Pep Guardiola on Sunday said that it is easier for Manchester City to focus on cup glory for the rest of the season as the holders reached the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win at Newcastle United.
City are to face Arsenal at an empty Wembley Stadium next month after the Gunners struck in stoppage-time to beat Sheffield United 2-1.
Chelsea were 1-0 victors at Leicester City thanks to Ross Barkley’s winner, which set up a semi-final against Manchester United.
Kevin de Bruyne’s penalty and a stunning strike from Raheem Sterling got City back to winning ways on Tyneside after a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea last week that crowned Liverpool champions for the first time in 30 years.
“In the Premier League we are struggling to focus,” Guardiola said. “Now the [FA] Cup and the Champions League it is a little bit different.”
City were utterly dominant in the first half, but had to wait until Gabriel Jesus was pushed by Javier Manquillo inside the penalty area eight minutes before halftime for De Bruyne to break the deadlock.
“We should score more, but we played really well and created enough chances to score a lot of goals,” De Bruyne said. “We know it is really weird [to play behind closed doors], it is not something that I enjoy, but we are professionals and we need to keep going. We wanted to respond in a good way. We are happy we are in a semi-final now.”
City’s eighth league defeat of the season last week again exposed the defensive deficiencies they have to solve if they are to add the club’s first ever Champions League and another FA Cup to the EFL Cup they retained in March.
Newcastle had a glorious opportunity to equalize when Dwight Gayle somehow fired over Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross.
However, City possess plenty of firepower at the other end and moments later Sterling cut inside to curl into the bottom corner from outside the penalty area to kill the tie as a contest.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard made six changes to the team that beat City and was nearly made to pay by a very slow start from his side at the King Power Stadium.
Harvey Barnes, Wilfred Ndidi and Jonny Evans wasted chances for Leicester as Lampard could be heard bellowing “liven up.”
The former England midfielder showed his dissatisfaction by sending on Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta at halftime.
Chelsea instantly looked more vibrant after the changes and took the lead in the 63rd minute.
Willian swung in a teasing cross from the right and Barkley got in front of Evans to guide a clinical finish past Kasper Schmeichel.
“It is a learning experience. I could have taken more off. I am not pulling those out on their own,” Lampard said after hauling off youngsters Mason Mount, Reece James and Billy Gilmour. “They will be top players for this club and have top careers, but if I have to do something in games, I will do it. They will take it on the chin.”
At Bramall Lane, Dani Ceballos fired Arsenal into the semi-finals just as the Blades were smelling blood.
Nicolas Pepe put Mikel Arteta’s men ahead with a first-half penalty after Chris Basham fouled Alexandre Lacazette.
Sheffield United had two goals ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee either side of Pepe’s penalty and Basham also headed a huge chance wide.
The hosts finally got their reward when David McGoldrick equalized with three minutes left, before Emiliano Martinez produced a fine save to deny Billy Sharp a winner.
In the first minute of stoppage-time Arsenal broke and on-loan Real Madrid midfielder Ceballos slotted low past Dean Henderson from a narrow angle.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first