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FA Cup recap: Arsenal, Man City cruise; Four PL clubs bounced; Almost for Eastleigh

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There were scares a-plenty for Premier League clubs in Saturday’s third round of the FA Cup, though all actual ousters came at the hands of fellow top-flight clubs.

After Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers set the stage for the 10 a.m. ET matches by drawing Liverpool and Aston Villa, a wild slate of 22 matches kicked off.

[ VIDEO: Micah Richards argues with pitchside Villa fans ].

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 09: Jonathan Kodjia (2nd R) of Bristol City scores his team's first goal during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City at The Hawthorns on January 9, 2016 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Jonathan Kodjia (2nd R) of Bristol City scores his team’s first goal (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

West Bromwich Albion were seconds away from being upset by Bristol City, but James Morrison scored in the fourth minute of stoppage to make it 2-2 and force a replay.

Manchester United needed every single minute at Old Trafford to knock off a game Sheffield United side, as Memphis Depay won a late PK and Wayne Rooney converted it to push a sad-looking Red Devils side past the Blades.

West Ham United also scored late, with Nikica Jelavic finishing a chance in the 85th minute to push the Irons past Wolverhampton.

Stoke City got an early scare from hosts Doncaster Rovers, but won 2-1. Bournemouth had a similar situation before topping Birmingham City 2-1.

Arsenal’s quest to threepeat improved as they beat Sunderland 3-1, with USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin playing right back for the Black Cats in a game that was 1-1 at the break. Everton handled Dagenham & Redbridge 2-0.

[ MORE: Four players join USMNT camp ]

Wasteful Newcastle gave precious few chances to Watford, but allowed one past Rob Elliot, as Troy Deeney boosted the Hornets into the fourth round with a 1-0 home win.

In another All-PL tie, Crystal Palace overcame blowing a lead to beat Southampton 2-1 at St. Mary’s.

Manchester City cruised past Norwich City, with Sergio Aguero netting off a fun dribble well inside the 18 and Kelechi Iheanacho making it 2-0 before halftime. Kevin De Bruyne rounded out the scoring at 3-0.

The only non-league side, Eastleigh United, came within a whisper of the fourth round after an own goal from Bolton’s Dorian Dervite. The horrific home pitch didn’t help either side, but the visitors found a late equalizer from Darren Pratley off a scrum in the box to force a replay.

Nearly correct, JPW. Nearly correct!

EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE - JANUARY 09: Ben Amos of Bolton Wanderers fails to stop the Eastleigh's first goal scored by Dorian Dervite (L) of Bolton Wanderers during the Emirates FA Cup third round match between Eastleigh and Bolton Wanderers at Silverlake Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Eastleigh, Hampshire. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE – JANUARY 09: Ben Amos of Bolton Wanderers fails to prevent an own goal (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images).

Full schedule
Exeter City 2-2 Liverpool
Wycombe Wanderers 1-1 Aston Villa
Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland
Birmingham City 1-2 Bournemouth
Brentford 0-1 Walsall
Bury 0-0 Bradford
Colchester United 2-1 Charlton Athletic
Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Stoke City
Eastleigh 1-1 Bolton
Everton 2-0 Dagenham & Redbridge
Hartlepool United 1-2 Derby County
Huddersfield Town 2-2 Reading
Hull City 1-0 Brighton and Hove Albion
Leeds United 2-0 Rotherham United
Middlesbrough 1-2 Burnley
Newport – Blackburn — Postponed (waterlogged pitch)
Northampton 2-2 MK Dons
Norwich City 0-3 Manchester City
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
Peterborough 2-0 Preston North End
Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Fulham
Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
Watford 1-0 Newcastle United
West Ham United 0-0 Wolverhampton
Manchester United 1-0 Sheffield United
Oxford United vs. Swansea City – 7 a.m. ET Sunday
Carlisle vs. Yeovil Town — 9 a.m. ET Sunday
Chelsea vs. Scunthorpe United — 9 a.m. ET Sunday
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City — 11 a.m. ET Sunday
Cardiff City vs. Shrewsbury Town — 1 p.m. Et Sunday

Manchester United: Solskjaer hopeful of new Paul Pogba contract

Paul Pogba contract
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is singing a new tune, hopeful that star midfielder Paul Pogba will stick around Old Trafford for the long term.

Reports say that United has an option to extend Pogba’s contract by an extra year beyond its 2021 expiry, but Solskjaer is thinking bigger. He has been praising Pogba plenty since the World Cup winner returned to the lineup.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

It’s a bit surprising given Pogba and his super agent’s constant time in the rumor mill, with Real Madrid often linked with the Frenchman. And that agent, Mino Raiola, has not been so nice when it comes to judging Solskjaer.

But Solskjaer is reportedly hopeful that Pogba can join Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and others in building a new power.

“I can’t comment on discussions between player and the club but. of course, we want to keep the best players around the club,” Solskjaer said. “We want to build a squad for the future and Scott and Nemanja are a similar position but at different stages in their careers. One at the start, one really experienced one.”

Pogba leads United in key passes per game with 2.3, though his minutes have been severely limited by injuries this season. He had 13 goals and nine assists last season, and turned 27 in March.

The way United’s performed in recent weeks it would not be a surprise if keeping its main talents while adding another stalwart center back and wing would propel it into a more serious table discussion.

Do you buy the idea that Pogba could be with United well into the future?

Suarez goal gives Barcelona win, relegates neighbors Espanyol

Espanyol relegated
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Seventh-place one season ago, La Liga mainstays Espanyol are being relegated from Spain’s top flight.

The final decision came at the hands of their Catalan neighbors Barcelona, who got a second-half goal from Luis Suarez to relegate Espanyol.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Espanyol are 11 points back of 17th place and can only capture nine more points this season following the 1-0 loss in a match where both teams had a player sent off.

Suarez’s goal was a nice one after Antoine Griezmann’s back heel pass to Lionel Messi saw the Argentine’s shot deflect onto the path of the Uruguayan finisher.

Espanyol had been in the top flight since 1994 and has only spent four single seasons outside La Liga since 1929. Leganes and Mallorca may join them soon.

Barcelona moves a point back of Real Madrid. Real has four matches left to Barca’s three and holds the tiebreaker.

Klopp reacts to Liverpool wins, says Henderson injury ‘not nothing’

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Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion was a bit more what we’re used to from the Premier League champions.

But that wasn’t the focus of the post-match despite a highlight-reel show from Mohamed Salah, as Reds boss Jurgen Klopp sounded an ominous note when asked about Jordan Henderson leaving the match with injury.

“I don’t know exactly but it was something with the knee I think. We know it’s not nothing.”

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Henderson’s not exactly a player to hit the deck unless he’s feeling pain, and Klopp removed him for James Milner with 10 minutes to play.

That’s about the only bad news from the win, as Liverpool became the first team this season to breach the 90-point mark and saw Salah’s brace move him within three goals of the Golden Boot lead.

Salah would only say, “Let’s take it game-by-game,” but it’s clearly on his mind.

Trent Alexander-Arnold says the Egyptian is hungry to get a share of a third-straight Golden Boot.

From the BBC:

“He has his targets, he’s around the Golden Boot and it’s something he wants to retain,” Alexander-Arnold said. “He’s a world class player who scores so many goals for us and we try to get him on the board as much as possible.”

As for the match, Brighton almost as missed some big chances as Liverpool before the game was out of reach. Klopp admits that it was a challenge.

“We started really well,” Klopp said. “We had to adapt a little bit as we knew what they wanted to do but it was a little bit hard to defend. We left one or two players in a position where if we won the ball we had players in the counter-attack position. We got the first two goals with super balls but we could have scored more. I said to the boys at half-time they could have been 2-2 too. It was a nice game to watch.”

The Reds finish with Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.

Liverpool march continues with 3-1 win at Brighton

Brighton - Liverpool recap
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Mohamed Salah had two goals and an assist in the first eight minutes of Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday.

Salah is now three goals behind league leader Jamie Vardy, and Liverpool’s 92 points are 23 more than Man City. Jordan Henderson also scored for the Reds.

BRIGHTON – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Leandro Trossard scored for Brighton, whose 36 points are nine clear of the bottom three with four matches to play (The 18th and 19th place sides do have a match each in hand).

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Liverpool’s 30 wins through 34 outings is a Premier League record and Jurgen Klopp’s men are chasing several PL records. The Reds finish with Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.


Three things we learned

1. Salah somehow under the radar: Look, the Egyptian star’s 32-goal league season was an outlier. Not a lot of guys consistently hit 25, let alone the 30 mark in the Premier League. But Salah has rather quietly put together another amazing season with 19 goals and nine assists in PL play plus another four and three in cup competitions. Salah is one assist of joining the a small group of players to get double digit league goals and assists in a top five European league this season.

While it’s become sexy to praise Sadio Mane as the Reds’ top winger, Salah has been just as good. He could’ve had another goal in the 53rd but Mat Ryan made a fine intervention at close range. If Salah is under the radar, it’s because Liverpool has spread the wealth this season and had so many heroes in close matches. But boy, oh boy, is he their best weapon.

2. Lamptey shows glimpses, then youth: The sample size is very small, but 19-year-old Chelsea outcast Tariq Lamptey has played well at right back in most of his outings for Brighton since the return from the coronavirus pause. Lamptey was at blame for Liverpool’s third goal in both the chance conceded and actual finish from Salah, but the $4 million January buy looked well worth the price tag in a terrific first half at the Amex.

3. Seagulls still missing final ball: Brighton produced four big chances in the game to Liverpool’s two, but only put one in the back of the net (SofaScore). That’s sadly been par for the course this season, as Brighton’s style has been worthy of a top half place. Brighton entered the day with seven fewer goals than its expected goals total. Only Everton, Watford, and Norwich have been less fortunate.

Man of the Match:

Salah.


Brighton – Liverpool recap

Salah had a goal and an assist within 500 seconds of kickoff.

The Egyptian took a feed from Naby Keita to score off a Davy Propper giveaway and then set up Henderson’s second to have the Seagulls’ heads spinning early.

Brighton found a chance in the 19th but Neco Williams recovered with a slide to block Leandro Trossard from slotting a point-blank goal.

The Seagulls pulled within one just before halftime when in-form youngster Tariq Lamptey swept a cross into the mix for Trossard to punch home.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Salah could’ve had it 3-1 at one end but Brighton’s Dan Burn asked the Egyptian to hold his drink with a butchered wide-open shot at the back post in the 60th minute.

Jurgen Klopp didn’t like the close score, and brought on Fabinho, Andy Robertson, and Sadio Mane in the second half. One of the players he removed, Naby Keita, had a strong hour before departing the contest.

Henderson almost produced a third Liverpool goal after a rare Lamptey error spring a chance that took a wicked turn off Dale Stephens.

The Reds made it 3-1 off the ensuing corner, Salah’s clinical header in front of Lamptey. Henderson limped off for Liverpool late in the contest.

Ryan denied Salah a hat trick in stoppage time and the Egyptian headed over the bar at the final whistle. He could’ve had five.