FA Cup


Liverpool 1/3 to win against Exeter City in tonight’s FA Cup clash

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Competition: FA Cup
Market: Liverpool to win against Exeter
Odds: 1/3 @ Coral

Liverpool are hoping to put their poor Premier League form behind them by recording a victory against Exeter City in the FA Cup third round replay this evening, and are big favourites to get the job done at Anfield to book their place in the fourth round at home to West Ham United.

The Reds have been struggling in the Premier League of late, and came close to losing to the Grecians in the reverse fixture earlier this month, but manager Jurgen Klopp will trust his young side to deliver in their own backyard.

Exeter have been in better shape in their domestic league in recent weeks, and deservedly took the plaudits from an impressive showing at St James’. It will be a different story as the travelling team, however, but they could well threaten the Merseysiders given the youthful side they’re likely to start with.

While the two sides drew the first game, Klopp’s side aren’t likely to take any liberties this time out. As a result, Liverpool are being backed with odds of 1/3 from Coral to see past Exeter City tonight to book their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Bet: Liverpool to win against Exeter City in tonight’s FA Cup clash @ 1/3 with Coral >>

Wed 20 January, 2016
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Pulis pleased to see West Brom progress in the FA Cup

West Brom manager Tony Pulis felt his side fully deserved their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup after coming through a tricky replay against Bristol City.

Salomon Rondon scoring the game’s only goal shortly after half-time and, despite the Championship side pushing hard for an equaliser in the closing stages, the visitors held on for a 1-0 victory at Ashton Gate Stadium.

The result means West Brom will play against lower league opposition in the next round of the competition, hosting League One club Peterborough United.

“I thought generally we controlled the game,” Pulis told the club’s official website.

“We knew it was going to be difficult, and it was difficult. But I think the best team won tonight, and deserved to win.”

Pulis also praised the travelling supporters who made the journey to Bristol on a Tuesday night.

It was a third away trip on the spin for West Brom after playing at Chelsea and Southampton in the Premier League.

“The away support at this club is wonderful. For the supporters to come to three away games on the bounce, it is just fantastic,” the Welshman added.

“I would like to personally thank them – they make such a difference

“Win, lose or draw, whether we’ve done well or not so well, they’ve really got behind the lads. They are a credit to the football club.”

Tue 19 January, 2016
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Aston Villa 2 Wycombe Wanderers 0: Clark and Gueye avert upset

Aston Villa left it late to see off Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 and secure their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

After Joe Jacobson’s penalty earned the League Two outfit a credible draw at Adams Park 10 days ago, Villa looked like they were heading for extra time in the replay as they struggled to break down their opponents, who had twice gone close through Garry Thompson.

Ciaran Clark came up with the goods for the Premier League side, however, as he headed in Ashley Westwood’s cross 15 minutes from time, before a fine goal from Idrissa Gueye settled the contest to book a tie with Manchester City in the next round.

Nevertheless, Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe can take plenty of positives from their return to Villa Park, 15 years after going down 2-1 to Liverpool in the semi-finals.

Villa were on top in the early stages as they looked to get the job done, but Wycombe goalkeeper Matt Ingram snuffed out the threat of Scott Sinclair in the fourth minute and Rudy Gestede – promoted to the starting XI after Saturday’s Premier League point-saving goal against Leicester City – headed off target.

Having weathered the storm, Wycombe began to grow into the game and Sam Wood drew a fine save out of Brad Guzan after a quick throw-in had caught the Villa defence cold.

Sinclair’s pace on the break remained menacing and the forward was in down the left as half-time approached, but Ingram reacted sharply to tip his effort into the side netting.

And the League Two side ought to have capitalised on that save in the dying seconds of the first half, but Thompson headed over with the goal at his mercy after Guzan had made a mess of Jacobson’s left-wing cross.

Remi Garde’s men had the first decent opportunity after the break. Jordan Ayew burst into the area and had Gestede screaming for the ball to be squared, but was unable to find his strike partner, much to the frustration of the home fans.

The hosts were nearly made to pay for their wastefulness as they survived a real scare from Thompson on the hour mark. Villa again failed to deal with Jacobson’s initial cross before the left-back’s follow-up delivery was once more nodded off target by Thompson.

Villa responded by turning up the pressure and Clark finally got the better of the stubborn fourth-tier side with a free header 15 minutes from time.

Substitute Gueye finally put the tie beyond Wycombe in the dying seconds when he slotted home a second goal after Gestede had cushioned Sinclair’s cross neatly into his path.

Tue 19 January, 2016
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Bristol City 0 West Brom 1: Rondon seals comfortable passage for Premier League side

West Brom booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round with a routine 1-0 replay win at Bristol City on Tuesday.

Championship strugglers City were left to rue missed chances by Wes Burns, Luke Freeman and Aaron Wilbraham, with Salomon Rondon scoring the game’s only goal shortly after half-time, converting a cross from Craig Dawson with a classy touch and finish.

Premier League outfit West Brom had not won away since October but closed the match out easily to book a home fourth-round tie with League One side Peterborough United.

West Brom boss Tony Pulis selected the fit-again Ben Foster in goal and left striker Saido Berahino out of his squad amid continued rumours of a January exit, while James Morrison and Darren Fletcher missed out through injury.

City’s Freeman had the game’s clear first sight of goal on 10 minutes, but he cut inside and struck his shot straight at Foster, who continued his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury with another 90 minutes.

Burns then had a golden chance to put City in the lead. Bobby Reid slipped the ball in behind Chris Brunt and Burns ran through on goal only to pull his shot wide of Foster’s far post.

Craig Gardner cushioned a 20-yard half-volley narrowly wide on 29 minutes but the hosts, full of confidence after beating Championship leaders Middlesbrough 1-0 on Saturday, were on top.

Stephane Sessegnon, James McClean and Rondon all saw efforts from long distance fly well off target, but Pulis’ side almost took the lead on 40 minutes.

City could only clear a cross to Gardner, whose volley bounced kindly for Gareth McAuley, who headed over from just a few yards out.

That miss was almost punished on the stroke of half-time, but Freeman curled a free-kick narrowly wide after Reid had been bundled over on the edge of the box by Claudio Yacob.

West Brom took the lead on 52 minutes. Dawson lifted a cross over Aden Flint’s head and Rondon chested the ball down before prodding it beyond 19-year-old goalkeeper Max O’Leary, who was making his full debut for City.

Wilbraham could have levelled the scores just before the hour-mark but he headed Burns’ precise centre over the crossbar from close range.

Foster saved from Burns after the returning goalkeeper flapped at a cross on 81 minutes, before Nathan Baker headed Marlon Pack’s free-kick well wide. 

West Brom had won their past three FA Cup ties against lower-league opposition and made it four in a row by shutting City out despite late pressure. 

Tue 19 January, 2016
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Bristol City 0 West Brom 1: Rondon seals comfortable passage for Premier League side

West Brom booked their place in the FA Cup fourth round with a routine 1-0 replay win at Bristol City on Tuesday.

Championship strugglers City were left to rue missed chances by Wes Burns, Luke Freeman and Aaron Wilbraham, with Salomon Rondon scoring the game’s only goal shortly after half-time, converting a cross from Craig Dawson with a classy touch and finish.

Premier League outfit West Brom had not won away since October but closed the match out easily to book a home fourth-round tie with League One side Peterborough United.

West Brom boss Tony Pulis selected the fit-again Ben Foster in goal and left striker Saido Berahino out of his squad amid continued rumours of a January exit, while James Morrison and Darren Fletcher missed out through injury.

City’s Freeman had the game’s clear first sight of goal on 10 minutes, but he cut inside and struck his shot straight at Foster, who continued his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury with another 90 minutes.

Burns then had a golden chance to put City in the lead. Bobby Reid slipped the ball in behind Chris Brunt and Burns ran through on goal only to pull his shot wide of Foster’s far post.

Craig Gardner cushioned a 20-yard half-volley narrowly wide on 29 minutes but the hosts, full of confidence after beating Championship leaders Middlesbrough 1-0 on Saturday, were on top.

Stephane Sessegnon, James McClean and Rondon all saw efforts from long distance fly well off target, but Pulis’ side almost took the lead on 40 minutes.

City could only clear a cross to Gardner, whose volley bounced kindly for Gareth McAuley, who headed over from just a few yards out.

That miss was almost punished on the stroke of half-time, but Freeman curled a free-kick narrowly wide after Reid had been bundled over on the
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edge of the box by Claudio Yacob.

West Brom took the lead on 52 minutes. Dawson lifted a cross over Aden Flint’s head and Rondon chested the ball down before prodding it beyond 19-year-old goalkeeper Max O’Leary, who was making his full debut for City.

Wilbraham could have levelled the scores just before the hour-mark but he headed Burns’ precise centre over the crossbar from close range.

Foster saved from Burns after the returning goalkeeper flapped at a cross on 81 minutes, before Nathan Baker headed Marlon Pack’s free-kick well wide. 

West Brom had won their past three FA Cup ties against lower-league opposition and made it four in a row by shutting City out despite late pressure. 

Tue 19 January, 2016
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Video: Claudio Ranieri not worried over Vardy’s lack of goals

Speaking ahead of his team’s FA Cup replay against Tottenham Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri revealed he is not worried over Jamie Vardy’s lack of goals for the Foxes.

Club’s top scorer hasn’t been able to get his name on the scoresheet for eight games now after crushing the Premier League record this season, but his manager believes that goals will come ‘sooner or later’.

Ranieri explained that his lack of goals is normal as Vardy didn’t train properly during last two months.

“That is normal. But I think when strikers like him I say, ‘okay, didn’t score now – score the next (game) because it’s very close’. Sooner or later he’ll restart scoring, and that’s it”, said Claudio Ranieri.

Jamie Vardy has this season scored 15 goals in 22 Premier League appearances, while he is yet to make his mark in the Cup competitions.

Leicester City are getting ready to welcome Tottenham for the FA Cup last 32 round replay following the first game at White Hart Lane which ended in 2-2 draw.

This will also be the third game between the two sides in ten days and the Foxes stand at 39/20 to beat Spurs on Wednesday.

Tue 19 January, 2016
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Prediction: Liverpool vs Exeter City

Liverpool’s second string side narrowly avoided an embarrassing exit from the FA Cup as they somehow managed to secure a replay, but they will have to adopt a more serious approach if they want to get past League Two minnows Exeter City and make it to the FA Cup fourth round.

Liverpool

Some three months into his spell at Anfield and Jurgen Klopp is still unable to turn things around, with the German coach not doing all that better than his predecessor. It appears that it could take a while for Liverpool to rediscover the winning mentality and self-confidence, and it now looks as though the Reds will not be able to mount a serious title challenge. Home defeat to bitter rivals Manchester United seriously damaged team’s Champions League hopes, but that could prove a blessing in disguise as it will allow Jurgen Klopp to spend more time working on improving the current squad. The FA Cup clash against Exeter City could serve as a welcoming break from the disappointing league campaign, with the Reds eager to make amends for the under-par display at St James’ Park. With a number of youngsters starting the first match, chances are Klopp will introduce few more first team players into the side, although the lack of confidence is again likely to prove a serious issue.

Team News

January recruit Steven Caulker should start at the back, but the game comes too soon for Dejan Lovren, who is expected to return into action in the coming days.

Divock Origi has been ruled out for a month, while Jordon Ibe, Christian Benteke and Joe Allen are all tipped to start the replay.

Exeter City

Exeter City have been balancing between League One and League Two in recent years, and they currently find themselves in the fourth tier of England’s league system. Things hasn’t gone too well for the Grecians of late, although they would have probably made the play-offs last term if it hadn’t been for the shoking finish to the league campaign. Exeter are not doing much better this season, currently sitting in 14th place in the League Two standings, but their FA Cup campaign has been thoroughly impressive so far. The Grecians began this year’s competition with a comfortable away triumph over Didcot Town, before they recorded a 2-0 victory over League One side Port Vale. But, it was the impressive performance in the third round clash against Liverpool that helped the minnows make the headlines, and the 2-2 draw proved enough to earn a replay and a major boost to club’s finances. Exeter will now give their best to frustrate their more ilustrious opponents for the second match running, but that is going to prove a difficult task.

Team News

The injury situation has improved a great deal for coach Paul Tisdale, as Lee Holmes, David Noble and Danny Butterfield all returned into action.

Defender Christian Ribeiro came through the weekend’s game against Leyton Orient unscathed, meaning he should keep his place in the side.

Key Factors to Consider

  • The first ever FA Cup meeting between the two sides ended all squared (2-2)
  • Exeter lost six straight away games in FA Cup before beating Didcot Town in November
  • The Grecians failed to score in four of last six FA Cup games on the road
  • Liverpool scored under 1.5 goals in 13 of last 17 home fixtures
  • The Reds are unbeaten in eight FA Cup matches at Anfield (W6 D2)

Conclusion

Having narrowly avoided defeat in the first match, Liverpool are almost certain to take the replay much more seriously and they can be trusted to make it to the next stage. Exeter will arrive at Anfield looking to defend for their lives, so we recommend betting on the Reds to win to nil.

Verdict: Liverpool to win to nil

Best Odds: 21/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

Tue 19 January, 2016
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Evans warns of potential Bristol upset

Jonny Evans has warned his West Brom teammates that they cannot afford to take Bristol City lightly ahead of their FA Cup third round replay, despite their recent struggles in the league.

Steve Cotterill managed the Championship outfit to an impressive 2-2 draw in the third round FA Cup clash and were only denied a win by a last-minute James Morrison equaliser.

Cotterill was sacked last week with Bristol sitting in a dangerous position inside the relegation zone.

Evans was the man to set up Morrison’s equaliser and he is not expecting an easy time of it away to Bristol on Tuesday night.

“It’s a tough game away at Bristol,” Evans told the Birmingham Mail.

“They haven’t got a manager and they’ll be trying to do something there.”

Evans was particularly wary of staying tight at the back as the team continues to keep up its efforts in front of goal.

“We’re scoring more goals,” he said.

“Okay, we haven’t scored against Southampton, but we scored two away at Chelsea from open play and I think that’s always been a criticism of the team – we’re only waiting for set pieces.

“But I think you can see that we play a bit more on the front foot, putting teams under pressure and not sitting back as much.”

The winner of the replay will play Peterborough United in the fourth round at home.

Tue 19 January, 2016
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Garde targets Villa FA Cup run

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde is targetting a long run in the FA Cup this season as his side prepare for their third-round replay. 

Villa could only manage a 1-1 draw away to Wycombe Wanderers earlier this month and will host the fourth-tier club in their replay on Tuesday. 

Tim Sherwood guided the club to the final last season – where they lost 4-0 to Arsenal – and Garde is hoping he can get the team just as far in 2016. 

“I would like to offer the best run in the competition to everyone at this club, especially after what they did last year,” he said. 

“I will do the best for the club and the players. Wycombe will have a good role, with nothing to lose, whereas we will have everything to lose.

“I would like to keep the momentum we are in currently but we have a very difficult game at West Brom at the weekend.

“I will see how the players have recovered from the last two games. The team was changed for these two games and I’m pleased with the way we played.

He added: “Maybe my message did not go through to everybody initially. But now I find people who understand my message.

“I’m very happy with the way we’ve played the last two games.

“They were not easy games because they were against teams who were full of confidence when we were not.

“But the way we played and the spirit we showed, the way we have gone through difficult periods within the games, pleased me a lot because it means that my players have a good attitude.”

Garde could recall captain Micah Richards, while Carlos Sanchez and Jack Grealish are available for selection. 

Tue 19 January, 2016
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Leicester v Tottenham: Ranieri demands strength of character in FA Cup replay

Claudio Ranieri wants Leicester City, suffering from their first shaky spell of a stellar season, to show strength of character when they host Tottenham in an FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday.

Riyad Mahrez’s missed penalty cost Leicester three points against bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday and extended the Foxes’ recent run to just one win from six matches in all competitions, with four draws and one defeat.

Ranieri’s side were forced to settle for a replay against Spurs after a late Harry Kane penalty secured a 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane in the third round on January 10, though Leicester did then snatch a 1-0 win in the league meeting between the two clubs three days later.

And the Italian manager hopes to see a similar response when Mauricio Pochettino’s side visit the King Power Stadium on Wednesday.

“We are disappointed and now I want us to show our strength in the next match,” Ranieri, who confirmed midfielder Matty James could make his return from a knee injury, told Foxes Player.

“I’m not so pleased because we wanted three points. All my players wanted three points. It’s okay, the league carries on and we must concentrate now for the next match in the cup.”

Spurs responded to that league defeat to Leicester with a 4-1 thrashing of Sunderland on Saturday, in which they were forced to come from a goal down at home.

Midfielder Dele Alli praised his team-mates for their performance and is keen to establish a winning run, beginning with the FA Cup clash in the Midlands.

“It was a good all-round performance and thankfully we picked ourselves up after the defeat against Leicester,” he told Tottenham’s official website.

“We did the same when we lost against Newcastle, it was important we bounced back and went on a run and we’ll look to do the same again, keep winning and go on another good run.”

Ranieri made a number of changes to his first-choice line-up for the first game against Spurs and he is expected to hand the likes of Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell another chance to impress, though he has confirmed Kasper Schmeichel will keep his place in goal. Jeffrey Schlupp (hamstring) is out until late February.

Nabil Bentaleb is still battling to regain his Spurs spot since suffering an ankle injury and Ryan Mason is struggling with a knock, but Pochettino otherwise has a full-strength side to choose from.

Spurs have a win and a draw from their two previous visits to Leicester but were knocked out of the FA Cup last season in the fourth round after suffering a 2-1 defeat to the Foxes in north London.

Mon 18 January, 2016
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Ranieri strips Mahrez of Leicester penalty duties

Claudio Ranieri has confirmed he has stripped Riyad Mahrez of penalty duties following his miss against Aston Villa.

The Algeria international has been in sparkling form this season but has twice missed from the spot to cause his side to drop Premier League points.

Mahrez’s effort was saved by Mark Bunn in the 1-1 draw with Villa and he also failed to convert against AFC Bournemouth in a 0-0 draw on January 2.

“He was a little sad. I said to him: ‘Come on man, even champions miss penalties, just concentrate on keeping your form going’,” Ranieri said.

“I said: ‘You have to stay calm. Don’t worry, I’m happy with you. It doesn’t matter’.

“It was a good chat with him. I spoke to him and said I’m going to change things for now to take the pressure off and when I think the time is right I’d give it back to him.

“I don’t know who is going to take them. I will speak to the players. Leo Ulloa took some last season but it could be Jamie Vardy, I will speak to him.”

Leicester are expected to complete the signing of Ghana international Daniel Amartey in the coming days but Ranieri would not be drawn on when the transfer will be completed.

“I will only speak when players actually join us. Until then people must wait. But I do want good players and Amartey is one of those,” he said.

Leicester host Tottenham in the FA Cup third-round replay at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday.

Mon 18 January, 2016
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Garde assures Richards over role

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde insists Micah Richards still forms an important part of his plans despite spending the last two matches on the substitutes’ bench.

After scoring in Villa’s FA Cup third-round draw against Wycombe Wanderers on January 9, Richards picked up a foot injury which led to him being dropped from the team.

Jores Okore and Joleon Lescott impressed in the centre of defence in the captain’s absence as Garde’s side defeated Crystal Palace and drew with Leicester City.

“That was the best team for the last two games for sure, because I always choose the best team,” Garde said.

“Every manager has to make choices and that’s the one I made for the last two games, but that doesn’t mean I’m not relying on Micah.”

Garde could welcome back a trio of players from injury for Tuesday’s replay against Wycombe, with Jack Grealish (tonsillitis), Carlos Sanchez (hamstring) and Gabriel Agbonlahor (back) all nearing returns.

“I will see with Gabby in the training session. Carlos is a maybe and Jack is back in training,” he said. “Now it’s about competition to be in the group.”

Mon 18 January, 2016
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Bristol City v West Brom: Upset could strengthen Pemberton´s claim

Darren Fletcher and James Morrison are set to miss West Brom’s FA Cup replay at Bristol City, as John Pemberton seeks to stay in charge.

Bristol City’s interim manager John Pemberton is interested in taking charge of the club on a long-term basis, as he prepares to lead his side into an FA Cup replay against West Brom on Tuesday.

Pemberton and joint caretaker Wade Elliott led City to a surprise 1-0 victory over Championship leaders Middlesbrough on Saturday, just two days after the sacking of manager Steve Cotterill.

Wes Burns’ injury-time winner gave City only their fifth win of the season, two of which have come against Aitor Karanka’s league leaders.

Despite their victory, a first in seven league matches, City remain in the Championship’s relegation zone on goal difference. 

After the match Pemberton confirmed he would consider taking the Bristol City job, saying he would accept an offer “if it’s in the club’s best interests”.

He said: “I don’t know how long Wade and I will be in charge, but if it’s a week or month or a year there will be no problems from me.

“I would definitely like to stay at the club, but in what capacity I don’t know.”

Bristol City’s new chief operations manager Mark Ashton confirmed the search for Cotterill’s successor is underway.

“Conversations are up and running,” he told the BBC. “It’s very clear we need to bring some players in and we are trying to do that over the next week.

“Along with looking for a new manager or head coach that will be my focus. We need some players in and we need some players in very quickly.”

While Bristol City go into the replay on a high, Tony Pulis’ West Brom were soundly beaten 3-0 by Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

West Brom will be without midfielder James Morrison, who is set to miss up to two months of action with an injury sustained in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, and Darren Fletcher, who was substituted at half-time in the Southampton loss with a knee injury.

“That’s two very important midfield players for us and two players who’ve been very good this year. We don’t need that,” said Pulis.

“We haven’t got a big enough squad to cope with those sort of injuries. We need to assess Fletcher.”

Morrison struck a late equaliser for West Brom in a 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns in their first game against Bristol City.

The reward on offer for winning the replay is a home tie against Peterborough United of League One in the fourth round.

Sun 17 January, 2016
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Aston Villa v Wycombe Wanderers: Chairman Howard sends plea to employers ahead of replay

Wycombe Wanderers chairman Andrew Howard has pleaded with local employers to allow fans to leave work early in order to attend Tuesday’s FA Cup third-round replay at Aston Villa.

League Two side Wycombe have the rare opportunity to showcase their talents at a Premier League stadium having secured an impressive 1-1 draw against the top-flight strugglers at Adams Park.

With fans facing a near 100-mile trip to Birmingham, Howard penned an open letter in local media asking businesses in the area to allow supporters to end their working day early.

Howard has even offered to enter any company that takes part into a prize draw to use an executive box at a home Wycombe league match.

“That roar you heard at 2.30pm on Saturday [in the first match] was the celebration of a major achievement by your local, supporter-owned football club, holding Premier League Aston Villa to a draw in the Emirates FA Cup third round at a sold-out Adams Park,” the letter read.

“The club was buoyed by the support of so many local businesses showing the colours leading up to the match and needs the support of the town once again for the replay at Villa Park on Tuesday night, where close to 5,000 Wycombe fans will be giving everything to hopefully inspire the team into fulfilling the dream of reaching the next round.

“We need your staff there with us. We’re closing our office early to allow Wycombe Wanderers employees to travel up to watch the game. We would like your help to be the office hero by doing the same and letting your colleagues get to Villa Park.”

The teams may ply their trade at opposite ends of the professional game in England, but Wycombe – sixth in League Two – proved a match for rock-bottom Villa in Buckinghamshire.

Villa’s abject performance at Adams Park saw Micah Richards confront angry fans at pitchside, while video footage showed some supporters directing abuse at players as they boarded the coach home.

There have been signs of improvement since then, though, with Remi Garde earning a first win as Villa boss against Crystal Palace on Tuesday before they secured a hard-fought 1-1 draw against high-flying Leicester City on Saturday.

Villa’s position remains perilous and they are nine points off safety, but Garde feels his side are improving as they adapt to his methods.

“When you don’t have pre-season with your team and your players, it’s more difficult,” he said.

“If pre-season was useless we’d just have a meeting before the first game of the season and say ‘let’s go.’ I didn’t have this time.

“My face was new in the dressing room. And it doesn’t take hours to put things right.” 

Sun 17 January, 2016
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FA Cup fourth-round draw in full

The draw for the fourth round of the FA Cup is:

West Brom or Bristol City v Peterborough United

Eastleigh or Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United

Arsenal v Burnley

Derby County v Manchester United

Huddersfield Town or Reading v Walsall

Exeter City or Liverpool v West Ham

Wycombe Wanderers or Aston Villa v Manchester City

Shrewsbury Town v Sheffield Wednesday

Nottingham Forest v Watford

Carlisle United or Yeovil Town v Everton

Crystal Palace v Stoke City

Oxford United v Newport County or Blackburn Rovers

Ipswich Town or Portsmouth v AFC Bournemouth

Colchester United v Tottenham Hotspur or Leicester City

Bury or Bradford City v Hull City

Northampton Town or MK Dons v Chelsea

The ties will take place across the weekend of Friday 29 January to Monday 1 February 2016

Mon 11 January, 2016
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Morrison: Cup run still on the cards for West Brom

James Morrison spared West Brom’s blushes with a late equaliser to force an FA Cup third round replay against Bristol City, but he believes a cup run is still on the cards for the club.

West Brom trailed Bristol 2-1 at home before Morrison struck in the fifth minute of stoppage time to keep his team in the hat for the fourth round draw.

Saido Berahino had put West Brom 1-0 up after 67 minutes, before Jonathan Kodjia and Kieran Agard scored one each to put the visitors ahead.

It made for a stuttering start to West Brom’s campaign, but a drawn third round clash is familiar territory for manager Tony Pulis, who took Stoke City to an FA Cup final in 2011 after drawing their third round clash away to Cardiff.

Morrison is hoping for a similar achievement in 2016.

“The manager said after the game when he got to the final (with Stoke in 2011) he drew his first game at Cardiff,” Morrison told the Birmingham Mail.

“There’s another chance to get into the next round which is the main thing at the end.

“I just had a feeling the ball was coming to me so I was ready.

“I think the lads would have given me a little dig in the changing room (if I’d missed).

“I thought we were doing alright, creating some chances in the wide areas, just lacked that bit of quality.

“They came fighting back, credit to them, they played alright Bristol, but as a team we kept on going.”

Mon 11 January, 2016
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Roofe hoping to emulate late-bloomer Vardy

Oxford United hero Kemar Roofe is determined to return to the Premier League, with the high-flying striker looking to follow in the footsteps of Leicester City star Jamie Vardy.

Former West Brom frontman Roofe is the name on everyone’s lips after his two goals lifted League Two side Oxford to a shock 3-2 win over Swansea City in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

The 23-year-old never made a senior appearance at The Hawthorns as he was loaned out to Iceland’s Vikingur Reykjavik, Northampton Town, Cheltenham Town, Colchester United and Oxford, where his stay was made permanent last year.

But Roofe is now reportedly attracting the attention of Premier League outfit Newcastle United, and while Oxford coach Michael Appleton is desperate not to sell in the club’s promotion push, the player wants another opportunity in the top flight.

“Jamie Vardy started lower and he’s got the record of scoring in the Premier League. It can be done given the time and given the chance,” Roofe said.

“I’ve been given a chance to put in a fair amount of games and been able to show what I can actually do. It’s hard to show people what you can do with spells on loan. Ask anybody.

“This was the best team I have ever played against and it has got to be my best performance.

“In League Two, you don’t play the Premier League boys very often. And scoring two goals and winning the game. When you are around Premier League players you up your performance.”

Roofe added: “I never got a chance at West Brom. I put in the performances in the Under-21s and trained hard but just didn’t get the chance.

“I got on the bench but never got a few minutes. I believe I should have had a chance.

“I did as much as I could. It’s down to being given a chance and giving the young players the ­opportunity.”

Mon 11 January, 2016
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Bilic delighted for Jelavic

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has revealed his joy for countryman Nikica Jelavic, after the Croatian striker finally opened his account in the FA Cup against Wolves.

Jelavic settled the third-round tie on Saturday with a late strike to put West Ham through to the fourth round, as Wolves started life without striker Benik Afobe, who was withdrawn to finalise his £12million move to AFC Bournemouth.

Former Croatia international Jelavic took his chance on the half-volley perfectly after being set-up by fellow striker Andy Carroll and the popular forward was mobbed by team-mates following his goal.

“All the players and staff are extremely glad,” said Bilic.

“I’m a little bit biased because I’ve known him since he was 15 and in the academy of Hajduk Split, my home team.

“He is really well respected and almost adored at the club because of the work-rate he puts in, every second of every training session, his professionalism on the pitch and off the pitch.

“His relationship with the players is great and they are all delighted he scored the goal.”

The 30-year-old had not made the best start to his West Ham career prior to the goal, playing just 215 minutes in the Premier League, with just one of his nine league appearances coming as a starter.

But Bilic believes the goal might be just the tonic Jelavic needs to return to his goalscoring best.

“I don’t know how many times me and my staff have told him is not only about goals, but you know strikers, they are always thinking, ‘When am I going to score the first goal?’,” Bilic added.

“So it is extremely important for him to score this goal and open the locker – especially in the FA Cup. It’s going to boost his confidence. That’s why it’s important he scored.”

Mon 11 January, 2016
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Pardew slams FA Cup fixturing

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew believes a simple fixture change could help Premier League clubs to take the FA Cup more seriously.

Pardew believes placing the famous cup’s third round ties – at which point Premier League clubs join – immediately after the top-tiers hectic Christmas program, in which most clubs will play four games in two weeks, forces managers to think about how strong they should line up in the cup.

“I think the third round needs to be moved. I don’t think it’s fair for the competition,” Pardew said.

“Our selection was strong because of our league position, but if I was down at the bottom I would be really thinking about the upcoming games more than I did.

“It devalues the competition. They should really look at the scheduling, maybe put it back a bit or put it before the Christmas programme – do something that gives the FA Cup a little bit more respect.”

Pardew’s Palace moved through to the fourth round of the cup courtesy of a 2-1 win away to Southampton and remain in a good position in the Premier League, sitting seventh after 20 games.

Mon 11 January, 2016
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Fans´ anger is normal after FA Cup exit – Coloccini

The fans have the right to be furious with Newcastle United following their FA Cup exit against Watford, according to skipper Fabricio Coloccini. 

Newcastle were knocked out at the first hurdle of the competition for the fourth year in a row, and fifth time in six seasons. 

Troy Deeney scored the only goal of the game as Watford secured the 1-0 win at Vicarage Road. 

Coloccini said the club’s supporters deserve better and are within their right to be angry.

“It’s normal because the fans have to express,” he said. “They give everything for this club and they want results.

“They are unhappy and they have to know we keep trying and working hard to get those results.

“We have had some nasty results but we all want to win and turn this around. We understand them and we are working to improve things for them and for the club.”

Newcastle will be looking to move out of the relegation zone but face a tough ask against Manchester United on Tuesday.

Mon 11 January, 2016
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Crouch pondering Stoke future

Peter Crouch could be on the way out of Stoke City with the striker unhappy at the amount of game time he is receiving at the Britannia Stadium. 

Crouch scored the opener as Stoke defeated Doncaster Rovers 2-1 in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday in what was his first since in over a month – where he was replaced after just 13 minutes due to injury.

The 34-year-old has seen just 45 minutes of Premier League action this season, with his only full 90 minutes coming in a League Cup win over Fulham in September. 

And Crouch admits a move away may be necessary to get the game time he feels he deserves. 

“Ideally I’d like to stay at Stoke because I think we’re a top 10 side and I’d like to be a part of that,” said the former England international.

“But I’ve got to be realistic – I’ve featured hardly at all in the Premier League and that’s what I want to be doing. If needs be I’ll have to move on but I’d rather not.

“It’s been frustrating at times when you don’t feel part of the group but all you can do is work hard and get back in there and hopefully I’ve done myself a bit of justice.”

Stoke manager Mark Hughes said he did not plan on selling Crouch despite interest from other clubs.

“It is true to say that there have been a few enquiries about Peter Crouch if I’m honest but he’s one I want to keep here,” he said. 

Sun 10 January, 2016
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No penalty complaints for Ranieri

Claudio Ranieri had no complaints after a controversial late penalty pegged Leicester City back to a 2-2 FA Cup third-round draw at Tottenham.

Marcin Wasilewski and Shinji Okazaki turned the tide in Leicester’s favour after Christian Eriksen’s ninth-minute opener.

Bu Harry Kane converted from the spot just a minute before the end of normal time, after referee Bobby Madley whistled for a handball against Nathan Dyer as the winger challenged Danny Rose in the penalty area.

Leicester’s players were incensed with the decision and Ranieri suggested their frustrations were amplified because his side had deserved to win.

“I didn’t see the penalty, there were two players in front of me,” Ranieri said. “But the more important thing is that the referee gave the penalty, so it is a penalty.”

He added: “I thought we deserved to win.

“I’m very pleased with our performance. We had eight players who had not been playing for some time, but now they played and they deserved a positive result – and 2-2 is a positive result.

“Priority remains the Premier League, but we want to progress in the FA Cup. I’m pleased we have another chance.”

Sun 10 January, 2016
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Tottenham 2 Leicester City 2: Kane penalty saves Spurs

Harry Kane scored a penalty in the closing stages to salvage a 2-2 draw for Tottenham against Leicester City in the third round of the FA Cup.

The England international was initially rested, but came off the bench after the break and proved his worth by slotting home in the 89th minute after referee Robert Madley awarded Spurs a spot-kick for Nathan Dyer’s handball.

Christian Eriksen had opened the scoring for Spurs early on when he tapped home a rebound, only for Marcin Wasilewski to restore parity shortly after with a strong header.

The Denmark international threatened two more times before the break, but was denied by Kasper Schmeichel on both occasions, before Shinji Okazaki gave Leicester the lead after the break.

Kane then netted a late equaliser to prevent a repeat of last year’s cup result, when Leicester knocked Tottenham out in the fourth round.

The teams will now meet in a replay to determine who progresses to the fourth round.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino opted to rest stars such as Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli and the aforementioned Kane, while Leicester were without the injured Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, but that did not prevent both sides from playing out an entertaining encounter.

Tottenham made a fine start to the game and needed only eight minutes to break the deadlock. Schmeichel failed to hold on to Nacer Chadli’s shot from the left-hand side of the area and Eriksen had little trouble finding the net from the rebound with a calm finish.

The attacking midfielder came close to doubling Spurs’ lead in the 16th minute after a superb free-kick, but Schmeichel did well to deny his compatriot.

Leicester pulled level soon after via Wasilewski. The 35-year-old beat his marker Toby Alderweireld to the ball after a sublime corner from debutant Demarai Gray and hit the net with a strong header that left Michel Vorm without a chance.

Eriksen again threatened following some good work from Son Heung-min down the left, yet Schmeichel pulled off another good save to keep it level.

The visitors could have gone a goal up when Andy King tried his luck from long range with Vorm off his goalline after a headed clearance, but the Dutchman rushed back in time to comfortably gather the midfielder’s attempt.

Claudio Ranieri opted to replace N’Golo Kante with Okazaki at half-time and his decision immediately paid off. The Japan international danced past Tom Carroll and Alderweireld before poking a shot straight at Vorm, but he made no mistake from the rebound to make it 2-1 to the away side.

Chadli looked dangerous after a good individual action in the 54th minute, but the Belgium international’s shot lacked the power to worry Schmeichel.

Gray came close to doubling Leicester’s lead halfway through the first half, unleashing a powerful shot toward the far corner after cutting inside from the left, yet his attempt went inches wide.

Pochettino opted to bring on Kane and Alli in an attempt to force an equaliser and his gamble paid dividends in the 89th minute. The referee pointed to the spot after Dyer handled the ball inside his own area and Kane coolly converted from 12 yards.

Sun 10 January, 2016
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Shelvey wants to stay at Swansea – Curtis

Jonjo Shelvey wants to stay at Swansea City despite talk of a move to Premier League rivals Newcastle United, according to manager Alan Curtis.

Shelvey was in the starting XI on Sunday as Swansea crashed out of the FA Cup with a 3-2 loss to League Two Oxford United.

The midfielder has fallen out of favour at the Liberty Stadium and reports have suggested Newcastle are hoping to agree a £10million deal for the England international.

Shelvey was also reported to have become involved in an altercation with supporters following the final whistle, but Curtis told Sky Sports: “There’s always speculation.

“Because he’s not in the Premiership side and he’s an England international, there’s always going to be speculation about Jonjo. He wants to stay.”

Swansea took the lead at the Kassam Stadium thanks to Jefferson Montero’s 23rd-minute strike. However, a Liam Sercombe penalty and a brace for Kemar Roofe – also a reported Newcastle target – put Oxford in command.

Bafetimbi Gomis pulled one back but Swansea could not find the net again to force a replay as Oxford held on. 

Asked if their exit was a blessing in disguise for a team just two points above the Premier League relegation zone, Curtis said: “Well it could be, I’ve got to be honest I’d love to have gone a little bit further. It just breeds confidence.

“Some of them probably lack a bit of match hardness. [It was] disappointing, we have to do better.”

 

Sun 10 January, 2016
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Iheanacho not ready to make demands of Pellegrini

Manchester City youngster Kelechi Iheanacho does not feel it would be right to demand more first-team action from manager Manuel Pellegrini.

The 19-year-old striker scored his fifth goal of a breakthrough campaign in Saturday’s 3-0 FA Cup third-round win at Norwich City, capping an impressive all-round display.

Iheanacho averages a goal every 61 minutes at senior level for City despite only having a solitary Premier League start to his name.

There is a growing clamour among the club’s supporters for the Nigeria international to play a more prominent role as their title bid under Pellegrini struggles for consistency, but Iheanacho is keen to do his talking on the field.

Asked whether he talked to his manager about the prospect of playing more games, Iheanacho told City’s official website: “Not really because as a young player you have to work hard in every training session and if you are given the chance to play you have to show the manager that you deserve to be in.

“I think nothing is enough in football. I will keep working hard, I will keep giving my best every day and in every game.

“Every day I will keep learning from the professionals in my team.”

One man Iheanacho is particularly keen to learn from is Sergio Aguero.

The Argentina star scored his 11th goal of the season with a superb solo effort at Carrow Road before setting up his strike partner for a clinically taken second.

“I’m very pleased to be playing with him,” Iheanacho said. “He is a great professional and I hope I will be playing with him in a couple more games this season.

“It was a great goal, it was a good pass from Sergio and I was about to control the ball but I thought I should hit it first time.

“It was a great goal and a great assist from Sergio.”

Having waited more than three months for a domestic win away from home, victory at Norwich followed up a 2-1 Premier League triumph at Watford last weekend.

Although these wins were punctuated by a 2-1 loss to Everton in the League Cup semi-final first leg at Goodison Park, Iheanacho hopes City’s travel sickness is behind them as they battle for trophies on four fronts.

“We are improving now in our away games, keeping our loses behind us, and I think our away games are now good,” he added.

“We are still in the four competitions, I think we will go far this season. We will keep working hard for each other in every game.”

Sun 10 January, 2016
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Bale rise can inspire Tottenham to glory – Davies

Tottenham defender Ben Davies believes Gareth Bale’s exploits at Real Madrid can help the Londoners enjoy FA Cup success.

Bale left Tottenham in 2013 and has gone on to win the Champions League, Club World Cup, Super Cup and Copa del Rey with Madrid.

The Wales international has also scored 50 goals for the Spanish capital club after netting a hat-trick in Saturday’s 5-0 La Liga demolition of Deportivo La Coruna.

International team-mate Davies has been keeping a close eye on Bale and feels the 26-year-old’s rise to stardom can have an effect on Tottenham.

“Gareth’s success is an inspiration to me. To see someone like Gareth, to see how well he did at Spurs, it helps massively when you’re making a decision to move from Swansea to Spurs,” Davies told The Mirror ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup showdown against Leicester.

“When we play together for Wales, he always speaks well of this club. I always look out for him – although I also look out for any other Welsh player.

“He’s one of the best players in the world, for me. He could play in any team in any country. If he came back to the Premier League, it would be a great thing for this league.

“But, right now, he’s doing well out in Spain and I think somebody would do pretty well to get him away from there.”

Davies, whose Tottenham are bidding to win their first trophy since lifting the League Cup in 2007-08, added: “The league is not necessarily more important than the FA Cup.

“The FA Cup is a great opportunity for us to pick up a trophy. It’s the tournament that everybody wants to be able to say they’ve won in their career. I’m no different.

“It would be unbelievable to get to the final. It would be huge to win it – a great feeling for the club and the players.”

Sun 10 January, 2016
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Van Gaal unhappy with Mata performance

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal substituted Juan Mata because the Spaniard was “never there” when asked to play out wide against Sheffield United on Saturday. 

Mata was deployed on the right by Van Gaal but lasted just an hour after the Dutchman replaced him with Memphis Depay, while Jesse Lingard came on for Ander Herrera. 

Depay went on to win the penalty in stoppage time, which Wayne Rooney dispatched to send United into the fourth round of the FA Cup courtesy of a 1-0 win.

Van Gaal was unimpressed with Mata’s work-rate and inability to hug the touch-line when United needed width. 

“We needed to play with wingers to make the pitch as big as possible. So we improved by restoring the shape,” Van Gaal explained. 

“Memphis and Lingard did that, I also asked that of Mata but he was never there.

“Then [Matteo] Darmian has to be the right winger and he tried to do that but that is not his speciality and that’s why I changed.

“I am very happy that because of one of Memphis’ actions he causes the penalty.”

Sun 10 January, 2016
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Van Gaal tight-lipped on Felipe Anderson rumours

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal played down a January move for Felipe Anderson, with the club unlikely to dip into the transfer market.

Felipe Anderson has emerged as United’s top transfer target this month after he was linked with a move to Old Trafford during the off-season, and the Brazilian midfielder refused to rule out a January switch on Saturday.

The 22-year-old, who scored in Lazio’s 3-1 win over Fiorentina, admitted he was unsure if he will stay in Rome.

Van Gaal was quizzed about Felipe Anderson following United’s unconvincing 1-0 victory against Sheffield United in the FA Cup and said: “I cannot discuss that with you. I don’t think we shall do business in January.

“But you cannot say that because when there is a chance to make the selection better, we shall do it, but I don’t think we shall do that. But that is this moment.”

Felipe Anderson – the subject of a failed United bid in August according to Lazio director Igli Tare – has scored six goals in all competitions for the Italian capital club this season, with five of those coming in Serie A.

Sun 10 January, 2016
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Van Gaal: Blades deserve same criticism as Man Utd for blunt attacking display

Louis van Gaal was frustrated by a lack of criticism for Sheffield United’s attacking exploits as his Manchester United side continue to be accused of negative tactics following a slim 1-0 win in the FA Cup third round.

Van Gaal’s team were shorn of endeavour and creativity as they struggled against their third-tier opponents at Old Trafford, ending the game with just two shots on target – one of which was Wayne Rooney’s converted 93rd-minute penalty.

The Dutchman conceded his players would benefit from playing with a higher tempo, but questioned why Nigel Adkins’ League One side were not facing similar scrutiny for only producing two shots on goal.

“We have to do it better, of course, because we have to play quicker and move the ball quicker, then the gaps are coming and you have to see a player and time the pass,” Van Gaal told BT Sport.

“We can improve but how many chances have Sheffield United created? Nobody is talking about that. Everyone is talking about the fantastic defence of Sheffield United.”

Despite the hosts’ insipid display, Van Gaal was simply happy with his players for securing a place in the next round.

“I think it’s always difficult to play against such an opponent. They are defending with 10 or 11 players behind the ball,” he continued.

“You have to play more quickly than we did in the first half. You have to play with wingers and we didn’t do that in the first half.

“In the second it was a little bit better, we created more. They were very well organised and at the end we got the penalty.

“It was a deserved penalty and we won the match and that’s the most important thing. I said to the boys, the only thing that counts is that we are in the second round [sic, fourth round].”

Bastian Schweinsteiger sustained an injury following a collision with Chris Basham in the 82nd minute, but played on despite receiving treatment.

On Schweinsteiger’s chances of being fit to feature against Newcastle United in the Premier League on Tuesday, Van Gaal said: “It shall be difficult. I don’t know yet. I think he has a knee problem, everybody thinks it’s an ankle problem but I think it’s more of a knee. We have to wait and see.”

Sat 9 January, 2016
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Rooney glad to have final say in United FA Cup scare

Wayne Rooney was pleased to get the job done for Manchester United after they endured a frustrating FA Cup third-round tie against League One side Sheffield United at Old Trafford.

Louis van Gaal’s team endured now familiar struggles in front of their home fans and had to wait until injury time to seal a 1-0 win, with Rooney converting a penalty after Dean Hammond brought down the lively substitute Memphis Depay.

Rooney said his team-mates found it difficult to craft chances against their third-tier opponents and conceded that United would ideally have created more than the sparse number of goalscoring opportunities on view.

“I think it’s always the case that as football players you want to win games and the way you win games is by creating chances and scoring goals,” he told BT Sport.

“We found it tough to break them down but we did what we needed to do, we won the game and we’re in the next round.”

Rooney was speaking moments after his former team-mate Paul Scholes launched his latest tirade against United’s style of play under Van Gaal.

But the England captain defended the current rate of progress at Old Trafford and was happy to avoid being the victim of an FA Cup shock. 

“You can go on and jump on everyone’s bandwagon but we know we’re improving as a team – we can feel that,” he added.

“You look at Chelsea, who won the Premier League last year and were knocked out of the FA Cup by Bradford City [last season].

“This cup can throw up a lot of surprise so it was just important that we got through and, thankfully, we’ve done that.”

Sat 9 January, 2016
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