Danny Graham

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AT THE HALF: Man Utd, Blackburn level at 1-1 in FA Cup

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Of the seven FA Cup fifth-rounders played this weekend, Manchester United’s clash with Blackburn Rovers is only the second one to feature goals scored by both sides, and the only one of the bunch to see both sides score before halftime.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: The second half at Ewood Park ]

Man United went a goal behind after just 17 minutes, when Danny Graham lifted and inch-perfect strike over the outstretched arms of Sergio Romero. Chris Smalling was the United defender responsible for keeping Graham onside, and for allowing him the space to run onto Marvin Emnes‘s through ball.

The deficit was short-lived, though, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan provided a delightful through ball of his own to unlock the Rovers defense. Marcus Rashford latched onto it, rounded Jason Steele, and slotted the ball into the empty net.

Saturday’s FA Cup results

Burnley 0-1 Lincoln City — RECAP | REACTION
Huddersfield 0-0 Manchester City
Millwall 1-0 Leicester City
Middlesbrough 3-0 Oxford United
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Chelsea

Sunday’s FA Cup schedule

Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspur — 9 a.m. ET
Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United — 11:15 a.m. ET

Monday’s FA Cup schedule

Sutton United vs. Arsenal — 2:55 p.m. ET

Sunderland 1-1 Swansea City: Black Cats grab first point of season

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  • Sunderland grab first point of season
  • Gomis now has three goals in three games
  • Ayew hits crossbar for Swans
  • Defoe levels late in the game

Sunderland fought back to grab a point against Swansea at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. Bafetimbi Gomis opened the scoring in first half stoppage time but Jermain Defoe scored an eerily similar goal in the second half to split the points.

With the draw Sunderland has one point from their opening three games, while Swansea is still unbeaten with five points from three matches.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

It was a slow burner to start with at the Stadium of Light as both teams felt their way into the game. Defoe went close after a cross flashed into the near post and Sunderland looked more dangerous than Swansea. Yann M’Vila’s free kick caused some problems in the Swansea defense but Danny Graham’s overhead quick was saved easily be Lukasz Fabianski.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Jefferson Montero had a great chance before half time but after patient build up play he slammed an effort into the side-netting at the near post.

In first half stoppage time Kyle Naughton slotted in an inch-perfect pass to Gomis and the Frenchman made it three goals in three games with a fine finish into the far corner. Cue the wild panther celebration. 1-0 to Swansea.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

In the second half Sunderland improved and new signing Jeremain Lens had a goal disallowed for being offside. Swansea regained dominance soon after as Andre Ayew headed Jonjo Shelvey’s cross onto the bar and the Ghanaian forward headed wide soon after as Sunderland’s defense continued to struggle.

[ MORE: Click here for full lineups, stats, box score

With 25 minutes to go the Black Cats were level as Defoe got free in the box and slotted home with ease. 1-1. Game on at the Stadium of Light. Gomis went so close to giving Swansea the lead as Costel Pantilimon saved superbly at point-blank range. Soon after Gylfi Sigurdsson sent a shot just over the bar as Swansea pushed to go ahead once again but in the end had to settle for a point.

Watch Live: Sunderland vs. Swansea City (Lineups and Live Stream)

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Bottom of the table Sunderland welcome Swansea City to the Stadium of Light on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via Live Extra) with the home side under plenty of pressure.

Dick Advocaat’s men have lost both of their opening games, conceding seven times, and are being written off as the early season favorites for relegation.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA EXTRA

The opposite can be said for Swansea, who are unbeaten after two games and Garry Monk’s side once again look steady at the back and dangerous in attack.

In team news Sunderland make three changes as John O’Shea, Jack Rodwell and Danny Graham come in. As for Swansea, they are unchanged from the team who beat Newcastle United last weekend.

LINEUPS

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Coates, Cattermole, Rodwell, M’Vila, Lens, Defoe, Graham. Subs: Brown, Larsson, Matthews, Giaccherini, Fletcher, Watmore, Mannone.

Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Williams, Taylor, Cork, Shelvey, Sigurdsson, Montero, Ayew, Gomis. Subs: Nordfeldt, Rangel, Bartley, Britton, Dyer, Routledge, Eder

Premier League Preview: Chelsea vs. Sunderland

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• Victory on Sunday would be the Black Cats’ third in five Premier League games at Stamford Bridge.

• If Chelsea fail to win they will be only the second champions in the last 12 seasons to end with fewer than 86 points. Manchester United took the title with 80 points in 2011.

• The Black Cats have won just one of their 13 previous games on the final day of a Premier League season. (BBC Sport)

On Sunday, when Chelsea and Sunderland face off to conclude each’s 2014-15 Premier League season, neither squad will have much to worry about.

The last meeting between these outfits ended in a 0-0 draw back in November, Sunderland’s “parked bus” tactic working at its finest.

The Blues clinched the Premier League title weeks ago—on May 3—with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. Since then, manager Jose Mourinho has noticed a small patch of inconsistency, as his side drew Liverpool at Stamford Bridge and lost 3-0 to mid-table dweller West Brom.

[RELATED: Premier League table | Stat leaders | Highlights ]

But aside from the latest problems, Chelsea has been at the pinnacle of English soccer for the majority of the season, and Mourinho and Co. continue to add awards to their trophy case marking the overall triumph of the past nine months.

Meanwhile, for Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat, avoiding demotion to the Championship became his main priority after the club sacked Gus Poyet in the middle of March. At that point, the Black Cats were just one point above the relegation zone and had lost to Aston Villa, 4-0, on home ground.

[RELATED: Behind the scenes at Stoke City with USMNT defender Geoff Cameron]

Advocaat was brought in to salvage what little positive action could be mustered late in the year, following weeks of disappointment for a side that should’ve never dwelled near the bottom-three for so long.

Sunderland’s draw to Arsenal last week ensured a five-game unbeaten run, an extension offer to the Dutch boss, and most importantly, survival.

Catch the action this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN, or online through Live Extra.

What they’re saying

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho reflects on personal attitude throughout season (ESPN FC): “I’m not the kind of person to regret. What you did, you did. What happened, happened. You cannot change things. Time does not go back…We had lots of mistakes against us, that’s the reality, but that’s football. Maybe ‘campaign’ is not a nice word. Maybe I would take that word out from my explanation and my comments, but that’s the reality.”

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher on Advocaat staying on as manager (The Guardian): “It’s been a remarkable turnaround since Dick came in,” said the Sunderland striker. He’s been great. He got his style of play in place and across to us straight away and it’s reflected in the points we’ve put on the board….He’s only been here for a couple of months but you could see what survival meant to him. He’s a very passionate man. We see it in training every day.”

Match injuries/absences

Most notably, Chelsea will not have Eden Hazard on the pitch due to his recovery from wisdom teeth surgery, while Cesc Fabregas will serve his one-game ban originating from a red card against West Brom.

Young center back Kurt Zouma, Ramires, Petr Cech and Oscar are all not ready to play because of injury.

Black Cats midfielder Sebastian Larsson has recovered from a mid-week problem and should appear for Sunderland. Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon is out with a knee condition. Other Sunderland players sidelined with injury: Wes Brown, Jordi Gomez, Liam Bridcutt and Danny Graham.

Prediction

Being a game that has little significance besides entertainment value, the result will hinge on the amount of effort players on both sides are willing to put forth. Chelsea 3-2 Sunderland.

Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland: Black Cats clinch Premier League safety

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Arsenal may have dominated nearly every statistic in the match, but Sunderland was able to grind out a 0-0 draw at the Emirates.

The point guarantees Sunderland will play in the Premier League next season, leaving Hull City and Newcastle the only two teams still in danger of relegation.

[ RELATED: Latest Premier League standings ]

Dick Advocaat was appointed manager of Sunderland in March, and his passion for the club was seen as the Dutchman was in tears as they applauded the traveling supporters after the match.

Arsenal dominated the opening 45 minutes, controlling possession in Sunderland’s end for nearly the entire first half. Jack Wilshere replaced Francis Coquelin in Arsene Wenger’s starting lineup for his first start since November, and the English international was immediately involved in the attack.

Wilshere and Santi Cazorla controlled the midfield and tried to get the ball to Olivier Giroud up top, but despite the lopsided possession, Arsenal didn’t manage to put any solid scoring chances on target. At times Sunderland dropped nine men into the box to defend, leaving Danny Graham as the Black Cats’ lone attacking option. It took Sunderland 42 minutes to get an attempt on goal as Adam Johnson’s shot sailed over the crossbar.

Dick Advocaat made a double-switch at halftime, bringing on Steven Fletcher and Jack Rodwell to try and garner some sort of attack in the second half. In his first minutes on the pitch, Fletcher got Sunderland’s first shot on target of the match.

After a subdued start to the half from Arsenal, the Gunners got back on track and nearly took the lead in the 55th minute. Hector Bellerin’s cross found Olivier Giroud, whose clever flick was just palmed away by the Premier League’s tallest player Costel Pantilimon.

[ RELATED: Sunderland’s Danny Graham helps pay for surgery for fifth-tier player ]

Theo Walcott replaced Jack Wilshere to make his 300th appearance for Arsenal, as Wilshere hasn’t played a full 90 minutes in over 15 months.

With Sunderland fighting to keep the match level, the Black Cats got a bit of luck as Aaron Ramsey’s cross deflected off defender Billy Jones, only to be saved by the crossbar as Pantilimon could only look on.

In the end, the Black Cats weathered the storm and will back in the Barclays Premier League come August.

LINEUPS

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere (Walcott, 67′), Ozil (Rosicky, 81′), Alexis, Giroud

Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Coates, Cattermole, Larsson, Johnson (Buckley, 75′), Graham (Fletcher, 46′), Defoe, Wickham (Rodwell, 46′)