Tag Archives: FA Cup

Should the FA Cup replay’s be scrapped?

Following the New Meadow 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury and Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp stated his first team players, nor himself, would appear in the replay back at Anfield.

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Shrewsbury’s Jason Cumming’s scored the equaliser on Sunday to take the tie back to Merseyside.

Since Klopp’s arrival to the Premier League he has shown no happiness towards the busy December period and the replay format of the cup, it seems he believes the players are requested to play too often, hindering their physical capability and lack of recovery time. Despite this, his team way ahead at the top of the Premier League do not seem to be suffering on the whole. A factor which is potentially being interpreted as ignorance when their competition is from the lower leagues who play more games than those in the top division with remarkably less money and resources.

A recent discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live heard how Great Britain hockey star Samantha Quek argued the FA Cup replay’s should be scrapped and the format should be changed to two separate pots of Premier League and Championship teams and another of the lower divisions. A disgruntled Tranmere fan was on the phone to explain how much the FA cup meant to a lower league team, not just financially but sentimentally, and rightfully so.

The FA Cup ties and replays are renowned for bringing extra revenue to smaller clubs which can become a vital input for changes that Premier League clubs do not have to think twice about. Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts explained how the money from the return trip to Anfield would allow for improved drainage of the pitch and cameras for analysis to be used in games. Something Premier League regulars may take for granted.

The FA Cup allows for extra distribution of money which is circulated within English football, vitally this money can reach the lucky lower league teams who make it through the rounds. But it is also the importance of sentiment that the cup brings. For a supporter, the FA cup can be a magical occasion and allows for that chance to visit a Premier League ground to watch their team play against some the world’s greats. Similarly for a player, who may have finished a day working, to then take to the stage lined up against world famous players, a great euphoric feeling which can’t be replicated.

Yes, the Premier league may be tasking for players who play a higher standard week in week out, but they are professional. Their clubs, if anything out of respect, should participate thoroughly in an FA Cup game as if it was any other game.

FA Cup Replays – Who can cause an upset?

An enthralling game is in store for those in North London tonight where Tottenham host Championship competition of Middlesbrough. The inform tier two side may be concentrating on reaching a vital 40 points in the league, but there is no doubt the northern side will put on a valiant effort to progress into the next round. With this weeks news of Harry Kane’s absence till April, Mourinho has interesting squad decisions to make, and the strength of tonight’s team will surely have in mind their distance from a European spot for next season. The FA Cup may the silverware they strive for in Mourinho’s inaugural season as Tottenham manager.

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Kane out until April: Jose admits that without him, they cannot play the ‘Tottenham way’.

Another Premier League team with potential to fall with an upset are Newcastle United, who take on League one Rochdale at St James’s Park. The original fixture saw Rochdale bite back in the latter stages of the game with a goal made by two players aged two decades apart. Youngster Luke Matheson, who made his name when he equalised against Manchester United in the Carabao Cup earlier last year, grabbed the assist which booked Dale’s replay on Tyneside. An already classic FA Cup story, it seems written for Rochdale to go all the way, but will Premier League quality become too much and halt their FA Cup story?

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40 year-old Aaron Wilbraham scored the equaliser at The Spotland Stadium

Nigel Pearson has seemed to flip Watford’s Premier League fate on it’s head as after this weekend they sit above the relegation places for the first time season. However, his team were not as focussed as they conceded three second half goals to draw with Tranmere Rovers on the 4th January. A heroic display from the struggling League One display confirmed a replay which neither side would have desired at kick off, but one that could bring joy to the one set of fans, who have perhaps endured a poor season so far.

With current form, it would be suggested Watford would progress to the next round, but Pearson may rest his usual players for a tricky London derby against Tottenham on Saturday, as they continue to try secure Premier League status for next season. On the other hand, the Merseyside club will be hopeful for more FA Cup magic in the replay and may see a strong team out to finish a job they so excellently accounted for in the original fixture. Similarly to Watford in managerial terms, it will be argued the priority should be on Tranmere too escaping their relegation zone position.

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Watford must be delighted with Pearson’s impact so far, but what will his attentions be for The FA Cup

Coventry City could face Birmingham City at home… in Birmingham

Coventry City have been drawn at home to Birmingham City in the fourth round of the FA Cup, if they beat Bristol Rovers in a replay after they drew 2-2 at the weekend.

Despite being drawn at home, if the Sky Blues beat Bristol, they will have to travel to Birmingham’s home ground, St Andrews, to face the Blues.

If you are confused it will all make sense now…

Coventry City’s temporary home for this season is Birmingham’s, St Andrews Sky Blues actually have a better home record then the Blues this season, which adds to the joys of the FA Cup.

This is due to a row over rent with Ricoh Arena owners, Wasps RFC, the Sky Blues owners, Sisu decided to leave the Ricoh and managed to reach an agreement with Birmingham City to play their home matches at St Andrews, while the issue over rent and possibly a new home is still in negotiations.

It will be confusing surroundings, if Mark Robins’ men reach the fifth round, for both sets of fans as due to FA regulations Birmingham fans would have to sit in the away end and will only be allowed a certain amount of tickets, despite the stadium being their own ground.

The Sky Blues actually have a better home record then the Blues this season and if the two sides face each other, it will definitely be a game no one will want to miss.

Crystal Palace… Will They Make The FA Cup Semi Finals

So, this weekend sees the FA Cup, that great and grand old UK Football tradition resume with some interesting ties, that can be seen.

In terms of eveness, then Crystal Palace v Watford, or to be more precise, Watford v Crystal Palace, promises to be a good game, for the neutrals.

Both teams are very organised, with Watford under Javier Gracia, proving to be a surprise package this season in the league. Watford, it should be said, have opted for a more unusual approach to their management team, with each encumbent of the post having no more than a 1 year rolling contract.

Each manager has been successful in his own right, with Javier Gracia, being the latest and perhaps the most surprise package of all the holders of the post, because he has the team playing in an exciting way, which gets results.

Crystal Palace, equally under the wise old stager Roy Hodgson, are holding their own in the league and are very organised and tactically, difficult to break dow, playing their best football when Wilfred Zaha is in the side

Watford for their part, have their own talisman in the outspoken Troy Deeney, who is no shrinking violet when it comes to speaking his mind

So the game promises to be good with a chance for both sides to get closer to Wembley, a venue which Watford last visited in 1984, when they lost to Everton, While Crystal Palace, were there as recently as 2015/16 when they lost to Man Utd 2~1.

Palace will bv boosted by the return of Wayne Hennessy and Papa Soare for a match Roy Hodgson describes as difficult.

Watford, for their part appear to have no new injury worries and it could prove to be an emotional match for Huerelho Gomes if he plays, because , he has announced his intention to retire at the seasons end, when he will after all be 38 years old, so he if he plays and the result is an adverse one then thats Gomes last chance to win the competition gone.

Overall it promises to be a good game with Wembley beckoning, its a close one to call.

Can the Imps march all the way to the title under the impressive Cowley brothers?

Sitting three points clear at the summit of League Two, Lincoln look good value to go up this year and play at English footballs third tier for the first time this century. With brothers Danny and Nicky Cowley at the helm, the Imps have enjoyed an unprecedented amount of success over recent years, and as a result the brothers are one of the hottest managerial duos in the country.

Style of play                                                                                                                                            Lincoln play a fast high tempo style of football, with emphasise on fitness, effort and running. They are also not afraid to mix it up and go long to big strikers John Akinde and Matt Rhead to win flick-ons and work off second balls. The wingers are imperative members of the side, and Bruno Andrade, Shane McCartan and Harry Anderson have all thrived after being given the freedom to express themselves down the flanks. The Cowley’s have flicked between a 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 with each system allowing the team to attack in numbers but also are never left over exposed at the back.

Key players:                                                                                                                                Striker John Akinde is an experienced goalscorer at this level and has notched over 20 league goals in two of the last three seasons. The big striker has 13 goals so far this season and is a huge part of the way the Imps play. Being a sharp finisher and a big physical presence, Akinde is the perfect League Two striker.

22 year old winger Harry Anderson is enjoying the best campaign of his career so far, missing only three league games this season. With seven goals and six assists the pacy winger has bossed the league this season, and received attention from teams higher up the pyramid with Norwich reportedly tracking his progress.

Signing experienced defender Jason Shackell in the summer was a big coup for Lincoln, and the defender has shown his class since dropping down to the fourth tier for the first time in his career. The centre half has been a revelation in Lincolnshire at both ends of the pitch, being a huge part of the third best defence in the league as well as chipping in with five goals at the other end.

Performance this season:                                                                                                                  Lincoln have had an exceptional season so far, only losing four league games up to the start of March and are only nine points off of their final points total from last season, despite having played 12 less games. Picking up huge wins over title challengers Bury (2-1) and MK Dons (2-1) as well as impressive results over Port Vale (4-0) Exeter (3-0) and Swindon (4-1). In many respects Lincoln have sacrificed the cup competitions to focus all their attention on the league campaign. Crashing out of the EFL Trophy in the group stages and the EFL Cup in the second round, however they did reach the third round of the FA Cup, narrowly losing 2-1 to Everton.

Form last 5: DDDWD                                                                                                                          Lincoln have drew four of their last five games picking up seven points in the process. 1-1 draws with rock bottom Notts County and lower mid table side Northampton were followed by a 2-2 draw with play off chasing Stevenage . They then beat Morecambe away and drew with Exeter to end the month of February undefeated but haing given up considerable ground to second place Bury.

Run in:                                                                                                                                                    The Imps have a fairly tough run in facing Mk Dons, Carlisle, Tranmere and Colchester all of which are currently in or around the play offs, mixed in with potentially winnable games against the likes of Cheltenham and Newport. Fans will be hoping Lincoln will be in a strong position come April and will not be desperately looking to pick up points at the back end of the season to secure promotion.

Prediction:                                                                                                                                              Under the Cowley brothers Lincoln are a dangerous team with a winning mentality. Despite them enduring somewhat of a poor run of form as of late, Lincoln should be aiming for at the very least automatic promotion, and will have one eye on claiming the league title.