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Liverpool have a new motto and Mikel Arteta has failed Arsenal in every way

Liverpool have brought the Premier League title race to one final game. The campaign to sack Mikel Arteta at Arsenal is in full swing. (Author: Gardener)

Mikel ArtetaLiverpool have brought the Premier League title race to one final game. The campaign to sack Mikel Arteta at Arsenal is in full swing. "It's the hope that kills" is the new "Next year is our year". This is the best Liverpool team I've ever seen in my life. Better than the Premier League-winning team of two seasons ago and better than the Champions League winners of three years before that and in 2005. That is the case today; no VVD, Trent, Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Mane. A past Liverpool second string would lose a goal, drop their heads and feel like it wasn't their day. That's why Rafa has had so many 'embarrassing' cup losses, but these guys are just different. The result was far from certain today, although Southampton had just one shot on target. I think their strategy depended on Gomez and Tsimikas not being able to provide the creativity that Robertson and Trent would normally do and initially I think the plan looked like it was going to pay off. Both looked creative and pulled off some great forward runs. They looked good with Milner behind them and probably would have looked even better with Fabinho as he's probably the best screen in the league as Kante ages and keeps getting injured these days. I hope Liverpool score early on Sunday because ultimately we have a chance of Man City feeling the pressure a little more when they know they have to score. Villa have some decent players and when Man City get nervous and try to force it, a player like Ings could punish them. Just coming home from Southampton after three big points. The fact that it goes to the last day is amazing. Really what a season Liverpool had. Played 61 so far. Two great games left. You really can't ask for more. Whatever happens, it's been a great ride this season. I'm looking forward to our next two games with more excitement than I could have hoped for in August. A City support colleague texted me after Liverpool equalized and asked if I was nervous about the game. I said no because I had given up the league despite City drawing against West Ham. After all, it is hope that kills. Of course, Liverpool kept winning and started a sickeningly tense Sunday. Now I'm 100% sure Stevie G's will beat Villa City only for Liverpool to get banged by Wolves. Nevertheless, always the Champions League forward. Alan (fair play to Jake Daniels, amazing bravery) The never-ending debasement against Liverpool and their manager sees other contortions in an effort to diminish their success at every turn. Before Klopp took over, Liverpool were described as irrelevant, no more than our rivals, as a team living in the past. Klopp arrives and as some early success in reaching the final is achieved he is described as a serial bottler, a manager who never wins a final. Show us your trophies, Liverpool! Trophies follow unfavorably for this narrative and a Champions League win over Spurs has to be called the worst final ever and needless to say Liverpool are only in this year's Champions League final because they are struggling with the lucky draw. Liverpool are told that the Super Cup and Club World Cup aren't real trophies as you know (this by club supporters who like to claim the Community Shield as a trophy). A Premier League is won and it's just a Covid season. Klopp doesn't respect domestic trophies, Liverpool should win trophies, look at Chelsea, they're always in finals and win trophies. The Carabao Cup and the FA Cup are coming this season and it's good that you only won the final on penalties, that doesn't really count. The attack de jour is that the Premier League is the only trophy that really matters and Liverpool have only won one Premier League in over 30 years (hardly the fault of Klopp or this amazing team). Joking is one thing and if anyone can't stand Liverpool succeeding that's fair enough, but the incessant Trump/Johnson-lite revisionism and attempts to belittle and erase the achievements of Klopp and his team are on another level. Can't wait to see how it's explained when Liverpool beat Real Madrid on May 28th! It has been amazing to read other Arsenal fans' views on the debacle that has unfolded this season and I have particularly enjoyed the letters implying that Arsenal have finished in the top 5 rather than the top 4 all well and good. I would like to ask you, since when is it the job of pundits to determine before the start of the season where a club should end up? Arteta himself has said the plan for this season is Top 4. I'll say it again because this will be his second full season and he hasn't reached his minimum target at every single point, but for some reason there seems to be a crowd Deceit within this fan base that takes every single slack out of him and never holds him accountable. Almost three years at the club, he has scored fewer goals than Emery, never scored as many points as Emery, has a much worse goal difference, football is not much different, but he talks about ideas like "cultural change", fans have decided that he can't be the problem. And this idea of ​​culture change speaks to middle management for "if I fail, blame someone else," and that's the thing. Arteta has failed on every single soccer metric. I saw a tweet from Arseblog after the game where he said something where he was happy that at least we have something to play again at the end of the season. That's an incredible comment because he's doing the same thing, implying an improvement because Arteta has set the bar so low that a Europa League finish is seen as an improvement. And that there is nothing to play at the end of the season is a special Arteta invention. In Emery's only full season we ended up with 3 games to get CL and he prioritized the Europa League final so obviously we always had something to play. Arteta has no excuse for Europe, we didn't have cup competitions, one game a week and we were 6 points ahead of Spurs with a game in hand when the rest of the Premier League had played 29 games. Arteta failed. And he failed just as he has always failed by not being able to coach attacking football. We're 17th this season with 37 big chances. That's a big chance per game and is surpassed by Burnley (!!!!) and Wolves. It's a management problem that he can't solve after three years. If we were a serious club he would have been sacked when he took us to 15th last season or definitely now but we just gave him a new contract so we'll be here for a lot longer. I'm not looking forward to it. It's not fun for me to watch us try to win every game with the only goal after a battle of attrition. Did I read correctly that Tony (Shelfside) wrote: "First of all I want to congratulate Spurs on achieving Champions League football." Guess it's going to happen 99% of the time, but really? Has he never seen Spurs? The team that placed 3rd in a 2 horse race, the team that hasn't won a major trophy in decades? Oh my life, how funny it would be to revisit those words next week when the unbelievable happens (to be fair they're likely to lose to Norwich and Arsenal are set to draw or lose to Everton). Reminds me of a text I got from a friend at 4.45pm on a Sunday in 2012: 'Life doesn't get any better when you're sitting in the Guinness brewery in Dublin having a pint and watching Man Utd die League wins.” Young managers on a pedestal Here's a real question that I hadn't really considered until a comment caught my eye this week, but why don't 'young' managers have the same latitude as young players when it comes to inexperience? I'm aware that in these parts it's divisive to engage in conversations about the current triumvirate of leagues of young managers who have had long and distinguished playing careers, and I'm certainly not saying that Lampard/Arteta/ Gerrard are mistreated in any way, they've all been unnecessarily beaten up or down in coveted management roles arguably because of their status as ex-players, but it's not fair to suggest that a manager in his 30's/40's should have the same respect for inexperience should be awarded as a player in the 17-21 age group? Managing a football club is no less a skill in terms of managing defences, goalkeeping or finding spaces, it comes from a combination of natural ability and purely learned experience. I guess there's an argument for 'well they shouldn't go straight to a top club then', but why don't we argue with young players who are promising but make mistakes? Jimbo (Would someone please think about the feelings of young managers) Much debate about appointing Emma Hayes to a managerial role on a men's team. I have no idea. However, what I haven't mentioned is the consideration that maybe she doesn't want a job in men's football? That their success should be a stepping stone to a career in men's football. Think about it: what message would it send for women's football if Emma Hayes left serial winners and recent Champions League finalists Chelsea for Championship Blackburn? Women's football is inferior. It's a springboard to the man's game, the man's game is where everyone wants to be. Emma Hayes is someone who has put a lot of time and effort into women's football. The growth of women's football has been phenomenal. Yes, the men's game is technically superior and yes, there are far more financial rewards, but the women's game is on the rise. I'm sure she is very aware of how a move to men's football would be perceived and I suspect she would rather see women's football continue to grow than abandon ship at this moment. Andy seems to have missed the point I was trying to get at spectacularly. I thought I made it clear that I don't relate to a woman who works in men's football, but I think saying something outright is too subtle for some people. I said quite literally that the only arguments I could think of that could be made against a woman leading a male team all boiled down to sexism. All I asked was that we stop talking about how her success in women's football gives her a "proven track record" in men's football. It doesn't. It's irrelevant. It's as irrelevant to their management in the men's game as their expertise. Is that all I ask? And for the record, many of the best managers in football history have not played at a high level in men's football, and certainly many of the best experts in men's football either have not played at a high level or made it. By the way, the "unknown [sic] academy team" that beat international women's teams wasn't named because I thought they were common knowledge to anyone who follows football and women's football in particular. No naughty deals: Australia lost 7-0 to an Australian boys' team in 2016, USA lost 1-5 or 2-5 to the Dallas Under 15s a few years later (I think it was Dallas). I'm not using this as a stick to hit anyone with, but since the snide comment suggested I made it up, I felt compelled to respond. The article 'Liverpool have a new motto and Mikel Arteta has failed Arsenal in every way' appeared first on Football365.com.

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Sheffield United footballer Billy Sharp slams headbutt 'scumbag'

Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp has branded the Nottingham Forest fan who headbutted him in a pitch invasion last night after the Championship play-off semi-final as a "scumbag". (Author: Gardener)

Billy SharpSheffield United captain Billy Sharp has branded the Nottingham Forest fan who headbutted him in a pitch invasion last night after the Championship play-off semi-final as a "scumbag". The burly supporter in yellow broke away from the celebrations to charge headfirst at Sharp, who was standing with his arms crossed in the technical zone at the City Ground. Footage of the incident was captured live on Sky Sports and shows Sharp being crushed after failing to see his attacker coming. Mr Sharp, who previously played for Forest, required stitches and police have arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of assault. The footballer said this morning: "A mindless idiot ruined an incredible night of football. “Congratulations to Nottingham Forest on their win and good luck in the final. As an ex-Forest player, I won't let any bastard ruin my respect for Forest fans. “Incredibly proud to be captain of this group of Sheffield United players, they gave it their all and can hold their heads high. Thank you for all your messages and support following the incident.' Forest vowed to give the arrested man a life ban for one of the most horrifying assaults on a player ever seen on a football pitch. Nottinghamshire Police Chief Inspector Paul Hennessy said: "A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom called for the fan to be jailed. He said: "Billy was minding his own business and was attacked blindly. Billy is shaken and needed stitches. We always see people talking about player safety but nothing is ever done about it.' Last night's incident happened on the same sideline where Forest's top manager Brian Clough famously began punching and punching fans who took part in a pitch invasion in 1989. These events marred a fabulous semi-final with Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba as the penalty shoot-out hero. Samba saved United three efforts - including Morgan Gibbs-White's crucial one - to set a Wembley meeting with Huddersfield Town on May 29, where the winner sealed promotion to the Premier League. This is the second night in a row that there have been problems at a play-off semi-final after Luton boss Nathan Jones complained about the behavior of Huddersfield fans after his side's defeat. Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom not only gave an update on Sharp but was enraged by an incident and made it known in his post-match interview. “We see things being thrown on the pitch and things being thrown at it endangering the health and safety of the players and nothing has ever been done about it. We saw what happened, we know what happened. “How can you get into a job minding your own business and be attacked that way? Former Forest defender Michael Dawson, who was covering the game for Sky Sports, condemned the incident, saying: "It's an absolute disgrace." Nottinghamshire Police said they worked with both clubs following their arrest. Chief Inspector Paul Hennessy said: "A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. "Our investigation into the circumstances of the incident is ongoing. "Our investigation into the circumstances of the incident is ongoing. We have spoken to the player concerned and are working with both clubs who are assisting us in our investigation.' We have spoken to the player concerned and are working with both clubs who are assisting us in our investigation.'

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Man arrested for assaulting Billy Sharp after Nottingham Forest fans staged pitch invasion

The Sheffield United striker was injured after fans flocked to the pitch in the city following the home side's victory in a dramatic penalty shoot-out. (Author: Gardener)

Billy SharpSheffield United's Billy Sharp was attacked during celebrations after Nottingham Forest's play-off win (Image: Caption: PA Wire/Sky News) A man has been arrested on suspicion of assault after Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp, apparently attacked by Nottingham Forest fans, was dumped onto the pitch at the end of the Championship play-off semi-final. Nottinghamshire Police Chief Inspector Paul Hennessy said: "A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. The Blades skipper was sidelined for the second leg through injury and was on the touchline after Forest clinched a dramatic 3-2 victory on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate draw, leading to a pitching invasion at City Ground led. Footage shared on social media appears to show a supporter running towards the 36-year-old former Forest forward and knocking him to the ground. Forest has condemned the incident, saying in a statement they "will be working with authorities to locate the individual" and the perpetrator is subject to a "lifetime ban" from the club. When asked about his reaction to the incident, Blades manager Paul Heckingbottom said the fan who attacked Sharp deserved a jail sentence. Thousands of fans flocked to the pitch after Nottingham Forest won their semi-final game in a dramatic penalty shootout (PA Wire) Nottingham Forest fans prepare for their first trip to Wembley since 1992 (PA Wire) He said: 'What shall I say… I watch football every Monday night, Super Sunday, my time in Scotland, every time I've been there there have been so many people talking, seen things being thrown on the pitch, seen fans marching on the pitch, seeing things that put the health and safety of players at risk and nothing has ever been done about it. There is no doubt that there is a prison sentence. "How can you get into your workplace minding your own business and be attacked like that? "It's not okay, it's all wrong, like I said, too often you hear people condemning it but nothing is being done about it. Former Forest defender Michael Dawson agreed with Heckingbottom, telling Sky Sports: "This is an absolute disgrace. This is a person we cannot judge. 'That's a shame, too many people are running on the pitch. Yes we talked about Nottingham Forest enjoying it and having a special night but Billy Sharp stood there doing nothing wrong and one stupid fan runs on and does that. 'It spoiled everything for that night. What Nottingham Forest has done and this fan I just hope Billy Sharp is alright. Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Arsenal squad review: who to keep, who to sell

Telegraph Sport assesses Arsenal's squad player by player ahead of a big summer for Mikel Arteta (Author: Gardener)

Telegraph SportArsenal's quest for the Champions League was all but ended by Monday night's disastrous defeat by Newcastle United and they now appear destined for another grueling Europa League season. They are approaching that time of year when major squad planning decisions are being made and in the coming weeks their leaders will need to assess the options available to Mikel Arteta. And which of the loan players can make a difference next year? Here, Telegraph Sport offers player-by-player judgment on each member of Arsenal's first-team squad as the club prepare for another busy window in the transfer market. Overall a very encouraging first season in which he has become one of the most important figures in the dressing room. Has seemed nervous in recent weeks but his overall work has been far better than many expected when he was signed. This summer will undoubtedly mark the end of Leno's Arsenal career. One of Arsenal's most consistent and reliable players when fit. The Scotland international has emerged as a leader of the team and is a contender for the captaincy next season. This has been a good season for White who has improved Arsenal's passing game and also answered any questions about his raw defensive skills. Clearly an important part of Arsenal's future. Has developed a strong relationship with White at the heart of Arsenal's defense and is also maturing into a leader of the team. Only a significant offer should test Arsenal's resolve. A popular and well-respected member of the dressing room who has generally impressed this season when it came to deputizing for White and Gabriel or adding to defense in the second half. His personal meltdown against Tottenham Hotspur will be remembered but overall he has proven to be a useful asset and an important figure. Not first choice when other players are fit and sometimes it's easy to see why. Has had a decent second half of the season but is clearly not the man to push Arsenal forward. Will be a useful option in the Europa League and could be needed when others are unavailable but Arsenal shouldn't stand in his way when offers come in. Tomiyasu was versatile and solid, with an air power that makes him a useful asset A great start to the campaign. The big concern for the Japan international is his fitness as repeat injuries limit him to just five league starts in 2022. Unfortunately, this isn't an Arsenal team that needs more chaos. Perhaps the Europa League will help him develop, but Arsenal certainly need a more reliable cover for Tierney. For Bellerin, who has enjoyed a successful season with Real Betis in Spain, it's hard to imagine going back. He seemed revived by a much-needed change of scenery and Arsenal have moved on. It's unlikely to be more than a backup option for Tomiyasu. Hector Bellerin's Arsenal future is likely to end in the summer. Arsenal couldn't have asked for much more from Saliba's Marseille loan. A huge talent that should be there at least in every cup game from the start next season. Mari will almost certainly be the fifth-choice centre-back if he is set to return to Arsenal after his six-month loan spell at Udinese. Arteta could feel he needs five defenders to compete in the Europa League and Premier League, although that seems unlikely at this point. Showed this season why Arteta was so desperate to bring him to the club and is perhaps the most important player in Arsenal's system. Arsenal looks like a side capable of playing Champions League football when they're in top form, but they struggled without him. A strong contender to take on the captaincy permanently and one of Arsenal's best players this season. Elneny has proven himself with a number of good performances in recent weeks after such a long break. A useful backup option that doesn't seem to mind being a fringe player. His contract expires at the end of this season but Arsenal already have a shortage of midfielders and it makes sense to offer him an extension. His form has faded this season after a promising start to life in England. He is one of the players who would benefit from regular Europa League play. Overall he has performed well this season, barring a few high-profile mistakes, and it's clear he has Arteta's confidence. One day Arsenal will have to move on but they would need to sign a quality replacement if Xhaka is to leave and they should only listen to substantial offers. Verdict: Stay unless big offer is made. A superb season on loan at Fiorentina will help Arsenal get some of their money back from Torreira, who is a good player but seems much better suited to Italian football. Fiorentina has an option to buy Torreira and looks set to take it. A useful option that might have played a key role in the second half of the season had he not been loaned out to Roma. Will there be significant offers? There doesn't seem to be much point in selling him for a small fee when there are so many games to play next season. He might not want to be a fringe player, but there's no denying his versatility makes him valuable for Arteta. Verdict: Keep barring a significant offer, Arsenal's top player and top scorer. Has looked exhausted in recent weeks and is clearly in need of a summer holiday but this has been another year of progress for the 20-year-old. Another player whose form has slipped in the final weeks of the season but his talent is unquestionable. A return of 11 goals this season (just one less than Saka) is a testament to his attacking quality. Another striker who is the future of Arsenal's attack. Now plays smarter and causes myriad problems for opposing defenders. The current captain has been a good intermediary this season, registering more assists than any other player, but his lack of goal threat has been a major problem. With the Frenchman's contract expiring at the end of this season, it's time for Arsenal to move on. Verdict: Don't offer a new deal Alexandre Lacazette's Arsenal goals record was average To put it bluntly, Pepe is one of the worst signings in Arsenal's history. Has never come close to justifying his £72m fee and was completely usurped by Saka on the right of Arsenal's attack. He is unlikely to ever be the main man in Arsenal's attack and is justified in wanting more regular action. Arsenal want him to sign a new contract but it's clear they can't guarantee him a starting spot every week. He would be a valuable asset next season if they can convince him to stay. An encouraging end to the season on loan at Feyenoord was something of a step forward for Nelson, although Arsenal are unlikely to stand in his way if an offer were made. Could be a good squad option if other players leave but he's fallen well behind Saka, Smith Rowe and Martinelli. As things stand, Balogun will be the only center forward in Arsenal's squad next season. However, it is clear that they will sign other players and it would certainly benefit Balogun's development if he took another loan. He has scored three goals in 20 games for Middlesbrough this season and appears reluctant to play regularly in the first team in the Premier League. Might be needed in cup competitions in the early months of the season. Conclusion: Loan, but only if more strikers are committed

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Billy Sharp is tackled by a fan during the pitch invasion between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United

Nottingham Forests' penalty shoot-out win over Sheffield United and advance to Championship play-offs tarnished when Billy Sharp attacked during pitch invasion at the City Ground; Blades forward left the team bleeding and shaking, confirms manager Paul Heckingbottom (Author: Gardener)

Billy SharpBilly Sharp is tackled by a fan during Nottingham Forest-Sheffield United pitch invasion | Paul Heckingbottom: 'It's not okay' Nottingham Forest's penalty shoot-out win over Sheffield United and progress to the Championship play-off final was marred when Billy Sharp attacked during a pitch invasion at the City Ground; Blades striker left 'bleeding and shaken', manager Paul Heckingbottom confirms Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was attacked by a fan during the pitch invasion after Nottingham Forest beat his side on penalties at the City Ground. Paul Heckingbottom has urged authorities to call for the strictest punishment after Billy Sharp was attacked following Sheffield United's play-off semi-final defeat at Nottingham Forest. The Blades reversed a two-goal deficit to level the tie at 3-3 on aggregate and forced extra time and penalties at the City Ground, but their spirited comeback was wiped out on penalties when goalkeeper Brice Samba saved three penalties to forest to be sent to Wembley. Forest's jubilation at the prospect of ending their 23-year absence from the Premier League, provided they beat Huddersfield in the final on May 29, spilled from the stands into an invasion marred by an unprovoked attack on Blades striker Sharp became. Sharp, who was injured and did not play for Sheffield United in the second leg of the play-off semi-final, watched from the touchline as Forest supporters celebrated their 3-2 penalty shoot-out win before appearing to be struck by an attack fan. Manager Heckingbottom condemned the attack, which appears to have resulted in Sharp having to have stitches. He told Sky Sports: "I watch football every Monday night, every Super Sunday, my time in Scotland. There were so many people talking about seeing things being thrown onto the field, fans invading the field and seeing things affecting players' health and safety at risk. Too often we will hear people condemn this and nothing will be done about it. Nottingham Forest were quick to denounce the attack on Sharp, who was on loan for the club in the 2012/13 season, and apologized "Nottingham Forest Football Club is appalled to learn that after today's game at the City Ground, our former player Billy Sharp was attacked as he was leaving the field," read a statement. "The club will work with the authorities to locate the individual so that he can be held accountable for his actions, which will include a lifetime ban from Nottingham Forest. "The club also want to thank Billy personally and Sheffield United Football Club apologies." Former Nottingham Forest defender Michael Dawson, who was a Sky Sports pundit at the City Ground, expressed disbelief at the attack on Sharp. "Too many people are running onto the pitch, we've talked about "Forest had a special night but Billy Sharp stood there and did nothing wrong. And a stupid fan runs on and does what spoiled it all. I hope Sharp is ok." and a team is happy, I worry about the opponent when the fans keep running."It worries me when fans keep running. It ruins it a bit. I understand fans we want to do it, but idiots can ruin it.” It needs to be punished. It becomes mandatory for fans not to continue running despite these special occasions. The person must be punished. "When will this stop. When will people in society realize that this is not acceptable?"

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Forest advances to playoff final after shootout win

Nottingham Forest defeated Sheffield United on penalties to reach the Championship play-off final. (Author: Gardener)

Nottingham ForestNottingham Forest defeated Sheffield United on penalties and, despite losing the semi-final second leg at the City Ground, set up a Championship play-off final with Huddersfield Town. Thousands of jubilant Forest fans flocked to the field as Samba saved Gibbs-White's feeble penalty after the two legs ended 3-3 on aggregate. However, scenes of the celebrations were marred by a fan charging at Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp, knocking him to the ground. After the game, Blades manager Paul Heckingbottom said Sharp was "shattered and bleeding." Brennan Johnson had extended Forest's 2-1 aggregate lead from the first leg with a slipping first-half finish, but second-half goals from Gibbs-White and John Fleck sent the game into overtime. It took a fine reflex save from Samba to keep Iliman Ndiaye out after 115 minutes and force the game to go to penalties. The Congolese keeper immediately gave Forest the advantage by saving United's first two tries. Johnson, Cafu and Steve Cook scored for Forest before Joe Lolley sent his over the bar, leading Samba to save from Gibbs-White, who sent Forest to Wembley for the first time in 30 years. The showdown with the Terriers on Sunday, May 29 will be Forest's first ever play-off final. Victory in what is often cited as the richest game in football would end Forest's 23-year absence from the Premier League. Sheffield United's shootout defeat extends the club's pitiful play-off record to nine failed attempts from nine campaigns and denied them the chance of an immediate return to the top flight. He made a crucial early save against Ndiaye before Johnson put the hosts two goals ahead after a ruthlessly quick counterattack. With nearly 20 minutes of Blades dominance, Scott McKenna launched the ball down the left for Sam Surridge, who struck 20-year-old Johnson in the center of the box. The Wales international's 19th goal of the season emulated his father David, who scored both home and away in Forest's 2003 play-off semi-finals. The difference this time is that Johnson scored at Bramall Lane and the City ground has propelled them into the final. A tense first half in front of a roaring 29,015 crowd turned hot when United manager Heckingbottom slotted the ball into defender Djed Spence's stomach as he was about to claim it for a throw-in. Heckingbottom appeared happy only to be cautioned by Michael Oliver for the incident which sparked a melee allowing him to watch from the dugout as Gibbs-White made it 1-1 immediately after the break. United pressed relentlessly for a goal to equalize which Fleck stabbed home from close range with 15 minutes remaining. Both sides tried to find a winner within 90 minutes but James Garner's deflected shot in added time, which went wide for Forest, was as close as either side came. Chances were limited in extra time when Lolley slipped in the box trying to score from a low cross before Johnson volleyed Wes Foderingham in the arms. Samba's stunning extra-time save against Ndiaye and his heroic shootouts helped Forest come within one win of reaching the Premier League for the first time since being relegated in 1999. The National Stadium was like a second for Forest between 1989 and 1992 At home when the club took part in six finals and won four of them – including twice the League Cup under Brian Clough. The club's worst start to the league in more than a century - with just one point from their first seven games - did not suggest the Reds would be able to establish themselves as a contender for promotion. As it turned out, hopes for automatic promotion were only dashed in the penultimate game of the regular season. The appointment of the 42-year-old changed the fortunes of Forest, with the Reds accumulating more points than any other side in the English second tier from that point on, and fourth place secured a play-off spot. While not as dramatic, United's rise mirrors that of Forest following the appointment of Heckingbottom as Slavisa Jokanovic's successor in November. Under the Serbian, the Blades won just three of 19 league games. By the time Heckingbottom was appointed, Forest had already moved above them in the table. An upturn in form that included just one defeat in the 44-year-old's first 13 league games saw the Blades finish fifth with a 4-0 win over title-holders Fulham on the final day of regular play of the season. They pushed Forest to the limit for 210 minutes in two semi-final games, but were ultimately stymied by Forest's brilliant goalkeeper Samba. "To get through two legs of a semi-final play-off you have to do a little bit of everything, you have to play well, you have to suffer, you have to have a bit of luck and you have to put in some effort - all the things you have to do to make a to be real team we did. "Brice was brilliant today, I'm not one to single people out but it's difficult not to talk about how good he was in terms of the penalties, the saves, the distribution and the rest. It's brilliant that he got his moment."

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Nottingham Forest beat Sheffield United on penalties to reach the Championship play-off final

Nottingham Forest 1-2 Sheffield United (3-3 agg): Brice Samba's shootout exploits mean Steve Cooper's side will now take on Huddersfield at Wembley (Author: Gardener)

Nottingham ForestBrice Samba saved three penalties as Nottingham Forest reached the Sky Bet Championship play-off final thanks to a nerve-wracking 3-2 shootout win over Sheffield United. The Blades had dragged themselves back into that semi-final despite losing the first leg 2-1 and trailing Brennan Johnson's opener at the City Ground as Morgan Gibbs-White and John Fleck took the tie into overtime in the second half. Samba featured a special save from Iliman Ndiaye as the tie ended 3-3 on aggregate after 120 minutes and the Congo keeper then refused Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Gibbs-White to send Forest on to a showdown against Huddersfield at Wembley Sunday May 29th. Johnson, Cafu and Steve Cook all scored their penalties and while Joe Lolley shot over it was inconsequential after Samba saved from Gibbs-White to spark an invasion of the pitch by jubilant Forest fans. Forest, bottom of the second tier after seven games when Steve Cooper took charge in September, is now just one win away from a return to the top flight after a 23-year absence. Samba made an excellent save shortly after, charging out of his goal to smother Ndiaye's shot after being put through one-for-one by Gibbs-White's exquisite outside-right-footed pass. Out of nowhere, Forest reclaimed their two-goal cushion when Scott McKenna's long ball was intercepted down the left by Sam Surridge, whose square pass allowed an outstretched Johnson to send past Wes Foderingham. Assisted by a cacophonous crowd, the 19th-minute goal seemed to dispel Forest's tremors and they poured purposefully forward, although Ndiaye at the other end easily held a shot through a crowd. Tensions boiled over before half-time when Paul Heckingbottom appeared to take offense at Djed Spence, who was loitering on the touchline, and shoved the ball into the defender's waist, resulting in an unseemly close-quarters struggle that ended with the boss of Sheffield United received a yellow card from referee Michael Oliver. But any thoughts despairing of the visitors were erased as they punished Forest this time for slowly coming back out of the traps to bring the tie to life two minutes after the resume. Gibbs-White provided the finish, sweeping over Samba from Sander Berge's low ball to the near post moments after Cook mounted a last-second tackle to thwart Ndiaye as he ran on target. Nervousness around the ground mounted as Sheffield United enjoyed sustained pressure with Forest not being able to react much to that and they were rewarded in the 75th minute when George Baldock's cross came on from Fleck's right side after a lung-ripping run around level the score overall. Sheffield United had the first chance when Gibbs-White fired at Samba from a tight angle before Forest substitutes Lolley and Keinan Davis combined, the latter kicking a leg following a cross which Foderingham blocked. Sheffield United might have won it late but Samba made an amazing close-range save to deny Ndiaye from six yards out, although the keeper's heart would have been in his mouth at the death when former Forest defender Jack Robinson went under fell to the ground in his challenge. Oliver didn't point to the point or give Robinson a second caution when the game went to penalties. Samba correctly tapped to deny Norwood, then tapped Hourihane's effort to the bar before saving in the corner from Gibbs-White to spark insane scenes on a memorable night for Forest.

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Forest advances to playoff final after shootout win

Nottingham Forest defeated Sheffield United on penalties to reach the Championship play-off final. (Author: Gardener)

Nottingham ForestNottingham Forest defeated Sheffield United on penalties and, despite losing the semi-final second leg at the City Ground, set up a Championship play-off final with Huddersfield Town. Thousands of jubilant Forest fans flocked to the field as Samba saved Gibbs-White's feeble penalty after the two legs ended 3-3 on aggregate. However, scenes of the celebrations were marred by a fan charging at Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp, knocking him to the ground. After the game, Blades manager Paul Heckingbottom said Sharp was "shattered and bleeding." Brennan Johnson had extended Forest's 2-1 aggregate lead from the first leg with a slipping first-half finish, but second-half goals from Gibbs-White and John Fleck sent the game into overtime. It took a fine reflex save from Samba to keep Iliman Ndiaye out after 115 minutes and force the game to go to penalties. The Congolese keeper immediately gave Forest the advantage by saving United's first two tries. Johnson, Cafu and Steve Cook scored for Forest before Joe Lolley sent his over the bar, leading Samba to save from Gibbs-White, who sent Forest to Wembley for the first time in 30 years. The showdown with the Terriers on Sunday, May 29 will be Forest's first ever play-off final. Victory in what is often cited as the richest game in football would end Forest's 23-year absence from the Premier League. Sheffield United's shootout defeat extends the club's pitiful play-off record to nine failed attempts from nine campaigns and denied them the chance of an immediate return to the top flight. He made a crucial early save against Ndiaye before Johnson put the hosts two goals ahead after a ruthlessly quick counterattack. With nearly 20 minutes of Blades dominance, Scott McKenna launched the ball down the left for Sam Surridge, who struck 20-year-old Johnson in the center of the box. The Wales international's 19th goal of the season emulated his father David, who scored both home and away in Forest's 2003 play-off semi-finals. The difference this time is that Johnson scored at Bramall Lane and the City ground has propelled them into the final. A tense first half in front of a roaring 29,015 crowd turned hot when United manager Heckingbottom slotted the ball into defender Djed Spence's stomach as he was about to claim it for a throw-in. Heckingbottom appeared happy only to be cautioned by Michael Oliver for the incident which sparked a melee allowing him to watch from the dugout as Gibbs-White made it 1-1 immediately after the break. United pressed relentlessly for a goal to equalize which Fleck stabbed home from close range with 15 minutes remaining. Both sides tried to find a winner within 90 minutes but James Garner's deflected shot in added time, which went wide for Forest, was as close as either side came. Chances were limited in extra time when Lolley slipped in the box trying to score from a low cross before Johnson volleyed Wes Foderingham in the arms. Samba's stunning extra-time save against Ndiaye and his heroic shootouts helped Forest come within one win of reaching the Premier League for the first time since being relegated in 1999. The National Stadium was like a second for Forest between 1989 and 1992 At home when the club took part in six finals and won four of them – including twice the League Cup under Brian Clough. The club's worst start to the league in more than a century - with just one point from their first seven games - did not suggest the Reds would be able to establish themselves as a contender for promotion. As it turned out, hopes for automatic promotion were only dashed in the penultimate game of the regular season. The appointment of the 42-year-old changed the fortunes of Forest, with the Reds accumulating more points than any other side in the English second tier from that point on, and fourth place secured a play-off spot. While not as dramatic, United's rise mirrors that of Forest following the appointment of Heckingbottom as Slavisa Jokanovic's successor in November. Under the Serbian, the Blades won just three of 19 league games. By the time Heckingbottom was appointed, Forest had already moved above them in the table. An upturn in form that included just one defeat in the 44-year-old's first 13 league games saw the Blades finish fifth with a 4-0 win over title-holders Fulham on the final day of regular play of the season. They pushed Forest to the limit for 210 minutes in two semi-final games, but were ultimately stymied by Forest's brilliant goalkeeper Samba. "To get through two legs of a semi-final play-off you have to do a little bit of everything, you have to play well, you have to suffer, you have to have a bit of luck and you have to put in some effort - all the things you have to do to make a to be real team we did. "Brice was brilliant today, I'm not one to single people out but it's difficult not to talk about how good he was in terms of the penalties, the saves, the distribution and the rest. It's brilliant that he got his moment."

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The Reds win 3-2 on penalties and advance to the playoff final of the Sky Bet Championship

Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship Play-off semi-final second leg between Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United at the City Ground as the Reds advanced 3-2 on penalties to the final. (Author: Gardener)

RedsNottingham Forest defeated Sheffield United 3-2 on penalties to seal passage to Wembley for the Sky Bet Championship play-off final. Steve Cooper's side did it the hard way on the City Ground. With a 2-1 lead from the first leg and Brennan Johnson then extending that lead, they sent United back to a draw when goals from Morgan Gibbs-White and John Fleck sent the game into overtime and penalties. But they have secured their spot at the National Stadium on May 29 where they will face Huddersfield after Brice Samba saved three penalties in the shootout. The end of a 23-year wait for top-flight football is one step closer for Forest. For Sheffield United, the dream of an immediate return to the Premier League is over. They have another year in the championship to go. United were largely outplayed in the first leg and were quite lucky to go a goal down at the City Ground. But they immediately looked brighter in the early changes and should have leveled the tie in the 13th minute when a brilliant Gibbs-White pass found Iliman Ndiaye uncovered in the middle but he couldn't beat the onrushing Samba. And they would pay for that missed opportunity six minutes later as Forest took the lead that night, extending their overall advantage with virtually their first chance of the game. With a quick attack Sam ran after Surridge before his perfect ball over the goal found Johnson who slotted in for a brilliant finish past Wes Foderingham. It was a goal that dealt a blow to United's momentum and affected the mentality of their players and manager Paul Heckingbottom - who sparked a melee late in the half when he jabbed a ball into Djed Spence's waist as he was about to believed Forstmann needed too long with his interjections. But Heckingbottom and the Blades must have calmed down at the break, having found their way back to the tie within two minutes of the restart when Sander crossed Berge from the right and bundled Gibbs-White in from close range. And the turnaround continued in the 75th minute as United took the lead on the night, leveling the tie overall. The game went into extra time and after 115 minutes Ndiaye had a great chance to win the tie for United when the ball fell his way from a corner but once again Samba was there to thwart it with a fantastic save. Samba was the hero in the shootout again as he denied Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Morgan Gibbs-White the chance to take Forest to Wembley. "My feeling at the moment is joy. I'm really happy that the club and the players are taking the next step, but nothing is obviously complete yet. They need a lot to get through this semi-final. They have to play well, suffer and have one bit of luck. Sometimes we didn't play that well but I've never seen teams excel in the playoffs over two legs so I'm not ashamed of it. We were "It was outstanding over the weekend and that has helped us get over the line. But these playoffs are a little bit different and you have to do a bit of everything to get through and we did that. "The support has been incredible. It's a magical place anyway, but tonight was particularly good and I'm very grateful that they have our back and stay with us. It's a special club and we have to keep going and keep believing in it. Thanks to Sheffield United who were brilliant over the two legs, now we have a tough game against Huddersfield.” “The result and knowing we're out I don't think that's arrived performance today embodies all the work we put in. I think the fans will be proud. I wanted us to fight and be proud. Throughout the game it was end to end. Congratulations to Steve and Warm regards to Forest, they're going to get into the game we wanted to play in and unfortunately we can't be there. Even when I was down at half-time by two, I knew we should go through. The lads showed that, we did have en it just didn't quite get over the line. "I watch football every Monday night, every Super Sunday, my time in Scotland, there's been so many people talking about it, seeing things being thrown onto the pitch, fans invading the pitch, seeing things health and safety endanger the player. We know what happened. How can you get into your workplace minding your own business and be attacked that way? Too often we hear people condemn it and nothing is done about it. The emotions are incredible. Brice Samba - Bow! His saves in overtime forced penalties. He's a goalkeeper who likes to perform. "They have a huge chance. I played for this club and followed them. You need the size of this football club in the Premier League. 23 years - that means for this city. One more big game. Steve Cooper, you're a genius be." It's incredible. You have to enjoy it, because those moments don't come too often. "You have to have fun tonight. But there's still a big game to go and Cooper will already be focused on that. Huddersfield in the final." Too without the penalty exploits Samba produced almost enough in the 120 minutes to be man of the match He made two incredible saves early and late in the game to keep Sheffield United in check What a performance Nottingham Forest will take on Huddersfield at Wembley Stadium in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on Sunday 29 May – live on Sky Sports Football.

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Brice Samba's penalty exploits take Nottingham Forest a win away from the Premier League

Sheffield United were poised for a comeback with a dominant display at the city ground as Samba's saves sent Forest to Wembley (Author: Gardener)

Brice Samba'sTrips to Wembley once felt like an annual event under Brian Clough, but Nottingham Forest will return for the first time since 1992 with the Premier League in their sights. Steve Cooper's remarkable transformation at the City Ground could yet end in promotion after Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba's exploits secured a place in the Championship play-off final against Huddersfield Town on 29 May. Samba saved from Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Morgan Gibbs-White to condemn Sheffield United for a ninth time in the play-offs and see Forest return to the top flight for the first time in 23 years. In a repeat of the 2002–03 play-off semi-final between those two clubs, United managed a defiant comeback in the second half to force extra time and penalties just when it seemed another failure was inevitable. Samba was the hero in a night of surging drama, and Steve Cooper's remarkable turnaround on the City Ground could have a memorable ending. This is the ninth time Sheffield United have taken part in the unrelenting drama of the play-offs and they bring their latest experience to the table. United were relegated from the Premier League last season and made a defiant comeback in the second half to force extra time when it became clear that another failure was inevitable. Morgan Gibbs-White and John Fleck both used the hesitant defense to frustrate Nottingham Forest into a return to the Premier League for the first time in 23 years. In a repeat of the classic 2002/03 play-off semi-final between those two clubs, United's reaction was admirable as they achieved a draw that went beyond them after Brennan Johnson's opening goal. Forest dominated much of the first leg at Bramall Lane, but an added-time goal gave United hope of ending their play-off nightmare. But against a Forest team struggling for automatic promotion in their penultimate game of the season, that was probably always going to be a difficult task. Forest's record at the City Ground has proved to be one of their many strengths under Cooper, with FA Cup winners Liverpool being the only team to win the quarter-finals here this year. United controlled the early exchange, pushing Forest into error and almost taking an early lead when John Egan headed wide from a long throw from Jack Robinson. There was another pivotal moment in the 13th minute when United striker Iliman Ndiaye had only Brice Samba to beat after a nice pass from Morgan Gibbs-White but the Forest keeper made a good save. Samba's contribution seemed even more crucial six minutes later when Forest took the lead with his first threatening attack on goal. "The City Ground ROARS like it hasn't ROARD in years!!" 🔊Brennan Johnson of #NFFC puts his side ahead against the flow of play! ⚽💥 pic.twitter.com/jXTWl74FCQ— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 17, 2022 Any hopes Forest had regarding Johnson's goal to effectively end the tie quickly faded in the second half. Just seventy-five seconds later, Gibbs-White converted Berge's cross from close range and the momentum of the game had shifted again. A DREAM start to the second half as #SUFC's Morgan Gibbs-White pulls one back!! ⚔️⚽ pic.twitter.com/Db3gEUTFO9 - Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) May 17, 2022 It has proved a successful loan loan from Wolves for Gibbs-White, stepping up in the absence of injured strikers Billy Sharp, David McGoldrick and Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster with 13 goals this season. Loaned by Wolves, Gibbs-White scored 13 goals during a period when United were without strikers David McGoldrick, Oli McBurnie and Rhian Brewster due to long-term injuries, while Billy Sharp was also absent with a calf problem. But United's second goal came with 15 minutes to go after a nice break from George Baldock, who advanced into the box to find Fleck, who was in front of Samba to pin the ball home. John Fleck scored Sheffield United's second goal on the night Forest were the better team in extra time, with Davis and Johnson forcing Wes Foderingham saves while Samba featured a fine stop from Ndiaye in the 115th minute. Samba was then the hero for the penalty kicks, saving from Oliver Norwood and Conor Hourihane.

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