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.
But this week there is more football in a league format !
|Hull City||2-1||Newcastle United|
|West Bromwich Albion||2-2||Tottenham Hotspur|
|Stoke City||2-0||Queens Park Rangers|
|Manchester United||3-0||Leicester City|
|Liverpool||2-1||West Ham United|
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.
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.