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Cup Competitions

Cup competitions are the life blood of the game.

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Nostalgic FA Cup Can’t Fight New Money

Written by on February 20, 2012 | 8 Comments »
Posted in Cup Competitions

There was a time not so long ago that an FA Cup weekend would have soccer fans throughout England and in other parts of the world enthralled.

From the first tournament in 1872 the FA Cup has offered affiliated clubs in England and Wales, no matter how small, a chance to enter the single match knock-out competition. Progress rested simply on who was best on that particular day.

The format of straight knock-out generated shocks and surprises and naturally created local heroes, many of the unlikely variety. With each win by a local David over a big-town Goliath another layer of the mythology was added to the FA Cup.

But somewhere in the last twenty years or so the FA Cup has lost much of its lustre. Many place the blame firmly with ……

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Gary Smith A Rare Decorated English Manager

Written by on February 17, 2012 | 13 Comments »
Posted in Cup Competitions, England

“Stevenage have appointed former Arsenal scout Gary Smith as their new manager.” – The opening to a BBC story posted on their website on January 25th, 2012.   

 The next line of the article noted that Smith had coaching experience with the Colorado Rapids of MLS but you needed to hang in until a third of the way through the story before you were told that the Rapids, under Smith, actually won the MLS Cup in 2010.

In ranking Smith’s time at Arsenal as a scout above managerial experience in Major League Soccer the news story encapsulates an attitude that is still very prevalent in the UK, and in particular England, towards MLS.

To read more click the link to Fox Soccer.com

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FA Cup 3rd Round – Cometh the Hour Cometh the Upset?

Written by on January 6, 2012 | 11 Comments »
Posted in Cup Competitions

When we hear about teams putting out under-strength squads at FA Cup time much of it is directed at the “bigger” teams. But when you get down to the details what has been missing in the  FA Cup over the last two decades or so is the lesser lights having ago. 

In 1988 Wimbledon beat Liverpool in the last great FA Cup Final shock. Everton’s win over Manchester United in 1995 was a surprise (Everton 15th and Manchester United league runners-up), Spurs and Nottingham Forest brought two mid-table teams together and Portsmouth win over championship side in Cardiff pitted two unlikely finalists against each other. 

But since Wimbledon’s win we’ve had Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal take the trophy five times each and Liverpool one less.

The other winner came last season when Manchester City hoisted a trophy for the first time in thirty-five years and there is every indication that their fans will be celebrating on a far more regular basis than they have been accustomed to.

Liverpool successfully negotiated a tie  with Oldham on Friday and we know that we are going to lose one of the two Manchester heavyweights in this round. Arsenal should not take Leeds likely – especially with the hoopla of Henry’s temporary return.

Chelsea have a home draw against Portsmouth and that should be something they can negotiate.

A common formula for trying to zero in on possible upsets is to look at teams from lower divisions that are playing reasonably well against teams that are struggling.the other is good old gut instinct – or in other words pure guess-work.

Here are my top five that  might provide a FA Cup shock.

Barnsley at home to Swansea; Fleetwood Town at home to Blackpool; Swindon versus Wigan; Cardiff away to West Brom and on Monday Leeds away to Arsenal.

Do you have a top five that might turn the competition on its ear?

Full schedule

Saturday

Birmingham v Wolverhampton,

Dag & Red v Millwall,

Barnsley v Swansea,

Brighton v Wrexham,

Coventry v Southampton,

Crawley Town v Bristol City,

Derby v Crystal Palace,

Doncaster v Notts County,

Everton v Tamworth,

Fleetwood Town v Blackpool,

Fulham v Charlton,

Gillingham v Stoke,

Hull v Ipswich,

MK Dons v QPR,

Macclesfield v Bolton,

Middlesbrough v Shrewsbury,

Newcastle v Blackburn,

Norwich v Burnley,

Nottingham Forest v Leicester,

Reading v Stevenage,

Sheffield Utd v Salisbury,

Swindon v Wigan,

Tottenham v Cheltenham,

Watford v Bradford,

West Brom v Cardiff,

Bristol Rovers v Aston Villa,

Sunday

Manchester City v Manchester Utd,

Chelsea v Portsmouth,

Sheffield Wed v West Ham,

Peterborough v Sunderland,

Monday

Arsenal v Leeds

You can get updates through RSS (top of the page), follow at Twitter BobbySoccerRep, or on Facebook SoccerReportExtra.com

You can also find other Soccer Report Extra.com contributors on Twitter by following this link.

Have some thoughts and opinions you want to express?  The Training Ground is your chance. Just click on the link.




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