Gareth Barry lured to Everton by Roberto Martinez and regular football

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Gareth Barry has revealed that he was ‘desperate’ to join Everton following what appeared to be an undesirable situation at Manchester City.

Barry’s delight at joining the Toffees comes down to three things: the chance to play regular football, Roberto Martinez and the Goodison Park faithful.

A regular in Roberto Mancini’s midfield and a key component of the squad that won the 2012 Premier League title, Barry’s hopes of regular football in the 2013-14 season took a hit when new City boss Manuel Pellegrini arrived at the Eithad. Spending big on Fernandinho was a massive blow to Barry’s potential minutes and the presence of Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell didn’t help the situation.

The writing was on the wall and credit to Barry, he acknowledged it and did something. “I was obviously desperate in the end to join Everton,” he said Tuesday. A major motivating factor for the 32 year old was to join up with Toffee’s manager forces with Martinez.

“The way I’ve seen his teams play over the years as soon as he got his first management job in English football he’s always tried to play the right style of football,” Barry admitted. “When I’ve played against his teams it’s always been interesting to see what formations he’s played. He’s made it difficult for the teams playing against him and the way he had plans to fit me into the squad was very encouraging – the manager had a big part to play.”

Barry will challenge for a starting spot in the Toffees midfield. Under the 4-2-3-1 formation that Martinez has employed over the last two matches, Marouane Fellaini and Leon Osman were deployed in the holding midfield roles. With Fellaini gone and Darron Gibson sidelined with injury, competition to fill the available spot will come down to Barry and Everton’s other midfield coup, Republic of Ireland international James McCarthy.

A former Wigan player, it appears McCarthy may have the advantage in taking that spot. But Osman, who enjoyed his finest professional season ever last year, has looked a full step off the pace of late. That dip in form could convince Martinez to use Barry and McCarthy together, although such a move would seem more appropriate after the duo have played together for at least a few weeks.

In all likelihood it will be McCarthy or Barry alongside Osman, with the odd man out coming on as a substitute. When Gibson returns to form competition will ramp up even higher but at full tilt Barry arguably remains the most developed and well rounded of the four.

The Bluenoses were another reason for Barry’s decision. “I’ve enjoyed coming to Goodison Park and playing in great atmospheres. The fans here are fantastic and they always make it tough for opposing teams so it will be great to be playing on their side.”

Barry has two weeks to get accustomed to things at Everton. The Toffees next match is a home fixture against Chelsea on Saturday, September 14th.

Bilbao’s Williams: ‘I suffered racist insults’ at Espanyol

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams says that he was a victim of racial abuse from fans while playing at Espanyol in a Spanish league game on Saturday.

Williams said after the 1-1 draw that “I suffered racist insults, something that no one wants to hear and has no place here.”

Williams, who is black, played 82 minutes of the match before being substituted.

“People should come to enjoy themselves, to help their team. This is a sport about friendship,” Williams said.

More AP soccer https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

FA Cup: Chelsea survive trip to Hull, advance to 5th round (video)

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With their 2-1 victory away to EFL Championship side Hull City, Chelsea joined Leicester City, Sheffield United and Norwich City as Premier League sides to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

[ FA CUP ROUNDUP: West Ham bounced; Sheff Utd, Norwich advance ]

Frank Lampard‘s side got off to a flying start courtesy of Michy Batshuayi‘s deflected finish in the 6th minute, and the Blues were well on their way to a first half of total dominance.

Hull looked more prepared for a fight after halftime, but it mattered very little after Fikayo Tomori was gifted a free header two yards off the goal line. Ross Barkley‘s free kick was well placed at the back post and there was nothing that anyone could do to stop it.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Hull pulled the game back to 2-1 in the 78th minute, and they were more than a little fortunate in how they managed to do so. Kamil Grosicki smacked a free kick with plenty of power and got the deflection of all deflections to wrong-foot Willy Caballero and find the back of the net.

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

FA Cup roundup: West Ham bounced; Sheff Utd, Norwich advance (video)

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round (early) action…

[ MORE: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay ]

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

West Ham United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

West Ham were the lone Premier League side to be knocked out by a lower-division side on Saturday, as David Moyes‘ side failed to find the back of the net and were beaten 1-0 by EFL Championship leaders West Brom.

Conor Townsend scored the game’s only goal in the 9th minute, and though the Hammers controlled possession the rest of the way, they created very little in terms of scoring chances and finished the game with just three shots on target. West Brom finished the game with 10 men, but West Ham could do nothing with their 18-minute advantage following Semi Ajayi‘s second yellow card in the 72nd minute.

Millwall 0-2 Sheffield United

Sheffield United’s dream season continued with a comfortable 2-0 victory away to Championship side Millwall. Both goals came inside the final half-hour, but the Blades were unquestionably the better side even before breaking the deadlock.

That came in the 62nd minute, when Muhamed Besic placed a stunning curler inside the far post for 1-0. Not long before full-time, in the 84th, Oliver Norwood drove his effort hard and low and into the corner to make it 2-0.

Burnley 1-2 Norwich City

Norwich and Burnley were largely inseparable for the majority of Saturday’s clash at Turf Moor, save for a four-minute period early in the second half in which Norwich scored twice and booked their place in the fifth round.

Grant Hanley made it 1-0 in the 53rd and Josip Drmic added to the advantage in the 57th minute. Erik Pieters pulled Burnley back to within a goal in the 73rd, but that’s as close as the Clarets would get.

FA Cup fourth-round scoreboard

Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur — FULL RECAP
Newcastle United 0-0 Oxford United
Portsmouth 4-2 Barnsley
Coventry City 0-0 Birmingham City
Reading 1-1 Cardiff City

RB Leipzig beaten, Bundesliga title race thrown wide open

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BERLIN (AP) Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Bundesliga leader RB Leipzig 2-0 to throw the title race wide open on Saturday.

[ MORE: Report: Spurs, Inter close to deal for Christian Eriksen ]

Frankfurt defender Almamy Toure scored a brilliant goal just after the break and Filip Kostic sealed the win in injury time to deal Leipzig its first defeat since a 2-1 loss at home to Freiburg in October.

Borussia Monchengladbach cut the gap at the top to two points with a 3-1 win at home over Mainz, thanks largely to goals in each half from French striker Alassane Plea.

Bayern Munich has the chance to cut the gap to one point with a win at home over Schalke in the late game.

[ FA CUP: Saints hit Spurs late to force 4th-round replay ]

Borussia Dortmund is just four points off the top after its 5-1 win over Cologne on Friday.

Also Saturday, Union Berlin defeated Augsburg 2-0 at home, Hertha Berlin came from behind to win 2-1 at Wolfsburg, and Paderborn moved off the bottom with a 2-0 win at Freiburg.