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 The F.A. Cup hasn’t lost it’s glamour       The menu is just way bigger!

Feb 18th, 2018: The F.A. Cup is David v Goliath

Over the last 25 years cup competitions in England seem to have lost their original centre of attention for many football fans. It’s due in part to the teams but mainly the governing associations, Uefa, The F.A. etc.

Another big factor damaging F.A. Cup or League cup glamour is simply there is more Football now than ever.....the Football Menu is just way Bigger!

Just over 25 years ago the English Football scene was focused mainly on The Div 1 and the F.A. Cup. The League Cup seen as a 2nd rate trophy for the bigger teams who often field weak teams throughout. Lower league teams look to excel but rarely do. The League Cup was originally designed for the lower league teams to generate extra finance through the season and to provide a trophy to compete for. Nowadays those original plans are long lost with the last lower league team winning back in 1969 Swindon Town 3-1 Arsenal.

Personally I suggest The F.A. decline English Premier League teams entry into the League Cup to assist the lower leagues and to give their fans a shot at glory. This is possibly the best promotion for lower league Football and its fans moving forward as its status quo is slowing stifling the life out of both.

The Big Game Changers: Since the arrival of The English Premier League & the Uefa Champions League, English football fans have been treated to spectacular entertainment Non-Stop for 25 years! But with that never ending feast of Football comes a cost to the old ways or traditions of old!

More focus and promotional cash was thrown at the English Premier League & the Uefa Champions League over those 25 building years and very little to the old established F.A. Cup or League cup. Uefa, The Premier League were totally focused on building the Champions League & Premier League brand and build they did leaving the F.A.  promotional cash starved!

For many teams, the F.A. Cup or League cup seem to be good enough to win when nothing else can be. But all too often weak teams are fielded as teams save their focus and energy on more important games. Games that impact titles, promotion surges or for that matter fighting relegation battles.

Teams like Southampton still in the F.A. Cup must play every week while in two competitions which will cost energy and possible injury. Will it cause them to be relegated? Most fans dream of an F.A. cup appearance for their heroes but would not swop league safety for a cup run and that’s todays reality.

Crystal Palace in the middle of a relegation battle will be happy for two weeks rest and it could be that rest that keeps them up as the games come thick and fast. Those two weeks rest for The Eagles may be enough for a few injured to return to the squad and finally push for safety, lets hope! The Eagles are 4 wins from safety and 4 wins will be tough to come by hence their time off is critical. it's a trade off in Palaces case.

In summarizing: The F.A. Cup hasn't lost any of it's glamour and it never did you simply have more Football on the menu. When you consider the worlds best are on display every weekend in the EPL on your TV screens with double dipping midweek for Champions League, it`s no surprise when time is not there for other competitions.

You select what you want to watch like many others and the TV stations get the rate card on what the trends are which come from you the subscriber and then they serve your menu filled to the lid!

it`s all carefully orchestrated by the Football organisations & their promotional sponsorship partners who set it all in motion.

So the next time you hear derogatory comments reference the F.A. or League Cup and it`s lack of glamour just remember we are forced fed non stop action from the best competitions.

But the one ingredient that the F.A Cup has that NO European competition has is the David v Goliath aspect and never will as that is THE FA CUP.

Take a look at the Rochdale v Tottenham in todays F.A. Cup game at Rochdale's Crown Oil Arena which ended 2-2. It was a fantastic cup game, end to end with the minnows Rochdale pushing Tottenham's superstars all the way. Rochdale tied it up in the 94th minute forcing a replay at WEMBLEY. A dream for all Rochdale fans who never would have thought they`d ever get there, a dream come true! Steve Davies 94th minute equaliser earns Rochdale a Wembley replay.
That`s the power of the F.A. Cup which the Champions League can`t match which proves how priceless our wonderful English F.A. Cup really is. It's also the oldest Football knock out competition worldwide yet another reason to love  The F.A. Cup and its ever growing history.

Enjoy the next round of games after Wigan v Man City and lets all hope Wigan do the David over Man City's Superbots!

Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004

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Tiki-Taka Suicide

Feb 10th, 2018: Unnecessary defensive blunders

Each week we are seeing more and more blunders/defensive give aways in and around the penalty box which end up in scoring opportunities or worse still soft goals against!

This recent Tiki-Taka virus into the game has teams changing the art of defence and how to clear their lines, it’s not going to work for all as high levels of skill are required and not every defender has the time or skill to out smart or out manoeuvre the skilled forwards!

Mistakes will happen and defenders will give the ball away with bad decisions/ mental weakness leaving quick thinking forwards to feed on easy and unnecessary goals.

Coaches are the ones responsible for the virus creeping into the game it’s up to the individual coach to employ safer tactics.

I mean really think about that.  Is it logic to play with fire? Playing the ball around your penalty box with lesser skilled players is absolute Russian roulette.

Wait until a goal is scored at this years FA Cup final or much worse the Fifa World cup Final in Russia from a defensive blunder then the coin may drop in the minds of a few coaches. I see this as a dangerous evolution in the game whereby it will cost teams in the long run.

It nearly cost Arsenal big time in the London derby today as Mustafi & Ceck only just escaped Deli Alli from intercepting a pass and scoring. The danger signs are there for all to see but the coaches keep on copying tiki-taka death by passing!

Just as in normal business tactics in Football need to be kept simple, playing the ball out from the back like Brazil is not simple it’s suicide!

Another negative from playing out from your own goal line is simply terrortorial. A team needs to move up and down the field as a unit but being pinned in your own half limits both time & space on the ball causing possible interceptions closer to your goal

It’s also easy to build moves from the middle of the park and press the final third like it should be. Defenders mistakes will happen goals will come from give aways and you will witness it.

Not every tactic works for every team just as one size does not fit all!

Guardiola has coached Barca, Bayern & man City, teams stacked with with super skilled players who are also mentally smarter too. Football is a thinking game and sometimes you have no time or space and that’s when the top players expose the weaker ones!

Guardiolas words: "I loathe all that passing for the sake of it, all that tiki-taka. It's so much rubbish and has no purpose. You have to pass the ball with a clear intention, with the aim of making it into the opposition's goal. It's not about passing for the sake of it."

Guardiolas tactic is simple: Overload one side of the pitch so that the opponent must tilt its defence to cope. You overload on one side and draw them in so that they leave the other side weak and then when we've done all that, we attack and score from the other side.

Guardiola operates a “waiting game” or “ambush style” counter-attack with high speed, skill but always keeping the ball moving into threatening space in and around goal. Otherwise city operate with patience from the back in their build up play until the final third where attack is the only focus.

City are able to play it out from the defence with one touch pass and move tactics and they have the skilled players to perform without an issue. BUT the average EPL team does not have City’s super bots that get it done.

More goals are coming from defenders getting caught in possession Watch it happen!?

Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004

 

royhodgson1809[1]

They don't call him Woy anymore!

Feb 1st, 2018: Roy Hodgson & Crystal Palace FC.

When Roy Hodgson took the coaching job at Crystal Palace many in the crowd at Selhurst Park were left shaking their heads but much worse could be heard on social media, some of which was ridiculous. Those social media types would soon see their cannons go silent as Roy waged war on the EPL battling to get the mighty Palace out of the bottom three after 7 straight losses. A few even berated Woy days after the first win of the season, a 2-1 home win against Champions Chelsea?

Since Roy's arrival Palace have gone from dead last to a respectable 13th in the EPL table, an amazing achievement. You could argue Palace are now just 4 wins from EPL survival?

Since Oct 14th 2017 The Eagles have a solid record with 6 wins 8 draws and only 4 losses. They are in good hands under Mr. Hodgson and under current form should finish 10th after 38 games.

Roy has done a remarkable job when you consider how down this squad of players were after 7 straight losses. He's rebuilt the teams confidence, plugged a leaky defence and got the team scoring. The shape of Palace now compared to The De Boer era is night & day and not boring anymore. The team plays attractive football and no matter where they play they always have great fan support especially home games at Selhurst Park which are gaining attention worldwide for it's atmosphere.

When you look at Crystal Palace now the situation looks very positive for the remainder of the season and into the future too. One man came in with his team and turned the ship around saving Palace from relegation.

5 MONTHS: It has taken 5 months going from bottom to a healthy 13th in the EPL table remember that. Palace have pulled off what many pundits said could not be done.

It is time for Palace fans to enjoy the rest of the season and they deserve it to. These fans never gave up on their team in all the years and when the going gets crappy that's when Eagles fans get Louder & Prouder! They are the 12th man!

It also time to reflect on a huge quick decision to get rid of De Boer by Steve Parish. That ballsy call to hire Roy has saved the club from relegation and should be remembered too.

Roy has been a class act in every department and a real asset to the club. Under his guidance The Eagles have again become a solid EPL unit but with Roy it looks more organised than in a long time.

His work with Crystal Palace is nothing short of brilliant, he's saved the clubs dignity too. He came in under a cloud amidst post De Boer blues and his record since speaks for itself, immaculate.

Title winning coaches normally win coach of the year but Roy's achievement saving the club from relegation parallels that. He should be nominated for coach of the year: He achieved the greatest success in the worst possible situation!

Roy can do no wrong for the average Palace fan and is respected highly. And those who were wrong about Roy need to just bite their tongues and give the next guy a chance.........

They don't call him Woy anymore!

Crystal Palace New signing: Alexander Sørloth

Alexander Sørloth: Norwegian international capped 12 since 2016. 22 years old, 6 foot 4 good in the air, has good feet and vision. Alex is also very good in one on one with the keeper (calm, cool head) If it goes good for him he could be a sensation. I hope he gets a chance. Will he be Alexander the Great for The Palace? Click the link below for his goals reel.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbMn8We7YSw

Soccersteve.com Canadian Soccer media 2004