain top spot as they hosted fierce London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge. The Blues were stunned by an early opener as Christian Eriksen struck in the 11th minute. However, the hosts were level into the interval as Pedro fired in for 1-1 in added time. The winning goal came just six minutes after the restart as Victor Moses struck for 2-1.

Sunday's action began at Vicarage Road as Watford hosted Stoke City. The Potters were gifted the win as Heurelho Gomes deflected an effort into his own net on 29 minutes.

A bad day for the Hornets was completed by the late dismissal of Miguel Britos as the slipped to a 1-0 loss.

Arsenal hoped to cut the gap to the leaders as they hosed Bournemouth at the Emirates.The Gunners led early on after Alexis Sanchez's 12th minute strike but a penalty from Callum Wilson drew the Cherries level on 23 minutes.

Theo Walcott restored the hosts' lead on 53 minutes which saw him celebrate in tribute to his newborn son and the win was confirmed late on as Sanchez struck in added time for 3-1.

Ahead of a midweek meeting in the EFL Cup, Manchester United hosted West Ham United at Old Trafford. The Hammers made a perfect start as Diafra Sakho fired them in front inside two minutes. The hosts drew level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's effort on 21 minutes but neither side was able to score a winner in the 1-1 draw.

Southampton welcomed Everton and former manager Ronald Koeman to St Marys and they made a superb start as Charlie Austin opened the scoring inside the first minute. The early strike proved to be enough to secure a 1-0 win and a miserable reunion for Koeman