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Arsenal beat minnows Lincoln to reach FA Cup semifinal

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Arsenal sealed their spot in the FA Cup semifinals with a routine 5-0 win over fifth-tier Lincoln City at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

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The minnows played well in the first half with Arsenal’s opener via Theo Walcott coming in the first minute of first half stoppage time.

Arsene Wenger‘s struck twice in quick succession early on in the second half to put the result beyond doubt with Olivier Giroud and an own goal setting them on their way and then Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey added a goal each to secure their trip to Wembley on April 22 or 23.

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Arsenal have now reached the FA Cup semifinal for the third time in the last four seasons as they’ve won the trophy in two of the last three campaigns and Wenger is two wins away from his seventh FA Cup trophy as Gunners boss.

For Lincoln, their wonderful FA Cup adventure comes to an end after they dumped out second-tier sides Ipswich and Brighton, plus Premier League side Burnley. The Imps can hold their heads high.

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Lincoln started brightly enough roared on by their 9,000 traveling fans but Arsenal had the first big chance of the game.

A ball fell to Theo Walcott on the edge of the box and his drive was brilliantly palmed onto the post by Lincoln goalkeeper Paul Farman.

Midway through the first half Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hobbled off injured and Mesut Ozil came on in his place and moments later Lincoln almost went ahead.

Nathan Arnold cut in from the right flank and danced past two defenders before curling a shot towards the top corner which Petr Cech saved superbly.

Ozil curled in a cross to the back post which Farman scrambled to push wide and from the resulting corner Arsenal took the lead as Walcott slotted home the layoff from Olivier Giroud. 1-0 to the Gunners right on half time.

Giroud drilled a shot towards the bottom corner in he second half but Farman saved well and then from the rebound Walcott teed up Kieran Gibbs but he was off-balance and his header went over.

Soon after Giroud made it 2-0 as a wonderful piece of interplay between Sanchez and Hector Bellerin saw the latter pick out Arsenal’s French striker and he slotted home.

Bellerin then curled an effort wide when it looked easier to score and then Arsenal’s other full back, Gibbs, linked up with Sanchez as his Gibbs’ cross deflected off Lincoln’s skipper Luke Waterfall and in. 3-0 to Arsenal.

Sanchez then made the most of a defensive slip to curl home a beauty and make it 4-0, then his cross to the back post was tucked away by Ramsey as the Gunners ran away with things.

Alan Power forced Cech into a good stop late on in a rare attack as Sanchez rattled the crossbar with a dipping free kick.

Lincoln tired in the second half and were punished by a ruthless, business-like Arsenal.

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.