Swansea 3-0 Sunderland: Llorente’s double wins relegation battle

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  • Llorente scores twice
  • Sigurdsson nets PK
  • Swans off the bottom, now on 12 points
  • Sunderland slip back to bottom

Swansea City sealed a massive victory against relegation rivals Sunderland at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday with Bob Bradley‘s men winning 3-0 to seal his second win in the Premier League.

Three second half goals did the damage for the Swans as Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a penalty kick, then two goals from Spanish forward Fernando Llorente put the Welsh side out of sight.

With the win Bradley’s men climb out of the relegation zone and now have 12 points, while Sunderland slip to the foot of the table on 11 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

In the pouring rain in south Wales both teams started nervously with plenty on the line. Sunderland went close to taking the lead as Jermain Defoe worked himself into the box after linking up with Victor Anichebe but flashed his left-footed shot just over the bar.

The Swans then went close as Sigurdsson’s free kick from the left found Alfie Mawson but the center back headed over and should’ve done better.

As half time came closer, the Swans kept pushing forward and Lamine Kone was forced to hook the ball out for a corner under pressure following a dangerous cross from the right.

Jordi Amat then sent a header over from Sigurdsson’s right-wing cross as the home side looked more dangerous but Kone then headed over.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

In the second half Sunderland looked dangerous on the break as Patrick Van Aanholt played in Defoe and he raced clear but sent his effort off target.

Then came a huge moment in the game as Wayne Routledge tried to cross the ball in the box but the ball hit Jason Denayer‘s raised arm and a penalty kick was awarded. Sigurdsson put the spot kick straight down the middle to put Swansea 1-0 up.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Four minutes later the Swans went 2-0 up. Modou Barrow went close as his shot was saved superbly down now by Jordan Pickford and from the resulting corner a well-worked set piece saw Sigurdsson find Llorente who steered it home.

2-0, as Bradley and his coaching staff piled in and celebrated together on the sidelines.

Llorente then spurned a glorious chance as he couldn’t connect from six yards out and then Pickford saved superbly from Amat’s header with the Swans piling on the pressure.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

At the other end Defoe snatched at a half chance as Sunderland tried to force the issue but Swansea held firm and added to their tally with Jefferson Montero‘s cross headed home by Llorente. 3-0.

Late on Sunderland came close to pulling one back as Defoe’s acrobatic effort was deflected wide and then they hit the crossbar from a set piece situation but in truth it was an easy win for the south Wales side as Bradley secured his second win, and second clean sheet, in the Premier League.

FA Cup Final preview: Desperate Arsenal meets Double-seeking Blues

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  • Clubs split PL series
  • Chelsea’s Conte aims for double
  • Chelsea 8W-3D-2L vs. Arsenal since 2012

Arsenal and Chelsea face off with a trophy on the line for the fourth time this century when the London sides hit Wembley Stadium for Saturday’s FA Cup Final.

Arsenal beat Chelsea in the 2015 Community Shield, the first silverware match-up between the two sides since the 2007 League Cup Final in Wales. The Blues won that one, 2-1, while Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-0 in the 2002 FA Cup Final.

[ MORE: Conte open to contract extension ]

A win would be Arsenal’s third FA Cup trophy in four seasons, and Arsenal would be thrilled to put something shiny in its trophy case following a season of tumult at the Emirates Stadium which ended without UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time in 20 years.

Conte knows Arsenal is desperate for something good.

What they’re saying

Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on what a win could mean“We wanted to finish higher up in the league, there is no doubting that. We cannot hide from that and we need to own up to that. The FA Cup is a big trophy, one we want to win and which would definitely boost morale going into next season.”

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte on the match: “If you ask me who is the favorite now, I can tell you it is Arsenal because Arsenal now has the possibility to find a good season after a win in the FA Cup. For this reason, we must play with great patience. We must find in ourselves the right motivation, the right anger because the game can be very difficult for all of these reasons.”

Prediction

Could go either way, with many players not just glory-hunting but in the shop window. Will Alexis Sanchez be the difference maker? Mesut Ozil? Maybe, but we think Chelsea ratchets up the intensity one more time and claims a double with a 2-1 win.

Chelsea’s Conte open to extending his contract

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Antonio Conte is readying Chelsea for a bid at a season double, with the Blues meeting Arsenal on Saturday afternoon for an all-London FA Cup Final.

Conte is on a London-high himself, having led the Blues to a Premier League title in his first year in charge. He’s moving his family to the area, scooping up plenty of individual hardware, and has dynastic aims for the Stamford Bridge set.

[ MORE: U-20 World Cup latest

His first deal was for three years, and Conte is thinking beyond that now.

From the BBC:

“If the club give me the possibility to stay and extend my contract, for sure I’m available to. … We have the same idea about the future, the way we have to do together, to improve the squad and the team.”

How they improve the squad will be interesting, as veterans Cesc Fabregas, Willian, and Diego Costa have uncertain futures at the Bridge. But why wouldn’t Conte sign a bumper new deal after wild first year success?

Off to slow start, Morris, Seattle know “things can change quickly”

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Both Jordan Morris and the Seattle Sounders are off to a rough start in defense of their MLS Cup title last Fall, and the USMNT’s star striker admits to recalling last season’s wild turnaround as an inspiration.

“After the game last week we mentioned that we have a lot of the nucleus from last year and we all know that things can change quickly,” Morris said to ProSoccerTalk this week.

Seattle won just seven games before Matchday 22 last season, rebounding with a burst after coach Sigi Schmid was replaced by assistant Brian Schmetzer. The Sounders went 8-2-2 down the stretch en route to an MLS Cup win over Toronto FC.

While he hasn’t scored in five matches and only has two markers in 12 games, he feels success is coming for the 3W-5L-4T Sounders. Morris said the club knows the results aren’t there, but also that they are producing chances.

[ MORE: Monaco star’s Man City medical ]

“It’s been okay,” Morris said. “Definitely not the start I would’ve wanted. It’s not an excuse but we’ve hit a lot of posts and had other near misses.”

Seattle has a huge opportunity to flip the script on its season when Cascadia Cup rivals Portland visit on Saturday. The free-scoring Timbers are dangerous in attack, but have been opened up 20 times this season. Only two teams have conceded more goals than Portland (which has played the most matches in the league, it must be said).

And it may or may not surprise fans that Morris’ focus has been one of his strengths: the final product.

“I’m working on the final third, whether it’s shooting or finding the open guy,” Morris said. “It’s a big deal for us to finish our chances. Scoring or the final pass in that final third.”

Despite his relatively cold start, it would be surprising if Bruce Arena didn’t tab Morris in his crop for next month’s World Cup qualifiers. The 22-year-old also seems relatively certain to be a part of the Gold Cup plans.

“I’m excited and hopefully I get called up,” he said. “These World Cup qualifiers are obviously a very big deal and Bruce has done a really good job of getting us on the same page.”

Morris is also participating in a unique promotional activity with Delta Air Lines for Sounders fans, as he and Cristian Roldan are among Seattle players picking fans for “positions” in a Fan XI. Once assembled, they’ll travel to L.A. for a Sounders road match and even sign one-day contracts. Morris was happy to get on board with it.

“It’s for our fans, who are amazing,” he said. “Delta’s idea to make a Fan XI gives the fansa chance to have the behind the scenes experience of being part of a team put together by having different skills. We love rewarding our fans.”

Day Seven: All the action from the U20 World Cup (video)

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Mexico has automatically qualified for the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup despite falling to Venezuela.

[ MORE: U-20 World Cup latest

Germany dropped below Mexico in goal differential after allowing a 3-0 lead to sink to one, though El Tri still likely would’ve advanced to the next phase despite Germany’s result.

Mexico 0-1 Venezuela

Caracas 19-year-old striker Sergio Cordova scored for the third-straight match in what is sure to make him a hot summer commodity as Venezuela clinched Group B with a perfect 3-0 record.

Germany 3-2 Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s potential name of the tournament Bong Kalo scored twice in the second half to sink Germany below Mexico on goal difference.

Guinea 0-5 Argentina

A brace from Lautaro Martínez gives Argentina hope of the knockout rounds with a third-place finish.

England 1-0 South Korea

Everton’s Kieran Dowell scored the lone goal of the match to give England the Group A crown.