The Magic of The FA Cup

The FA Cup is the oldest football tournament in world football and is watched by millions of fans around the planet. The FA Cup final is watched more than any other game except the world cup final. The magic of the FA Cup is not only when small teams beat the big clubs, it is the true essence of the cup that makes it truly magical for all fans.

Highlights so Far

This season has been no different in which certain big teams have been beaten and knocked out of the tournament by teams in a lower league.

One of the highlights so far is how Sutton made the 5th Round and were able to host the mighty Arsenal at their small stadium. This was the biggest game of the club’s history and even though there was an incident called ‘Piegate’ this took nothing away from the achievement of the team and management.

Lincoln City have made the Quarter Finals for the first time in the history of the football club. Whilst they will go into the game against Arsenal as huge underdogs they will be confident of pulling off one of the upsets of recent years.

For football bets then we recommend the website online, especially for tips and reviews.

Quarter Final Matches

The following matches will take in less than 2 weeks and the world will be watching to see who makes the next round which of course is a visit to Wembley for the Semi Finals.
Saturday 11 March 2017 
Middlesbrough VS Man City
Arsenal VS Lincoln City

Sunday 12 March 2017 
Tottenham Hotspur VS Millwall

Monday 13 March 2017 
Chelsea VS Manchester United

Semi Finals

The Semi Finals of the FA Cup this season could be between some of the biggest football rivalries in world football. Should Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur win their respective games then the semi-finals will be the strongest games in recent seasons.

FA Cup Final

The FA Cup final is an immense spectacle and no matter the teams the tickets for the match often sell for hundreds of pounds on the secondary market.

The final this year will have an attendance of 89,826 and is the fourth best attended domestic club  game and the second most attended domestic football match.

 

The Best Midfielder in La Liga?

Steven N Zonzi

Steven N’Zonzi survived a slow start after his move from Stoke City to become the main man at Sevilla.
When Steven N’Zonzi sign from Stoke City many fans were underwhelmed but things have progressed and now is the team’s key player. It was not a great start as his performances were poor when he first join the club. The Frenchman though has come on leaps and bounds since then. Many pundits now think that he is the best midfielder that plays in La Liga with is a huge compliment when you consider the competition.

The Sevilla midfielder has been widely compared with his fellow Frenchman Patrick Vieira who at his peak was one in the best in the world. If he keeps on making the kind of progress he has made over the last six month, he could be the best in the world in his position.

It was a disastrous first game for Sevilla for N’Zonzi as he was sent off. The fans did not take to him and many jeered him at home matches. He was heavily criticized by the Spanish media and many though they had just spent 10 million euro on a dud.

Since the arrival of Jorge Sampaoli though N’Zonzi has improved remarkable. The new manager has managed to get the most out of the player and the team is flourishing because of it. The fans started to take to the player more after his influential display in the match against Liverpool in the Europa League final.

It was the first time in N’Zonzi professional playing career that he had won a trophy and that win has helped boost his confidence and make him into a better player. It was Sevilla’s third time that they had won it in a row and they are one of the best teams in Europe.

The player impressed at his former clubs, Blackburn and Stoke. His 6’3 frame is suited to the English game and at first, it was difficult for him to get used to playing a different style of football. In his last year playing in the Premier League, he made over 2000 passes which were only achieved by nine others. In the Spanish league, he has passed the ball accurately more times than any other player. On average the Frenchman makes around 78 passes per match and rarely gives the ball away. The high tempo game that Sevilla is known for is due to the leadership of him midfield pulling all the strings. He does not just sit in front of the back line like many do these days. Instead, he is a true box to box player and is great at both ends of the pitch.

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5 Surprise Premier League Teams That Can Win the League Next Year

lewague

Ever since Leicester City won the Premier League title last season it’s obvious anything can happen in football, and with a few teams looking like much better performers this season there are several sides that can win it in 2018. The 2016/2017 Premier League season is more than halfway through and it will come to its end in May 2017, with Chelsea more than likely being crowned champions, but what teams can spring a surprise next season?

Everton

Everton look like different opposition under Ronald Koeman and even though they are too far off even finishing in the top 4 this season, they could be the surprise package to watch out for next season. They have bought in a few additions this season and if Romelu Lakaku is on form again next year he could be the one that takes Everton to Premier League glory.

Tottenham

Tottenham have been a bit unlucky this season in the sense Chelsea are on fine form otherwise they would have been the team to beat, but if Tottenham fire again like they have this season they could win the league next year for the first time in over 55 years. They have some great youth players that are still learning the game and if they can keep hold of the likes of Harry Kane then they will have a much better chance and could end up as champions.

Liverpool

Liverpool will obviously be up there again next season and could surprise us all with some attacking football under Klopp. One problem they have had this season is defensive issues and if they can iron that out of their game there is no reason why they won’t have a good chance next year.

Manchester United

 

If Manchester United won the Premier League next season it wouldn’t be a huge shock to the system as they have done it many times before, but as they haven’t won the league since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013 they could be the team to look out for next season, especially if they spend even more money on a few additions. United clearly have a good defence, but it’s obvious they are missing that one player that can take them to the next level and if they can get him in the summer, there’s no reason why they won’t have the squad capable of winning the league.

Southampton

One team that currently look like they don’t have it in them when it comes to winning the Premier League is Southampton, but when you look back at last season when Leicester won the league it just goes to show anything can happen. Southampton have been a team in recent years that are hard to beat and they have finished in the top half of the table most seasons they have been in the Premier League in recent years, and they could certainly be the team to beat next season if they take advantage of their amazing youth academy instead of offloading special talents to the likes of Liverpool.

Teams like Chelsea could win it again but everyone knows it’s hard for champions to retain their title the season after. The likes of Arsenal and Manchester City are obvious candidates to lift the trophy next season as well so we could be in for a thriller come May 2018. As ever, if you are looking to put your bets on for the next season you can find all Premier League betting odds at William Hill website for the best odds guaranteed.

FA Cup 5th Round Preview

fa cup

The FA Cup returns this weekend with the famous tournament in the 5th Round. Teams in this part of the FA Cup are already looking at the dream of reaching the final at Wembley. With only 4 games until the final every fan starts to take the tournament seriously at this stage. With this the atmosphere at the stadiums this weekend will be great.

The full list of the games for the 5th Round can be seen below:

Saturday 18th February 2017
Burnley v Lincoln City
Huddersfield Town v Manchester City
Middlesbrough v Oxford United
Millwall v Leicester City
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea

Sunday 19th February 2017

Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur
Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United

Monday 20th February 2017

Sutton United v Arsenal

 

Highlight Matches

The games will be played across 3 days with their being not a single all Premier League tie, making some upsets highly possible. Aside from Lincoln traveling to Premier League side Burnley and Chelsea traveling to Wolverhampton Wanderers, here are our picks for the standout games of the FA Cup weekend. We have researched and found that the best FA cup betting odds can be found on 888Sport.

 

Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United

The two teams are not only based in close proximity but also rivals in the football world. For those who remember back to the 1990’s will know that Blackburn Rovers were once the main rivals of Manchester United, even so they beat them in the race to the Premier League. With strikers of Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer leading the line, they managed to win the Premier League against the odds.

This fixture is always highly intense and promises goals, especially at Ewood Park. Jose Mourinho will be sure to field a strong team to ensure they progress to the 6th Round.

Sutton United v Arsenal
sutton fc

This fixture is the reason why the FA Cup remains magical and is watched my millions of viewers around the world. The non-league side of Sutton United have never reached the 5th round of the tournament and have been rewarded with a home tie against Premier League powerhouse Arsenal.

Sutton United are currently in 16th in English football’s fifth tier, and play at Gander Green Lane, which has a 5,000 capacity – 55,000 less than Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.

Tickets for the game have just gone on sale and queues for the game are so big they are already around the full stadium. Arsenal have won the tournament 12 times and will be strong favourites to win even though they probably won’t field a strong team.

 

Match Preview: Manchester United vs Southampton EFL Cup Final

efl cup

The EFL Cup final takes place Sunday, February 26 2017 in front of 80,000 fans and millions watching worldwide. The fans of the final teams of Manchester United and Southampton will head to Wembley to watch this one off game. The current champions of the EFL trophy are Manchester City who beat Liverpool on penalties in last season’s game.

Semi Finals

Manchester United beat Hull City in the semi-final of the tournament whilst Southampton upset the odds by convincingly beating Liverpool to book their place.

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Southampton

saints

Having not won a major title since 1976, the Saints are confident of pulling off another upset with the manager turning things around in only his first season. The fans of Southampton will be confident going into this game having seen them beat every top team in the previous seasons when they play well. Southampton have a large fan base and regularly sell-out their stadium, St Mary’s for Premier League games. Whilst the team has no real stand out players, they do have some great team players and are very effective of winning games.

Manchester United

mufc

Manchester United are heavy favourites for this game but for one-off games this rarely means much. Jose Mourinho struggled at the start of the season resulting in many draws for the team, setting them way back in the chase for the Premier League. However since November , Man United have gone on to win 9+ games in a row and continued to shine.

Wayne Rooney recently became the highest goal-scorer of all time at Manchester United, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s previously unbeaten record. With players now finally finding form including Martial, Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan as well as Juan Mata, the future looks bright for the team. The obvious pressure will be on the Red Devils, can they live up to the expectation? We will find out on Feb 26.

Tickets

On February 26, 2017 at Wembley Stadium tickets for the match will be sold-out and be sold for hundreds of pounds on the secondary ticket market.

Final: Southampton v Manchester United

Date: Sunday, February 26, 2017

Location: Wembley Stadium, London, United Kingdom

EFL Final Tickets: Starting at £40 for official club supporters.

The good news for supporters is that unlike the FA Cup or other major finals, the EFL does provide a larger amount of tickets to fans from both teams. With an estimated 25,000 tickets going to each team this ensures that there will be at least a good presence for both teams, making the atmosphere special.

FA Cup Replays – 3rd Round

Team of the FA Cup

The official Emirates FA Cup Round 3 replays kick off tomorrow and as per usual, FATV will be providing the official highlights.

Ahead of tomorrow, I have here Opta’s chosen star XI consisting of players who they felt were outstanding during Round 3 of the FA Cup.

 

 

Do you agree with the choices? Who do you think will go on to win the famous FA Cup. ?

Leicester vs. Chelsea: Can the Premier League Champions get one over on their Title Chasing Rivals?

lcfc-v-cfc

It’s Leicester against Chelsea this weekend at the King Power Stadium, and both sides will be wanting to get back to winning ways in the Premier League, so it could end up being an entertaining matchup. Champions Leicester are only sitting 6 points above the drop going into this game, so they will be wanting to give it their all to ensure their Premier League safety this weekend, and Chelsea will be wanting to put their disappointing defeat to local London rivals Tottenham to the back of their mind. Chelsea had the upper hand when these two teams met in October last year at Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea will be looking for a repeat performance to ensure they walk away as winners and can get their title bid back on track. What can we expect to see from this game? We’ll have a look at some of the possibilities below.

Goals Galore?

Whether it’s going to be a game filled with goals remains to be seen, but as Chelsea have conceded 4 goals in their last two Premier League outings, Leicester will be looking at that and thinking they have a chance to score a couple of goals. With that though, Leicester have only scored 3 goals in their last 4 Premier League matches, and as Chelsea do not concede a lot of goals under normal circumstances, it could be a game that’s a little lacklustre. Chelsea have however scored 8 goals in their 3 previous games prior to losing 2-0 to Tottenham, so if they go into this game with the same attacking quality, then there’s no reason why they can’t take advantage of Leicester City’s confidence issues in front of goal.

Will Kante be the Main Man for Chelsea?

kante-cfc

Kante left Leicester last season to join Chelsea and he has since been able to make Chelsea into title contenders from the get go, and he could be the first Premier League player to win back to back Premier League titles with two different clubs if Chelsea go on and win it this season. Kante will be out looking to prove a point against his former club, and Claudio Ranieri,who upset many bookmakers last year, will be completely aware of Kante’s ability to shine in Premier League fixtures just like this one.

What chances do Leicester City have of Premier League survival?

players-lcfc

Leicester could easily be sucked into a relegation dog fight coming towards the end of the season, so they will need to pick up their game and start scoring some goals. Jamie Vardy hasn’t been the deadly force in front of goal he was last season, and Riyad Mahrez is also struggling to find form after a career defining season last time out. The loss of Kante to Chelsea has obviously been significant, and their confidence is low after being crowned champions last season. Whether Leicester are able to stay in the Premier League this season remains to be seen, but one of the benefits they currently have is that the three teams currently in the relegation zone do not look like they have enough in them to survive, but Leicester will want to make sure they get another 19 points in their next 18 games to give them the 40 points that seems to be enough for Premier League survival.

Chelsea will need to get back to winning ways in this game with Liverpool breathing down their necks, and the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United are not out of the contest just yet. Will Chelsea be able to get on another winning run? Or will Leicester be able to stop them in their tracks? We’ll find out this weekend in what could be an entertaining game of football.

Chelsea’s 2016-2017 Season – The Story So Far

antonio conte

Chelsea entered the 2016-2017 English Premier League season looking to rebound from a very disappointing 2015-16 campaign, where they finished a tame 10th in the table.

They will participate in the FA Cup and League Cup, but with no action in any UEFA competition for the first time since the 1996–97 season, they could hugely benefit from having a fresher squad for the domestic cause. William Hill betting has Chelsea as the clear and red hot favourites to win the Premier League title now and the West Londoners will be very hard to stop.

Antonio Conte’s reign as Chelsea manager started off great with 3 wins from 3 games back in August using the same old trusted system Chelsea have used over the years. It was then, back in September, that they had a nightmare patch; drawing to Swansea away, then losing to Liverpool at home, followed by another loss at Arsenal.  It was half-way through the Arsenal game that Conte decided to shake the system and change to a 3-4-3 formation which continued against Hull City in the following fixture where they went on to dominate a strong 2-0 win lead by goals from Willian and Diego Costa.

This also gave a new lease of life for the loan ranger Victor Moses who was given the opportunity as right wing back where he has done nothing but excel in that position down that flank playing 14 games, scoring twice and assisting once and also contributing to 10 clean sheets in 13 games in a solid defence led by Tim Cahill, David Luiz, César Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso.

victoria-moses

Chelsea’s run of fine form continued with a solid 3-0 win over Leicester City which condemned the defending champions to their fourth consecutive away defeat of the season.  The Blues then went on to welcome Jose Mourinho back to the bridge with a stunning 4-0 display over the Red Devils. Next up was an away trip the the new West Ham London Stadium in the League Cup, where Chelsea went on to lose, leaving them in just two competitions for the remainder of the season – the Premier League and FA Cup with plenty of rest time in between games.

 

They went on to bounce back in their next league game against Southampton winning 2-0 away from home. This was the month (October) that the Chelsea duo of Eden Hazard and Antonio Conte picked up awards ‘Player Of The Month’ and ‘Manager Of The Month’.

Chelsea then went on to win their next 9 Premier League games in a row keeping 6 clean sheets in that time. During that amazing run they collected 3 points on a visit to the Etihad going into half time chasing the game at 1-0 down. They went on to win the game 3-1 with goals from Costa, Willian and Hazard.

hazard-willian

The league leader’s 13-game winning streak came to an end recently when they visited Tottenham on 4th January and lost 2-0 owing to an inspired Spurs display, quelling any hopes of breaking the longest winning streak record set by Arsenal in their glory days.

However, Chelsea remain firmly in the driving seat, a few points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s reformed Liverpool side sitting in 2nd place. Conte has clearly brought back a great mood to Chelsea where the team are enjoying their football which has reflected in this impressive season thus far.  This is a team fully equipped to go the distance.

Which championship teams will gain promotion?

rafa

Year after year, the Championship proves it’s one of the toughest competitions throughout the whole of Europe. Teams who get relegated from the top flight are not guaranteed automatic promotion; there have been previous times in the past where teams who got relegated from the Premier League were then relegated down into League 1. It’s a dog eat dog world in this league and that’s purely because of the prestigious awards at the end of the tunnel- the Premier League.

Automatic promotion

Currently, as it stands, we have two teams that will most definitely get automatic promotion- Newcastle sitting second, 6 points top of Reading who sit third and Brighton who are holding the top spot. The question is however, who will claim the title? Now this is a tough one because both Newcastle and Brighton keep yo-yoing  between each other since the start of the season- one minute Newcastle are top the next thing you know, its Brighton. At the moment, Brighton who are on 54 points hold a two point lead and a game in hand on Newcastle who are on 52 points respectively. So as it stands you will think Brighton have the advantage and should take this momentum towards the latter part of the season and win the league? Yes, it’s likely this could happen, but I still believe that Newcastle will go on and win the Championship title; I think they have the best squad in the league and have a formidable striker that is Dwight Gayle, who can’t seem to stop scoring the goals at the moment. For me I think it will be Newcastle top and Brighton coming in as runners up, nonetheless both should get automatic promotion.    

Playoffs

Now this is more difficult to predict, I believe the teams currently in the playoff picture most likely will stay the same, however there are some talented clubs gunning behind them. Reading and Huddersfield are a dead cert in regards to cementing their place in the play offs, but I feel Huddersfield will leap frog Reading and finish 3rd and Reading finishing 4th. Leeds should have enough to stay in the middle of those four teams, it’s just a question of; can former runners up of the playoffs Sheffield Wednesday maintain there spot among the 4? If it were to end like this, then I think Huddersfield will end up winning the playoffs and gaining promotion to the Premier League.  

Dark horses

birmingham city

Like previously mentioned above, there are a few teams trailing close behind in search for that promotion, my dark horses are Derby 7th (40 points), Fulham 10th (36 points) and Aston Villa 12th (35 points). I like the look of these three teams- especially Fulham and I wouldn’t be surprised if one them creep into the playoff picture. Villa are now looking good under Steve Bruce and are  now above their neighbours Birmingham, whilst Fulham have this rawness about their game and hold an impressive away record; Derby are inches behind Wednesday and contain a rather impressive squad     

Champions League Soccer Managers

The Champions League is now reaching the exciting part which is the knockout rounds. Over 6 fixtures the group games were played and completed with the top 2 teams from the groups progressing to the next stage.

The Champions League knockouts were decided via a draw and the last 16 fixtures are now known. For Champions League betting then we recommend online specialists 888sport. The standout fixtures for the first knockout round of the tournament, starting in February are the following:

Paris Saint Germain Barcelona

Arsenal Bayern Munich

Manchester City Monaco

 

Top Managers of Champions League

These are our choice at E-Soccer.com for the best managers in the Champions League. Do you agree?

Pep Guardiola

pep-guardiola

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager is in his first season at Manchester City and unlike the other leagues Pep is not having the easy wins like he is used to. After getting beat by Barcelona they have responded well in the Champions League and are one of the main teams to watch for. Can Pep win the European Cup in his first year at The Citizens, the bookies have him as one of the favourites to lift the trophy in Cardiff.

Carlo Ancelotti

ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti is the current manager of German team Bayern Munich and are one of the most successful teams in Europe.  Ancelotti as a manager is one of the finest, he is the only manager to have won the UEFA Champions League three times and reached four cup finals. Bayern Munich will be a tough team to beat and go into the last 16 as favourites over Arsenal football club.

Arsene Wenger

wenger

The long-standing manager of Arsenal has guided the North London team Champions League qualification over many years. Arsenal have a  tough test if they want to proceed to the next round against German Champions Bayern Munich. Arsenal fans are growing impatient with the management team at the club due to the squad not performing on the big stage, well this is the biggest stage.

Luis Enrique

luis-enrique

Luis Enrique is the current manager FC Barcelona and leads probably the best team in the tournament to Paris where they will play PSG. With Neymar, Suarez and Messi, the attacking front-line is unquestionably the best in world football. In the losses that they have experienced this year the defense has been the weak link in the team.
Luis Enrique arrived as Barcelona manager in May 2014 from Celta Vigo and guided the Catalan team to the treble in his very first season in the job

Zinedine Zidane

zinedine

The current manager of Real Madrid is former world player of the year and Frenchman Zinedine Zidane. Alongside the attack of Barcelona, Real Madrid have arguably the best with current World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Colombian striker James Rodriguez leading the trio. Real Madrid have just been crowned World Club Champions having beaten Kashima Antlers in the final in Japan. Zinedine Zidane will be confident going into the next round where they face Italian team Napoli.

Who will lift the trophy in Cardiff in June 2017, we think one of these managers will surely have a say.

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