Jack Collison

Fabianski the hero, as Arsenal beat Wigan on penalties to reach FA Cup final

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Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Arsenal, wallop, Wigan Athletic hit them with a hammer blow… but the Gunners responded valiantly to reach their first FA Cup final since 2005 in dramatic fashion.

Arsene Wenger’s quest for a first trophy in nine seasons is still on course, as the North London club reached a record 18th final of the world’s oldest knockout competition.

Arsenal eventually beat Championship side Wigan 4-2 on penalties, with reserve ‘keeper Lukas Fabianski saving two penalties to set the Gunners on their way, after a tense 1-1 draw in a gripping FA Cup semifinal at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

The shock 2012-13 FA Cup winners took the lead against Arsenal, as Callum McManaman was brought down by Per Mertesacker in the box and after a lengthy delay Jordi Gomez slotted home the penalty to put Wigan 1-0 up with less than 30 minutes to go.

Arsenal huffed and puffed, as late pressure started to build in regular time. Yaya Sanogo had a header against the post that was hacked away and moments later Kieran Gibbs saw his header wonderfully stopped by Scott Carson, then Stephen Crainey hacked it off the line. That pressure eventually told with 10 minutes of regulation remaining, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scuffed a shot into the ground that Mertesacker followed up to equalize and send the game into extra time.

In the extra 30 minutes the teams couldn’t be separated, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sent a rasping effort off the woodwork, so the dreaded penalty shootout took place to see who would be going back to Wembley on May 17 in the FA Cup final.

Fabianksi saved Wigan’s first two penalties from Gary Caldwell and Jack Collison, as Arsenal scored all four PKs to hold their nerve and make the showpiece final next month.

West Ham 1-3 Newcastle: Newcastle snap losing streak, cause more pain for Irons (video)

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West Ham’s pain is increasing and Sam Allardyce may very well be in trouble. The loss to Newcastle, combined with Sunderland’s point at Southampton and Crystal Palace’s victory over Stoke, puts the Irons down into the relegation zone once more. Could changes be afoot in East London?

Newcastle hadn’t scored in their last three Premier League matches, but they managed to turn that around in the first half against West Ham. Yohan Cabaye got things started with a goal in the 16th minute, picking up a ball from Yoan Gouffran on the edge of the area. Cabaye’s first touch put him out of reach of Răzvan Raț, and his second, a sidefooted shot, knocked the ball past Irons keeper Adrián.

West Ham helped Newcastle double their lead in the 33rd minute, with Matt Taylor misreading a cross from Moussa Sissoko. Loïc Rémy was free to chest down the ball, slotting his shot into the bottom left corner from close range.

Then the visitors were kind enough to gift one to West Ham, with Mike Williamson scoring an own goal to finish off the first half. Does that count for Newcastle’s scoring tally? In any event, it sure gave the Irons hope going into the break. Tim Krul did well to deny a shot from Carlton Cole, but the ball bounced back into the area, pinging around assorted legs before bouncing off the Newcastle defender and into the back of the net.

Sam Allardyce sensed that his side might be up for coming back to grab at least a point, and elected to put on Ravel Morrison for Jack Collison to start the second half. Shortly thereafter, West Ham had a couple of chances in quick succession. James Collins could have grabbed the equalizer, but his header went just wide. Two minutes later, in the 56th, Carlton Cole wasted a fantastic opportunity to get the Irons’ second, getting on the end of a shot from Taylor but putting it wide of goal.

After that, West Ham seemed resigned to their loss, with the only real effort coming from Andy Carroll. The former Newcastle man, on for Mohamed Diamé, had a great opportunity to get his side level, but put the ball well high. The shot sparked the hosts to life once more, but their last minute attempts ultimately proved fruitless.

Instead it was Newcastle that had the final word. A free kick in injury time gave the visitors their third, with Cabaye’s fantastic strike curling toward goal. Adrián got a hand to it but could do no more than push the ball into the post.

West Ham: Adrián, Jarvis (Joe Cole 72), Rat, Collison (Morrison 45), Taylor, Noble, Collins, Diamé (Carroll 62), Downing, C.Cole, Johnson

Goals: Mike Williamson og 45+2′

Newcastle: Krul; Santon (Dummett 74), Williamson, S.Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa; Tiote, Anita (Shola Ameobi 60), Cabaye; Sissoko, Remy (Ben Arfa 78), Gouffran

Goals: Cabaye 16′, 90+5; Rémy 33′

Report: West Ham’s James Tomkins charged for assaulting police officer

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Reuters is reporting that West Ham United defender James Tomkins has been arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer and being drunk and disorderly after an incident at a nightclub.

The 24-year-old was arrested early Sunday morning at the Sugar Hut nightclub in his home town of Brentwood, just outside London.

Essex police released the following statement: “Police were called by security staff … shortly before 12.30am on Sunday following reports of a disturbance.

“Officers arrived and arrested James Tomkins before later charging him with one count of assaulting a police officer, one count of resisting arrest and one count of being drunk and disorderly in a public place.”

Tomkins was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in court on January 9th.

In an odd turn of events, Tomkins arrest came on the same day that West Ham released their Christmas Advent Calendar on YouTube, in which he and fellow defender Jack Collison promote sensible drinking over the holidays.

After failing to feature in the Hammers first five league matches of the season Tomkins was handed his chance in the 0-1 loss to Hull City on September 28th and hasn’t looked back since, starting 12 straight matches at center-back.

The club has yet to comment on any discipline Tomkins may face from the incident.

Crystal Palace 1-0 West Ham United: Eagles protect first half goal, take first win under Pulis (video)

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Marouane Chamakh’s goal near the end of the first half gave Crystal Palace their third win of the season, the Eagles’ 1-0 victory over West Ham United at Selhurst Park vaulting the club out of the cellar Premier League cellar, giving the team their first victory of the Tony Pulis era.

After the second game of their new manager’s reign, Palace temporarily climbs above Sunderland and into 19th place, with the Black Cats hosting Chelsea tomorrow. West Ham, coming off a 3-0 weekend win over Fulham, stay 15th, having won once in their last seven league games.

The Hammers nearly drew first blood on Tuesday, with a Carlton Cole ball sent through the six-yard box from the left of goal in the 36th minute skipping over Stewart Downing’s foot in front of a vacated right post. With a shot from Kevin Nolan having drawing a save from Julian Speroni five minutes earlier, the visitors to be breaking through the match’s early feeling out period  and building toward an opening goal.

It was Crystal Palace, however, who’d distinguish themselves before halftime, with Chamakh’s second goal of the season giving the home side a lead at the break. Against a club when he spent an ill-fated loan spell with last year, the target man converted on a 42nd minute corner, Barry Bannan’s floated cross after a ball playing short allowing the former Arsenal striker to carve out room between himself and Nolan. Heading down and into the left of goal, Chamakh sent his team into intermission with a 1-0 lead.

Early in the second, Crystal Palace nearly doubled their lead, with chances from James Puncheon and Cameron Jerome testing Jussi Jaaskelainen’s ability to keep his team within one. At full stretch to his right post, the Finnish goalkeeper denied Puncheon from 14 yards in the 51st minute, pushing the ball out for a corner. Moments later, Mile Jedinak headed Cameron Jerome past an out-of-position James Collins and in on goal. Bursting off his line, Jaaskelainen blocked the former Stoke striker’s chance to double his new team’s lead, keeping the visitors within reach.

Five minutes later, with the field starting to tilt toward West Ham’s goal, Sam Allardyce changed things up, bringing on Modibo Maiga and Joe Cole for Carlton Cole and Noble. Soon injury forced Tony Pulis into his first change, bringing on Jimmy Kébé for James Puncheon in the 66th minute. As the game entered it final 20 minutes, Crystal Palace begun holding out, conceding the bulk of the match’s possession to the Hammers.

As the second half wore down, the fresh legs of Stuart O’Keefe and Jonathan Williams gave Palace a way out of their own end, with Kébé nearly finding an insurance goal after turning on a shot toward an open goal from 17 yards out. But rushed by a small, desperate swarm of Hammers defenders, the Eagles’ attacker shot over the cross-bar, giving fans at Selhurst Park a few more moments’ doubt.

Ninety seconds later, Lee Mason’s window calmed their concerns. With their second win in three games, Palace has climbed out of last place, Tony Pulis giving his new club’s supporters reason to their team can move on from the season’s tough start.

Goals

Crystal Palace: Marouane Chamakh 42

Lineups

Crystal Palace: Julian Speroni; Joel Ward, Danny Gabbidon, Damien Delaney, Dean Moxey; James Puncheon (Jimmy Kébé 66), Mile Jedinak, Kagiso Dikgocoi, Barry Bannan (Stuart O’Keefe 82); Marouane Chamakh (Jonathan Williams 85), Cameron Jerome

Unused Substitutes: Lewis Price, Adrian Mariappa, Dwight Gayle, Kevin Phillips

West Ham United: Jussi Jaaskelainen; Joey O’Brien, James Collins, James Tomkins, Razvan Rat (George McCartney 78);Mark Noble, Kevin Nolan (Joe Cole 58), Ravel Morrison, Stewart Downing, Mohamed Diame; Carlton Cole (Modibo Maiga 58).

UnusedSubstitutes: Adrian, Matthew Jarvis, Guy Demel, Jack Collison

Watch Live: West Ham United vs. Fulham (Lineups and Discuss)

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It’s a little early in the season for a good old fashioned “six-pointer” but that’s exactly what we have on our hands at Upton Park on Saturday.

West Ham host Fulham in a tense London derby in the East End as both teams are bang out of form and desperate to get back to winning ways.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE VIA NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA, 10AM ET

The Hammers haven’t won at home since the opening day of the season when they beat Cardiff 2-0, while Fulham have only beaten the bottom two, Sunderland and Crystal Palace, away from Craven Cottage. Something has to give.

Fulham are in 18th place on 10 points, while West Ham are on the same tally but sit one spot above them by virtue of goal difference.

It’s sure to be a cagey affair as Sam Allardyce — who persists to not use any strikers in an unorthodox 4-6 formation with Andy Carroll out injured — comes up against under-fire Fulham boss Martin Jol. The latter has already suggested he may lose his job if the Cottagers lose to West Ham. There’s plenty on the line apart from London pride in this clash as Jol aims to stop Fulham losing their sixth-straight game in all competitions.

Fulham are without Dimitar Berbatov today so Darren Bent leads the line, while West Ham make four changes to the side beaten 3-0 by Chelsea last time out.

The Hammers bring in George McCartney, Mohamed Diame, Modibo Maiga and Matt Jarvis for Joe Cole, Ravel Morrison, Jack Collison and Joey O’Brien.

LINEUPS

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, McCartney, Nolan, Tomkins, Jarvis, Maiga, Noble, Collins, Demel, Diame, Downing

Fulham: Stekelenburg; Zverotic, Hughes, Amorebieta, Richardson; Duff, Sidwell, Parker, Kasami; Taarabt; Bent