Category Archives: FA Cup

FA Cup: United charged but Marcos Rojo in the clear

Published by:

The Football Association (FA) charged Manchester United with failing to control their players although it appears that Marcos Rojo will escape any retrospective action after his stamp on Eden Hazard.

Both incidents occurred in United’s 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup quarter final by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

“Manchester United have been charged for failing to control its players. It follows an incident in the 35th minute of the FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge,” a statement from the FA read. “The club have until 6pm on Friday to respond to the charge.”

This happened after referee Michael Oliver’s sending off of Ander Herrera, which prompted several United players to surround the official and argue with him. It was Herrera’s second yellow for tripping Hazard after drawing an earlier booking from Oliver for a body check on the Belgian.

Herrera’s dismissal also came after the referee’s warning to United captain Chris Smalling that United, being engaged in systematic fouling of Chelsea’s players, would have their next indiscretion answered with the issuing of a yellow card.

In a separate incident, Rojo appeared to make contact with Hazard’s chest towards the end of the tie, but Oliver did not appear to see this. He did not warn Rojo or censure the defender with a booking.

Rojo’s escape would come as a irony as not two weeks ago, Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings was handed a five-match suspension for stamping on Zlatan Ibrahimovic during United’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

Nonetheless, Herrera will miss the Premier League matches against West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough along with Ibrahimovic. For the latter player they are the second and third matches of a three-game ban he received for elbowing Mings in the game with Bournemouth.

FA Cup: Man United to play Chelsea without forwards

Published by:

Manchester United will face Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals without any of their forwards.

Red Devils captain Wayne Rooney was ruled out with injury after a collision with Phil Jones in training, while top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic begins a three-game ban for elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings.

With forwards Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford (illness) also both missing for the holders, United coach Jose Mourinho has no recognised striker available for selection.

Their busy schedule also saw them play Rostov in Russia in the Europa League, which sets them far apart from Chelsea’s more relaxed schedule — the Blues do not feature in Europe this season.

But Mourinho is yet to throw in the towel.

“We cannot go with Nicky Butt’s team [players from the under-23 team, managed by former United midfielder Butt],” the Portuguese said at the pre-match conference.

“Manchester United is too big. Manchester United is the winner of the competition. It is not Chelsea’s fault fault that we were given this Monday match, so we have to make changes for sure… but we cannot go to Stamford Bridge with a Nicky Butt team.”

On the other hand, his Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte has a fully-fit squad at his disposal, and will host the Manchester club at Stamford Bridge, where the Blues managed 12 consecutive home wins in all competitions.

Match facts:

  • Both teams have met on 11 occasions in the FA Cup. United won 8, while Chelsea won 3.
  • Only two of those games were after 2000, and Chelsea won both.
  • Under Conte, the Blues are also unbeaten in their last 11 league and cup games against United (W6, D5), and have only conceded three times in their last nine encounters.
  • United won only two of their last 19 league and cup games at Stamford Bridge (D6, L11).

Prediction:

Chelsea 2 — 0 Manchester United

Aguero’s Manchester City future to be determined in summer

Published by:

Sergio Aguero is set to sit down with Manchester City in June regarding his future as the club have yet to inform him officially that he is wanted beyond the summer.

Aguero featured strongly and scored twice in City’s 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round replay win over Huddersfield Town. While it was a consecutive brace of goals for the Argentinian striker, it still has not ended speculation about his future with the Manchester club.

The rumours of an imminent exit began when Pep Guardiola dropped him in favour of Gabriel Jesus last month; Aguero managed to regain a place in the Manchester City first team only because of the Brazil forward’s metatarsal injury.

Privately the club insist Aguero, 28 and under contract until 2020, will not be sold, but in an interview the player admitted that Manchester City has not tell him that there are plans to have him stay beyond June.

“That will be seen in June,” Aguero said. “My intention is to stay but it is a long way away. I have three months to give my best and as I always said, in June it will be seen. One thing is that the club officially says it (they want me to stay) and another thing is to tell me.”

“The club has not directly told me they want me to stay. All I have to do is dedicate myself to playing football, there are three months left, the only thing I think is to give the best in these three months and then you will see. My intention is to stay. The club can say what it wants but in June they will have to meet with me.”

“I’m not thinking about Real Madrid or anywhere, I am focused on City,” he added. “I do not want to think about what will happen to my future. I hope that by June we can achieve a title, which is the most important thing, and then we will see.”

City coach Pep Guardiola has repeatedly said it is up to Aguero if he stays, but also admitted: “At the end of the season I don’t know [if Aguero will remain]. Even in my career I didn’t know what would happen at the end of the season.”

Arsene Wenger voices concerns on Sutton’s artificial pitch

Published by:

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has voiced his concern about playing on Sutton United’s artificial 3G pitch.

His team will take on the Non-League side as both sides meet in the fifth-round of the FA Cup.

The match also comes after two Premier League sides’ elimination from the tournament by lower-tier teams, but Wenger insisted that his immediate concern is on the pitch.

“Firstly, the pitch,” said Wenger when asked what are the biggest dangers facing his team. “Secondly, their enthusiasm. Thirdly if we are not ready for a big fight. Subconsciously if we think ‘no matter, it’s a non-league team, we will pass’, that will not happen.”

“Ideally we would like to play on a normal pitch. But it has been accepted so … competition is also about dealing with what you face. We face an artificial pitch and we have to deal with it.”

Wenger believes that Sutton could put up a challenge even though Arsenal’s players have practised on a 3G pitch at their London Colney training ground this week.

“It’s not the same because it’s a dry pitch and I’ve heard that Sutton have a wet pitch, they water it before the game so it’ll be much quicker,” he added.

“It means the weight on the joints is stronger, you cannot glide, you have to block every time so it makes football a bit different because the ball comes to you and somebody accelerates and doesn’t slow down like in a normal game so you have to get used to the difference in speed.”

Nevertheless, a defeat could prove to be a nail in the coffin to Wenger’s position at Arsenal as he came under immense scrutiny following a 5-1 rout by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. The Frenchman hinted that he intends to follow Sir Alex Ferguson in managing into his 70s despite heavy speculation that he could finally be ready to leave the post he has held for more than 20 years after the defeat by Bayern.