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AFP

Premier League basement battle hots up

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London (AFP) – While the race for the Premier League title has become a contest solely between leaders Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, the battle to beat the drop is a more complicated affair.

With a maximum of five rounds left, the identities of the bottom three who will be relegated into the second-tier Championship come the end of the season have still to be confirmed.

Newcastle get back to ‘football business’ after tax raid

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London (AFP) – Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez on Thursday tried to turn the attention back to his club’s promotion to the Premier League, a day after the club was raided by British tax authorities.

Magpies managing director Lee Charnley was arrested and later released without charge on Wednesday by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as part of an Anglo-French investigation into suspected tax fraud in football totalling millions of pounds.

Newcastle get back to ‘football business’ after tax raid

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London (AFP) – Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez on Thursday tried to turn the attention back to his club’s promotion to the Premier League, a day after the club was raided by British tax authorities.

Magpies managing director Lee Charnley was arrested and later released without charge on Wednesday by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as part of an Anglo-French investigation into suspected tax fraud in football totalling millions of pounds.

West Ham focus back on game after tax raid

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London (AFP) – West Ham United tried to turn their attention to football again on Thursday following the drama of the club’s midweek raid by British tax authorities.

Officials from Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC) descended upon West Ham’s London Stadium and the Premier League club’s Rush Green training ground as well as part of an Anglo-French investigation into suspected tax fraud in football totalling millions of pounds.

West Ham focus back on game after tax raid

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London (AFP) – West Ham United tried to turn their attention to football again on Thursday following the drama of the club’s midweek raid by British tax authorities.

Officials from Her Majesty’s Revenues and Customs (HMRC) descended upon West Ham’s London Stadium and the Premier League club’s Rush Green training ground as well as part of an Anglo-French investigation into suspected tax fraud in football totalling millions of pounds.

Barton banned for 18 months over betting

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London (AFP) – Burnley midfielder Joey Barton said he had effectively been forced into “early retirement” after being banned for 18 months over betting offences by England’s Football Association on Wednesday.

Barton, 34, admitted a charge relating to 1,260 bets he placed on football matches over a 10-year period between 2006 and 2016.

Ramsey wants Arsenal to win FA Cup for Wenger

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London (AFP) – Aaron Ramsey wants Arsenal to win the FA Cup for manager Arsene Wenger as the Gunners try to end a turbulent season with some silverware.

Arsenal will play London rivals Chelsea in next month’s Wembley final after coming from behind to beat Manchester City 2-1 in a controversial last-four clash at the national stadium on Sunday.

‘I’ll be back’: Ibrahimovic vows to return

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London (AFP) – Veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic said talk of his career being over was far from the truth, declaring on his Instagram account on Sunday he had already played on one leg before.

The 35-year-old - whose 28 goals have largely helped Manchester United compete for a Champions League spot next season as well as landing the League Cup - suffered serious knee ligament damage in last Thursday’s Europa League win over Anderlecht.

I would have made 10 subs, rages Everton boss

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London (AFP) – Ronald Koeman admitted he would have made ten substitutions at half-time after his Everton side failed to secure the win at West Ham United that would have moved them up to fifth in the Premier League table.

With sixth-placed Arsenal on FA Cup duty and Manchester United, who lie fifth, not due to face Burnley until 24 hours after Everton’s visit to the London Stadium, Koeman’s side had the opportunity to maintain the progress they have shown this season.

I would have made 10 subs, rages Everton boss

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London (AFP) – Ronald Koeman admitted he would have made ten substitutions at half-time after his Everton side failed to secure the win at West Ham United that would have moved them up to fifth in the Premier League table.

With sixth-placed Arsenal on FA Cup duty and Manchester United, who lie fifth, not due to face Burnley until 24 hours after Everton’s visit to the London Stadium, Koeman’s side had the opportunity to maintain the progress they have shown this season.

Hammers lock door on Lukaku’s Everton

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London (AFP) – West Ham moved one step closer to safety and Everton moved above Arsenal into sixth place after the two sides played out a 0-0 stalemate at the London Stadium.

Neither side was able to find a way to break the deadlock with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku failing to extend his run of having scored in his nine previous games against the Hammers.

Hammers lock door on Lukaku’s Everton

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London (AFP) – West Ham moved one step closer to safety and Everton moved above Arsenal into sixth place after the two sides played out a 0-0 stalemate at the London Stadium.

Neither side was able to find a way to break the deadlock with Everton striker Romelu Lukaku failing to extend his run of having scored in his nine previous games against the Hammers.

Time for Spurs to prove their worth – Conte

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London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte took a swipe at Tottenham ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final saying it is high time that the north London club ended decades of underachievement.

Conte’s Premier League leaders are just four points ahead of second-placed Tottenham in a tense title race, but Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has claimed his team will be underdogs at Wembley this weekend.

Time for Spurs to prove their worth – Conte

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London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte took a swipe at Tottenham ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final saying it is high time that the north London club ended decades of underachievement.

Conte’s Premier League leaders are just four points ahead of second-placed Tottenham in a tense title race, but Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has claimed his team will be underdogs at Wembley this weekend.

Hungry Spurs ready for Wembley feast

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino has warned Chelsea that success starved Tottenham are ready to underline their arrival as a major force by knocking the Premier League leaders out of the FA Cup this weekend.

Pochettino’s vibrant young side have emerged as the only serious opposition to Chelsea in the title race and on Saturday they face the acid test of their credentials when they resume hostilities with their London rivals in the semi-finals at Wembley.

FA Cup won’t decide my fate, says Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has slammed suggestions Arsenal’s FA Cup fate will have an impact when he decides his Gunners future.

Wenger’s side face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Sunday with the Gunners boss yet to reveal if he will extend his 21-year stay with the north London club.

FA Cup won’t decide my fate, says Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has slammed suggestions Arsenal’s FA Cup fate will have an impact when he decides his Gunners future.

Wenger’s side face Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Sunday with the Gunners boss yet to reveal if he will extend his 21-year stay with the north London club.

Chelsea masterclass gives Jose his mojo back

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London (AFP) – As Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho sauntered down the Old Trafford touchline ostentatiously pointing at the club crest on his gilet, the message was clear: I’m still the man.

Mourinho has had a challenging first season at the United helm, with nine home draws in the league summing up his difficulties, but Sunday’s 2-0 win over leaders Chelsea was a tactical masterclass.

Date with destiny awaits reanimated Vardy

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London (AFP) – When Jamie Vardy pictured himself making history in the Champions League, the record he set in Leicester City’s loss to Atletico Madrid was probably not what he had in mind.

The England striker came off during last week’s quarter-final first leg at the Vicente Calderon having completed none of his two attempted passes, in what is thought to have been a Champions League first.

Date with destiny awaits reanimated Vardy

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London (AFP) – When Jamie Vardy pictured himself making history in the Champions League, the record he set in Leicester City’s loss to Atletico Madrid was probably not what he had in mind.

The England striker came off during last week’s quarter-final first leg at the Vicente Calderon having completed none of his two attempted passes, in what is thought to have been a Champions League first.

Pochettino vows Spurs won’t repeat 2016 meltdown

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur will not lose their cool like they did last season, manager Mauricio Pochettino pledged after his side overwhelmed Bournemouth to increase the heat on Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Spurs’ bid to pip Leicester City to the title last season came crashing down amid a flurry of bookings and suspensions following stormy draws against West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea.

Pochettino vows Spurs won’t repeat 2016 meltdown

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur will not lose their cool like they did last season, manager Mauricio Pochettino pledged after his side overwhelmed Bournemouth to increase the heat on Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Spurs’ bid to pip Leicester City to the title last season came crashing down amid a flurry of bookings and suspensions following stormy draws against West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea.

No exceptional salary measures for Sanchez, says Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsenal should not change their wage policy in any new contract offer to Chilean star Alexis Sanchez, said beleaguered Gunners manager Arsene Wenger on Saturday.

The 67-year-old Frenchman’s remarks may further enrage Arsenal fans who are divided as to whether he should sign a new contract and extend his 21-year reign after a season of crushing disappointments.

No exceptional salary measures for Sanchez, says Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsenal should not change their wage policy in any new contract offer to Chilean star Alexis Sanchez, said beleaguered Gunners manager Arsene Wenger on Saturday.

The 67-year-old Frenchman’s remarks may further enrage Arsenal fans who are divided as to whether he should sign a new contract and extend his 21-year reign after a season of crushing disappointments.

Chelsea, not Arsenal, in Pochettino’s sights

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur have “bigger things” in their sights than finishing above Arsenal this season as they step up their pursuit of Premier League leaders Chelsea, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham last finished above Arsenal in 1995, but currently have a 14-point advantage over their north London rivals, albeit having played a game more than Arsene Wenger’s crumbling team.

Chelsea, not Arsenal, in Pochettino’s sights

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur have “bigger things” in their sights than finishing above Arsenal this season as they step up their pursuit of Premier League leaders Chelsea, according to manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham last finished above Arsenal in 1995, but currently have a 14-point advantage over their north London rivals, albeit having played a game more than Arsene Wenger’s crumbling team.

Chelsea’s Kante and Hazard up for PFA player of year award

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London (AFP) – N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard have seen their key roles in Chelsea’s bid for the Premier League title acknowledged with nominations for England’s Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.

The duo were on a six-strong shortlist announced Thursday that also included Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane.

Chelsea’s Kante and Hazard up for PFA player of year award

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London (AFP) – N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard have seen their key roles in Chelsea’s bid for the Premier League title acknowledged with nominations for England’s Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award.

The duo were on a six-strong shortlist announced Thursday that also included Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane.

Wretched Arsenal hit new low as Palace run riot

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger’s wretched season hit a new low as Arsenal crashed to a humiliating 3-0 defeat at lowly Crystal Palace that leaves their top four bid in tatters.

Wenger has been under siege in recent weeks as angry Arsenal fans demanded his resignation and the calls for the Gunners boss to quit will grow even louder after one of the most chastening defeats of his 21-year reign.

Wretched Arsenal hit new low as Palace run riot

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger’s wretched season hit a new low as Arsenal crashed to a humiliating 3-0 defeat at lowly Crystal Palace that leaves their top four bid in tatters.

Wenger has been under siege in recent weeks as angry Arsenal fans demanded his resignation and the calls for the Gunners boss to quit will grow even louder after one of the most chastening defeats of his 21-year reign.

Players didn’t betray me, says Ranieri

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London (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri insisted on Monday his sacking only a few months after guiding unfashionable Leicester to the unlikeliest of Premier League title wins was not orchestrated by the players.

The avuncular 65-year-old Italian - who took over from Nigel Pearson for the 2015/16 campaign tasked with preserving their elite status - told Sky Sports in his first interview since being fired there was someone within the club who manoeuvred to have him sacked.

Players didn’t betray me, says Ranieri

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London (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri insisted on Monday his sacking only a few months after guiding unfashionable Leicester to the unlikeliest of Premier League title wins was not orchestrated by the players.

The avuncular 65-year-old Italian - who took over from Nigel Pearson for the 2015/16 campaign tasked with preserving their elite status - told Sky Sports in his first interview since being fired there was someone within the club who manoeuvred to have him sacked.

Man Utd flops letting Mourinho down – Ibrahimovic

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London (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is giving “200 percent” for the club and is being let down by his underperforming players, according to top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

United are unbeaten in 20 Premier League matches, but lay seven points off the Champions League places - albeit with two games in hand - in sixth place ahead of Sunday’s trip to Sunderland.

Alonso supplies art as Chelsea respond to Spurs

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London (AFP) – Marcos Alonso netted a picture-perfect free-kick as Chelsea triumphed 3-1 at Bournemouth on Saturday to restore their seven-point advantage at the top of the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur had cut Chelsea’s lead to four points by crushing Watford 4-0, but Antonio Conte’s men responded to take another step towards the title.

Kouyate fires West Ham survival bid, Swansea in danger

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London (AFP) – Cheikhou Kouyate boosted West Ham United’s survival bid as the Senegal midfielder fired his side to a crucial 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Swansea City on Saturday.

Kouyate’s second-half strike at the London Stadium lifted Slaven Bilic’s team eight points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

Kouyate fires West Ham survival bid, Swansea in danger

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London (AFP) – Cheikhou Kouyate boosted West Ham United’s survival bid as the Senegal midfielder fired his side to a crucial 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Swansea City on Saturday.

Kouyate’s second-half strike at the London Stadium lifted Slaven Bilic’s team eight points clear of the Premier League relegation zone.

Conte ‘here to stay’ at Chelsea

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London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was adamant Friday he was “here to stay” despite persistent rumours linking him with a move to Inter Milan after the end of the season.

The 47-year-old former Juventus and Italy head coach has impressed in his first season in England, which could yet end with Chelsea completing a Premier League and FA Cup double.

Sanchez wants to stay at Arsenal – Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger believes Alexis Sanchez wants to stay at Arsenal, despite reports the striker could leave the London club if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Veteran French manager Wenger, in charge of Arsenal since September 1996, has yet to announce if he will stay with the club when his own contract expires at the end of the season and the Gunners boss was giving little away again on Friday.

Sanchez wants to stay at Arsenal – Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger believes Alexis Sanchez wants to stay at Arsenal, despite reports the striker could leave the London club if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.

Veteran French manager Wenger, in charge of Arsenal since September 1996, has yet to announce if he will stay with the club when his own contract expires at the end of the season and the Gunners boss was giving little away again on Friday.

The Rest

Eriksen stunner fires Spurs, Huth helps Arsenal

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London (AFP) – Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen netted a superb 30-yard goal to down Crystal Palace 1-0 on Wednesday and keep Tottenham Hotspur’s Premier League title hopes alive.

Leaders Chelsea, who beat Tottenham 4-2 in the FA Cup semi-finals on Saturday, went seven points clear by beating Southampton on Tuesday, but Spurs’ win trimmed the gap back to four points.