F.A.Cup 5th Round Picks


Too tired to use much thought this week so re-using images I’ve used before:

Yes, this is just a picture of the the F.A.Cup

You’ll notice the sponsor is wrong,right?  If you didn’t you should be sure to tell the current sponsor they are wasting their money on this and any other Stadiums or teams they bankroll

This weeks picks were all skilfully selected.  This is how it could be done:

Not How it was Done

The picks were actually quickly put down to spreadsheet and uploaded – the exception was Supercomputer 1 that seemed to go into an infinite loop and printed logs and logs and logs of 2-1 until I unplugged it.  I won’t examine how others might have done it.

Will Give Spuds a Hard time

Burnley v  Lincoln
At home the Aston Villa imposters are unbeatable in the Premier League but this is the cup so anything could happen … it could.. but it won’t.

Middlesbrough v  Oxford United
Boro setup and play like all they want to do is pick up a point at a time.  I’m hoping by half-time they realize that they need to win cup games.   Could be 0-0 if Aitor Karanka doesn’t take 15 minute break to tell his team to score.

Huddersfield Town v  Manchester City
Citeh are playing Champions League in the week so will rest all their best players.  Or, alternatively,they could focus all their energy on a cup they have a chance of winning.

Millwall  v Leicester City
Upset city.  Except is it really an upset if a team can beat Watford handily?  Big Sam is still my pick to be fired but only because there’s a loyalty that gets bought with a Premier League win.  Ranieri should have his suitcase packed just in case.

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea
if I could force an upset through my picks I would pick the Wanderers over Chelski.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the same interest in these games as God so I can’t make a difference.  Cmon Wolves!

Fulham v  Tottenham
Fulham have a decent manager (whatever fires decent managers, apparently).   Spurs will field a weakened team and struggle but a mini Wycombe Wanderers comeback at the end with Dembele and Dele helping score two late goals

Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United
Jack Walker would be disappointed that the Cup is where these teams meet now. He’ll be sadder if he look at Blackburn’s form.  He’d also took about how good a player he had in Chris….

Sutton United v Arsenal

Sutton beat Coventry once in an upset (yes that was an upset!).  Arsenal aren’t Coventry and will want a decent performance after a mid-week hammering.  They could put their heads down or they could focus all their energy on a cup they have a chance of winning.

F.A.Cup 4th Round Final Results

Final Results are in and Mr LJ did actually win the round despite the gap being closed to 1 game (well he tied with the Supercomputer).

Here are the results.


And here is the game chart….. look at SC1 picking the upsets!  The lone picker of the Millwall and Lincoln games (overshooting it a bit with Citeh and Rochdale).

F.A.Cup 4th Round – Interim Results

The results are not final final as there is one game left but

LJ is the winner!!

Well Done Livi!!!!!

I told KMFE today that within a few minutes of logging in that LJ asked me who had won the FA Cup picks (I knew it wasn’t me and he let me know it was him).
The response?  “Well, I’m not surprised he told you won because he’s been always last!”

It’s funny but not fair.  LJ is a student of the game – he just spends too much time studying Liverpool!

But in all seriousness…a win is a win and the winner was not me.  Well done, LJ 🙂

The Guesses
The Best Guessers

F.A. Cup 4th Round

The picks – I think we’ll need to start doing scores as there’s not much variation in picks here…I mean, who’s going to pick Palace over Citeh?

Quick analysis

Derby vs Leicester
Not Nottingham but a midlandish Derby game.  The Foxes should focus on the leagues over the cup – the Champions League (still can’t believe that) and the Premier League but they’ll field a strong team and take on Derby and eek out a result.

Liverpool vs Wolves
Liverpool have been poor – 1 win in 7?  I really like Wolves and always have since Steve Bull was banging them … so now that nostalgia just makes me feel old.  Liverpool will win.

What Load of Old Bull

Blackburn Rovers vs Blackpool
Gary Bowyer is back at against the team he managed.  Been a while since Blackburn were Premier League champions….. makes me feel old… not “I remember Bobby Charlton playing when they showed him being overtaken by Rooney last week old”… but old.  Rovers to win.

Burnley vs Bristol City
Burnley at home.  Bank that win.

Chelsea vs Brentford
Chelsea at home.  Bank that win. Playing Brentford.  Put your house on it.

Crystal Palace vs Man City
So Sam doesn’t value the FA Cup but does the league (not as much as money but that’s not relevant and potentially slanderous) and Pep put out a strong squad in the last round so it’s obvious.  Palace will cause an upset because no one expects it. [Worst Photoshop ever]

No One Expects the Selhurst Inquisition

Lincoln City vs Brighton and Hove Albion
Brighton were in the final once.  They lost and Kevin Moran got sent off… that makes me feel old.

Middlesbrough vs Accrington Stanley
Who’s Acctrington Stanley? Exactly.

Oxford United vs Newcastle
The Magpies are going to be back in the Premier League like they were once.  Oxford were in the first division once – the old first division.  I’m old.

Rochdale vs Huddersfield
Huddersfield are near the top of the Championship and have been for a while.  They’ll win.

Tottenham vs Wycombe Wanderers
Spuds.  Easy win.

Southampton vs Arsenal
Southampton knocked out Liverpool and will be in the Milk Cup final.  They’ve turned it on and who wouldn’t want to win the double?  The Cup Double. A shocker!

Millwall vs Watford
Not a long trip… Watford need something,anything…so a win would be good or it will be near the end for Walter.

Fulham vs Hull
So the manager of Fulham has them on the right track.  He’s good.  How do I know?  He got Watford promoted and then got fired.  [Feature image]

Sutton United vs Leeds
If Watford lose I fully expect a great fight in the next round when Leeds draw Millwall like the old days… I feel old.

Man United vs Wigan
C’mon Wigan you can’t do it!

F.A.Cup 3rd Round – Final Results

The replays are in and the final scores are done.

3rd Round Picks

The score in Yellow were replays.

Looks like things got a little close for comfort after the replays happened. I went from dominant lead to barely winning after Burnley took advantage of a home return fixture,Norwich missing the home chance and losing in the last to the Saints and Blackpool pulling off a bit of an upset.

Nonetheless, I still was the 3rd Round winner with KMFE close behind.  I was disappointed with LJ’s effort after talking big all week in the run-up.

Chicken Dinner

Next Round will be straight up picks again though I don’t expect too many variations in picks.. might need to rethink this method.

F.A.Cup 3rd Round – Interim Results

So 32 games and still 9 yet to be decided- including the ‘pool who have added to their own fixture backlog but the current standings are as follows:

F.A.Cup Predictions

Unfortunately, JE didn’t participate but the good news is that it means that I am currently dominating!  Only 5 of 23 incorrect and I would have done better had I gone with my instincts to go for Wolverhampton Wanders.

Current Standings

Let’s see how the rest of the games go.  Here’s hoping that Big Sam gets a big comeuppance against his former team….  he needs to be fired.

Young and Foolish vs Tw@t


The FA Cup Round 3

With the FA Cup I will follow the same method as last year. I will simply pick the results and then each round mark of the teams I accurately selected from the previous rounds to show a progressive and cumulative pick. I also ran the teams through my analytics engine to pick the ultimate winner. The machine selected: Spuds. However, the danger in this pick is that the win confidence in the 3rd Round over Leicester is not very high. The secondary pick was Everton; however, they’re likely to be focusing on the Milk Cup and trying to make a push for the Top 4. This leaves the third pick which was strangely Crystal Palace and again I’m not that confident they’ll make it through Round 3.

So based on all the information my pick for winner of the FA Cup is the Crystal Palace.

Before making the pick I should say that I refuse to name the cup by its new sponsor name so that it won’t become the Milk Rumbelows Littlewoods Coca-Cola …. Cup.

Wycombe 0 1 Aston Villa
Watford 1 0 Newcastle
West Bromwich 2 0 Bristol City
West Ham 3 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Hartlepool United 0 2 Derby County
Colchester United 1 1 Charlton Athletic
Peterborough United 2 1 Preston North End
Northampton Town 2 2  MK Dons
Arsenal 2 1 Sunderland
Newport 1 2 Blackburn Rovers
Ipswich Town 2 1 Portsmouth
Birmingham City 0 2 AFCBournemouth
Sheffield Wednesday 2 1 Fulham
Brentford 1 1 Walsall
Bury 1 2 Bradford City
Everton 3 1 Dagenham & Redbridge
Southampton 1 2 Crystal Palace
Eastleigh 1 2 Bolton Wanderers
Nottingham Forest 2 1 QPR
Doncaster 1 3 Stoke City
Exeter 1 1 Liverpool
Huddersfield 2 1 Reading
Hull 1 2 Brighton
Leeds 1 0 Rotherham
Middlesborough 3 2 Burnley
Norwich 2 1 Manchester City
Manchester United 3 1 Sheffield United
Oxford United 1 2 Swansea
Carlisle 2 1 Yeovil
Chelsea 3 0 Scunthorpe
Tottenham 2 1 Leicester
Cardiff 2 1 Shrewsbury

And the Replays

Charlton Athletic 2 1 Colchester United
MK Dons 2 1 Northampton
Walsall 2 1 Brentford
Liverpool 4 1 Exeter


The Finale!

So today is the official last day of the season and it ends with the grand old trophy, the F.A. Cup, being played for at the historic Wembley.

Tradition built on Tradition

Some say it has lost its prestige as the advertisers force us to focus on the Premier League and the new improved Champions League cup. To hear people talk you would think that the knock-out challenge events are old hat and without magic.

But let’s look at tradition.

The Cup is old, really old.  It was hand crafted by the finest silversmiths in London back in ’14.  Wembley is iconic and has seen a number of finals and events since ’07.  That’s right, the stadium is steeped in 7 years of tradition and handed out the new cup at least once.

But let’s look at history, though.

In 1981 over 100,000 people watched Man City play Spurs to a draw and over 90,000 paid for the extra replay that featured Ricky going walkabout through the defense.  It’s a classic moment cherished by lots of people that remember when shorts were short.

Spurs won something?

Then there was just a few years later the final where Andy Gray cheated Watford out of a Cinderella cup.  Everton were favorites to win but it was the F.A. Cup where anything was possible!  Everton won.

Foul! Andy Gray’s attack on Sherwood… and his opinion on things

Then there were the finals that no one would ever forget.   Kevin Moran being the first player sent off in a Final for a professional foul against a strong Everton team… it looked all over until a young Norman Whiteside scored a classic curler in extra time down a man.

I’m Twice the Player you are so we’re even strength!

Then in 1987 the heavily favored Spurs played the small Coventry city who featured such stars as Dave Bennett, Trevor Peake, and Keith Houchen?  Probably the big O (Ogrizovic) in goal was their most famous player along with big Cyrille (Regis) up front.  The game was a classic featuring 5 goals including the tying, extra-time producing, diving header by Keith (who relived winning the holy grail with the Daily Fail. )  But it will always be famous for the perfect own goal by Gary Mabbutt to win the game for the opposition and historically being the first two score a goal for two teams in one final.

The Judges Give this a 10 out of 10

1988 Featured the “Crazy Gang” of Wimbledon in what some called the most shocking final result ever.  I don’t think it really was that surprising:  Wimbledon were crazy but organized and people forget they finished in the top 10 that year (I think).

But it was still memorable for the moment when a lanky mop or a skinny goalkeeper with a perm was the first to save a regular time penalty.

2 feet off the ground…. No Goalkeeper can get to that!

Since then there have been many more finals including a Crystal Palace versus Manchester United final and replay, Arsenal, Chelsea winning a few and the impressive fixture of Portsmouth against Cardiff.  Then there was Wigan beating Citeh….

So the F.A.Cup is important!

At least to the 1980s when football was played by men in short shorts for a good income, pride and for the fans.  In the days of Subbuteo and Panini stickers. Back in the days where the playground had supporters of lots of teams: Oxford, Leicester, Liverpool, Wolves, Forest, Liverpool, Aston Villa and we didn’t just worry about Chelski, Man Cetihad or follow success and money.

This week we get Grandpa Wenger taking on Tactic Tim in the final and the biggest topic of conversation is… whether Liverpool will get to the group stages in the Europa League automatically.  Yes the F.A.Cup has lost the magic for the young kids of today but to me it is still magic… I still get a smile thinking of the aforementioned Coventry win.

Maybe I just don’t like new magic.  I watch the French Open wishing Henri Leconte and Yannick Noah were still playing (and Lendl losing).  I watch Wimbledon and wish Becker and Edberg were dueling it out.  Sometimes I listen to Duran Duran but to the pick.

My pick is Arsenal to win 4-1 with this trophy being enough to keep the old man for one more year.

I picked them every round and haven’t been wrong on that front so far!   Tactic Tim will go looking for heart and guts… he will look into the crowd and see the empty seats given to 17,000 Wembley members.  He’ll find the slightly under 20,000 Spurs fans and similar number of Villains.  He’ll even see a disappointed Prince William in the stands and realize the game is about the wealthy, the kickbacks, and not the fans.

Kicker Conspiracy!


Prince William allegedly didn’t like that all his Etonian friends supported the big clubs so he scoured the map looking for an area that might have a team with which he could kindle an emotional relationship… on his map he discovered that there was an area to the North known as “the midlands” and deep in the this area was another city that many of the common people would support.  Birmingham City would have been the obvious choice but “claret and blue” sounded at least a little less “blue” collar and it was a match made in fake sincerity ever since.

Week of Jan 31, 2015 Premier League Picks

A disastrous set of selections last week for the F.A. Cup but I put that down to my desire to hold continue to view it as the greatest cup competition in the world. I pick the big teams to win and a few upsets. I didn’t foresee the massive cull of top league teams. It could be argued that the Premier League teams are not serious about winning the tournament and the cup has lost its cachet but perhaps the lower division teams just have more heart, passion and desire. Sometimes skill and finesse has a hard time against steely-eyed underdogs.

Manchester City, Chelsea, Spurs, all went down in a blaze of non-glory.. but one big team survived and, using policies even Scrooge McScrooge would be proud of has found a way to totally screw their fans.

Manchester United in a miserable failure failed to knock out the lowest ranked 4th round team. This has earned them, and their fans, a replay at the Old Toilet. So let’s review the reward for the home fans.

Mandated ticket purchase of roughly 50 pounds for a short notice, Tuesday evening game against a Football League 2 team (this is the 4th Division for us old timers). What a reward. If they don’t buy the ticket they get “suspended” from their season ticket and banned from seeing the next home game (which is Sunderland so it may not be that bad a punishment). If you have a credit card on file, they will automatically apply the charge for you! It’s what the modern cash management policies were invented for – big clubs ripping off its own fans.

Blackmail Policy

But this week there is more football in a league format !

31-Jan 2015  
Hull City2-1Newcastle United
West Bromwich Albion2-2Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City2-0Queens Park Rangers
Manchester United3-0Leicester City
Crystal Palace1-1Everton
Liverpool2-1West Ham United
2-0Manchester City
1-Feb 2015
Arsenal3-1Aston Villa

Newcastle announced their new manager in John Carver, at least until the end of the season.   I guess this is a positive way of saying that they haven’t been able to find anyone else yet so excuse us while we give up and plot a cunning plan for next year.  I don’t know what that cunning plan may be but I’m going to guess is involves selling their best players.   I really have belief that Hull are better than their position and if Jelavic plays I think they will start to earn their way out of the bottom 3.  Thought he was a decent player at Everton so it’s time to see him back to fitness and form.  Reminds me a little of Rossler at the old City – hard working, scores goals and gets on with it.  Come to think of it, that’s something Everton could use right around now.

I like West Brom and Spurs are looking good in the League.  I didn’t watch the loss in the FA Cup, or their win in the Milk Capital Coca-Cola Cup but my Dad tells me that Dembele finally looked like that stud in midfield.   If they can start to control that central midfield area it will free Eriksen to move around and continue to play better than I rate him.  Apparently there is a trade in the works for Aaron Lennon for Mirallas … I like this deal but it could be improved by throwing in Andros Townsend and searching for a new penalty taker.   Think this will be an up and down game but both teams could score a couple.

Sunderland bore me because they play Sunderland football – boring.  Burnley bore me because they are going to finish in the bottom three and never really make a significant push.  Sunderland boring is better than Burnley boring when being boring at home.  Sunderland weren’t always boring but when you’re not boring sometimes you lack a little stability.

We weren’t always boring…

Stoke are a decent team that are tough to break down.  QPR are a more dynamic and exciting team but are easier to break down. Contrasting styles will make for an interesting game but Stoke will pressure the hoops until they finally cave and crack towards the end of the game.   Sooner or later QPR will break their 10 game away skid but I’m not going to bet against another loss purely on the basis that no-one loses 11 times away in succession, do they?

Leicester beat Manchester United 5-3 earlier in the year in one of the most enjoyable games of the season.  It’s hard to believe they can score even one this weekend, and it’s unlikely they will get away with pre-penalty fouls to take an improbable win.  LVG is still looking at buying players (mostly from Southampton).  Man U in its current form reminds me of a once inferior Man City – they’ve got players, they’ve got transfer targets, they’ve got overpaid stars, but they lack stability and cohesion.  This will be a trouncing that some will say proves Manchester United are most of the way back when in reality the result will be one sided and flattering and more a sign of Leicester’s failing.

Crystal Palace have the Alan Pardew bump that has seen their form improve.  Everton are now focusing on the league because it’s all they’ve got.  It should be a tough game for the Toffee Men and the Palace so a hard earned win will suffice to keep one side happy.  Martinez is going go to have to do something soon or I will be uttering a phrase I never thought I would say “Martinez looks like he might be fired soon”.

If West Ham played Liverpool at home they would be my pick.  That’s to say that all things being equal, either of these teams could work for a victory.  Anfield is worth 1/4 a goal and noise that Sturridge may play (even just a little) adds another 3/4 .  I’m looking forward to Liverpool participating properly again.

Chelsea are good even without Costa.  Man City are good, not without Yaya.  Even though he’s far from his MVP type form of last year, it’s clear how much he means to Citeh when you see them put up fairly dismal performances.   I guess he just makes it look easy.   Frank will try and give a boost but he’ll probably just remind Chelsea of the good times.

Arsenal at home you have to take. Add in a new defender and a young and energetic first team and it’s tough to see a loss.. got some players back from injury and they look capable of making a real run at things this year.

Southampton are truly plug-n-play awesomeness.  In the Top 3 and they will look to keep that true.  Swansea have been going in the reverse direction and Southampton will also look to keep that true.


BET OF THE DAY: Next manager gone will the Mr Redknapp.  Not a risky bet, that one.

FA Cup, Round 4 Picks

FA Cup 4th Round this week. Thought I’d label the teams from the previous round that were correctly picked to see how i progress week to week. It’s very odd (or random) that I did correctly select all the home teams on the 24th but not a single one from the 23rd or 25th?

The third round was disappointing for me as a Watford fan but beating Chelsea was never really on the cards.  I didn’t think I would ever see Watford win that game but then I also never expected to see that Mourinho would ever apologize for anything … but apologize he did…Mourinho Apologizes??


Jan 23 2015
Cambridge United 1-3  Manchester United
Jan 24 2015
Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Swansea City
Southampton 2-1 Crystal Palace
Chelsea 3-0 Bradford
Derby County 2-0 Chesterfield
Preston North End 1-0 Sheffield United
Birmingham City 1-1* West Bromwich Albion
Cardiff 2-0 Reading
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Leicester
Sunderland 1-0 Fulham
Manchester CIty 2-0 Middlesboro
Liverpool 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
Jan 25 2015
Bristol City 1-2 West Ham
Aston Villa 1-1* AFC Bournemouth
Brighton and Hove 1-3 Arsenal
Jan 26 2015
Rochdale 0-2 Stoke

The FA Cup 4th round does have some interesting match ups as well as good opportunities for lower division teams to make it into the 5th and serious rounds.   The games start with Cambridge at home against Manchester United who really didn’t impress much in the previous round at Yeovil and it seems that Richard Money (I’m not sure I’d like to grow up with that name) isn’t phased by the challenge ahead for this team.  There’s never value in betting  a win in this game for the underdogs but at home they could put a surprise goal past the 4-4-2 / 3-5-2 / 10-0-0 of Van Gaal.   Not sure the fascination but i’m sure the official line-up and announced formation will be over-analysed again but … no buts, it’s just boring.

Swansea stunk against Chelsea and the time is good for a fan make up session.  Not sure who plays up front for them now that Man City somehow manage to get around financial fair play and make another splashy signing in Bony.  Blackburn should be decent enough to make it interesting.

A fairly big game is Birmingham at home to West Brom.   The focus for newly installed Tony Pullis will be to keep West Brom in the premier league – but a cup run shouldn’t be ignored.  They don’t want to be Wigan and have the Charles Dickens season .. It was the best of times at Wembley and the worst of times in the bottom three.

Probably the greatest hope for me is that Chelsea play a number of reserves to counter the argument that there is not enough team rotation and then lose.  It won’t happen of course.

Alan Pardew is having another October  – 3 wins in a row? Well you know what they say.  All Alan Pardew things come to an end eventually.  Southampton will rock him back into reality and his focus will shift to finish 4th from bottom – safe but with evidence that he needs money to waste over the summer.

Liverpool tied in the week and so are on the precipice of a Milk Cup final.  Liverpool don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket and so the FA Cup will be an important trophy to try and pick up.  Just like Chelsea losing in this round, an Anfield trophy just isn’t going to happen.

Aston Villa – can they score?  Can they win?  Yes and no… a draw is on the cards.

As for the other games?  They will be played.