FA Cup Final Preview

Hope you enjoyed my Europa League Final Preview I’ve linked it so you can read if you wish. This weekend I’m going to be focusing on, in my eyes the best domestic cup competition in the world. Where David can beat Goliath and all sorts of other crazy stuff can take place. The Football Association Challenge Cup, known as The FA Cup. This years final pits two London rivals against each other. Arsenal vs Chelsea. The competition started on Saturday August 5th last year, and 9 months later this is the culmination.

FA Cup

Arsenal have reached the FA Cup final for the 3rd time in 4 years. Winning the previous 2 against Aston Villa and Hull City. They will want to keep up their strong record in the tournament over the recent years and have done that by reaching the final. They have had a favorable journey to the final facing 2 non-league teams along the way.  In the 3rd Round they went to the North West and overcome Preston 2-1 thanks to a late Giroud goal. They then won impressively 5-0 on the road at St. Marys home of Southampton, the hosts fielded a weak team but this doesn’t take away from this fantastic result. They then faced non-league opposition twice beating Sutton United and Lincoln City 2-0 and 5-0 respectively. They then beat Man City 2-1 in the semi-finals at Wembley with some help from the officials counting out a perfectly legal goal from the sky blues. This has strengthend the appeal for a VAR (Video assistant Referee). They are here however and will look to do the business to save Arsene Wenger’s job. Maybe.

Arsenal vs Lincoln

Chelsea are in their 1st final since beating Liverpool 2-1 in the 2012 final, days before they beat Bayern Munchen in their own backyard to win the Champions League (Preview coming soon). This year unfortunately for them they can win that trophy but have already won the league, so this trophy is a good omen for them. Chelsea beat 3rd tier Peterborough 3-1 at home in the 3rd round. Then 2nd tier London rivals (kind of) 4-0 in the next round at home. They travelled to Wolverhampton and beat Wolves 2-0 with goals by 2 Spaniards, Costa and Pedro. They then beat Manchester United 1-0 at home on Monday Night in the Quarter-Finals, thanks to a great strike by Kante after Herrera had been sent off for United. They then went on to beat Rivals Tottenham 4-2 at Wembley in the semi-finals to reach this stage. They have already won the league which will have been their main goal but this would be the cherry on the top of a great season.

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League

So who is going to win? Well this season they have played twice, the 1st being at the Emirates when Arsenal battered Chelsea 3-0, this said the Chelsea team that day was unrecognisable to the one now. Also at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea won 3-1 but Arsenal also had a bad day at the office. Arsenal’s recent performance in this competition can only help them having only lost 1 game in 4 years. So it would be a disappointment if they were to lose. That said Chelsea have been dominant this season and with the exception of Tottenham are clearly the best team in England. This means that I’m going to say that Chelsea will win this match 2-0 and lift the FA Cup. In my eyes they have too much class for Arsenal who can be very hit and miss, but if it is Arsenal’s day expect this to be no pushover for the blues.

Also playing this week it is the DFB Pokal final with Frankfurt vs Dortmund in Germany. Barcelona vs Alaves in the final of the Spanish Copa del Rey. On the other side of the Atlantic the MLS’ biggest derby takes place as Seattle Sounders play the Portland Timbers. Also there are plenty of Play-Offs and Cup Final being played across the world so be sure to check them out. Also the U20’s World Cup is currently taking place in South Korea, Come on England.

England U20's

Thanks for taking the time to read this, be sure to follow me on twitter at @JMUKSport

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Europa League Final Preview

Sorry for the long time since the last upload but unfortunately I haven’t had much time to keep up with the blog uploads but I’m going to try to be more consistent.

uefa-europa-league-trophy

Anyway on to the important stuff, the football. As you all know it is the Europa League Final on Wednesday in Stockholm (otherwise your lost), and I’m here to pop together a little preview for you all. Both teams have done well to get to the final and will want qualification to next years Champions League group stage. As Ajax have already secured qualification to the Qualifying rounds they will want their place secured. Man United finishing 6th need to win to play any sort of top grade european football.

Ajax have finished 2nd this season in the Eredivisie and as previously mentioned already qualified for the qualifying rounds for next seasons Champions League and will want to qualify for the group stage A$AP Rocky. Also a bit of silverware never goes a miss. Ajax finished top of Group G involving; Celta Vigo (more on them later), Standard Liege and Panathinaikos. Winning 4 games, 3 at Home and 1 on the Road. They drew on the road twice in both Spain and Belgium. They then went on to scrape past Legia Warsaw 1-0 over 2 legs, winning 1-0 at home. After losing the 1st leg 2-1 in the Round of 16 vs FC Kobenhavn in Denmark. They relied on their home form to see them into the quarter finals winning 2-0 at home, seeing the Amsterdam team progress. They won the 1st leg of their quarter-final by the same score in the Amsterdam ArenA. Giving them the platform to play away vs Schalke 04. They lost this game 3-2 but it was enough to see them through to the Final 4, 5-4 on aggregate. The trend of losing away and winning at home continued in the semi-final vs Lyon. A huge 4-1 win at home seemingly putting them into the final after the 1st leg. However they only just crept in after losing 3-1 on French soil.

Ajax

Manchester United have finished 6th in the Premier League after a conflicting season. They have only lost 5 games this season which is the same as champions Chelsea but have been troubled by drawing 15 games which a good 2 out of 3 should have been wins. They have also won the League Cup beating Southampton 3-2 in a controversial final. So qualification for next years Europa League is guaranteed, but the want to be in the big time, the Champions League. United finished 2nd in Group A containing, Fenerbache (winners), Feyernoord and Zorya. Losing to both Fenerbache and Feyernoord away, and winning all 3 home games like Ajax. The Red Devils faced St. Etienne in the Round of 32 beating the 4-0 on aggregate, including a 3-0 home triumph. They then faced Russian side FC Rostov, drawing 1-1 in Russia and stayed 100% at home by winning 1-0. They then faced Anderlecht, they only managed a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, so needed to win in Brussels and did 2-1. Progressing 3-2 on aggregate. They then faced Celta Vigo in the semi-final. They won the 1st leg 1-0 with a classic away european performance sitting back looking to counter and a Rashford free-kick winning the game. Then at the Theatre of Dreams they drew 1-1 with the Spaniards. Utd scored early, before an equalizer was scored by the visitors. An altercation between Bailly and Roncaglia will see Bailly suspended on Wednesday night. Man Utd are lucky to be in the final as former Man City player Jon Guidetti missed 2 great opportunities late on. Nevertheless they are here and will want to win.

Rashford free-kick

Manchester United have up to 9 possible absentees going into the match including the previous mentioned Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and 2 more centre backs in the shape of Rojo and Smalling. This will surely be an area in which Ajax will look to attack, as I expect Blind and Jones to play at CB for United and neither of them I am too keen on as defenders. Credit where it is due for Jones however as he has been playing well recently. Ajax so far have 2 absentees Schone and Sinkgraven. Schone will be missed as he is someone who can possibly create opportunities for the Dutch side. They have had 2 similar opponents this season. Feyernoord being the 1st. Played by Ajax in the league and Utd in the Europa League. Ajax drew 1-1 in Feyernoord and won 2-1 at the Amsterdam ArenA. Manchester United however lost 1-0 in Holland but won 4-0 at Old Trafford. The second is Celta Vigo, the scores for Utd being 1-0 away and 1-1 at home. Ajax won 3-2 at home but drew 2-2 away. So as you can see there is not much to split the 2 teams here. I’m going to come at you with my prediction here and that is that Manchester United will win 2-1 a.e.t. This is because they have thrown all their eggs in this basket and there is more on the line for the English Club. That said don’t write off Ajax.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and don’t forget to follow me on twitter for more updates @JMUKSport.

Group E Predictions

Group E is seen as the ‘group of death’ this year and rightly so with 4 good outfits that can play as well as anyone on their day. Belgium are the seeds and are joined by 2012 finalists Italy, 3rd time qualifiers Ireland and scandanavians Sweden.

Euro 2016 trophy

Belgium are the seeds in this group and are also the highest ranked team in the FIFA World Rankings. This is their 1st Euros since 2000 when they hosted it with Holland. They have the best team they have ever had heading into this euros with Hazard, Lukaku and young star Ferrira Carrasco. They managed to qualify as Group B winners with their only loss a 1-0 defeat to Wales courtesy of Gareth Bale. They finished qualifying having scored 24 goals in 10 games which is a great strike rate. A lot of people have Belgium down as tournament winners and rightly so, they have a great side but are lacking a little strength in depth. I have them topping this group and getting to the semi-final, I just don’t think they have what it takes to win this competition.

Belguim

Italy are another set of big hitter in this group, having reached the final last time out in Poland/Ukraine in 2012. However 2 of the pivotal players from that tournament have been left out by Conte as he hasn’t included World Cup winner Pirlo or Balotelli, why always him? This time round they will be looking at Insigne and Pelle to try and score golas and I just don’t think that they have that many in them at this level. They quaified by winning Group H without losing a single game and drawing with Croatia twice 1-1. 16 goals in 10 games in a group containing Azerbijan, Malta and Bulgaria is poor and would have been expecting more, but they are here. I don’t have Italy doing well this time round, as I said in my whole tournament predictions. I have them finishing 3rd but not progressing to the Round of 16.

Italy

Ireland are the 3rd team in this group and managed to qualify for the championships after winning against Bosnia in the 2 legged play-off thanks to 2 goals in the second leg from Jon Walters who will look to score more goals this summer. Robbie Keane has been struggling for around 2 weeks with a calf injury but should be ready for the get go. They managed to finish ahead of Scotland but behind Germany and Poland in qualifying. They managed to pick up a couple of good results vs Germany and Poland. They look on paper as the weakest team in the group, but not for me I have them finishing 2nd because there team spirit is strong and it worked for Leicester of why not? However I don’t see them going futher than the last 16.

Ireland

The last team in the group are the swedes led by talismanic player maker Ibrahimovic. He has come under a lot of attention recently after being expected to sign for Manchester United from PSG, however this hasn’t been confirmed. Other than Ibra there is no real star in the swedish team so he may struggle to get any service. They qualified after beating Denmark 4-3 over 2 legs in the play-offs after finishing 3rd in Group G. After finishing behind Austria and Russia. Even though they have Ibra I still don’t see Sweden doing very well I have them down as finishing 4th and leaving France without progressing.

sweden

Thanks for reading read my Predictions for Group A, Group B, Group C and Group D. follow me on twitter @JMUKSport for regular updates.

Group D Predictions

Today it’s time to preview Group D for the Euros this summer. This group is spearheaded by the winners of the last tournament Spain, last tournaments semi-finalists Turkey, Czech Republic and Croatia.

Euro 2016 trophy

The winners of the last 2 european championships are the Spanish they won in Poland and Ukraine in 2012 and then in Austria and Switzerland in 2008. The will be looking to ‘three-peat’ this year and shouldn’t be counted out. They qualified for the tournament convincingly but were not helped by a slip up vs Slovakia. They had the equal 2nd best defense in qualifying level with England and behind Romania. They also managed to scored 23 goals on the way to Paris. They will be looking to win the euros again this summer and winning the group will help, and they should do it. I have Spain finishing 1st but only reaching the semi-final.

Spain v Italy - UEFA EURO 2012 Final

 

Croatia are the 2nd team in this group and will look to do well this summer as it is one of the best positions they have been going into a major championship for some time. They managed to qualify from Group H with only losing 1 game and having the best goal difference in the group also drawing twice 1-1 to Italy. In my opinion they have one of if not the best midfield in the championships with Modric, Rakitic and Kovacic who have all won the Champions League in the past 2 years. They will also look for goals from the dominant Mandzukic who has plenty of big game experience. Croatia are my ‘dark horse’ for this tournament which I said in my whole tournament prediction and I think they will do well so at least the quarter finals for me. I think they will finish 2nd in the group but don’t be surprised if the manage to beat or draw with Spain and top the group.

croatia

Czech Republic will be looking to qualify from this group which could be quite tricky for them. They will looking to go a little further than their best previous performance (since Czechoslovakia) in the Euros in 2004 when they reached the semi-finals. They finished that Euros with Golden Boot winner Milan Baros. Their top scorer in qualifying was Dockal who bagged 4 goals in a group that contained Holland and group rivals Turkey, who they lost to at home but beat on the road but this is out of the window for the tournament as anyone can win on their day. They will be looking at Petr Cech to keep them in games this summer, but I think it will be a very difficult task as I have the Czechs leaving in the group stage finishing 4th.

czech

The last team in Group D are Turkey, they managed to qualify like the Czechs in Group A where they were the best 3rd placed team. They managed to finish above Holland after beating them 3-0 at Home and this is an example of what they are capable of. However they lost 3-0 away to Iceland so it’s all about which Turkish team turns up on the day. They are a tournament team though Turkey finishing in the semi-final in both of their last 2 major tournaments (WC 2002, Euro 2008). They will look at Calhanoglu and Turan to lead the team going forward and to create chances for Yilmaz. They have what it takes to beat any team in the group but it’s which team turns up. I have them finishing 3rd and going to the Round of 16 where they will get knocked out. They could easily finish 1st or 4th as well.

turkey

Thanks for taking the time to read this, Read my predictions for Group A, Group B, and Group C. Follow me on twitter @JMUKSport for regular updates.

Group C Predictions

Now it’s time for my Group C predictions for the European championships and this group contains World Champions Germany, Hosts in 2012 Ukraine and Poland along with the debuting Northern Ireland.

Euro 2016 trophy

Germany are the current World Champions after beating Argentina 1-0 in extra-time at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio last summer. They will be looking to replicate their success this summer after qualifying in a strong group containing Poland who are also in their group this summer. They had some good results as expected in qualifying while also having some surprising ones such as losing to Ireland 1-0 courtesy of a John O’Shea header. They have kept most of their squad from 2 years ago including goalscorer in the final Mario Gotze and golden glove winner Manuel Neuer. They should easily win this group with the only team giving them any issue Poland. So I have them down as winning this group and as said in my full tournament preview they will win it all.

 

GermanyNorthern Ireland are making their 1st appearance in a European Championship so have no previous record and havent made a World Cup appearance in some time. They have made a miraculous climb up the world rankings to an all time high of 25th. They are also the first team seeded 6th to win a European qualification group. They were however in what was regarded as the easiest group with Romania. They had a strong attack scoring 16 goals. This was led by striker Kyle Lafferty and captain Steven Davis. The boys from Northern Ireland have no real star players in their squad so will be looking to win as a team. I have them finishing 3rd in this group but not making the round of 16.

N.I 3.jpg

One of the hosts of the last tournament are Poland, they were disappointing in that tournament finishing last in their group without being able to register a single win. This time round they will be looking at star man Robert Lewandowski to propel them out of the group stage this time round. In qualifying them managed to upset Germany by beating them 2-0 in Warsaw but lost 3-1 in the corresponding fixture. Lewandowski, one of the worlds best strikers, will be looking for the rest of the team to pull their weight and they may be able to do some damage in this tournament. I have them getting out of the group in 2nd but not progressing further than the 2nd round. That said if Lewa is firing on all cylinders they could cause some shocks and even beat Germany in the group which would lead to a much easier round of 16 tie.

Poland

Ukraine were the other hosts in 2012 and hosted the final in Kiev. They finished 3rd in qualifying group 3 so had to overcome Slovenia 3-1 over two legs in the play-offs. Yarmalenko scored 2 of Ukraine’s 3 goals so they will be looking at him to lead the attack along with Konoplyanka of Sevilla who is also a very talented footballer. This is their 2nd Euros on the bounce and will be looking to do better than when they hosted like Poland. Like Poland they were knocked out in the group stage, but unlike Poland they managed to get a single win over Sweden. I have them not getting that this year as i see them losing all 3 games but maybe getting a point from Northern Ireland. It will be a tournament to forget for the Ukraine.

Ukraine

 

Thanks for reading, check out my predictions for Group A here and B here. Follow me on twitter @JMUKSport for regular updates.

 

Group B Predictions

This Group was the 2nd drawn and includes a century long rivalry. Seeds England are drawn with home nation rivals Wales, Russia and 1st time qualifiers Slovakia.

Euro 2016 trophy

The favourites for this group are England, after a poor showing in the World Cup 2 years ago they will be out to make amens. They had the best record during qualifying with 10 wins out of 10 and a maximum 30 points including the 2nd best defence in Europe. They will be led by captain Wayne Rooney, who has been under fire from press and fans a like. They will be relying on Kane and Vardy to score the goals in an attack weighted attack. I think with a good start England can do really well this year a young fearless squad will want to impress. They will win the group and should look to progress to the semi-finals of they avoid penalties.

England

Russia are England’s 1st opponents and will be looking to progress from what for them could be a tricky group. They were knocked out in the group stage 2 years ago by the expense of Algeria. The Russians qualified with Austria and ahead of Sweden in Group G. They are missing on of the best players in Dzagoev but will look for solidarity at the back from Zhirkov and keeper Akinfeev. They could progress in 2nd from this group or they could not qualify from the group at all. I have them down as finishing 4th with a lack of strike power being the main problem.

russia

Slovakia will be led Hamsik as they qualify for their 2nd major tournament and 1st European Championships. In their last major tournament showing they reached the 2nd Round and will look to do better this time. They managed to beat Spain 2-1 on the way to qualifications from Group C. With a squad made up mainly of unknown players to most they are supported by Skrtel, Hamsik and Stoch. All with experience of playing in one of Europe’s top 5 leagues. They could struggle but I have them finishing 3rd but only reaching the 2nd round if they qualify from the group.

slovakia

Wales are Englands neighbours and will be looking to beat the arch enemy on Thursday the 14th. Wales qualified from a group containing Belgium who they beat 1-0 at home to all but secure qualification. Gareth Bale is obviously Wales’ star man but is backed up by Aaron Ramsey. They may be over reliant on Bale as he directly contributed for 9 of Wales’ 11 goals. This is their 1st tournament since 1958 so will be looking to make a huge impression. They have the chance to do well in this Group and should finish 2nd and could reach the Semi Finals.

wales

Thanks for reading be sure to follow me on twitter @JMUKSport and give me ideas or any comments on there. Read my predictions for Group A and the Whole tournament for more insight.

 

Euro 2016 Group A Predictions

This is the Group which hosts France headline. They are joined by 1st time Qualifiers Albania, neighbours Switzerland and Romania.

 

Euro 2016 trophy

France are the hosts and the seeded team in this group all the attention will be on them in this Group as they are the hosts as well as being the best team on paper. The squad is loaded with players like Pogba, Griezemann and captain Lloris. As hosts th y didn’t have to go through the pain of qualifying, so their last competitive match was 2 years ago. They had a decent showing in the World Cup in Brazil reaching the Quarterfinals, but they will want to do better on home soil. I have them down as winning the group and going on to reach the Final.

image

Albania are at their 1st ever major international competition after coming through qualifying group I by finishing runners up to Portugal. Albania are seen as the weakest team in this group and that is probably rightly so. They have no household names but captain Lorik Cana will be recognised by some Sunderland fans. Some argue they don’t deserve to be hear after being handed a vital 3-0 automatic victory vs Serbia after the game was abandoned. This meant they only scored 7 goals in qualifying, but one of these was enough to lead them to a 1-0 victory away in Portugal. So don’t write them off, even after saying that I see them finishing last in this group.

Albania

Romania come to this competition with the best defence in qualifying after conceding only 2 goals. They were in what was regarded as the easiest qualifying group with the only real challengers Northern Ireland and Hungary while Greece were abysmal. If there defence starts where it left off in qualifying the French could be in for a very nervous night on Friday. The back 4 led by Vlad Chiriches will be hoping that their underpowered strike force can steal enough goals to see them get out the group. I see them finishing 3rd but I wouldn’t be surprised if they pinch a point vs Switzerland or France.

vlad.jpg

Switzerland are looking to continue from a good showing in the 2014 World Cup where they were knocked out by Finalists Argentina. Players like Rodriguez and Shaqiri will look to carry the Swiss team to possibly a quarter final, They have a good chance to do well in this tournament after qualifying with 21 points in Group E. The only problem for the Swiss is that in this group they lost both of their ‘big’ games against England possibly getting shy on the big stage. They should be able to get out this group in 2nd position which will mean they face a different group runner-up giving them an advantage. With a decent 2nd Round tie they could progress through to the Quarter or even Semi finals.

image

Thanks for Reading follow me @JMUKSport on twitter. Check out my prediction for the whole tournament here.

Euro 2016 Predictions

In this post I will tell you my predictions for the European Championships this summer. This will contain my predictions for the whole tournament and will go over each group individually over the coming days.

Euro 2016 trophy

The biggest disappointment this summer will be the Italians. For starters other than Gigi Buffon I don’t believe they have any ‘world class’ players or a player who can single-handedly win a game. Gigi Buffon is a legend don’t get me wrong but he won’t really be helped else where on the park. Insigne, El Shaarawy and Candreva are all players who can get at a man and take him on but at times struggle with their delivery. Up front the hopes are rested on Graziano Pelle’s shoulders, he is a decent goalscorer but not someone a country like Italy should be relying on the score. All this added to the fact that Group E is one of the toughest in the tournament should be quite worrying for fans of the Azzuri. Worst case scenario is that they don’t even qualify from the group.

Pelle

My Dark Horse for the Euros are Croatia. A team with what could be considered as the best central midfield in the competition with 3 Champions League medals between them in the last 2 years (Modric, Rakitic, Kovacic) and a proven goalscorer in Mandzukic. The only issue for them is there defence. Srna is a good right back but it’s the other players in defence who will worry me and to make matter worse they have chosen not to take Lovren. This said they should easily qualify for the knock-out stages and then with a bit of fortune and good performances they could reach the semi-finals and then at that stage it’s anyons ball game.

Modric.jpg

For my favourites I was stuck between 2 teams but I have to go for World Champions Germany. There squad is stacked with great players, Neuer, Gotze and Muller to name a few, but the biggest reason I fancy them is the fact that they are a tournament team. Yes, they have lost to England and Slovakia in friendlies but these are only friendlies. Neuer will win them games single-handedly. They have a relatively easy group which they will progress from. They are used to knock-out games so this wont phase them either. If they don’t meet in the knock-out rounds it will be a France vs Germany final.

Germany

Thanks for Reading, please get in touch with me @JMUKSport on Twitter if you have any questions or ideas.

 

David vs Goliath

This weekend is the 3rd round of the FA Cup, This is the stage of the competition where the Premier League and Championship teams enter. This gives teams all the way down in the non-league the chance for a trip of a lifetime to a venue like Old Trafford or Anfield.

FA Cup

Talking of Anfield a team who may try to force a replay will be Exeter. They play Liverpool at St. James’ Park tonight in Devon. They will be looking to beat a Liverpool side tormented by injuries. The last thing the reds will want is a replay, they a facing a fixture log of 5 games in 13 days and with a squad full of injuries this is a good time for the Grecians to play them. I think they will be able to force a replay. Score Prediction 1-1.

Exeter

A team who got a dream tie is Scunthorpe United, they got the draw of dreams by receiving the chance to visit Stamford Bridge. It looked as if there could have been a possible upset on the cards over the past few weeks but Chelsea have had an upturn in form over the festive period and will look to dispose of the Iron easily, and I think they will. Chelsea 3 Scunthorpe 0 is my prediction.

Scunthorpe+United+v+Leyton+Orient+Emirates+qaRs65ZOJNWl

The final tie I’m going to feature is Oxford hosting Premier League Swansea City. This for me is the most interesting tie of the three. This is the tie most likely to cause an upset. Swansea have just changed managers and Oxford are going well in League 2. Two teams at different ends of the form spectrum and an exciting prospect for Sunday Lunchtime. Watch this if you can because you can expect an upset. I’m predicting Oxford 2 Swansea 0.

Oxford

Photographer: David Fleming (Copyright) Catchline: Bristol Rovers V Oxford Utd Length: Spread Date: 6/9/15 Location: Bristol Rovers Ryan Taylor controls the ball and waits for support.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, be sure to follow me on Twitter @JMUKSport I appreciate all feedback.

Thanks for Reading, JMUKSport

Capital One Cup, Who Will Win?

This week brings up the 1st Leg of the Capital One Cup Semi-Finals. The two ties are Stoke vs. Liverpool and Everton vs. Man City. These are two very intriguing ties.

cap 1 cup.gif

Stoke vs. Liverpool is the first of the two ties and will be played on Tuesday (January 5th). Stoke coming off of a loss to West Brom to the scoreline of 2-1. The opponents didn’t do any better they lost 2-0 to West Ham. It will be important that both teams win this game, a. to get a bit of momentum and then b. to get the advantage going into the second leg. I feel as if a win for Stoke will be most important as they are at home first, win at the Britannia then all they have to do is defend at Anfield. I can see Stoke winning the 1st leg and causing an upset by winning the whole tie and earning the right to play at Wembley. One Liverpool fan @MikLFC says that if they set up correctly that they will be able to overcome a tough opponent in Stoke and go on to win the trophy. Stoke fan @tilstones thinks that this is the most talented set of players he a seen at Stoke and they are also the most together team he has seen there, The manager Mark Hughes is also an advantage he says. His Score Prediction 2-0 to Stoke. My Score Prediction for the 1st leg: Stoke 2 Liverpool 0.

Diouf

Everton vs. Man City is the 2nd tie in this round of the competition (January 6th). Both teams will be looking to make it to Wembley. City won this competition in 2014 beating Sunderland in the Final and they will want to repeat the feat. Both teams come off of what could be considered slightly fortunate results. Man City came from behind to get all 3pts away at Watford and Everton were lucky to get a point against  Spurs after a dismal first 45 at Goodison Park. For me this is a must win for Everton if they want to reach Wembley as I don’t see then getting anything at the Etihad. City will be too strong for them over 2 legs, mainly because of their strength in depth. Everton fan @phil_spudhead thinks that Everton need to go out and attack City as they will concede goals. But at in the first leg my score prediction is: Everton 1 Man City 2.

citeh

Be sure to tune in to Sky Sports in the UK over the next week to watch these ties.

Leg 1: Stoke vs Liverpool Sky Sports 1 (20:00) January 5th

Leg 1: Everton vs Man City Sky Sports 1 (20:00) January 6th

So thank you for reading, feel free to voice your opinions to me on twitter @JMUKSport or follow me if you want to stay in touch.

Thank You, JMUKSport