Sean Dyche

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  The Lincoln City team celebrate their win in the changing room after The Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round match between Burnley and Lincoln City at Turf Moor on February 18, 2017 in Burnley, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
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Lincoln boss: Beating Burnley in FA Cup was “a one in 100 chance”

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For the first time since 1914, a non-league club is through to the quarterfinal round of the FA Cup.

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That club is National League (fifth-division) side Lincoln City, who pulled off the Cupset of all Cupsets on Saturday, knocking off Premier League side Burnley thanks to an 89th-minute winner headed home by Sean Raggett.

Following the full-time whistle — and you’re not going to believe this — everyone associated with the club, from manager Danny Cowley, to assistant manager (and brother) Nicky Cowley, to the goalscorer himself, remained in a state of utter shock at their “one in 100 chance” achievement — quotes from the BBC:

“We said it was a one in a 100 chance and thankfully we got that opportunity. The last eight of the FA Cup sounds pretty good. We work hard on our corners and our free kicks and we are mightily proud of the players.”

“It is a fantastic day, just brilliant for the supporters, the players and their families. You have to believe and dream big, we had fantastic results against Oldham, Ipswich and Brighton but coming to a Premier League ground was a new challenge and it is unbelievable.

“From the view we had it was difficult to see if it was over the line and you are just willing the referee to point to the centre circle and it was a great moment when it happened. We are a humble down to earth group.”

“An unbelievable feeling, I’m a little bit lost for words. It shows this group of players is special. What a win.

“I knew it was in but the [linesman] didn’t look like he was going to give it for a minute.”

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Saturday’s FA Cup 5th-rounders ]

Burnley manager Sean Dyche was, predictably, in less of a partying mood — quotes from the BBC:

“I’m only gutted in the sense that could happen, I was on the other side of it as a player [at Chesterfield], you don’t want to be part of it for the wrong reasons.

“They used everything they needed to use. They played our pitch well, played resolutely with their back four not going anywhere and they got the ball forward. You have to work, be diligent and believe you will get another chance. I think they only had one chance, credit to them.”

FA Cup predictions: Upsets at a minimum for Premier League clubs

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham at White Hart Lane on April 19, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Pep Guardiola said Friday that “the FA Cup is complicated”. There may be no better way to sum up the competition for top Premier League clubs.

Often sandwiched between critical league contests or European competitions, weakened lineups have become the norm in earlier rounds of the tournament.

[ MORE: Gareth Bale back this week ]

With 16 teams remaining, managers must weigh the risks of current and future schedule congestion with the fact that four more wins in the FA Cup bring silverware (and an automatic berth in the Europa League group stage).

Here are some predictions for this weekend’s fifth round match-ups:

Burnley FC vs. Lincoln City

Sean Dyche‘s Clarets are 10 points clear of the drop zone and facing non-league competition at home. They’ll have a strong lineup and win easily. Sorry, Imps, this one goes 3-1.

Middlebrough vs. Oxford United

Boro is still very much in a relegation battle, but needs to find its scoring touch in a big way. Oxford waxed a weakened Newcastle in the last round, and are no easy hurdle. 2-1, Smoggies.

Millwall vs. Leicester City

The Foxes have a trip to Sevilla and a visit from Liverpool next, and Claudio Ranieri won’t risk his best XI here. That and the away trip are probably enough to move Millwall into the quarterfinals. 1-0, Lions.

Huddersfield Town vs. Manchester City

The Terriers are Premier League hopefuls, but there’s a far cry between hope and reality. And Huddersfield boss David Wagner could be resting some guys as well with a busy promotion push ahead. Even City’s second unit — the PL giants host Monaco on Tuesday — will be enough for a 3-1 win.

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Chelsea

With a comfortable lead in the table and no other competitions this season, Chelsea will manage to cruise on the road. 2-0.

Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs need to end the woes of back-to-back poor performances, and a London Derby will have both sides ready to roar. Expect a tight one, and perhaps a replay. 2-2.

Blackburn vs. Manchester United

It’s fortunate for Blackburn that United played a Europa League match on Thursday, but the Red Devils are too deep and Jose Mourinho has several pieces of silverware on his radar. Manchester United, 2-0.

Sutton United vs. Arsenal

The fairytale ends here, as this is a classic set-up for the Gunners to showcase their might at the expense of a lesser side. Arsenal, 4-0.

Premier League Power Rankings: Man City climbs, Swans soaring

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Swansea City is now four points clear of the drop zone, which feels like rarefied air given their plight at the turn of the calendar to 2017.

Manchester City has climbed into second place in the Premier League table, and the gap to first is in single digits.

Both sides have made big marks in this week’s PL PR’s.

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Here is the latest batch of Premier League power rankings…

TEAM RANKING
source: 20 (20) Crystal Palace: Allardyce is running out of excuses. Steve Parish can yell all he wants — and he deserved to get loud –n but maybe he’s got the wrong man for the job.

source:
19 (18) Sunderland: From thumper to thumpee in one week’s time. Hopefully that New York City air has the cure.
Leicester City logo
18 (19) Leicester City: Outside the relegation zone, so why do the reigning champs feel relegated? Maybe it’s defense.
Hull City logo 17 (15) Hull City: No shame in losing a game.
200px-Middlesbrough_crest 16 (16) Middlesbrough: Drawing Everton is a legit result, but goals need to come in a hurry.
source: 15 (17) Bournemouth: Winless since New Year’s Day and very much in trouble… just not as much as the teams behind it.
source: 14 (10) Watford: Pretty severe drop for a loss to United, but spots 14-10 are very tight.
source: 13 (13) Swansea City: Another week of Paul Clement of proving doubters wrong.
source: 12 (14) Southampton: Thumping Sunderland is enough to rise up the ranks two spots.
source: 11 (12) Stoke City: Beating a desperate Palace is a decent, if uncomfortable, win.
burnley fc crest
10 (11) Burnley: The Chelsea draw is another impressive result for Sean Dyche.
source: 9 (9) West Ham United: Didn’t take the next step in a 2-2 draw against West Brom… or did they? The referees didn’t help.
source:
8 (7) West Bromwich Albion: Good battle, but the litmus test draw against West Ham shows that both clubs sit where they should in the PRs.
source: 7 (8) Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp‘s men took advantage of a depleted Spurs back line to gain their first PL win of 2017.
Source: Everton FC
6 (5) Everton: The draw at Middlesbrough hurts the Toffees’ surge.
source: 5 (6) Arsenal: Odd to read given the embarrassment in Munich, but the Gunners did win at the weekend.
source: 4 (4) Manchester United: One more slip-up from Spurs has United making it an all-Manchester race for second (in our Power Rankings).
source: 3 (2) Tottenham Hotspur: Losing to Liverpool is just one loss, but it’s one that costs Spurs the catbird seat in the race to second (in the Premier League).
Logo_Manchester_City 2 (3) Manchester City: Pep Guardiola‘s squad is rolling after a nice road win against Burnley, but the season-ending injury to Gabriel Jesus stings. Don’t worry, Sergio Aguero is his backup.
source: 1 (1) Chelsea: The lead shrinks to eight after a draw against Burnley. The Blues host Man City on April 5.

Watch Live: Burnley vs. Chelsea (Lineups & Live Stream)

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14:  David Luiz of Chelsea is seen during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Chelsea at Stadium of Light on December 14, 2016 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
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Nine points in front with three months left to play, many believe Chelsea has the Premier League title already wrapped up. They can push the lead even further with a road win today as the Blues visit Turf Moor to take on Burnley live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com.

Thanks to more chaos below them as second-placed Spurs lost on Saturday, the Blues are looking to extend their advantage after naming an unchanged side.

David Luiz is in the starting lineup for the 21st straight time despite Antonio Conte noting midweek that he’s been playing with pain in his knee. The Brazilian has been a revelation in his first season back with the Blues, having returned over the summer from PSG. He starts alongside regular defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and captain Gary Cahill who makes his 150th Premier League appearance for the Blues, while Diego Costa heads the attack with the in-form Eden Hazard behind him.

[ WATCH LIVE: Burnley vs. Chelsea live online at NBCSports.com ]

Burnley, meanwhile, has traded wins and losses dating back to New Year’s Eve, with their home form perfect since that time. They sit in 13th in the table nine points above trouble, but they must continue to trudge on to avoid seeing themselves slip into the relegation battle, as bottom-half sides are often prone to doing towards the end of the season with nothing else to fight for.

With Jeff Hendrick suspended following his straight red in the early proceedings of last week’s loss to Watford, manager Sean Dyche has handed debut starts to January signings Robbie Brady and Ashley Westwood, sending Scott Arfield to the bench as well. Striker Sam Vokes remains on the sidelines with Andre Gray and Ashley Barnes preferred up front.

Should Burnley pull off the upset, it would be the club’s first league win over Chelsea since 1983, and would mark six straight home wins for the first time in 56 years, dating back to an eight-game streak in the early goings of the 1961/62 season.

LINEUPS

Burnley: Heaton; Ward, Mee, Keane, Lowton; Brady, Westwood, Barton, Boyd; Barnes, Gray.
Subs: Tarkowski, Flanagan, Arfield, Robinson, Gudmundsson, Darikwa, Vokes.

Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard.
Subs: Begovic, Zouma, Ake, Chalobah, Fabregas, Willian, Batshuayi.

PL Sunday: Chelsea aims to extend lead; Swansea, Leicester battle

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Victor Moses of Chelsea celebrates scoring his sides third goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Burnley at Stamford Bridge on August 27, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
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Chelsea has a firm hold on the top of the Premier League, and the club’s lead could be up to 12 points on Sunday if they play their cards right.

Meanwhile, the day’s second matchup features two sides firmly in the relegation heap, including last season’s PL winners Leicester City.

[ MORE: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Burnley vs. Chelsea — 8:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

While the Clarets have proven to be a very tricky team to take care of at home, Burnley’s last league win against Chelsea hasn’t come since 1983. Given Chelsea’s current form, the challenge of knocking off the Blues will be made all the more difficult for Sean Dyche‘s team.

This season, Burnley has taken 28 of its 29 points at home, making the Turf Moor one of the league’s most difficult venues to play at for visitors.

Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea enters Sunday unbeaten in its last six across all competitions, and with a nine-point advantage over second place Tottenham. The Blues can once again put out a healthy lineup, with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard leading the dangerous attack.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Liverpool drops Spurs ]


Swansea City vs. Leicester City — 11 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Both sides enter Sunday’s encounter a mere one point above the drop zone, so a victory would mean the world to both Swansea and Leicester. Jordan Ayew could make his debut for the Swans, although the side will likely be without key figures Ki Sung-Yeung, Jefferson Montero and Leon Britton.

Paul Clement‘s side have certainly improved in form since the new manager took over for the departed Bob Bradley. Swansea has won three of its five PL fixtures since Clement took over at the Liberty Stadium.

Meanwhile, Leicester’s fall from grace continues to get uglier by the day as Claudio Ranieri‘s side comes closer to the bottom three. The Foxes have won four straight against Swansea in PL action, but the club’s poor form could make for a more closely-contested match.