Archive for the ‘The FA Cup’ Category

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This year’s FA Cup final, as well as being the traditional curtain-downer on the domestic season, was also an example of two managers under pressure for completely different reasons.

Antonio Conte, who is widely expected to resign/be fired within days of the game, is under pressure because he has proven to be a one-season-wonder in the Premier League and that only because he had no European involvement to hinder his side’s progress to winning the title.

José Mourinho is widely expected to take some time off and go visiting Portugal, a grand prix or two and then pitch up for RT, a Russian TV station, as a double agent World Cup pundit. He is under pressure because some Manchester United fans find it difficult to accept that THREE trophies and a second place finish in the Premier League in two years should be considered successful. (more…)

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The FA is, once again, trying to redeem itself over the pathetic way it managed to massively overpay for the “new” Wembley.

As usual, the way it chooses to redeem itself involves ripping off supporters, this time those of Chelsea and Manchester United who are, totally unfairly, expected to pay back some of the lost revenue.

They have increased ticket prices at Wembley by up to 35% from the semi-finals. Why? Other than blatant profiteering, (which we thought was illegal), there is no other excuse for it. (more…)

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José Mourinho, regardless of how many times he may argue to the contrary, is a manager who wants to win trophies.

It could be said that ALL managers want to win trophies but, for some reason, Mourinho is wired up in such a way that his desire to win competitions trumps any other footballing emotion that may exist within his slight frame.

Arséne Wenger was driven to win trophies but it was also important to be judged on the style of his teams and the perfect example would be the “Invincibles”. That particular season is probably the one of which the Frenchman is proudest yet they only won the Premier League that year. (more…)

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In a mixed competition weekend for football the Premier League was not really going to see much change at the top. With the title already in the delivery van and marked for Manchester the only battles left are for the rest of the top four.

With United and Spurs in FA Cup action and Chelsea not playing the path was clear for Liverpool and Arsenal to gain some ground on their rivals.

We will have more to say on the Arsenal situation tomorrow but, for now, we concentrate on the Saturday games. (more…)

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Manchester United got back to winning ways with a reasonably convincing win away at Bournemouth on Wednesday evening.

Mourinho rang the changes, as he said he would, but nobody really believed him when he said the players were playing for a place against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final.

If that was the case then Alexis Sánchez won’t be playing as he didn’t feature at all, despite sitting on the bench for the whole game.

Neither of United’s answer to Waldorf and Stadler played for one minute so can we expect them to be left out against Spurs. They should be using Mourinho’s logic as Darmian and Shaw did nothing wrong. (more…)

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It’s that time again folks! Yes, it’s approaching FA Cup semi-finals day, so we now have to rant on for a while about how unfair life is when you’re just a poor little northern team having to play one of those rich teams from that big place, in that big place, at their home big place!

The draw for the semi-finals of the FA Cup has been made and the two London clubs have been kept apart. No real surprise there! Do they have any other advantages over their opponents which would make them favourites to progress to the final? (more…)

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The headline assumes, rather arrogantly from the point of view of the clubs concerned, that only Chelsea, United and Tottenham Hotspur have a chance of winning it.

It is safe to say that Brighton, Leicester City, Southampton, Swansea City and Wigan will all have fancied their chances before the quarter finals kicked off.

Here we take a brief look at the ties, both played and unplayed, in reverse chronological order. (more…)

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Following on from our article of yesterday in which we suggested that a draw between Manchester United and Liverpool would be the favoured result for Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur Hotspur, as they would all be able to gain two points on both teams, providing they win, of course.

There is another train of thought which suggests that the actual result of 2-1 to United gives the three a better chance of fighting for the top four as they can now gain THREE points on Liverpool. Providing they win, of course.

After a tactical battle at Old Trafford in which Liverpool had, by far, the majority of possession it was, as we mentioned, Manchester United who came out on top. (more…)

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Three of the Premier League’s top six remain in this year’s competition as we reach the quarter final stage.

In what can only be described as a crazily premature draw, as it was made before the fifth round was complete, the big three were kept apart with Manchester United given a home draw whilst the two London clubs received away ties, although Spurs are yet to overcome Rochdale to officially book their place.

Sheffield Wednesday and Rochdale will still feel as though they have a chance of progressing but that chance is now very remote. Having both managed to draw their home games they are now favourites to exit the competition in the replays away from home. (more…)

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On one hand, yes. On the other hand, no. If we had a third hand we would also plump for not knowing whether or not those two accomplishments would be deemed an improvement over last season’s three trophies.

In the league table, it has to be admitted, that any finish above sixth would be seen as an improvement but it must also be remembered that the final few games of last season’s Premier League campaign were deemed less important than usual due to United’s intent on winning the Europa League.

Winning the FA Cup would, of course, be an upgrade on winning the Carabao Cup as it is the major domestic knock-out cup in England. It requires, however, a favourable draw at some stage of the competition so United will be hoping for this in the coming rounds. (more…)