Euro qualifying wrap: Estonia, England surprise; Spain, Russia cruise

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It says something that the biggest surprise of the second day of Euro 2016 qualifying involved England winning, but it’s hard to argue any other scoreline raised more eyebrows than this one:

Switzerland 0-2 England.

Yes, England went into the home of their biggest rival for Group E supremacy and taught a class in defense before Danny Welbeck’s brace gave Three Lions driver’s seat privileges for the rest of qualifying.

[ RELATED: Euro 2016 qualifying preview ]

What else went down on Monday? Glad you asked, but suffice it to say Montenegro (pictured) did well.

GROUP C

Spain 5-1 Macedonia
If Spain is about to fall into the international abyss, it sure didn’t happen on Monday. Sure, they conceded a penalty in the 28th minute, but were already up 2-0 before conceding. Sergio Ramos, David Silva, Paco Alcacer, Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodriguez all scored for the hosts.

Ukraine 0-1 Slovakia
The only marker of the match came in the 17th minute, when 23-year-old PAOK midfielder Robert Mak netted his fourth career international goal. Ukraine will be fuming after failing to pick up a point at home in an important match.

Luxembourg 1-1 Belarus
The visitors needed a 78th minute goal from Stansilav Dragun to earn a point against plucky Luxembourg, who jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a Lars Gerson (Norrkoping) goal just before half.

GROUP E

Switzerland 0-2 England
Wrote plenty on this in the linked story, but it can’t be understated how well Gary Cahill continues to perform in the center back role. He was one of England’s only effective players at World Cup and is truly understated (even at Chelsea, paired with John Terry).

Estonia 1-0 Slovenia
If England’s win wasn’t the surprise of the day, it was Estonia doing in Slovenia behind Ats Purje’s 87th minute winner. A regular scorer in Finland’s top-flight, Purje netted just his fifth in 45 matches for his nation.

San Marino 0-2 Lithuania
“We prepared very well for this game but we failed in our first target: staying on level terms for as long as possible,” said San Marino head coach Pierangelo Manzaroli of his side’s first ever Euro qualifier.

He wasn’t kidding, as San Marino conceded inside of five minutes. Lithuania fans would have wanted this to be a little easier, but their side did have the game well in hand by the 36th minute. That’s when Arvydas Novikovas made it 2-0.

GROUP G

Russia 4-0 Liechtenstein
With a pair of own goals joining a penalty as three of Russia’s tallies, it was Artyom Dzyuba’s first international goal that stands out in an easy win that could’ve been even wider.

Austria 1-1 Sweden
David Alaba scored in the 7th minute, only to see Erkan Zengin equalize for the visitors five minutes later. Both sides will be pleased enough to snare a point in their debut matches. Well, Zlatan Ibrahimovic probably won’t be, as he did not score. Drawing in Austria and not scoring is not daring to Zlatan.

Montenegro 2-0 Moldova
The Brave Falcons triumphed at home despite not having Stevan Jovetic. With 57 percent possession and a 14-5 edge in shots attempted, Montenegro deserved the points.

TOMORROW
Group A: Latvia at Kazakhstan, Turkey at Iceland, Netherlands at Czech Republic
Group B: Wales at Andorra, Cyprus at Bosnia-Herzegovina, Belgium at Israel
Group H: Bulgaria at Azerbaijan, Malta at Croatia, Italy at Norway

Arsenal moves past Bournemouth to reach FA Cup fifth round

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Bukayo Saka had a goal and an assist as Arsenal beat Bournemouth 2-1 in FA Cup fourth round action on Monday.

The result seals another trip to the South Coast, as the Gunners will visit Portsmouth in the fifth round.

Saka and Eddie Nketiah were the goal scorers as Arsenal did the job without Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and David Luiz in the Starting XI.

Sam Surrridge scored for Bournemouth in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time. That gave a tension to the other four minutes of stoppage which did not exist in the rest of the match.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Saka drifted into the 18 to wallop a Gabriel Martinelli layoff into the upper reaches of the goal, the ball zipping from post-to-post with fury.

The 18-year-old Saka picked up an assist on Arsenal’s second goal, his cross seeing its way to Nketiah for a straight-forward finish in the heart of the 18.

Saka now has three goals and six assists in 23 appearances for Arsenal this season.

It wasn’t strictly positives for the Gunners, as Shkrodan Mustafi was stretchered off with an injury in the 62nd minute.

Bournemouth got one back when Simon Francis‘ cross was dummied by Dan Gosling, Surridge using a clever touch to set up his shot past Emiliano Martinez.

It’s Surridge’s first senior goal for Bournemouth, though the 21-year-old has managed 29 goals between Yeovil Town, Swansea City, and Oldham Athletic.

Ten possible transfers to monitor this week

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It’s been an active-enough transfer window from a wide perspective. Manchester United, Chelsea, and fans of other contenders may still be waiting for their breakthrough, but there’s been a lot to see world wide.

[ MORE: Deadline Day needs ]

Erling Haaland has a new home, and his housewarming party has been spectacular. Javier Hernandez headed from Sevilla to Major League Soccer.

Takumi Minamino joined Liverpool from Salzburg, and Gedson Fernandes found a home at Tottenham.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

So what’s still (possibly) to come before the transfer window slams shut at 6 p.m. ET Friday?

Aaron Long from New York Red Bulls to West HamA loan-to-buy bid’s been rejected, but could David Moyes skip the trial period. USMNT center back Long wants to go the Premier League, and RBNY are not in the CONCACAF Champions League so there’s time to replace him.

Antonee Robinson from Wigan Athletic to AC Milan — Speaking of USMNT-related transfers, could-be left back of the future has become a fixture at the DW Stadium but reports of his replacing Ricardo Rodriguez at Milan are many.

Paco Alcacer from Borussia Dortmund to Newcastle — The Magpies need another striker with Joelinton struggling to find form, and the BVB man is open to leaving on account of Haaland’s arrival.

Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United — A difference of $12 million seems likely to be made up by Friday.

Moussa Dembele from Lyon to Chelsea — He’s thrived at Fulham in the Championship, Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, and Lyon in Ligue 1, so the Premier League may finally get to see a mature Dembele. He made two appearances for Fulham in 2013/14.

Mykola Matviyenko from Shakhtar Donetsk to Arsenal — Twenty-two years old with 26 caps for Ukraine, reports of a try-it-before-you-buy-it with the Gunners seem very friendly to Arsenal.

Boubakary Soumare from Lille to Chelsea or Manchester United — Sixty-six senior appearances for a Ligue 1 side at age 20 is an eye-popper, and Soumare’s ceiling as a defensive midfielder is high.

Edinson Cavani from Paris Saint-Gerrmain to Atletico Madrid or Chelsea — The reports have all said Atleti is the front-runner, but the longer is takes the more you wonder…

Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli to Manchester United — Not in January with Napoli a month away from Barcelona in the UCL, right? Right?

Gareth Bale,  Krzysztof Piatek, Willian Jose, Mario Gotze, Steven Bergwijn, Alcacer, pretty much forward to Spurs — Self-explanatory. Spurs are transfer rumor bait as much as anyone not called Manchester United thanks to the injury to Harry Kane and the clear need for refreshment.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

FA Cup fifth round draw

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The draw for the FA Cup fifth round has been made and a potential clash between Chelsea and Liverpool has been set up.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

If Liverpool’s youngsters (sans Jurgen Klopp and their first team) get past third-tier Shrewsbury Town in their fourth round replay they will travel to Chelsea, while holders Man City will travel to second tier Sheffield Wednesday.

Man United will travel to either Northampton Town or Derby County as they could face former United legend Wayne Rooney, while Portsmouth (the lowest ranked team left in the competition) will host either Bournemouth or Arsenal.

Southampton or Tottenham will host Norwich City in the only guaranteed all-Premier League last 16 clash.

To help ease fixture congestion for Premier League clubs and due to their week off for a mid-season player break (even if if didn’t work out like that for Liverpool, Tottenham, Southampton and Newcastle United due to fourth round replays) the fifth round will be played across three midweek evenings on Mar. 3-5.

There will also be no replays from the fifth round onwards in the FA Cup, as the games will go to extra time and penalty kicks, if needed, if the scores are level.

Below is the draw in full for the fifth round.


Sheffield Wednesday v. Manchester City
Reading or Cardiff City v. Sheffield United
Chelsea v. Shrewsbury Town or Liverpool
West Bromwich Albion v. Newcastle United or Oxford United
Leicester City v. Coventry City or Birmingham City
Northampton Town or Derby County v. Manchester United
Southampton or Tottenham Hotspur v. Norwich City
Portsmouth v. Bournemouth or Arsenal

LIVE, FA Cup: Bournemouth v. Arsenal

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Bournemouth host Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round on Monday (kick off, 3 p.m. ET) as the Cherries and Gunners will both fancy their chances of a lengthy cup run.

[ LIVE: Follow Bournemouth-Arsenal ]

In all honesty, both Eddie Howe and Mikel Arteta could do without this game as they aim to improve their position in the Premier League table.

Bournemouth picked up a vital win against Brighton last time out to push themselves out of the bottom three, while Arsenal picked up a morale-boosting draw at Chelsea after playing for over an hour with 10 men.

Howe and Arteta will acknowledge that their main aim is to stay in the Premier League and finish in the top four respectively but both will be extremely tough in the final months of the season.

It is always tough to strike the balance about how serious to take the FA Cup for teams in tough situations in the PL but more often than not the competition is a bit of a distraction for players as league form goes out of the window.

Arteta’s first game in charge of Arsenal was a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth in December and this will be a tight, tough game down in the wind and rain on the England’s south coast.

Success in cup competitions will likely save Arsenal’s dismal season as Arteta’s banged up side have shown plenty of hunger in recent weeks and an FA Cup and Europa League double would certainly salvage plenty of pride from the 2019-20 campaign.

That said, there is still a long, long way to go for Arsenal.

Click on the link above to follow the action as it happens, while we have you covered right here on Pro Soccer Talk with the reaction and analysis on the final game of the fourth round.