Saturday, January 23, 2010
SATURDAY .......... FA CUP ROUND 4
I am having some computer/server problems today, so will type this as quickly as possible..... just in case !
Quite strongly involved in six matches today, already discussed the SPL game and I also took one from the Bundesliga and two lower level Football League fixtures, but will stick to the FA Cup for the blog, so very briefly.........
Like most english teams and that includes many in the EPL, the finances at Accrington Stanley are in poor shape, whilst we are not talking huge sums it is all relevant to income and Stanley's is minute. They have done well in the cup competitions this season, which has helped increase revenue and they were incredibly focused in the midweek game 3rd round game with Gillingham, knowing that it would not only produce a high profile game with Fulham and possibly a gate maybe three times bigger than one for normal Division 2 outing, but also some much needed prize money.
However, they are a mid table level 4 team, that have if anything have overachieved this season and I doubt that they will be able to raise their game a second time inside four days, at least not sufficiently to trouble an EPL team for 90 minutes. The visitors look assured of a top flight mid table finish, probably without troubling the european spots, therefore, I expect them to be fully focused on their Europa League and FA Cup campaigns in the second half of the season. Boss Roy Hodgson is old school and for him, like all of us of a certain generation (although I am MUCH younger), this competition and the promise of a Wembley final remains an exciting prospect.
Fulham arrive here on the back of consecutive road losses at Stoke, where they did not play for the opening 45 minutes, before coming on very strong after the break and Blackburn, where they enjoyed the better of the game. The Lilywhites will not want to suffer a third defeat, especially one which would go down in cup folklore. Hodgson will rotate his squad a little but knows that this will not be easy and I expect the fringe players that do come in, to be looking to impress him, or maybe another boss, remember, we are still in the transfer window.
Hosts can be far too gung-ho for their own good at times, especially on home soil and Stanley will come out fired up, but I do expect them to tire and the superior fitness levels of the EPL side ( it is clear to me that the game is played at an increasingly higher tempo as you progress through the FL) to eventually win through with some ease.
6.5 points Fulham -1 ball 2.01 asian line.
West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle produced a four goal Championship thriller on Monday, that was real end to end action and we could have seen more goals. Albion will have felt they were worth more and will doubless fancy their chances back at the Hawthorns, although recently they have had more success on their travels. I doubt either will want a replay, promotion is all they are interested in and an automatic spot is a priority. We can surely expect both to carry on where they left off earlier in the week and again, goals should be on the cards.
6 points "over" 2.5 goals circa 2.0 asian line.