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Chelsea joins Man Utd in FA Cup Final

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Chelsea will meet old pal Jose Mourinho in the FA Cup Final after beating Southampton 2-0 at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata scored the goals for Antonio Conte‘s men, whose date with Manchester United comes at the same venue on May 19.

Southampton will turn its attention back to the relegation battle, four points behind 17th place Swansea City.

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Willian hit the cross bar with an early effort as Chelsea looked very much up for the semifinal.

Olivier Giroud had a 39th minute chance zip wide of the frame, as Chelsea posted nine of the first half’s 11 shot attempts while holding 60 percent possession.

Saints would have been happy to get to the locker room at nil-nil.

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Twenty-eight seconds into the second half: That’s when Giroud scored, with Chelsea’s first long ball knocked down by Eden Hazard on the edge of the 18 and played to the Frenchman.

Giroud cut between two Saints defenders and goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to stab home with his right foot.

Hazard curled an effort of his own wide in the 48th minute.

Saints snapped to life, and Shane Long touched around Wily Caballero but too strong to equalize at Wembley.

Nathan Redmond forced a wild save out of Caballero in the 72nd minute, and nearly claimed the corner.

McCarthy tipped a Hazard shot over the bar minutes later.

Morata put it to bed on a cross from his in-tune assist man Cesar Azpilicueta.

The finish was thrilling nevertheless, with Charlie Austin hitting the far post and Saints getting a goal line clearance at the other end.

Arsenal 3-2 Southampton: Welbeck gets last laugh

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  • Saints take early lead
  • Gunners claim advantage by halftime
  • Southampton remains 18th

Danny Welbeck‘s brace helped Arsenal defy the efforts of desperate Southampton in a 3-2 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Welbeck had just missed a sitter when he connected with the winner, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also scored for the Gunners.

Arsenal moves to within two points of fifth place Chelsea ahead of the Blues match with West Ham United (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Shane Long and Charlie Austin scored for Saints, who led 1-0 and drew level at 2-2 in the second half. Southampton remains three points back of safety.

Jack Stephens was sent off for Saints in stoppage time, and Mohamed Elneny was also shown a red card in the aftermath of the same scrum.

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A goal line clearance came early, with James Ward-Prowse taking a feed from Shane Long and beating Petr Cech but not Calum Chambers.

And Long again threatened for pace moments later as Saints pressed for an opener.

So it was fitting when Long put Saints ahead, taking advantage of a sleeping Shkrodan Mustafi to cut to the near post and redirect a cross beyond the reach of Cech.

Arenal leveld in the 29th minute, with Aubameyang chopped the ball off the ground for a clever nutmegged finish past Alex McCarthy.

Welbeck made it 2-1 in the 38th, leaving McCarthy helpless with a deflected shot from an Alex Iwobi feed.

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Both Aubameyang and Granit Xhaka forced top end saves out of McCarthy in the first three minutes of the second half.

Long looked like he had restored the deadlock and the away support had a moment’s joy only to see the flag up. The Irish striker was offside.

Wesley Hoedt then forced Cech into a flying save with a 30-yard effort which may have been destined for the post.

Austin then scored a lunchpail goal, cutting into the box within 80 seconds of subbing into the game to force 2-2. It was a deserved equalizer.

Welbeck missed a sitter when Iwobi spied Wilshere at the back post. The ex-Manchester United man couldn’t get his leg in position to get the ball over the line (with Aubameyang ready for a tap-in, unbeknownst to Welbeck).

He’d get his goal in the 81st minute, stabbing home a header at the back post from an Iwobi cross.

Charlie Austin charged with violent conduct for Lossl kick

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Southampton striker Charlie Austin has been charged by the FA with violent conduct for his kick to the face of Huddersfield Town goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, and has until 12 p.m. ET to respond.

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UPDATED: Austin has been handed a three-match ban, and has accepted the sanctions from England’s FA.)

In the 37th minute of Southampton’s 1-1 draw against Huddersfield, Austin chased a through-ball that Lossl had come out to collect. As the Terriers goalkeeper slid to ground to scoop up the loose ball, Austin leapt over Lossl’s head as he followed through, but not before sticking the tip of his boot straight into the face of the Danish keeper.

Lossl rolled on the ground for a while in obvious pain, and while he stayed in the game, it is suspected he suffered a broken nose. Austin was not cautioned for the incident by the match referee, as in real-time it was difficult to spot the intent. Huddersfield manager David Wagner criticized the Saints striker after the match, but admitted he did not see how bad it was until watching the replay.

“After seeing the video footage, this should usually never happen, that an opponent hurts another opponent on purpose,” Wagner said in his post-match media availability. “I don’t like to say this, but it looks this way. Jonas as well was absolutely surprised. This was a nasty challenge and nothing I like to see. I think he looks like this challenge was very ugly and nasty. This should never happen. Charlie Austin made the wrong decision in this moment.”

Austin would likely be slapped with a three-game ban if he accepts the charge, which would see him miss matches on Boxing Day against Tottenham, New Year’s Eve against Manchester United, and January 2nd against Crystal Palace.

Whether he accepts the charge or not, the 28-year-old suffered a hamstring injury later in the Huddersfield game and is likely out for the rest of the festive period anyways, according to Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino, who said he would be out “a couple of weeks minimum.”

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Giroud goal grabs point

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  • Austin produces three early chances, scores one
  • Arsenal with 67 percent possession
  • Giroud nods home equalizer

Southampton’s big striker Charlie Austin saw his early goal canceled out by Arsenal counterpart Olivier Giroud, as the Saints and Gunners split the spoils 1-1 at St. Mary’s on Sunday.

The point boosts Arsenal fifth with 29, while Southampton is 10th with 18.

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Austin put Saints ahead in the third minute, driving his run forward to meet Dusan Tadic‘s chopped pass.

And he almost had a two on the scoreboard when Petr Cech made a sprawling stop on a similar enough low drive.

Arsenal had the better of the next 20 minutes, but the hosts came storming back just before the half hour mark. The intent and possession was there, but the touches sloppy in the box. It remained 1-0.

Fraser Forster came across his body to stop a low Aaron Ramsey drive in the 32nd minute.

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Arsenal certainly produced its fair share of early shots, but it was Oriol Romeu who came close to an audacious second Southampton goal in the 62nd minute.

Ryan Bertrand came close to giving Saints a 2-0 lead when he dinked a ball over Cech only to see it meander wide of the far post.

Forster stopped an Alexis Sanchez free kick as the match hit the 85th minute.

Giroud got the job done in the 88th, coming off the bench to nod past Forster when Maya Yoshida mistimed his header.

Bournemouth 1-1 Southampton: Spoils shared as teams trade dominating halves

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  • Forster comes up big in 1st half
  • Each team dominated a half
  • Redmond brought on at HT, assists equalizer

Bournemouth proved the better side in the opening 45 minutes and capitalized, while Southampton took charge of the second half and was rewarded, leaving the spoils shared in a tale of two halves at the Vitality Stadium.

Fraser Forster was phenomenal in the first half, keeping out both Jermain Defoe and Nathan Ake with a pair of spectacular saves under a minute apart 20 minutes into the match. First, a venomous volley from Adam Smith made its way in front of net, and Defoe was there to redirect it at point-blank range, but Forster reacted outrageously quick and got his arm there to tip it over the bar.

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Moments later, Smith – from almost exactly the same spot – this time sent in a looping cross to the back post where Ake was waiting, and his header seemed destined to be the opener, but Forster again kept it out, falling down to his right and parrying the effort harmlessly to one of his defenders.

Southampton had a moment of its own on the half-hour mark as Charlie Austin headed a cross on net, but it was straight at Asmir Begovic who parried well. Bournemouth finally found the opener just before halftime as Josh King dispossessed Wesley Hoedt in the Saints half, and with the visitors caught napping, Ryan Fraser applied the finish for a deserved lead.

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Austin was the most dangerous option for the Saints throughout the match, and he was the man to draw them back level on the hour mark. As Southampton pushed with more attacking intent in the second half, a cross from halftime substitute Nathan Redmond found a completely unmarked Austin at the penalty spot, and he easily dispatched the chance.

Both teams came close to a winner down the stretch, as Josh King was inches from a second before Austin blazed a header just over the bar.

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The draw pushes Bournemouth five points above the relegation zone, while Southampton fails to take its chance to move into the top half, instead leaping Brighton into 11th position. Also of note, Adam Smith was contentiously booked for diving in the first half, leaving him suspended for Bournemouth’s next match at Crystal Palace.