Swansea City 4-1 Aston Villa: Shelvey wondergoal highlight of comfortable Swans win (video)

Leave a comment

Swansea hadn’t won back to back PL games in 17 months, but Aston Villa are very, very good at helping teams break unflattering streaks. Now the Swans have guaranteed themselves a spot in the Premier League next season – provided Norwich lose at Manchester United in the late match. Meanwhile, the future is looking even bleaker for the Villa.

It looked like it was going to be all too easy for Swansea, with the hosts threatening inside three minutes. Brad Guzan easily stopped the early attempt, but was unable to do anything about Wilfried Bony’s shot in the 10th minute. The goalkeeper wasn’t helped by a sleeping defense, who allowed Bony to get on the end of a ball from Jonjo Shelvey to go one on one against him. A cool finish and Swans were up.

With no goals in their last two games, and without star striker Christian Benteke, a comeback for Villa looked unlikely. But then Gabby Agbonlahor, who hadn’t scored a goal since January, got behind Jordi Amat to tap in a cross from Marc Albrighton, who was easily the visitors’ most threatening player in the first half.

But Villa, who haven’t won since March 15, were unable to keep the lead for even five minutes. After a series of corners, Guzan was unable to get the ball out from the back quickly enough, and had to resort to picking out Ron Vlaar. But the captain was unable to clear properly, allowing the ball to bounce in front of Shelvey. The Swansea player hit it on the bounce, lashing his curling shot from the center circle into the top corner of the net, past a frantically back-pedaling Guzan.

(WATCH: WONDER GOAL FROM JONJO SHELVEY)

Shelvey wanted another, and did well to threaten the Villa defense in the 60th minute. The Englishman beat two defenders to send in a curling shot, but this time Guzan was there to push around the post and out for a corner. That meant the attacks kept coming, with Wayne Routledge being allowed plenty of freedom and time to place his shot. Somehow, though, he managed to strike it wide.

Sure enough, Shelvey was able to get himself involved and get a third goal for the Swans. Pablo Hernández did well to knock down Shelvey’s cross, and needed just a touch to aim his shot past Guzan and into the back of the net.

Swansea were already certain of the three points, but for some reason, Nathan Baker elected to commit a woeful challenge on substitute Marvin Emnes inside the area. The referee pointed to the spot, Bony stepped up, and Swansea took all three points with a comfortable 4-1 win.

LINEUPS

Swansea City: Vorm, Rangel (Taylor 77), Amat, Williams, Davies, Britton, Shelvey, de Guzman (Fulton 83), Hernandez, Routledge (Emnes 88), Bony

Goals: Bony 10′; Shelvey 26′; Hernández 73′; Bony 92′

Aston Villa: Guzan, Bacuna (Lowton 45), Vlaar, Baker, Bertrand, Albrighton, Westwood, Delph, El Ahmadi (Holt 75), Agbonlahor, Weimann (Robinson 67)

Goals: Agbonlahor 22′

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.

Conte praises Hazard’s style, wouldn’t want him to be “more selfish”

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Antonio Conte made two bold decisions on Saturday afternoon as his Chelsea side prepared to take on Tottenham in their FA Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu shines with Saints as he prepares for Chelsea return ]

The Italian manager has been known for his innovation and risk-taking in the past, but many were critical of the 47-year-old when his team sheet came out ahead of the match.

Conte left key attacking duo Eden Hazard and Diego Costa on the bench, allowing out-of-favor striker Michy Batshuayi and Pedro to get the starting nod.

Although Hazard nor Costa saw the field for the opening hour, the former made his presence known when he was summoned by Conte in the second half.

Often times Hazard has been known as a facilitator, someone that can pick apart defenses with his tremendous foot skills and clever passing. But the Belgian international has also shown his capabilities of scoring on a regular basis as well, which has prompted great interest from other giant clubs around Europe.

When Conte was asked about Hazard and if his attacker should be more selfish, the Italian gave an emphatic “NO” as his response.

“No, no, no, absolutely not,” Conte said. “I don’t think that a player like Messi is a selfish player. The first target for every great champion is to play for the team and to put your talent into the team. If you do this, the team [increases] your talent.

“The best players in the world don’t exist without a team. For me, it’s sad to listen to this, that a player must ‘be more selfish’ to reach the top level. That’s very sad. It’s not my idea of football and I will never understand this. Never, never. In my team, I don’t want selfish players.

“I prefer to lose a game than to have a selfish player. For me, I don’t want this and I can’t accept this. I don’t want my club to buy me a selfish player one day. Never. No.”

Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League

Stu Forster/Getty Images
1 Comment

Two sides have now booked their trips to England’s top flight after Newcastle United rattled off its 27th win of the season.

[ MORE: Oriol Romeu — The perfectly poised destroyer ]

The Magpies earned a decisive 4-1 victory over Preston North End on Monday afternoon at St. James’ Park as the second-place side ensured its finish inside the top two in the English Championship.

Newcastle joins already-promoted club Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit atop the Championship on 92 points.

Ayoze Perez paced the hosts with goals on both sides of halftime, while Christian Atsu and Matt Ritchie also converted for Newcastle.

U.S. Men’s National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was on the bench for the Magpies but didn’t feature in Monday’s match.

The third and final team to be promoted from the Championship will be decided by the league’s annual promotion playoff, which is held at the end of the season and contested by four sides that finish third through sixth position.

As it stands, Reading, Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town and Fulham occupy the four playoff positions.

Marseille making Olivier Giroud top transfer target this summer

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marseille did well to bring in one star this season but could the French side have another trick up its sleeve this summer?

Sky Sports is reporting that the Ligue 1 club is preparing to sign Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud over the summer and the sixth-place side is “willing to pay up to £20m (roughly $25 million).

Marseille made a splash this season when the club re-signed Dimitri Payet, who was playing with Premier League side West Ham at the time.

The team does boast several quality attacking options such as Payet and Bafetimbi Gomis, but Giroud could serve as an ideal target man in the Marseille attack.

Prior to joining the Gunners in 2012, Giroud starred for Montpellier and with a potential link-up in the attack with a creator like Payet, it could present a dangerous attacking threat to the rest of Ligue 1.

Giroud, 30, has scored 95 goals in all competitions since arriving in London with Arsenal.