Chelsea have been hit with a charge by the Football Association (FA) after the club’s players crowded around match officials.
At half-time in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge, players including Pedro, Cesc Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta angrily confronted referee Lee Mason.
The official awarded Chelsea a corner in the closing seconds of the first half but blew for the interval before the Blues took the set-piece.
The FA confirmed on Thursday Chelsea have been charged following the incident.
Chelsea have been charged with failing to ensure their players and/or officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion. The incident occurred at half-time of yesterday’s game against Huddersfield Town. Chelsea have until 6pm on Tuesday [15 May 2018] to respond to the charge. pic.twitter.com/JOgK51XqLK
— FA Spokesperson (@FAspokesperson) May 10, 2018
“Chelsea have been charged with failing to ensure their players and/or officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion,” said the FA statement.
“The incident occurred at half-time of [Wednesday’s] game against Huddersfield Town. Chelsea have until 1800 BST on Tuesday May 15 to respond to the charge.”
The draw guaranteed Huddersfield’s Premier League survival, while Chelsea need Liverpool to slip up against Brighton and Hove Albion if they are to qualify for the Champions League on the final day of the season.
Andres Iniesta has not held talks over a shock move to Vissel Kobe, according to the club’s head of player development Atsuhiro Miura.
The Barcelona captain had been expected to join Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan at the end of the season, but the club’s president Jiang Lizhang hinted in a statement released via social media on Sunday that Iniesta would not be joining as a player.
Reports indicated the Japanese team Kobe had emerged as the most likely destination for the Spain international, regarded as one of European football’s modern greats.
But Miura said reports of a deal that could be worth as much as €25million per year are wide of the mark.
“I am surprised at the amount of money reported,” Miura was quoted by the Japan Times as saying.
“Honestly, that doesn’t strike me as being realistic.
“Such talks have definitely not taken place.
“If he actually were to come, he would be the best player. But it’s not realistic.”
It has also been suggested Iniesta could be keen on a switch to Australia, but the 33-year-old has given no clues as to his next move.
When a tenacious team outside the top flight plays stylish football all season and finishes the campaign head and shoulders above the rest, it’s difficult to claim their promotion was undeserved.
Football isn’t always fair, though…
8. Leicester, 1994
Leicester fans must have felt a sickly sense of déjà vu during their 1994 First Division play-off final against Derby when Tommy Johnson fired the Rams in front. The Foxes had fallen at this same hurdle two seasons running, losing to Blackburn in ’92 and Swindon the following year. In fact, Wembley was a hideous ground for them in general, having lost there on each of their six previous visits.
Leicester probably should have lost this one too.
Brian Little’s side eventually turned the game around and ended their Wembley hoodoo, however, thanks to a double from Steve Walsh – but not without courting controversy along the way. The Leicester equaliser four minutes from the interval should have been ruled out for a Iwan Roberts foul on Derby goalkeeper Martin Taylor, and Simon Grayson – who was involved in the winning goal – was lucky to avoid a straight red card on the hour mark.
Cruel twists of fate aside, this was a park-the-bus job from Leicester, who lined up with a five-man defence and nicked a smash-and-grab winner against the run of play. “That isn’t really how we want to play,” said manager Little, “but it’s been working.”
7. Swindon, 1993
Perhaps Leicester deserved a spot of luck in 1994 after what happened to them in their play-off final against Swindon one year previously. This seven-goal Wembley showdown between Foxes and Robins is often cited as the greatest promotion contest of all time – and it’s easy to see why.
After a quiet first half, Swindon headed into the break with a slender 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from player-manager Glenn Hoddle. But the Robins started the second period with a bang. Less than 10 minutes after the restart, the Wiltshire side were 3-0 to the good and coasting towards the top flight – only for Leicester to stage one of the comebacks of the season.
Well, almost. Julian Joachim’s 57th-minute effort put wind in the Foxes’ sails, and quickfire strikes from Steves Walsh and Thompson drew them level with 20 minutes left to play. A thrilling tie hung in the balance, but sadly it was a contentious penalty that decided it six minutes from time.
After their almighty fightback, Leicester’s top-flight ambitions were derailed when goalkeeper Kevin Poole was harshly adjudged to have fouled Steve White in the area. Paul Bodin stepped up and buried the spot-kick that fired the Robins to a new nesting ground: the Premier League.
6:28 for that dodgy dive
6. Rochdale AND Bradford, 1969
Successful promotion campaigns usually involve attractive football, lengthy winning sprees and consistently outclassing the opposition, but that wasn’t the case where Rochdale and Bradford were concerned during the 1968/69 season.
Both sides were playing their football in the old Division Four back then and, incredibly, won automatic promotion with more draws on the board than wins. They ended the campaign with an identical record of 18 wins, 20 stalemates and eight defeats.
These were the days of two points for a win, when defensive solidity was better rewarded – as was the case with Rochdale in particular, who shipped a league-low 35 goals and came out with a league-high goal average of 1.943.
Almost 50 years later, in 2013, Scunthorpe became the first team to win promotion with more draws than wins during the three-point era when they finished second in League Two (W20, D21, L5).
5. Ruthin Town, 2016
It must really sting when a table-topping season ends not in promotion but a red-tape barrier blocking your path to the division above. That’s what happened to Welsh outfit FC Nomads during the 2015/16 campaign, when they won the Welsh National League Premier only to be told that their ground was unsuitable for the nation’s second tier.
This meant that Ruthin Town, who finished as runners-up behind the Flintshire outfit by three points (and 25 fewer goals scored), were promoted to the Huws Gray Alliance in their place. Gutting.
Roberto Mancini has been backed to become the new coach of the Italy national team by Marcello Lippi.
Zenit coach Mancini will enter talks over the job at the end of the Russian Premier League season, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has confirmed.
The FIGC previously named Mancini on their shortlist for the position, along with Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and interim boss Luigi Di Biagio, while Claudio Ranieri and Carlo Ancelotti were among the other rumoured candidates.
Italian great Lippi, who led the Azzurri to the World Cup in 2006, believes Mancini is the right man to turn the country’s fortunes around after they failed to qualify for Russia 2018.
“Mancini is a top coach with great international experience,” Lippi told ANSA.
“All three names that have been put forward, I think, have been welcomed by the fans: Ancelotti, Mancini and Ranieri. There was also talk of [Atalanta coach Gian Piero] Gasperini.
“If it’s Mancini, he will certainly be a coach with great international experience. He’s managed great champions before, and it seems to me that he has huge desire to coach the Italy team. That’s the minimum requirement.”
David Wagner said Huddersfield Town fully deserved their point after holding Premier League champions Manchester City to a 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
Huddersfield became the only team to have kept a clean sheet away to City in the league this season, as Pep Guardiola’s men performed below their best ahead of collecting the trophy.
A vital point edges the Terriers three points clear of the relegation zone, although their remaining two matches are against top-six opposition in the form of Chelsea and Arsenal.
Wagner, though, was keen to hail his side’s achievement after a determined defensive display, with Huddersfield even having late chances to win the game on the break.
“I think this was anything but lucky today – it was totally deserved the point we collected today,” Wagner told Sky Sports.
“This is what you have to show when you want to stay in the Premier League and the players would love to stay in the Premier League.
“What they have to do is to try everything and invest in the belief that in football the impossible sometimes is possible. Today was such a day.
“It looked impossible to keep a clean sheet against City and collect a point here but the players have done it and I am over the moon for them.”
A clean sheet against the squad of a 100 goals. I’m very very proud to have been a part of this massive team effort and incredible spirit we showed today . Also a big congratulations to @ManCity with their trophy, what a fantastic team. #htafc #utt
— Jonas Lössl (@JonasLoessl) May 6, 2018
City had various Premier League records in their sights but holding the champions instead provided a huge boost to Huddersfield’s survival hopes.
“I think proud is not enough to describe how I feel for my players and my backroom staff and everyone who supports Huddersfield Town today,” Wagner added.
“I think to have a clean sheet against this team, which scored 100 goals, against the champions, to look solid defensively and to create the one or other chances as well, it’s fantastic. This was an absolutely deserved point, I think, from my point of view for all the effort the players have shown.
“We have to give credit to City for everything they have done this season – it’s an outstanding team so big credit to Pep and his team. I’m very happy for them that he won the title this season.
“We found a good idea of how we can neutralise them and try to hurt them on the counter attack. The effort and the shift the players put in was outstanding, the players worked their socks off all over the pitch and what they did was amazing.
“We don’t like to be too greedy, we collected a point against the champions away, a clean sheet against the champions away. It’s fantastic at this stage of the season to collect what could be a crucial point.”
Bournemouth 1-0 Swansea
Swansea remain just a point outside the relegation zone following their 19th defeat of the season at Bournemouth. Ryan Fraser’s first-half strike made the difference at the Vitality Stadium, as the Swans’ winless run stretched to seven matches.
Bournemouth’s victory moves them up to 12th place, level on points with Crystal Palace and Newcastle. A top-half finish is not yet out of the question for Eddie Howe’s men, who finish the campaign at Burnley next weekend.
Goals: Fraser 37′
Leicester 0-2 West Ham
West Ham edged closer to Premier League safety and piled the pressure on Claude Puel with a 2-0 victory at the King Power Stadium. The Hammers were on top for much of the first half and had their reward when Joao Mario broke the deadlock in the 34th minute, before Mark Noble added a second with a brilliant volley after the interval.
Leicester are now without a win in five league games, and manager Puel is likely to receive further criticism for this defeat. West Ham, meanwhile, are all but safe after their first away triumph since January.
Goals: Mario 34′, Noble 64′
Stoke 1-2 Crystal Palace
Stoke were relegated to the Championship after losing at home to Crystal Palace. Xherdan Shaqiri’s deflected free-kick gave the hosts the advantage shortly before half-time, but James McArthur rounded off a fine Palace counter-attack to level the scores in the 68th minute.
The Potters struggled to create chances despite knowing they realistically needed a win to keep their survival hopes alive, and it was the visitors who looked the more likely to grab the game’s decisive third goal. Their attacking intent was rewarded when Patrick van Aanholt slid the ball past Jack Butland to condemn their opponents to the second tier and secure Palace’s top-flight status.
Goals: Shaqiri 43′ — McArthur 68′, Van Aanholt 86′
Watford 2-1 Newcastle
Watford won their first game in eight to move level on points with opponents Newcastle. Roberto Pereyra opened the scoring with just 118 seconds on the clock, the Argentine sidefooting the ball home after being picked out by Abdoulaye Doucoure.
Andre Gray then doubled the home side’s lead in the 28th minute, but Troy Deeney missed the chance to make it three when his penalty was saved by Martin Dubravka. Ayoze Perez halved the deficit 10 minutes after the restart, but Watford held on for a long-overdue win.
Goals: Pereyra 2′, Gray 28′ — Perez 55′
West Brom 1-0 Tottenham
West Brom kept their slim survival hopes alive with a dramatic defeat of Champions League-chasing Tottenham. Neither side was able to make the breakthrough within the 90 minutes, but Jake Livermore’s stoppage-time goal against his former club moved the Baggies to within two points of safety.
It is still likely to be a case of too little, too late for Darren Moore’s men, while Spurs’ top-four fate is still in their own hands ahead of upcoming Wembley assignments against Newcastle and Leicester.
Goals: Livermore 90+2′