Tag Archives: League One

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.

Shrew Good For Liverpool!

League 1 Side Shrewsbury Town, who currently sit in 16th Posistion in League 1, proved to be a tough nut to crack for Champions League holders Liverpool in their FA Cup 4th round tie, played yesterday at Montgomery Waters Meadow.

Liverpool as is their way in cup competitions this season, decided to field a virtual academy team, with several key first teamers left on the bench.

Jurgen Klopp clearly thought and felt that the team he selected would be able to see off the league 1 side… However, as was shown on the night – Shrewsbury had other ideas.

The Shrews played a 3 5 2 Formation, which is used by several teams throughout the league, because it is very diffcult to play against. Liverpool stuck with their tried and tested 4 3 3 formation, which has left them unbeaten in the Premier League so far.

Liverpool started the first half quite strongly and took a lead through Curtis Jones.

This was the point at which it was thought the flood gates would open and Liverpool would run riot.

But…

Quite the opposite happened, with Shrewsbury sticking to their game plan and forcing Liverpool to go out wide a number of times and not taking the chances they were creating.

Shrewsbury grew in confidence and as the first half went on, they gained a better foothold in the game and finished the stronger team at half time & … just 1 goal down.

HT Shrewsbury 0 Liverpool 1

The second half started and unbelieveably within 60 seconds from a Liverpool cross, the Shrewsbury wingback Donald Love, in trying to clear the ball, put it in the back of his own net.

Shrewsbury 0 Liverpool 2

A stunned silence fell around the ground, but, rather than letting it get them down, Shrewsbury, simply carried on where they had left off in the first half, getting stronger and putting Liverpool on the back foot.

Shrewsbury then decided to make a substitution with Jamie Cumings coming on and very shortly he was into the action, scoring a goal to close the score to 1-2.

With Liverpool getting anxious, they threw on First Salah and then Firmino in an effort to scare Shrewsbury, though it has to be said this failed as both players were in effective as Shrewsbury stuck to the game plan

Cumings then made the score 2-2 and that was how it remained until the end, meaning that they will go to Anfield for the replay and full of belief that they can win the tie.

That fact will be made easier, because the Liverpool team they play, will closely resemble the team that played yesterday, as the first team are on a Premier League Winter break.

So the Shrews were to Shrew Good for Liverpool. How do you think Shrewsbury will get on in the replay?

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

Is 3 5 2 The New 4 4 2?

This post looks at the emergnce if that is the right word of the 3 5 2 Formation.

Is it the new  4 4 2, which in recent years has become our default, almost formation in the English league?

The 3 5 2 Formation is not exactly new, and has been employed by a number of foreign coaches over the years, with great success.

How it works, is like this and it is accepted that there are variations of the formation, according to the coach or manager employing the tactic.

With that in mind, lets look at some of the teams who use this formation:

Accrington Stanley

AFC Wimbledon

Wolves

Newcastle United

Sheffield United

Czech Republic

MK Dons

The formation relies on the use of very speedy, and effective wingbacks.

Those Wingbacks can either be, Wingers, or they can fullbacks pushed up operating as wingers. Ashley Young is a great example of a winger turned full back over time.

If you are using fullbacks pushed up as wingers, then effectively you are leaving wingers redundant, which is in the case of AFC Wimbledon, who use 3 Central Defenders, primarily because Wally Downes who implemented the system is a defensive coach, so you could almost say he was using a 5 3 2 version, though that is digressing from the point.

The general idea is to play two full backs and one central defender, so that you keep the players positionally as close to their favoured posistion as possible, without too much disruption to the team flow.

The 3 5 2 offers a lot of flexibility to the changing needs as the game unfolds, compared to other formations, such as the 4 2 3 1, or the 4 3 3.

Wolves and Sheffield United are two great examples of this, because both clubs, have progressed through the English Football League Championship and now are in the premiership playing this formation.

It is a system that is very difficult to play against, because when it works well, the team employing it, very often outnumber the defensive team and always have the flanks overloaded through the use of the over lapping ‘outer’ defenders.

This is the reason, that Arsenal, struggled last night against Sheffield United, England came unstuck in their recent match against the Czech Republic, Wolves were able to go to the Etihad and beat Man City 2-0, while Accrington Stanley beat Ipswich on Sunday 2-0 in League 1.

In fact Sheffield United are probably the best example of how this system works effectively, because together with Wolves they have used the system the longest, Sheffield United started using it in League 1, when Chris Wilder took over.

The defending team, have absolutly no idea, where the attacks are going to come from, especially as in the case of Wolves, who employ an attacking midfielder in their version of the system, while Sheffield United, newly promoted, don’t.

It will also be interesting to see, if Newcastle United, continue to use it, because they have just reverted back to it, to cater to the teams strengths and in doing so, their results have improved.

The one downside to the system, is that though you have numbers in attack, should you get caught on the counter attack, if you lost possession, then you are liable to potentialy concede goals, through lack of cover.

Either way the teams listed in this article who use the system, will be worth following and their progress noted this season.

Preview: Portsmouth v Burton Albion

This evening sees Portsmouth take on Burton Albion at Fratton Park, in the English Football League 1 clash.

For Portsmouth it marks the return to league action after the international break, where they had to postpone their last match with Southend due to International Call ups and when they were due to play Bury. Last Saturday they played Norwich City U21 in a rearranged Leasing Cup match – as Bury have sadly been expelled from the league.

Kenny Jackett’s men will be raring to go having beaten Norwich U21 3-1 with no new injury worries, aside from Lee Brown (Achilles), Marcus Harness (thigh), Bryn Morris (groin) and Jack Whatmough (knee), who were already ruled out.

Gareth Evans is also fit again, after missing the game against Norwich with a dead leg.

Burton however have doubts over Liam Boyce (hamstring) and Scott Fraser (dead leg) – who were both withdrawn on Saturday – and Jake Buxton (ribs).

Portsmouth currently sit 18th in League 1, with just 1 win in the last 5. Burton Albion, who under the guidance of Nigel Clough, are unbeaten in their last 6 games and lie 11th in the table

As Kenny Jackett explained, it will be a tight and tough game.

Burton will be a well organised and resilient outfit to break down, so it should be a good game, as the head to head count below shows:

HEAD TO HEAD
Overall
Pompey: 2 wins
Burton: 1 win
3 draws

At Fratton Park
Pompey: 0 wins
Burton: 0 wins
3 draws