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Dear FA Cup Fan,

One of the most popular knockout cup competition in English Football is the FA Cup.  The FA Cup was first held in 1871-72 which makes it the  oldest association football competition in the world.


WHO CAN COMPETE?

FA CUP is open to clubs of all standards, from Premier League to amateur village teams.

The beauty of the FA CUP is that even the lower division teams can sometimes beat “Giants”.

By defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the 2012 final, Chealsea are the current holders of the FA CUP.

Blues clash represents big chance for Spurs

Tottenham will have an opportunity to display their title credentials when they host London rivals Chelsea on September 28.

The men from White Hart Lane failed their first serious examination of 2013-14 at neighbours Arsenal. Another defeat to one of the big boys would seriously damage self-belief in the Spurs camp.

tottenham-vs-chelsea

While Tottenham are not one of the leading contenders for the Premier League crown (BetVictor has them at 20/1), they enjoyed an excellent summer in the transfer window and have the ability to stay with the big four. However, a Champions League place is a more realistic goal.

The same cannot be said of Chelsea. They are 9/4 second favourites for the title with BetVictor and it is not difficult to see why (odds subject to change).

Jose Mourinho inherited a strong squad and has strengthened it further with the signings of Andre Schurrle, Willian and Samuel Eto’o, with Kevin De Bruyne also enjoying his first proper season at the club. The Blues are arguably the team to beat this term.

Chelsea have already picked up a point at Old Trafford and travel to Everton on Saturday before a trip to north London at the end of the month. They will feel pretty satisfied if they come through those fixtures unscathed.

The game against Spurs should be an exciting one for the neutral football fan. Both sides have attacking talent in abundance and will create plenty of chances. It will come down to which defence copes best.

The corresponding fixture last season finished 4-2 to Chelsea, with Juan Mata the star of the show with a brace. The Spaniard has been surprisingly out of favour early on but will surely have a major role to play as the campaign goes on.

It is a tough match to call but home advantage gives Spurs the edge. The likes of Roberto Soldado, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen have a great chance to show the fans and the rest of the Premier League what they are all about at the start of an exciting season for new-look Spurs.

John Terry Retires from International Football – Good or Bad for England?

Late on Sunday, it was brought to everyone’s attention that Chelsea player John Terry had announced his retirement from international football. Terry faces a FA disciplinary hearing this week, to do with the incident with fellow international Anton Ferdinand, which happened last season. John Terry had played for England on 79 occasions, and was captain for a period of time too.

He was always a proud and passionate player for England, and is upset to call his time up on international duty.

England manager Roy Hodgson is said to be disappointed with John Terry, but also understands his decision too. John Terry has played more games for England than another centre back in recent tournaments and qualifying stages, and arguably was always first choice for his national team, as well as Chelsea, where he is the club captain. John Terry had fantastic Euros, in Poland and Ukraine, and was one of the few players for England who was terrific in all of the games. John Terry, who is 31, has been a controversial figure in football.


He has fallen out with both Ferdinand brothers, Anton and Rio, as he was accused of racially abusing the former when Chelsea played QPR last season. A few years back, Wayne Bridge refused to play for England, after John Terry had an affair with his wife. John Terry has also been sent off for a number of times in the Premier League and Champions League. Terry receives a lot of stick from most fans when playing in the Premier League, but when he turned up for England, always received positive feedback from fans, and cemented his spot in the team.

Is this good or bad for England though? England have many centre backs to choose from, and this could even bring a case to bring Rio Ferdinand back in to the national team set up. Rio, 34, still plays at the highest level for Manchester United, but was over looked by Roy Hodgson, but many believe he wasn’t picked because Roy preferred to play John Terry instead. Other centre backs for England include title winning Joleon Lescott, young defenders Cahill, Smalling and Jones and Jagielka has been in impressive form for Everton too. There is a lot to choose from, and some centre backs are young, so Hodgson has a lot to choose from, and can build up a team for the future. John Terry was a great performer in the Euros, and there is no doubt about his ability and commitment to the team.

The England team may miss his presence but it’s a problem Roy Hodgson has to endure.  John Terry had plenty of commitment and courage, but his controversy surrounding his personal life and football career was the main reason for him to call time on his international career prematurely. The retirement has been given mixed feelings from the fans, as John had had as many haters as he did admirers.

La Liga Betting Tips – 29th + 30th September

The La Liga has another exciting weekend with some fantastic fixtures.

Barcelona will want to keep their 100% record continuing but face a hard task at Sevilla. Real Madrid are back to winning ways, whilst Atletico Madrid, who have gone from strength to strength this season, look to continue their impressive and unbeaten start to the season. Here are some of my betting tips for this week’s La Liga action!


Sevilla v Barcelona 9:00pm – Saturday

Sevilla have picked up 11 points from a possible 15, and remain unbeaten. Their proudest moment of the season so far was beating Real Madrid at home, and would like to upset current pace setters Barcelona this weekend. Sevilla have won both home games so far, but face Barcelona who have won all league games so far this season. Barcelona have had some tough games, but this will be their toughest test so far. Barcelona have scored 14, and only conceded 3 in their first five games, but another win here would clearly show a statement of intent. Sevilla are 5/1 to win this match, with Barcelona at 4/9, clear favourites.

These odds were similar to those a few weeks ago when Sevilla beat Real Madrid, so it’s possible again. It’s always risky to bet against Barcelona, but I fancy Sevilla to cause an upset here, and get a draw against the Catalan club, and the odds of that are at 10/3. Messi, as usual, top favourite to score, at 9/4, but I’d tip Sevilla forward Alvaro Negredo at 7/1.

My Prediction; Sevilla 2-2 Barcelona – 16/1

Real Madrid v Deportivo – 6:50pm – Sunday

Jose Mourinho had criticised his team after losing to Sevilla a few weeks ago, and claimed his side have lost their fight and ambition. Real Madrid have lost two games this season, and dropping home points too, leaving them 8 points behind Barcelona already. They have won their last two matches, and the spark seems to be back. No one is expecting any upsets here, as Real Madrid are 1/9 to win.  Deportivo, who have had a fairly solid start to the season, unbeaten on their travels, are 16/1 to come away with a victory, or 7/1 to earn even a draw. I’d go for a convincing home win. First goal scorer? Take your pick, but to win better money, you have to be more risky, so I’ll go for Xabi Alonso at 18/1.

Real Madrid 4-0 Deportivo – 15/2

Espanyol v Atletico Madrid – 8:30pm – Sunday

Atletico Madrid were brilliant towards the end of last season. They won the Europa League in style, but couldn’t manage to get in the top four places to have Champions League football. Their aim is to do that this year, but perhaps could even challenge for the title. They have one of the best strikers in the world, in Falcao, and a vast amount of creative midfielders. Espanyol have had a poor start to the season, sitting in 18th position, as Atletico are favourites for this one at EVENS. Atletico to be winning at half time and full time is at 11/5, so I’d tip that. Falcao to score first (if he is not injured) is at 3/1. I’d go for Arda Turan at 7/1 instead.

Espanyol 1-3 Atletico Madrid – 14/1

Team of the Tournament (so far…)

So, the group stages in the Euro 2012 are over and plenty of players have put their names forward to be included into the Team of the Tournament. Here is who I think have been the standout players from the first three games.

Goalkeeper – Iker Casillas


Admittedly, Casillas has probably had less to do in this tournament than any other goalkeeper, however, the best goalkeepers always concentrate. When he has been called upon, he has provided. Two match saving saves from Thiago Motta in the first game, and Rakitic in the third have allowed Spain to qualify. Without the goals being scored at the other end, those two saves have been vital to Spain’s progression.

Right Back – Mathieu Debuchy


The French right back was rumoured to be another of Newcastle’s French diamonds in the rough, impressing for Lille last season and his bursting forward runs have made him stand out in this tournament too. Decent enough at the back too, Newcastle may be wishing that they’d snapped him up before the tournament. The story goes that Chelsea are now interested, and having been less than impressed with their potential new right back, Gregory Van de Wiel, they have shelved those plans and are looking to Debuchy instead.

Left Back – Fabio Coentrao


This guy just never stops running and is a constant threat to the opposition. With Lahm and Cole also performing well at left back, there is decent competition, however, the Portuguese gets my vote.

Centre Back – Joleon Lescott


In the England team due to Cahill’s injury, he has performed admirably at the back, and with the important goal against the French, he has arguably been the stand out performer in the back line.

Centre Back – Kostas Katsouranis


There haven’t been many outstanding defensive performances in this tournament, and with very few clean sheets, this means more entertainment for the masses. One player who is doing well at centre back is the Greek stalwart Katsouranis, which is even more impressive considering it’s not his natural position. When you are relying on Georgios Samaras to score goals at the other end, you know that you need to keep the opposition’s scoring to a minimum, and with the performances of Katsouranis, they have done just that. Read More