FA Cup draw: Prem’s top four to face off


The Premier League's current top four will face-off as the Blues received scant reward for their 1-0 fourth-round victory over Stoke City on Sunday.

A trip to the Etihad Stadium now awaits Jose Mourinho, who won the FA Cup in 2007 during his first spell at Chelsea.

FA Cup trophy vertical

Premier League leaders Arsenal, whose hunt for a major trophy stretches back to 2005, also face a tricky tie as seven-time FA Cup winners Liverpool visit the Emirates Stadium.

Elsewhere, Everton boss Roberto Martinez faces former club Swansea at Goodison Park, while holders Wigan go to Cardiff and either Sheffield Wednesday or Charlton Athletic will ensure there is a lower-league presence in this season's quarterfinals.


Champions League: Jerome Boateng bemoans difficult Bayern Munich draw with Arsenal

Jerome Boateng: Prepared for an intense encounter

Jerome Boateng: Ready for an intense encounter

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Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng believes Arsenal are the toughest opponents the reigning European champions might have drawn to face within the first knock-out round.

The Gunners beat Bayern 2-zero in Munich on the similar stage last season however went out on away targets – the German facet having gained 3-1 at the Emirates.

Arsenal now have Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil in their ranks, and Boateng admitted: “They’re the toughest opponents we could have had. They’ll be completely up for it after what occurred final yr. Both matches can be very intense.”

If Arsenal and Bayern each imagine they’ve a troublesome draw, so too do Manchester City and Barcelona who will face one another.

Metropolis boss Manuel Pellegrini insists Barca aren’t the pressure they were two years in the past despite including Neymar to their star-studded squad.

“I believe it’s a beautiful recreation with two superb teams,” Pellegrini said. “However Barcelona just isn’t the team it was two years ago, so we’ll see how they arrive in February.

“I don’t know precisely what occurred inside Barcelona, but they changed three managers within the last three years and maybe the performance of the gamers isn’t the same.”

The opposite two English sides had, on the face of it, simpler draws for the primary knockout round with Joe Mourinho’s Chelsea dealing with their former striker Didier Drogba’s Galatasaray, while David Moyes’ Manchester United take on Greek champions Olympiacos.

Drogba said he was relishing his match in opposition to Chelsea, having scored the equaliser and then the winning penalty against Bayern Munich to win the competitors in 2012.

“What a draw… I’m the luckiest man in this competitors,” he said on his official Instagram account. “In each games I’ll be playing residence! See you in few months.”

In other matches, Real Madrid face German opposition within the form of Schalke, last year’s runners up Borussia Dortmund tackle Zenit St Petersburg, AC Milan will play in-kind Spanish side Atletico Madrid whereas Bayer Leverkusen face huge-spending Paris St Germain.

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Del Rio: Welker a ‘definite’ to face Patriots

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Once again, “probable” wasn’t a strong enough designation on the team’s injury report for Denver Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio.

As he did with quarterback Peyton Manning before a game earlier this month, Del Rio designated wide receiver Wes Welker as “definite” for Sunday night’s game against the New England Patriots.

Having cleared all of the tests in the league’s concussion protocol, Welker participated fully in Friday’s practice and is set to take his usual allotment of snaps against his former team in Foxborough, Mass.

“First and foremost, we’ve done the right thing by the player and he’s safe to return,” Del Rio said. “That’s first and foremost.

“It’s kind of like Peyton a while back: If you had a ‘definitely will go’ category, he’ll probably be on there… He’ll play.”

Welker, who left last Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with a concussion and neck injury, practiced on a limited basis Thursday. He was listed as probable on Friday’s injury report.

He suffered a concussion after a 20-yard catch-and-run play in the Broncos’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs. He left the game, returned for four plays and made one more catch, then was pulled for good.

Welker said Thursday he was “doing everything I possibly can,” to play in Sunday’s game and that he had been given good reports from doctors through the week.

The biggest question mark for the Broncos is tight end Julius Thomas, who suffered a right knee injury against the Chiefs and was limited in practice Thursday and Friday after being held out of Wednesday’s workout. Thomas was listed as questionable and will likely need to show some improvement over the next two days to be in the lineup Sunday.

“He was limited again today,” Del Rio said. “We don’t play today, we still have a couple more days, but he was limited in what he could do.”

Thomas is fourth on the team in receptions with 45 but leads the club in touchdowns with 10.

Cornerback Champ Bailey (left foot) was limited all week and is listed as questionable, but he said he’d determine his status before Sunday’s game. Bailey said he wants to test his foot on the FieldTurf playing surface at Gillette Stadium.

He suffered his original injury on Seattle’s FieldTurf and aggravated it at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, which also has FieldTurf.

“I don’t want to say I’m going or say I’m not; it’s all about getting on that turf,” Bailey said. “It is frustrating. I’m a football player, and not being able to play, it bothers me. I’m just trying to be patient.”

Del Rio said it’s a “strong likelihood” Bailey will return this season. He wouldn’t commit to Bailey for Sunday.

All of the other players listed on the team’s injury report, including Manning, took part fully in Friday’s practice and will play Sunday.


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Eddie Alvarez-Michael Chandler rematch lives up to billing, helps Bellator save face (Yahoo Sports)


Eddie Alvarez (purple gloves) and Michael Chandler trade blows on Saturday. (USA As we speak)

LENGTHY BEACH, Calif. – Whoever got here up with the notion that a sequel can’t be better than the original wants to watch the Michael Chandler-Eddie Alvarez rematch.

On Nov. 19, 2011, Chandler and Alvarez placed on what was thought-about the greatest combat within the five-12 months historical past of the Bellator promotion and one of many greatest MMA fights, interval. Chandler punctuated four rounds of again-and-forth action by submitting Alvarez with a choke and taking his Bellator lightweight title.

Saturday night time, although, the duo simply might need outdone themselves. Beneath the backdrop of a protracted legal struggle between Alvarez and the promotion, and coming on the finish of what had been a lackluster battle card, Chandler and Alvarez added their names to a prolonged record of contenders for 2013’s Struggle of the Year.

After 25 minutes of again-and-forth action at Lengthy Seaside Arena, Alvarez gained a call which may have gone both method. All three judges scored the fight 48-47; two of them leaned Alvarez’s way, because the Philadelphia native took again the belt he misplaced two years in the past whereas handing Chandler his first profession loss.

Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler land awkwardly during their struggle. (USA In the present day)


“Whether it is blended martial arts or boxing, sometimes guys just gel stylistically,” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney mentioned. “You watch the struggle, and you’ll’t consider these guys did that again. Ali-Frazier. Gatti-Ward. We’ve had a couple of of them in MMA. These two guys just match like a glove once they battle each other.”

CompuStrike’s official numbers bear out the combat’s razor-skinny margin: Alvarez landed a hundred and fifteen strikes to Chandler’s 111. Both fighters attempted two submissions. Chandler had 10 takedowns to Alvarez’s zero, however Alvarez additionally stuffed 11 more takedown attempts.

All three judges scored the primary spherical for Chandler, who managed it with his wrestling. All three had round two for Alvarez, who wobbled Chandler late. Two of three had round three for a hard-charging Alvarez. All three had round four for Chandler, who almost completed the struggle with a ruthless ground-and-pound assault. And all three scored a again-and-forth closing spherical for Alvarez, who got here in robust over the ultimate ninety seconds.

This was the type of battle that necessitated doctor’s attention. Chandler wasn’t on the submit-struggle news convention. This was announced as being attributable to a trip to the hospital, though Chandler’s coach, Eric Del Fierro of San Diego’s Alliance MMA, later tweeted that Chandler (12-1) had simply been stitched up by the commission physician at the enviornment and went back to his resort room.

Alvarez, in the meantime, mustered an appearance at the information conference earlier than making a hospital go to. Walking slowly and with a face that looked like he stepped in the path of a David Ortiz house-run swing, Alvarez deflected any reward that got here his means.

“I will take zero credit for what happened tonight,” Alvarez mentioned. “It takes two people to put on a struggle like that. Not just me. Me and Mike Chandler. The guy fights his ass off. The center of a lion. On the finish of the fight, I didn’t give a [expletive] who won. I was simply completely satisfied to be a part of it.”

Alvarez (25-three) left the information conference after making these remarks, but actually, he made his statement in the cage. This fight was his vindication after a protracted authorized battle with Bellator turned ugly in public. Alvarez acquired a lucrative offer from the UFC which might have included pay-per-view points. Bellator used its matching rights clause in his previous contract to match retain his services. With a court battle that looked to tug out interminably, Alvarez threw in the towel and re-signed with Bellator.

Michael Chandler punches Eddie Alvarez throughout their combat. (USA At this time)


Not that Alvarez will likely be going poor any time quickly, mind you: In keeping with the California State Athletic Fee’s disclosed paydays, Alvarez is taking house $160,000 for his evening’s work, with an $80,000 win bonus doubling his pay.

Still, if Saturday night was some grand design by Rebney to defeat Alvarez once more and kill off his drawing power, he was putting on a pretty stable poker face.

“That’s why we fought so onerous to enforce the contract,” Rebney stated. “I thought Ed was a wickedly proficient lightweight and could beat anyone on earth. I needed to see him stay on this group. That’s what I negotiated for up top. I think Ed’s an unimaginable talent.”

It’s hard to argue in opposition to that time after Saturday. The fight was so good, it eliminated the stench of what had appeared a misbegotten occasion. Initially slated for pay-per-view, it was moved to Spike TELEVISION after the planned main event, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Tito Ortiz, fell out as a result of an Ortiz neck injury. Previous to Chandler-Alvarez, a string of boring fights had killed the atmosphere within the constructing.

Instead, Rebney left Long Seaside Enviornment with the excitement of a traditional combat, one which all but demands a trilogy combat.

“For those who asked me two hours ago whether or not I know all’s properly would end nicely, I wouldn’t have been so assured,” Rebney stated. “However, all’s well that ends properly. I’m leaving here with a smile.”


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Fan sues Royals for mascot hot dog thrown at face

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – If it had been a foul ball or broken bat that struck John Coomer within the eye as he watched a Kansas City Royals sport, it’s unlikely the courts would have pressured the staff to pay for the surgeries and struggling he’s endured.

But as a result of it was a sizzling dog thrown by the crew mascot – behind the again, no much less – he just might have a case.

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing whether the “baseball rule” – a legal normal that protects teams from being sued over fan accidents caused by events on the field, courtroom or rink – ought to apply to accidents caused by mascots or different personnel that groups employ to engage followers. As a result of the case may set a legal precedent, it may change how teams in other cities and sports approach interacting with fans at their games.

Kansas City Royals mascotA fan hit within the eye by a hot canine thrown by Sluggerrr, the mascot for the Kansas Metropolis Royals, has had two surgical procedures after struggling a indifferent retina. He’s suing the Royals.

Coomer, of Overland Park, Kan., says he was injured at a September 2009 Royals game when the group’s lion mascot, Sluggerrr, threw a four-ounce, foil-wrapped wiener into the stands that struck his eye. He needed to have two surgeries – one to restore a indifferent retina and the opposite to remove a cataract that developed and implant a synthetic lens. Coomer’s imaginative and prescient is worse now than before he was hurt and he has paid roughly $4,800 in medical prices, mentioned his lawyer, Robert Tormohlen.

Coomer, fifty three, declined to debate the case. His lawsuit seeks an award of “over $20,000″ from the workforce, but the actual amount he is searching for is likely a lot higher. Tormohlen declined to debate the precise amount.

The Jackson County jurors who first heard the case two years in the past sided with the Royals, saying Coomer was fully at fault for his harm because he wasn’t conscious of what was occurring around him. An appeals court docket overturned that decision in January, nonetheless, ruling that whereas being struck by a baseball is an inherent risk followers assume at video games, being hit with a sizzling dog isn’t.

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments final month however didn’t point out when it would challenge its ruling.

Few circumstances have addressed the level of authorized responsibility, or obligation, a mascot owes to fans, so Coomer’s case is being closely watched by teams all through the nation, mentioned Tormohlen.

“If a jury finds that the activity at situation is an inherent and unavoidable risk, the Royals owe no obligation to their spectators,” Tormohlen stated. “No case has prolonged the no-duty rule to the activities of a mascot.”

The Royals, whose spokesman declined to comment on the case whereas it’s pending, have argued that the hot canine toss has been a popular fan attraction at Kauffman Stadium since 2000 and is as much part of the game expertise as strikeouts and home runs.

With such amenities as mascot races, T-shirt cannons, free Wi-Fi and sushi stands, teams have been doing all the things they can to persuade followers that the live expertise is well worth the high ticket and concession prices and is better than watching games on television.

“You have got this competitors with teams engaged in pushing the envelope making an attempt to make the experience at the occasion better than what you can experience at residence,” mentioned Jordan Kobritz, a professor within the sports activities management division at SUNY Cortland. “You also have the fan mentality through which risk in the present day is extra tolerable than it’s been in our historical past.”

A ruling in Coomer’s favor, or one which at the very least assigns partial blame to the mascot, might pressure teams to rethink their promotions, or not less than take extra measures to keep spectators secure, Kobritz mentioned.

Bob Jarvis, a sports activities law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, stated a 1997 California case set an vital precedent when a state appeals court docket dominated that mascots are usually not a necessary part of a baseball game. In that case, a minor league baseball team’s dinosaur brushed towards a fan, distracting him proper earlier than he was struck by a ball that broke several bones in his face. The court mentioned mascot antics aren’t important or integral to the enjoying of a game.

Furthermore, not all courts have treated the baseball rule as sacrosanct. Earlier this year, the Idaho Supreme Court docket allowed a fan who misplaced a watch to a foul ball at a minor league game to proceed together with his lawsuit towards the workforce. The court docket stated that since baseball fan accidents are so uncommon in Idaho, there didn’t appear to be a compelling motive for the court to step in.

Within the Kansas City case, a ruling within the Royals’ favor would point out that mascots are, indeed, an essential a part of the sport expertise, Jarvis said. If that happens, the Kansas Metropolis case would likely turn into the one attorneys have a look at when deciding whether or not to file a lawsuit on behalf of an injured fan.

“Should you could get a court docket to go the other manner and say in-recreation leisure is a pure a part of taking part in baseball within the U.S. in the 21st century, that may be an amazing precedent that might reduce off future lawsuits,” Jarvis said.

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Leach comments of crazy fan caught pouring popcorn on his face during Washingtons game


Final week’s fifty five-17 Stanford rout of Washington State was boring television (when you weren’t a Stanford fan) until one fan inadvertently livened it up.

ESPN cameras caught a lone fan lounging across a pair seats and dumping an entire bag of popcorn in his mouth.

It was by far probably the most entertaining part of the game.

Even Washington State coach Mike Leach thought the “Popcorn Man” was impressed after watching the video on his phone.

“That man’s superior,” Leach said throughout his weekly press conference. “I kinda felt the identical manner at the end of that sport.”

Leach went on to speak concerning the fan’s pouring method and talked about his household’s love of throwing food into their mouths.

“It was pretty good,” he said. “My wife can try this factor the place you throw it up and catch it in your mouth. I’m not superb at it. Her and my daughter occasionally have the contest the place you throw M&Ms and area it with your mouth. They’re each pretty good at it, fairly expert at it, but I believe he might give either one of them a run for his or her money.”

Oh, Mike Leach, thanks for turning what might have been a unfavorable press convention into one of many extra entertaining of the week.

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Tom Brady masters the struggle face a few times in the first half



You can really feel for Tom Brady. Just a bit bit, anyway.

For a man whom former New England Patriot and current NFL Network commentator Willie McGinest referred to as “irritatingly demanding,” Brady is just not used to what he dealt with Thursday night time.

His game in opposition to the New York Jets was plagued with a limited offensive talent pool, considering the litany of personnel losses the Patriots have suffered, and Brady’s endurance didn’t look like his sturdy suit as New England slid by New York 13-10.

First, after Brady missed Aaron Dobson on a third-and-5 with just over 5 minutes left within the second quarter, the quarterback appeared, um, nonplussed.



Mind you, Brady already had watched Dobson drop two passes and run the improper route in the long run zone, wiping out all the nice emotions from Dobson’s first-NFL-play touchdown. (Nicely, we assume Dobson erred because, you realize, Brady has been to 5 Super Bowls and stuff.)

Then, when Brady got back to the sideline, he let free even more, as you’ll be able to see in the GIF on the high of this put up. Any lip readers out there?

Do we rip Brady for this at all? If it was Jay Cutler, he’d be referred to as a horrible chief. Resumes apart, you must point out the way in which certain quarterbacks are handled shouldn’t be precisely equal.

“I believe I’ve to do a greater job with my physique language, and I undoubtedly can improve that,” Brady stated after the sport. “I would not say it is a real strong point of mine right now.”

That stated, when Julian Edelman is your most dependable receiver, you may see why Brady is perhaps mad. He finished the game 19-of-39 passing for 185 yards and a landing.

Come back soon, Gronk!


Laurent Koscielny gets kicked in the face by Fenerbahce player

As if Arsenal weren’t already banged up enough (both physically and in the morale department), Laurent Koscielny took a boot to the face in the 30th minute of the first leg of their Champions League playoff against Fenerbahce. Pierre Webo was shown a yellow card for the high kick as Koscielny attempted to head the ball. The bloodied Arsenal defender had to leave the match because, well, he got kicked in the head.

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This came after a restless night in which Fener supporters lit flares and made noise outside Arsenal’s hotel. Which was still a much friendlier reception than they’ve been getting at the Emirates lately.


UPDATE: And he’s OK!



Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo plans to appeal NFL’s ban on customized face masks

Brian Orakpo (USA At this time Sports Photographs)

The NFL has knowledgeable a number of gamers, including Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis and Arizona Cardinals defensive finish Darnell Dockett, that the customized face masks they had been sporting in the course of the OTAs and training camp would not be permitted to be worn throughout games.

Another participant who planned to put on a customized face masks is Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo, who plans to appeal the league’s “disheartening” decision, Mark Maske of the Washington Submit reports.

“Hopefully we can,” stated Orakpo, who wore his common face mask during last Thursday night time’s preseason opener in opposition to the Tennessee Titans. “We’re clearly within the course of right now of making an attempt to get it cleared once more. However right now we’re denied so we simply have to go along with what they say.”

Two players – Baltimore Ravens defensive finish Chris Canty and New York Giants defensive finish Justin Tuck – have received permission to put on customized face masks. The one exception the NFL is making is for medical reasons and each Canty and Tuck have nicely-documented back and/or neck accidents that might necessitate using a custom-made face masks. The argument for Canty and Tuck is that the “grill”-type mask doesn’t give offensive linemen something to grab and pull, which may worsen or exacerbate these gamers’ preexisting injuries.

Orakpo, who missed most of last season with a torn pectoral muscle, might have a tougher time convincing the NFL that he meets the usual for a medical exemption

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Man files lawsuit claiming Aaron Hernandez shot him in the face

Aaron Hernandez is being sued in Florida (USA Today Sports Images)

As the Massachusetts State police continue to investigate Aaron Hernandez’s connection to a homicide in North Attleboro, Mass., a Connecticut man has filed a lawsuit in the state of Florida alleging that the New England Patriots tight end shot him in the face following an argument in mid-February.

Initially reported by TMZ.com, Alexander S. Bradley, an acquaintance of Hernandez, filed a lawsuit in South Florida district court on June 13 alleging that, following an argument at a Miami strip club, a gun — possessed illegally by Hernandez — was pointed at Bradley and discharged while the two men were driving from Miami to Palm Beach, Fla.

According to the complaint, a copy of which you can read below, Bradley suffered bodily injury, including the loss of his right eye. The suit alleges that Bradley has begun what will be a series of reconstructive surgeries to his face and that he has sustained additional injuries caused by this incident that “will require extensive medical care and treatment for the rest of his life”.

The lawsuit was withdrawn on Monday, June 17, but Mike Garafolo of the USA Today reports that Bradley’s counsel claims there was a paperwork error. David Jaroslawicz, co-counsel for Bradley, told Garafolo that the suit will be refiled on Wednesday.

Bradley is seeking damages in excess of $100,000 from Hernandez, who signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract extension with the Patriots last August that contained over $16 million in guaranteed money, mostly in the form of a $12.5 million signing bonus. According to a source with knowledge of Hernandez’s contract extension, payments totaling more than 50 percent of that signing bonus were deferred to future years, however, $9.25 million was doled out between Aug. 27, 2012 and March 31, 2013. The final $3.25 million is not scheduled to be paid until March 31, 2014.

As for why Hernandez was not charged in that February incident, Jaroslawicz tells USA Today that his client was in the hospital for weeks and said that he was “sure the police were there”. A spokesman for Miami-Dade police were checking to see if a police report was filed.

Bradley vs. Hernandez