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FA Cup: Chelsea, Swansea into 4th rd; B’mouth ousted by Wigan

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Two more Premier League sides booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup, courtesy of third-round replays, on Wednesday, bringing the PL’s total representation to 14 clubs…

[ MORE: Tuesday’s 3rd-round replay roundup ]

Chelsea 1-1 (5-3 PKs) Norwich City

Chelsea’s scoreless streak — for both themselves and opponents (three straight 0-0 draws across all competitions) — came to a merciful end on Wednesday, but not before surpassing the 300-minute mark. Michy Batshuayi — who, it must be said, struggled mightily in making just his third start (all in cup competitions) since mid-October — broke yet another scoreless deadlock in the 55th minute, ending the Blues’ scoreless run at 331 minutes.

With barely 30 seconds remaining in second-half stoppage time, 19-year-old left back Jamal Lewis brought the Canaries level with a thunderous header off the post.

Extra-time saw Chelsea reduced to 10, and then nine, men. Pedro was booked for diving just after the hour mark, and the Spaniard earned a second yellow card for a wild challenge in the 117th minute. Four minutes later, in second-half extra-time stoppage time, Alvaro Morata was booked for diving and proceeded to shout and gesticulate in the referee’s face. A second yellow was shown immediately.

Willy Caballero denied Nelson Oliveira on Norwich’s first attempt of the ensuing penalty shootout, giving the Blues the only cushion they’d need as Willian, David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta, N'Golo Kante and Eden Hazard all converted.

Chelsea will host Newcastle United in the fourth round on Sunday, Jan. 28.

[ MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup | Tuesday | Friday ]

Swansea City 2-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Swansea faced the greatest threat of a Cupset on Wednesday but managed to come out on top, knocking off runaway Championship leaders and champions-elect Wolves. The Swans went ahead through Jordan Ayew in the 11th minute before the prolific Diogo Jota, who’ll be in the PL one way or another next season, brought Wolves back to 1-1 in the 66th. Three minutes later, Wilfried Bony bagged the winner to see Carlos Carvalhal’s side through to the next round.

Swansea will visit League Two side Notts County, who knocked off Championship playoff hopefuls Brentford in the third round, on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Wigan Athletic 3-0 Bournemouth

Bournemouth sat 32 places above Wigan in the English football pyramid when Wednesday’s replay kicked off, and it matter not a single iota, as Paul Cook’s side hammered the Cherries at the DW Stadium. Sam Morsy, Dan Burn and Callum Elder bagged the goals for the League One leaders (three points clear after 26 of 46 rounds played). Wigan have alternated each of the last four seasons, finishing 23rd in the Championship and leading/winning League One. It’s been five years since the Latics were relegated from the PL, in the 2012-13 season.

Wigan will host West Ham United in the fourth round on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Norwich confirms Alex Neil sacking as club continues slide

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With the team’s hopes of promotion likely over, Norwich City has opted to move on from its current manager.

[ MORE: Celtic’s Dembele hoping to get France call up soon ]

The club announced on Friday that manager Alex Neil has been sacked after Norwich slipped to eighth place in the SkyBet Championship as of late.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 28 ]

“Norwich City can confirm manager Alex Neil’s contract has been terminated with immediate effect,” a club statement read.

“The board has taken the tough but unanimous decision, believing it is in the best interests of the club for a new manager to be in place through a crucial summer transfer window and into next season.”

Norwich looked poised to at least qualify for the league’s promotion playoff several weeks back, but the Canaries have since gone winless in six of its last seven matches in the Championship. The club’s last win came nearly a month ago when Norwich knocked off Nottingham Forest, 5-1, at Carrow Road.

Neil, 35, had managed Norwich since 2015, winning 45 matches in charge of the club. Norwich assistant Alan Irvine will take over the club’s managerial duties in Neil’s absence, with Irvine’s last head coaching position coming in 2014 with West Bromwich Albion.

Irvine lasted under six months with the Baggies after winning five of his opening 22 matches at The Hawthorns.

The Canaries currently sit nine points behind sixth place Sheffield Wednesday, who holds the final spot for this season’s promotion playoff.

Championship focus: Brighton go unbeaten in four, Burton upsets Norwich

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The race for the top six in England’s Championship continues to captivate as the regular season hits the home stretch.

[ MORE: FA Cup roundup: Man City toothless vs. Huddersfield and more ]

Barnsley 0-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

The league leaders continue to boost themselves toward promotion after extending their unbeaten streak to four matches on Saturday behind a brace from Sam Baldock. The Brighton striker netted twice after the halftime break to give his side the temporary lead at the top of the Championship, two points ahead of Newcastle. Meanwhile, Barnsley fall nine points out of the coveted sixth position in the promotion playoff following the team’s defeat.

Burton Albion 2-1 Norwich City

Michael Kightly netted in the second half to help 20th place Burton knock off Norwich on Saturday at the Pirelli Stadium. Cauley Woodrow moved Burton ahead after 25 minutes before Cameron Jerome controversially equalized seven minutes into the second stanza. The loss for Norwich moves the Canaries seven points out of sixth place, while Burton now has a bit of breathing room above the relegation zone with a four-point cushion.

Nottingham Forest 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday

Almen Abdi and Fernando Forestieri gave Wednesday a 2-0 advantage early into the second half, and while Nottingham did manage to pull one back it wasn’t enough to upset sixth-place side. Ross McCormack could have put the hosts ahead in the 27th minute when the Forest man missed a penalty kick and Abdi went down to the other end and put Wednesday in front.

Elsewhere around the Championship

Wigan 0-0 Preston North End
Ipswich Town 1-1 Leeds
Birmingham City 1-4 Queens Park Rangers
Cardiff City 5-0 Rotherham United

Burnley signs Robbie Brady from Norwich for club record fee

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Burnley has signed left-sided player Robbie Brady from Norwich City for a club record fee.’

The money, believed to be around $12 million, sends the ex-Hull City man to Turf Moor to aid in Burnley’s top-half push.

Brady plays left mid primarily, but can also handle left back.

[ MORE: Watford sells Ighalo to China ]

A former Manchester United Academy prospect who managed a lone League Cup appearance for the Red Devils, Brady has six goals and five assists in 79 Premier League appearances.

He’s been deadly in the Championship, though, particularly in service. He has 11 goals and 20 assists.

Brady has 31 caps and 7 goals for Ireland.

Swansea City on verge of landing Dutch, Swedish national teamers

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If Paul Clement and Swansea City go down, it will not be without bringing in more talent for the fight.

The Premier League’s relegation strugglers, who fired Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley between the summer and January transfer windows, appear close to adding an exciting attacking talent.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Wales Online has the report that Swansea will purchase PSV Eindhoven winger Luciano Narsingh for a cut-rate price of around $5 million.  The same outlet quotes same price for Norwich City back Martin Olsson, who has almost 150 Premier League appearances with the Canaries and Blackburn.

Narsingh, 26, has 16 caps and four goals for the Netherlands, and has been an effective contributor to PSV since arriving from Heerenveen in 2012.

Swansea needs backs more than anything, so the Olsson signing feels more pressing, but someone to take the pressure off Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente is a big step for the Welsh side. We’re sure Bradley and Guidolin are envious of the addition, but both are still minor purchase (in terms of price, not value). Let’s see who else arrives at Swansea, but this is promising.

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