FA Cup Sunday: Arsenal looks for revenge against visiting Liverpool

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If Liverpool mounts its first Premier League title challenge since 2008-09, its 5-1 victory over Arsenal will be seen as the season’s turning point – the day the team went from Champions League hopeful to legitimate threat. On Sunday, the Gunners get their chance at revenge when Brendan Rodgers’ team visits the Emirates in the FA Cup.

At stake is place in the competition’s quarterfinals as well as each team’s best chance at winning silverware this season. While both clubs are in the Premier League title race, Chelsea and Manchester City are favorites for that honor. Though City remain alive in the FA Cup, whomever wins on Sunday in North London will still be three wins away from a trophy. For Liverpool, it would be the club’s first honor since the 2011-12 League Cup. For Arsenal, silverware would end an eight-year trophy drought.

Shorter term, a win would also give Arsenal a measure of redemption. On Feb. 8, a Martin Skrtel brace within the first 10 minutes had Liverpool up two at Anfield. Goals by Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge doubled their lead by the 20th minute, with second half goals from Sterling and Mikel Arteta producing the teams’ final margin. While raising Liverpool’s profile within the title race, the four-goal margin also rekindled doubts of Arsenal’s title hopes.

Sunday’s match is in the FA Cup, not in league, but the effects could carry over. After back-to-back disappointments against Liverpool and Manchester United, Arsenal needs a result to muster some positive momentum ahead of Wednesday’s visit from Bayern Munich. And for Liverpool, another convincing performance will prove the result at Anfield was no fluke.

Other games – FA Cup Sunday

Everton vs. Swansea City – Player-coach Garry Monk leads his squad into Goodison Park to face his old manager – Everton’s Roberto Martínez. The Toffees will be favored to move into the final eight, but yet to lose under Monk, the Swans may be recapturing some of the spark that helped claim last year’s League Cup. While they’ll need to improve on the performance that got them a 1-1 draw at Stoke City, Swansea have already looked a more capable squad since the departure of Michael Laudrup.

Sheffield United vs. Nottingham Forest – Two lower division clubs compete for a surprise spot in the final eight, with League One’s United the lowest-ranked club still in the competition. On Sunday, they’ll welcome a Reds side that’s unbeaten in their last 18, their last loss coming at the end of November. Fifth in the League Championship, Billy Davies’ team has designs on Premier League return. For United, an FA Cup run is the silver lining to a season that has the Blades fighting for their third-tier survival.

Breaking down who each Premier League team could face in the UCL Group Stage

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The UEFA Champions League group stage lineup is complete, with five Premier League clubs making the list.

On Wednesday, Liverpool joined Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United in the group stage after beating Hoffenheim, 6-3 on aggregate in the playoff qualification round.

Thursday’s Champions League draw (2 p.m. ET) will place clubs into groups of four, where they’ll play three matches at home and away.

Here’s a look at the four coefficient pots and who each Premier League club could face:

(more…)

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

[ FOLLOW: Live MLS scores ]

On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET

UCL Playoff Wrap: Liverpool, Sporting CP, CSKA advance to group stage

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It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.

Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.

Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.

Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:

Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)

FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)

FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)

CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)

VIDEO: A sneak peek of Everton’s Europa League journey – Part 2

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In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.

Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.

[ MORE: Live Europa League scores

[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ] 

http://www.nbcsports.com/video/everton-unseen-part-2-everton-host-mfk-ruzomberok-europa-league