The FA Cup is famous for ripping up the form book and giving smaller teams their shot at glory. Here’s five teams which we think have a great chance of going all the way in this year’s FA Cup.
1. Everton: They have a great Cup pedigree and Martinez has prioritised winning a cup this season. The Spanish manager has also had recent success in the competition, leading Wigan to glory in 2012 so he knows what it takes. The main question is can they juggle their commitments in the Europa League, EPL and the FA Cup. A spokesman for M88 said “Everton are one of the most fancied teams for Cup success outside of the top four”.
2. Newcastle: One of the best supported clubs in Europe, but they haven’t won a single honour in over 50 years. Supporters were calling for Alan Pardew’s head at the start of the season, but he would turn from zero to hero if he were able to deliver the Cup to Tyneside. Can his young, inexperienced team turn their raw potential into Cup success?
3. Southampton: The power of regeneration at Southampton is remarkable. Over the last two seasons they have sold over £100m worth of talent and lost their manager to supposedly bigger clubs. They have replaced both manger and players seamlessly with a combination of acute acquisitions from abroad and promoting jewels from their renowned academy. They have great team spirit and the technical ability to beat anyone on their day, a great asset for cup football. But will Koeman be distracted by the EPL if they are still riding high come May? You are going to place a bet on Football, Southampton would be an intelligent choice.
4. QPR: Experience is the key here. Harry Redknapp has been there and done that, winning the Cup in 2008. He also has experience in his ranks with the likes of Nico Krancjar and Rio Ferdinand all tasting success in the Cup before, along with seasoned veterans like Rob Green and Joey Barton. Redknapp’s teams are well known for coming good at the end of the season, can his weathered pros combine their experience to put a successful Cup run together?
5. Derby: Teams from outside the top division used to regularly win the FA Cup. It hasn’t happened in a while however several Championship teams have made it to the final in recent years. Derby have the perfect balance of attacking flair and defensive stinginess, of old heads and youthful exuberance. Ex-England manager Steve McClaren would see FA Cup victory as redemption from his disastrous reign at the national team but Derby will need to be on top form and ride their luck to get passed some of the bigger teams. If they do they could be this year’s dark horse.
The Capital One Cup is the most realistic chance of silverware for most mid-table clubs, as witnessed with Swansea’s victory over League Two minnows Bradford last season in the final.
If you’re taking a bit of a mental health break at work for five minutes at midday and want to catch up on the football action, here follows a round-up of yesterday’s Premier League teams in action…
Aston Villa 0 Tottenham 4
Tottenham powered past Villa to progress through to the next round. Diminutive forward Jermain Defoe scored twice and is now Spurs’ fifth highest all-time scorer, while new boys Paulinho and Nacer Chadli scored a goal apiece.
Fulham 2 Everton 1
Everton took the lead through Steven Naismith before being cancelled out by Dimitar Berbatov. Darren Bent scored the decisive goal in the 68th minute, giving Fulham their first home win since April and ultimately a place in the fourth round.
Hull City 1 Huddersfield 0
A 59th minute goal from Nick Proschwitz secured safe passage for the Tigers.
Man City 5 Wigan 0
The might of City saw off their lower league opponents. Both teams rested players but City prevailed unscathed. A brace from new signing Stefan Jovetic, combined with goals from Edin Dzeko, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas saw City romp home.
Southampton 2 Bristol City 0
Riding high after their away win at Liverpool, Southampton were full of confidence. Recalled Gaston Ramirez opened the scoring before the game was wrapped up by defender Jos Hooiveld.
Sunderland 2 Peterborough 0
Managerless Sunderland managed to pick up their first win of the season. Goals from Emanuele Giaccherini and Valentin Roberge, both signed by Paulo Di Canio, saw Kevin Ball win at his first attempt as caretaker boss.
Watford 2 Norwich 3
A fantastic game at Vicarage Road saw new signing Gary Hooper save Norwich’s blushes, scoring late in normal time and again in extra time to send the Canaries through. Javier Acuna and Marco Faraoni scored for Watford while Josh Murphy scored the other goal for Norwich.
West Ham 3 Cardiff 2
A late header from Ricardo Vaz Te put the Hammers through after Cardiff had fought back from a two-goal deficit. Ravel Morrison and Matt Jarvis sent the Hammers into the lead before Craig Noone and Peter Odemwingie dragged Cardiff level.
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