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.

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

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On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

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“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.