West Ham manager Sam Allardyce will not face disciplinary action from the Football Association following his media comments after his side’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United. After seeing his side take the lead twice against the Barclays Premier League leaders Allardyce questioned the level of officiating and feels more should be done to improve the overall standard of referees and their assistants. “I think it is a big decision that has possibly taken the famous victory away from us,” he said immediately after the match. “To play as well as we did today and score the types of goals we scored – when you see it is an offside goal that is bitterly disappointing. “This level of football has to be equalled by the level of the officials who are in charge of the game. “His [Lennard’s] coaches have to coach him properly and coach him into getting better – that is why they are professional these days. “They need coaching on the good decisions, with a pat on the back, but also they need coaching on when they haven’t made the right call. It is a major decision that has gone against us.” Allardyce has already landed himself in hot water with the FA this season, coincidentally after an FA Cup tie against United. The former Blackburn boss was fined £8,000 back in February for suggesting United had gained from home advantage after the Red Devils won their third-round replay against West Ham 1-0. Press Association Allardyce was upset that assistant referee Harry Lennard had failed to spot Robin van Persie was offside when he scored United’s second equaliser of the game and claimed it had cost the Hammers a “famous win”. There was a suggestion the 58-year-old may have had to explain his comments to the FA but the governing body has confirmed it will not be pursuing a disciplinary case.
He added: “But for most Japanese people it means more to play for Man United than Dortmund. We cried for 20 minutes, in each others’ arms, when he left. “One year before that Nuri Sahin went because Real Madrid is the biggest club in the world. If players are patient enough we can develop the team into one of the biggest in the world.” His side’s run to the Champions League final has brought Klopp to the attention of some of the world’s biggest clubs, but for now he is happy at Dortmund. He said: “In this moment I don’t think of anything else. “If I went to many clubs now and said: ‘Hello – bring me offers’, maybe some would start running. But I’m not interested because, for me, this is the most interesting football project in the world. “In three or four years, if someone wants me, we can speak. But, for now, this is the best place for me.” The 24-year-old moved to Old Trafford from Dortmund last summer, but has been far from a first-team regular and even then has often had to play out of position. The departure of Kagawa is part of a pattern for Dortmund coach Klopp, who this season has seen Mario Gotze agree to join Bayern Munich, with Robert Lewandowski looking likely to follow. Klopp told the Guardian: “Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji’s best role. He’s an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw.” Press Association Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp says his “heart breaks” to see Shinji Kagawa playing a bit-part role at Manchester United.
Aston Villa survived conceding an early penalty and a first-half injury to Christian Benteke to give Paul Lambert a 1-0 win at Carrow Road. The home side remained on top as Snodgrass and Redmond enjoyed relative success down either flank, although Villa showed when they countered that they held their own attacking threat. Christian Beneteke’s goalbound effort was deflected behind by Michael Turner before captain Ron Vlaar’s acrobatic effort from a corner flew wide. The Belgium forward then required treatment after an awkward landing and, despite coming back on, he was again struggling. Whilst Benteke was grounded Norwich came close to opening the scoring as Van Wolfswinkel rifled a shot just inches wide of Guzan’s post. Kozak then replaced Benteke and needed just two minutes to put the visitors ahead. The summer signing from Lazio saw a close-range shot saved by Ruddy but was on hand to force home Gabriel Abgonlahor’s resulting cross. The England goalkeeper then had to punch away a ball across his goal by the lively Agbonlahor as the Norwich fans began to vent their frustrations at their side’s inability to hold on to possession. The Canaries’ problems worsened as captain Sebastien Bassong was forced off with what appeared to be a leg injury, with Ryan Bennett replacing him at centre-back. The second half did not start with the same vigour as the first and there was not really a note of chance until Weimann bent an effort wide of the post with 52 minutes on the clock. Gary Hooper was introduced for his Norwich debut, with the summer signing receiving a rousing reaction from the home crowd, who then turned on Hughton when Redmond was hauled off for Anthony Pilkington. Leroy Fer flashed a cross low in to the Villa box that just eluded the on-rushing van Wolfswinkel as Norwich still struggled to test Guzan and his defence on a regular basis. Neither side could get a stranglehold on possession and it was Villa who created the next chance as Clark headed Leandro Bacuna’s corner just wide of Ruddy’s post. Kozak came close to a second goal as Villa caught their hosts on the counter attack but his 77th minute strike was deflected behind by Turner. The home side continued to commit more and more players forward and it was Van Wolfswinkel who was next to see a goalbound effort turned behind for a corner. Guzan was again the hero for Villa as he acrobatically tipped over a Hooper shot in the closing stages after the former Celtic striker had failed to truly connect with Javier Garrido’s cross. Lambert’s side then saw it the five minutes of added time without much incident to secure their first points since their opening day win at Arsenal. Lambert has now won on all three of his returns to Norfolk and the Scot also saw his side keep their first clean sheet in the league since December 8. His replacement at Norwich was Chris Hughton, who had said before the game that he was looking for a reaction from his players following defeat at Tottenham last weekend but, other than a dominant spell in the first half, they did not put in the sort of performance that warranted three points. It was a very open first 15 minutes, starting when Andreas Weimann wriggled his way through inside the first 60 seconds but stabbed an effort straight at John Ruddy. The Austria international again found himself in plenty of space two minutes later, this time his curling effort beat Ruddy but came back off the post, with Benteke flagged offside as he looked to tuck away the rebound. But it was the home side who spurned the best opportunity of the frenetic opening stages when Snodgrass passed up the chance to open the scoring from the penalty spot. Nathan Redmond’s deep cross was headed back across goal in towards Ricky van Wolfswinkel and struck the arm of the recalled Ciaran Clark with referee Chris Foy immediately pointing to the spot. Snodgrass struck a hard penalty but Brad Guzan flew to his left to push the ball away and keep the game scoreless. Norwich again missed a fantastic chance on 12 minutes as Redmond pulled Snodgrass’ cross back in to the danger area but Van Wolfswinkel could only throw his chest out towards the ball and direct it behind for a goal-kick. Norwich winger Robert Snodgrass saw his sixth-minute spot-kick saved before the visitors lost Benteke to injury, with his replacement Libor Kosak scoring the only goal. It was a first Villa goal for towering Czech Republic forward Kosak and it gave Lambert another victory at the home of his former employers with whom he spilt so acrimoniously after guiding them to the Barclays Premier League from League One in two years. Press Association
Press Association This time around, he found himself on the other side of the corridor facing the task of lifting his players after seeing them take the lead, only for the visitors to mount a powerful fightback. The Black Cats had slipped back to the foot of the table without kicking a ball on Tuesday evening as a result of Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win over West Ham, and they emerged determined to do all they could to address that situation in the most trying of circumstances. Their initial efforts could not be faulted as they took the game to the Blues with Giaccherini forcing a first-minute block from Cesar Azpilicueta and Fabio Borini sending a cross across the face of goal seconds later. But keeper Petr Cech was eventually beaten with 17 minutes gone when, after Andrea Dossena’s tame free-kick had come back of the wall, Jack Colback slipped the ball to Altidore and he span John Terry before blasting a left-foot shot past the helpless Cech. The lead, however, lasted just three minutes when, after Sunderland failed to deal fully with Juan Mata’s corner, Hazard recycled the ball, wrong-footed Bardsley and crossed for Lampard to head home unopposed. Sunderland refused to be cowed by Mourinho’s men despite their freedom of movement in midfielder, and with Altidore ruffling the feathers of Terry and Gary Cahill and Dossena providing a useful outlet down the left, pressed once again. Cech had to turn away Dossena’s stinging 31st-minute effort, which may have been going wide anyway, but opposite number Mannone was not so fortunate six minutes later. Fernando Torres helped on a long clearance to Hazard on the left and he cut inside past Bardsley and the covering Craig Gardner before firing across the Italian and into the far corner. But Sunderland refused to give up and they were back on terms within five minutes of the restart when Giaccherini’s skidding corner was allowed to reach O’Shea, who swept it past Cech to level. Chelsea should have been back in front seven minutes later when Ramires robbed Jack Colback and fed Torres, who in turn picked out Hazard in space. He slid past O’Shea and Ki Sung-yueng with ease before unleashing a shot which Mannone managed to beat away to Torres, who skied his follow-up high over. But it was Hazard who did the trick once again with 62 minutes gone, collecting Lampard’s intelligent back-heel and rounding O’Shea before beating the helpless Mannone with ease. Bardsley turned substitute Demba Ba’s cross into his own net six minutes from time, but then converted Sebastian Larsson’s corner at the other end seconds later, although ultimately to no avail. Eden Hazard turned in a virtuoso display as Chelsea came out 4-3 winners in a seven-goal thriller at Sunderland. However, it left Sunderland deep in trouble despite a spirited performance as manager Gus Poyet’s run of three successive home victories in all competitions came to an end in front of a crowd of 40,652. Hazard’s intervention was vital for Jose Mourinho’s men with Altidore having given the Black Cats a 14th-minute lead with his first league goal for the club. However, Chelsea’s response was concerted with Juan Mata, Lampard, and Ramires all influential, and they were back on terms barely before the home fans had stopped celebrating through Lampard’s fifth goal of the season, a close-range header. But it was Hazard who stole the show, capping a fine individual first-half display with an enterprising 37th-minute run and sumptuous finish to restore order. John O’Shea dragged the home side right back into it five minutes into the second half when Chelsea made a hash of clearing Emanuele Giaccherini’s less-than-sweetly-struck corner, and the defender helped it into the net to rekindle his side’s hopes. But Hazard was not done and it was he who ensured that the points headed south when he took it upon himself to leave defenders in his wake once again to rifle a 62nd-minute shot past keeper Vito Mannone. There was late drama as full-back Phil Bardsley scored at both ends inside a minute, but the outcome remained the same. Fourteen years ago to the day, Poyet, then wearing the blue of Chelsea, heading for the away dressing room at the Stadium of Light wondering what had hit him with his side trailing 4-0. The Belgium international was both provider and scorer on the night, producing the cross from which Frank Lampard cancelled out Jozy Altidore’s opener and then two pieces of individual magic to effectively win the game. Victory on Wearside helped second-placed Chelsea to maintain the pressure on Barclays Premier League leaders Arsenal despite falling behind for the third time in as many games.
Lee Cattermole, so often derided as the wrong side of aggressive, nullified Adel Taarabt in a clear analysis-room ploy from Sunderland boss Poyet. Fulham’s immediate second-half riposte almost created a gritty contest, with Sidwell heading home Damien Duff’s corner. But the home side could not sustain any kind of comeback, and Sunderland powered to a fine result. Berbatov had two gilt-edged chances in the opening 10 minutes as Fulham settled faster and brighter. The big Bulgarian barged his way to a clear header from an early corner, only to add no power as he nodded into the ground. Sascha Riether then robbed Wes Brown before drilling a fine low cross into the area. Half a yard behind the play though, Berbatov was just not quite sharp enough to control. The ball bobbled into touch on the other side of the field, and with it went Fulham’s first-half opportunities. Buoyed by avoiding early censure the Black Cats started to build a foothold. Riether had to move smartly to cut out Fabio Borini’s neat through-ball, denying Jack Colback a sight of goal, and Phil Bardsley’s 20-yard shot was tipped away by Stockdale. Steven Fletcher then headed over after John O’Shea nodded back across goal from a well-worked Johnson free-kick. Riether’s near-post flick on evaded any Fulham team-mate as the hosts battled to regain the ascendancy. And Taarabt rejected the smart positioning of both Berbatov and Dempsey to try a tricky near-post effort that Vito Mannone was more than wise to. Berbatov’s acrobatic effort came to nought as well, as Fulham failed to generate any cast-iron opportunities in their second spell of dominance. It was all too short-lived for Rene Meulensteen’s men though, as Sunderland pinched the lead thanks to Johnson’s curling free-kick. Sidwell was incensed referee Mike Dean even awarded the foul, with Johnson capitalising on minimal touch to go down 20 yards out. Stockdale will certainly feel he should have tipped Johnson’s shot around his left post though, after getting a glove to the accurate effort. Fulham’s second-choice goalkeeper then spilled a Sunderland cross, only for Fernando Amorebieta to head Marcos Alonso’s shot clear. Sunderland’s pressure told again when Johnson’s low free-kick reached Swansea loan man Ki, who finished courtesy of a Senderos deflection. Taarabt wasted a promising free-kick to open the second half, before Riether flashed the ball across goal, only for Mannone to claim. Duff’s pinpoint corner delivery dragged Fulham back into the contest though, with Sidwell sneaking free to nod home. Senderos had to mop up as Stockdale made a brave call to come out of his area for a clearance, only for Fletcher to put him under pressure. The match opened up with both sides sensing their time to strike. And Sunderland made the most of a lightning break to steal control again. Racing through a sparse midfield with Fulham over-committed, Ki bided his time and threaded a superlative ball through to the onrushing Johnson. The former Manchester City midfielder slotted past the motionless Stockdale to reassert Sunderland’s dominance. And with time running out Johnson rolled a penalty past Stockdale, after Senderos left a leg hanging out to take down Altidore. Johnson had laid on Sunderland’s second for Ki, before the South Korean returned the favour for the Black Cats’ third. Swansea loan man Ki’s fine slide-rule pass allowed Johnson to kill off the game, and the 26-year-old delivered as Sunderland claimed their first league win in three attempts. The Sunderland-born winger then slotted a penalty in the dying stages after Philippe Senderos fouled Jozy Altidore. Poyet’s side had seen off Carlisle and Manchester United in cup action since the turn of the year, but badly needed a Premier League win. Two smart Johnson free-kicks had Sunderland in control, the first a curler into the top corner that David Stockdale could not tip clear. Johnson’s second set-piece allowed Ki to fire home via Senderos’ deflection. Dimitar Berbatov wasted two chances in the first 10 minutes as Fulham fired out of the blocks, but the impetus yielded neither reward nor control. Clint Dempsey could offer minimal impact as Fulham’s influence waned, with regimented Sunderland’s superior organisation paying dividend. Adam Johnson’s hat-trick spearheaded Sunderland’s third win in six days, a ruthless 4-1 Barclays Premier League victory at Fulham. The 11-cap England midfielder laid on Sunderland’s other goal as Gus Poyet’s men drove to a comprehensive win at Craven Cottage. Goals from Johnson and Ki Sung-Yueng had Sunderland in total control at the break, before Steve Sidwell headed his fifth of the season for Fulham after the turnaround. Press Association
The Football Association announced the charge, which comes after Moyes said United were “playing referees as well as the opposition” following his side’s third defeat in a row. An FA statement read: “Manchester United manager David Moyes has been charged for misconduct by The FA in relation to post-match media comments he made following his side’s game against Sunderland on Tuesday 7 January 2014. “It is alleged the comments called into question the integrity of the match officials appointed to that fixture and/or appointed to Manchester United fixtures generally, and/or implied that such match officials are motivated by bias; and/or brought the game into disrepute, in contravention of Rule E3(1).” Moyes has until 6pm on January 15 to respond to the charge. Moyes issued his blast after questioning the awarding of a free-kick that led to Sunderland’s opening goal and a penalty. It followed the United manager saying it was “scandalous” his side were not awarded a late penalty against Tottenham at Old Trafford. He said on Tuesday: “I feel we are having to play the opposition and the referees. We are all just laughing at them at the minute.” Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers was fined £8,000 and warned as to his conduct on Thursday after admitting a similar charge. Press Association Manchester United manager David Moyes has been charged with misconduct for his comments about match officials following the 2-1 defeat by Sunderland in the Capital One Cup.
Joseph Yobo is enthused by the challenge of helping Norwich steer clear of relegation after returning to the Barclays Premier League. “I want to go to the World Cup. I want to perform at the highest level. “Pushing myself and also understanding the situation Norwich football club are in is extra motivation for me. “I’m excited about it. Sometimes you get too comfortable because maybe the team is winning every game. “Here I have to do well for myself and I have to make sure the team gets out of trouble.” Yobo could make his debut on Saturday against title challengers Manchester City, particularly as Norwich are already short in defence and Ryan Bennett (thigh) faces a fitness test having been unable to take part in training this week. The 33-year-old, who has made just two appearances for the Turkish side this season, added: “They’re a great team. They have great players. “Hopefully if we can put ourselves together as a team we can surprise people. Come Saturday anything can happen. “If I’m called upon I’ll do my best and make sure I’ll get the job done. “I came here to help this team. It’s been a long time since I played right-back, but I can always do a job.” Yobo is untainted by the 7-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium in November in a performance Canaries boss Chris Hughton described as his side’s worst of the season. Norwich responded to the humiliation by winning three of the five games that followed, but have one win in 11 games in all competitions since beating West Brom on December 7. Hughton thought his side deserved to win at Cardiff last weekend, but former Norwich goalkeeper David Marshall was in supreme form in the Bluebirds’ 2-1 win. The Canaries boss is concerned more with building on the Cardiff display than reflecting back to the City loss. He said: “We were hurting and we were hurting for a while from that game (the City loss). “We did respond and we responded in a good way. We know what can happen if you have a really bad day against that kind of quality. “Our level of performance in the last game was good, (but) it didn’t get us the result we wanted. “We have to make sure our performance lends more to the performance that we had against Chelsea at home, Manchester United at home, than the disappointed we had away in Manchester.” Although Norwich lost 3-1 to Chelsea and 1-0 to United, Hughton hopes a similar performance can provide a welcome victory. “We know it’s a tall order because of the form that they’re in,” added Hughton, who watched Chelsea end City’s home supremacy on Monday. “And sometimes, when perhaps nobody expects you to get a result, that’s the ones that are most pleasing. “We’ll certainly be giving everything for that to happen.” Hughton is remaining optimistic and is ignoring the fact 15th-placed Norwich are two points clear of the relegation zone in a congested battle between 11 teams to avoid the drop. He said: “We’re three points away from 10th place. There are four teams that are on the same points as us. “We want to be looking upwards, not downwards. We have to make sure that we come up with the goods to be able to do that.” Press Association The Nigerian defender, who spent much of his career at Everton, signed on loan from Fenerbahce and is keen to make an impression at Carrow Road. “It was easy for me (to choose Norwich) – I like challenges,” Yobo said.
A Nike statement released to Press Association Sport on Tuesday confirmed the American sportswear giant had decided against renewing the 13-year kit deal, which was signed in 2002. It is understood that Nike was unwilling to match a higher bid from another kit manufacturer. Reports have suggested adidas is now in pole position to clinch a deal which could see the club earn £60million a year from 2015. Nike’s original deal was worth £303million, with extra income from a profit share agreement from merchandise sold worldwide. The Nike statement read: ”Manchester United is a great club with passionate fans. ”We are proud to have partnered with them for the last 12 years and will continue to sponsor the club until the end of the 2014/15 season. ”Any partnership with a club or federation has to be mutually beneficial and the terms that were on offer for a renewed contract did not represent good value for Nike’s shareholders. ”We look forward to a successful final season with the club.” On Monday, United unveiled their new home kit for the 2014-15 season – which will be the last designed by Nike and the first to bear the logo of new sponsor Chevrolet. United announced they would be entering a seven-year agreement – worth a reported £53million per season – with the US car giant from this summer back in 2012. Nike will not renew its kit deal with Manchester United at the end of next season. Press Association
Wayne Rooney wants to forget his Manchester United captaincy debut as quickly as possible. The England striker had skippered United on several occasions before, but his first match as full-time captain came on Saturday when Swansea travelled to Old Trafford. Rooney equalised Ki Sung-yueng’s opener with an acrobatic volley but could not find another, and Swansea ran out 2-1 winners thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 72nd-minute winner. Press Association For Rooney, it was by no means a satisfactory way to start his spell as United skipper, and he quickly wants to move on from the defeat. “It was a proud moment but a disappointing result,” he told MUTV. “It’s not one I’ll look back on and remember with fond memories. “You always want to win. It was a nice moment, but I’m disappointed we lost.” Saturday’s match was an afternoon of firsts. United manager Louis van Gaal got his first taste of English football – although it will be one he wants to get out of his mouth quickly. Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard made their debuts while Adnan Januzaj wore the prestigious number 11 shirt for the first time. Ryan Giggs owned that jersey for the last two decades, so the diminutive Belgian felt pride – and pressure – when he pulled it on at the weekend. “It was a big honour for me and my family and I was very happy to have it given to me,” the young midfielder said. “There is pressure on me because there was a legend in front of me who had it for 20 years, but I am really happy with that.” Januzaj was keen to stress nothing should be read into the defeat. “It was a very disappointing match but it’s only the first one of the season so it’s nothing,” said Januzaj, who came on for the injured Lingard in the first half. “We’ll move on to the next one now.” Januzaj thinks United are better-equipped to recover from a setback now than they were under David Moyes, the man who led United to victory over Swansea this time last year but ended the year in seventh. “A lot of things have changed,” Januzaj said when asked about Van Gaal’s impact at the club. “He is a top, top manager and we respect him a lot. We are working hard for him, the team and everyone else at the club. “He was honest with us after the match but it’s only the first game.” Those United fans worried about the state of their defence were given further cause for concern on Saturday. There was a lack of cohesion and focus from the back five, which turned into a back four after the break as Van Gaal ditched his 3-5-2 system. United’s vice-captain Darren Fletcher was unhappy both goalscorers were unmarked when they beat David De Gea. “We conceded bad goals,” Fletcher said. “For me it felt like Swansea scored with their first attack. “We started the second half very well and got back into the game and then they sucker-punched us again. “It felt like they had only two chances in the game and they’ve managed to score them both. That’s hard to take and disappointing.” Sigurdsson, meanwhile, could not think of a better place to score on his second debut for Swansea. “Getting three points at Old Trafford is always special, but to score the winner here has been a dream for me ever since I was young,” said Sigurdsson, who returned to Swansea in the summer following a two-year spell at Tottenham. “It is one of the biggest stadiums in the world.”
Twinlight bounced right back to his best to win the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase and in the process condemn Hidden Cyclone to the runner-up spot in the Leopardstown feature for the second year running. Willie Mullins’ unpredictable seven-year-old was sent off at 16-1 as he was pulled up on his last outing in the Hilly Way Chase at Cork. However, yet again he showed that when he is on a going day and in the right conditions, he is a very good two-miler chaser. Hidden Cyclone ran his usual game race from the front, seeing off Uxizandre at the head of affairs with a mile to run and putting the rest under pressure, despite jumping to his right on occasions. All bar Twinlight were in trouble turning into the straight and it was he who saw out the race best in the conditions, winning by four and three-quarter lengths, giving a welcome change of luck to Paul Townend, who was beaten on some red-hot favourites a day earlier. Nicky Richards’ Simply Ned stayed on gamely for third, but the favourite Uxizandre and Ballycasey were very disappointing. Mullins said: “At Cork I had said to Paul ‘I want you to go down the inner and just wing your fences’ and two or three other horses kept up to him. I said to Paul today to do the same, and he said he wanted to change the plan. Paul said ‘no, I want to go the outside’. “They went such a gallop today that Paul was on the outside, on his own and I think at about halfway the horse started to enjoy it and if you look at, I think, the second fence down the back, he put in as big a jump as I ever saw around here and he landed running. “Hidden Cyclone ran a fantastic race – I thought he had us beaten going to the last – but our fella just met it right and I’m delighted for Paul to get a Grade One winner, against the head, as we say.” Denis O’Regan’s decision to make the journey back to Ireland was fully vindicated when he produced Living Next Door with a typically patient ride to win the hugely valuable Paddy Power Chase. A close fifth in the four-miler at Cheltenham in March, Tony Martin’s charge had shown little in two runs this season but bounced right back to his best under his confident jockey, who had earlier won on the yard’s Blair Perrone. Press Association Top-weight Foxrock, sent off the 7-2 favourite, made a bold bid under Adrian Heskin and had everything else in trouble approaching the final fence, but O’Regan had stalked him into the straight going particularly well. The eight-year-old put in a massive leap and the 20-1 chance saw off his rival by a length and a quarter, with Vics Canvas running a fine race in third and The Job Is Right fourth in a thrilling finish. Martin said: “These are the sort of races you like winning. You target them, and it’s wonderful that it’s worked out. Every fence he made ground and O’Regan gave him the ride of the year as far as I’m concerned. ” We’ll have a think about where we go next, but he won’t be going anywhere for at least a month anyway.”