The Silverware cleaner at the Emerites stadium has not been overworked of late , however Arsenal will be hoping to end their 5 year wait for a trophy.
They face fellow Premier League side Birmingham City in the League Cup Final and will be hoping to improve on their poor record in these finals having only won 2 of their 6 attempts, including a loss to Swindon Town back in 1969. Birmingham on the other hand have not had the Gunners success and their only major trophy was the League Cup back in 1963 when they beat neighbours Aston Villa 3-1 over 2 legs.
Arsenal have in past seasons not given this competition the respect it deserves, however this year they have looked determined to win it and with a strong squad named for todays final they are justifiable favourites.
Our view is that they will win by the odd goal so ending their trophy drought. They are still in with a chance in all four major competitions this year and like Manchester United and Chelsea in the past the confidence gained by having the first on the shelf could spur them on to bigger an better things.
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The quarter final FA Trophy matches are scheduled for 3.00pm on Saturday these being:
Blyth Spartans v Gateshead
Guiseley v Luton Town
Darlington v Salisbury City
Chasetown v Mansfield Town
Luton are strong favourires to lift the Trophy and should be good enough to come through against Guisele , who have done well to reach this stage. It wont be easy for them however and it could take a replay.
Unfortunately from a neutral fans viewpoint its hard to see the games not going to form and we expect the semi finals to comprise:
Ironically all ex league clubs in one guise or another. Gateshead seem to be hitting a bit of form at the right time and the 7-1 odds offered by William Hills looks a reasonable bet and is much better than Betfair are currently offering showing the exchanges are not always the best place to have a flutter.
Manchester United dominated play in their Champions League 1st leg match in France, however they may yet rue the fact they couldn’t turn their possession into goals. Now United will have to be wary of conceding an away goal at Old Trafford in the decisive return leg on 15 March.
Clear cut chances were few and far between but both sides could and probably should have had a goal with Darren Fletcher being quite unlucky with his crisp 18 yard drive which Mandanda gathered at the second attempt, while at the other end Brandao was unlucky not to get on the end of a cross come shot by Ayew.
Still 0-0 will brobably suit both sides and the return leg looks likely to be just as tight.
Match Attendance: 58,000
Talk of the ultimate demise of Chelsea’s season will have to go on hold for a few more weeks at least as the reigning Premier League Champions cruised to a comfortable victory at FC Copenhagen in front of a crowd of 28,000. This was Copenhagen’s first ever home defeat in the Champions League, and was no more than Chelsea deserved as they dominated possession.
Although there is no such thing as a formality it would be a major shock if the Danes managed to overturn this deficit and Carlos Ancelotti can rest a little easier at least until their next game when they entertain Manchester United.
The weather has caused a bit of disruption to the FA Cup this year and going into March only 2 of the quarter final ties are settled. The missing fixtures are being played on the 1st & 2nd March all being well.
The updated draw:
FA Cup 5th Round Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Everton v Reading
FA Cup 5th Round Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Arsenal v Leyton Orient (Replay)
Man City v Aston Villa
FA Cup 6th Round Saturday, 12 March 2011 all 3.00pm kick off
Birmingham v Bolton
Man City or Aston Villa v Everton or Reading
Man Utd v Leyton Orient or Arsenal
Stoke v West Ham
When top of the Premier League meets near top of the Conference at home one could be forgiven for expecting a deluge of goals, however this was a very different Manchester United side and Crawley came within a few inches of a remarkable replay.
Given that this seasons FA Cup crowds have been a little disapointing it was nice to see 74,778 turn up for this one, although many especially those decked out in Red might have considered asking for a refund when they saw the team Manchester United put out, probably due to the their forthcoming European games.
The game itself was not a great spectical and surprisingly it was Crawley who had more possession and chances, and despite falling behind to Wes Brown’s 28th minute goal showed plenty of ambition. Such was their efforts that it forced Sir Alex to rejig his team at half time bringing on Wayne Rooney and latter Chris Smalling and Darren Fletcher to add a little more bite to the team which had 9 changed from that that had beaten Manchester Citya week earlier.
Crawley also made some changes as they threw caution to the wind and went in search of an equaliser. This bold move nearly got them a reward as Hunt and Tubbs both went close befort Second Half Substiture Brodie hit the cross bar. But is was not to be their day, however they left Old Trafford with their heads held high and received generous applause from all sections of the crowd.
Overall a win for the big boys, but again a sad reflection on the declining status of the FA Cup with Manchester United prepared to risk humiliation rather than their stars. Crawley on this display will win the Conference title, so playing League Football next season, and with their financial resources they could be in League One the season after.
The future of Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti must now be in doubt after Everton pulled off a shock penalties win at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup 4th Round. In a slightly disappointing game from a neutrals perspective and one littered with Everton fouls Chelsea looked the more likely to win, however after taking the lead in extra time through Frank Lampard they were pegged back by Leighton Baines 119th minute free kick meaning it was Penalties.
Ashley Cole missed the decisive spot kick with the score at 3-3 leaving veteran defender Phil Neville to take the glory as Everton won at Chelsea for the 1st time since 1994. They now play Reading in the 5th round and after this win they must think their name is on the cup.
Chelsea who were trying to become the first side in 125 years to win three consecutive FA Cups, now know their season could effectively be over if they lose in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg away to FC Copenhagen. They can probably expect a less brutal confrontation though and a good result might just keep Ancelotti in a job until the end of the season. With Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich not keen on failure nothing short of the Champions League title will ensure he is manager going into the 2012 season.
Final Score Chelsea 1-1 Everton (Everton 4-3 on Penalties)
Chelsea v Everton In Pictures
THE FA CARLSBERG VASE – FIFTH ROUND PROPER SATURDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2011
Results and attendances. The winners each received £1,300 in prize money
Whitley Bay v Dunstable Town 5-1 1110
Coalville Town v Holbrook Sports 3-1aet 321
Torpoint Athletic v Billingham Synthonia 1-0 449
Poole Town v Spennymoor Town 3-2 688
Leverstock Green v Rye United 1-2 377
Leiston v Long Buckby 2-1 363
Kings Lynn Town v St Neots Town 2-1 1612
Stansted v Dunston UTS 0-2 430
Only 7515 fans bothered to turn out to watch Bolton win their FA Cup 4th round replay at fellow Premier League side and local rivals Wigan Athletic. This was a hugely disappointing crowd and a sad reflection on the declining status of the FA Cup since the European powers that be decided to scrap the Cup Winners Cup, which at least gave the winners the chance at competing in a prestigious competition.
The game its self was pretty drab and Bolton were good value for their win and had they been a little more clinical in front of goal then the score could have been much more emphatic than the final 1-0. They will now travel to Fulham on Sunday in round 5 where they can expect a much more difficult time.
Two 4th round ties still need to be decided and these games will be played this weekend; these are:
Chelsea v Everton & Manchester City v Notts County
When two of the best footballing sides in the World meet then it can either be a cancel out stalemate or a game to remember, and on this occasion for the majority of the 59,927 spectators it was the latter, as Arsenal recorded their first ever win over Barcelona.
Thankfully Arsenal facing a lavishly gifted Barcalona team decided to avoid the temptation to make the game physical and instead played their trademark passing game (probably aware of the result when Holland adopted such tactics against Spain in the World Cup Final) and the result was an open and highly entertaining game. The gamble looked to have back fired on the Gunners mud way through the first half when Villa opened the scoring, and even the most biased of Arsenal fan would have to agree that the Catalonian side were by far the better team going into the break.
Arsenal showed a bit more in the second half and Van Persie gave Barcelona a warning shot when he tested their goalie with a nice drive from the edge of the area. However Barcelona were still the better team and Messi should have extended Barcelona’s lead in the 67th minute but untypically he shot into the side netting when he would normally have scored.
This proved to be an expensive miss as in the 78th Minute Van Persie finally got Arsenal on the score sheet thanks to a bit of slightly sloppy goalkeeping by Valdes who stood statuesque as Van Persie’s shot beat him at his near post. To be fair he was expecting the cross, and the shot was struck perfectly, however it has to go down as a lucky break and the Gunners fully capitalised on this when Arshavin grabbed the winner 5 minutes latter following the nights best move as Arsenal broke out of defense with some panic free passing cumulating in Samir Nasri crossing for Arshavin to sweetly curl the ball home.
Barcelona then stepped up the pressure and created and had the chance to equalise, however Arsenal stood firm to take a famous victory and a narrow 2-1 lead to the Nou Camp in the second leg.