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Chelsea Win At Stoke To Close In On Title

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte revealed he rolled the dice with a formation tweak at Stoke because he was not content to leave the bet365 Stadium with just a draw.

Having started the weekend with a 10-point lead at the Premier League’s summit, the Blues were on course for a share of the spoils against the Potters once Willian’s free-kick was cancelled out by Jonathan Walters’ penalty before half-time.

Conte was unwilling to settle for such an outcome, even with their huge advantage at the top, and brought on Cesc Fabregas with 20 minutes to go – replacing Victor Moses and altering his 3-4-3 system to a back four so he could accommodate his substitute in a central role.

Dueling Banners Sum Up State Of Arsenal

During Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at West Brom on Saturday, we had dueling banners flying over the stadium. One urging Arsene Wenger to leave the club at the end of the season and another to stay.

The split opinion amongst Arsenal fans on Wenger’s, and the clubs future, threatens to overshadow the rest of the season. A season that is quickly spiraling out of control.

The defeat on Saturday, the Gunners fourth in their last five games, saw Arsenal slip down to 6th spot in the table, ahead of Everton only on goal difference.

Discussing his side’s poor fun, Wenger said:

Manchester United’s Nightmare Schedule

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is closing ranks as we approach the squeaky bum time of the season, raging about the club’s ‘many enemies’ as he aired his frustration at the daunting fixture list that confronts them between now and the end of the season.

And while there really is no ‘enemy’ to blame for the pile-up, Mourinho does have a point that the packed schedule will test his squad to the limit.

Pep Guardiola is reportedly planning wholesale changes after Manchester City’s defeat in Monaco underlined how old and weak the City squad really is.

According to newspaper reports, Pep wanted seven big signings when he took over last year, but was told that would have to happen over two summer transfer windows and, armed with a £200 million transfer budget, he now expects to sign a host of new players in the coming months.

City have the fifth oldest squad in the Premier League and the pressure will be on chief executive Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain this summer to deliver the type of players who can handle Guardiola’s system.

Jose Mourinho has taken another shot at former mentor Louis van Gaal, claiming that he took over a ‘sad’ Manchester United and criticized his predecessor for selling the wrong players.

In an interview with the BBC, Mourinho again took aim at Van Gaal and suggested the club’s recruitment fell short until last summer.

‘I found a sad club,’ he said. ‘United sold players that I would never sell, bought players that I would never buy. I would never sell Angel Di Maria, Javier Hernandez, Danny Welbeck. Never. No chance.

Manchester United will face Anderlecht in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League following Friday’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland.

Jose Mourinho’s side are now strong favorites to go all the way in the tournament—especially after Lyon knocked out Roma in the round of 16—but the Belgian top-flight leaders will pose a threat in the last eight having beaten Apoel Nicosia to advance from the previous round.

Meanwhile, Lyon were drawn against Besiktas, Dutch giants Ajax will face Schalke and Celta Vigo were paired with Belgium’s Genk.

The Champions League never disappoints and there are some huge ties in the this year’s quarter-final.
The draw for the quarter-finals of the Champions League has been made with the pick of the ties arguably the mammoth clash between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. The sole representative of the Premier League, champions Leicester City, have been drawn with Atletico Madrid, who have reached the final in two of the last three seasons, both times losing to city-rivals Real Madrid.

Here is the draw in full, with the first leg set to take place on April 11th and 12th, with the reverse leg the following week:

If ever a quote summed up the malaise at Arsenal FC, it is Theo Walcott’s assertions to England manager Gareth Southgate that he should be in the England squad because he is “one of the leading goalscorers in the league”.

Southgate called the Arsenal striker to let him know that he had been left out of Southgate’s squad for the friendly with Germany and the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania and Southgate confirmed that Walcott was not impressed with the decision:

‘He wasn’t chuffed to bits to get the call and I understand that,’ Southgate said. ‘I don’t expect him to be pleased.

Arsenal’s under-fire manager Arsene Wenger has aimed a shot at his detractors, claiming nothing he does is good enough anymore.

The Frenchman has been widely criticized in recent weeks – by fans and pundits – with the Gunners out of the Champions League and well off the pace in the Premier League title race following another mid-season capitulation.

Arsenal fans are calling for change, with a number of supporters protesting outside the Emirates prior to last week’s 5-1 home defeat by Bayern Munich – a result which sent Arsenal crashing out of Europe by a humiliating 10-2 aggregate scoreline.

Paulo Dybala’s first-half penalty ensured Juventus reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the third time in five seasons, seeing off a Porto side who again played more than half the game with ten men.

Two-nil up from their trip to Portugal three weeks ago, Juventus initially looked set to seize the initiative once again, with Dybala twice trying his luck in the opening ten minutes. The Italian champions then opted to sit back, however, and sought to hit Porto on the break, leading to a slow-paced first period of few real opportunities.