Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 3rd 2014 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, January 3, 2014
After years of dominance
by the top teams, Wigan pro-
vided one of the biggest feel-
good stories in recent FA Cup
history by stunning Manches-
ter City to win last season s
final at Wembley Stadium.
Will there be another sur-
prise winner this year?
Premier League clubs join
the FA Cup at the third-round
stage this weekend for what is
always one of the highlights of
the English football calendar.
Here are five things to know
about this weekend s matches
in football s oldest club knock-
North London Derby
There s no doubt about the
standout match of the third
round---the north London
derby between fierce rivals
Arsenal and Tottenham at Emi-
rates Stadium on Saturday.
Both teams are in great form,
with Arsenal coming through
the hectic festive period on top
of the Premier League and
Spurs winning ten points from
a possible 12 under new man-
ager Tim Sherwood over
Christmas and New Year s Day.
"It s the biggest game of the
season, isn t it?" Sherwood
said. "It s Arsenal. What more
can you say? It s the biggest
game in one of the best club
There are four other all-Pre-
mier League matches at this
early stage---on Saturday, it s:
Newcastle vs. Cardiff; Norwich
vs. Fulham; and West
Bromwich Albion vs. Crystal
Palace. Manchester United
hosts Swansea on Sunday.
Battle of the Rodgers
Liverpool plays fellow north-
west team Oldham for the third
straight season in the FA Cup---
and that means a father and
son going up against each other.
Liverpool manager Brendan
Rodgers will look to get the
better of his son, Anton, who
plays in midfield for the third-
And the elder Rodgers will
be taking nothing for granted
this weekend---his team lost 3-
2 to Oldham in one of the
biggest shocks of last season s
"He gets reminded of it
plenty when he comes to the
(Oldham) games," Anton said
recently. "But it is all in good
heart. It happens---that is part
of what makes the FA Cup spe-
Memories of Matthews
Sixty years after meeting in
arguably the most famous FA
Cup final, Bolton and Blackpool
renew their rivalry in the com-
The 1953 final, which Black-
pool won 4-3 after being 3-1
down with 22 minutes left, is
widely known as the
"Matthews Final" because of
the brilliant performance of
Stanley Matthews, the England
great who was 38 at the time.
While Matthews wizardry
on the wing increasingly befud-
dled Bolton s defense, it was
Stan Mortensen s hat trick---
still the only one to have been
scored in an FA Cup final at
Wembley---that saw Blackpool
claim the trophy in front of
Queen Elizabeth II, a month
before her coronation.
The pair of boots worn by
Matthews in that final were
sold at auction for 38,400
pounds (now US$63,500) in
Three non-league teams
have made it through to the
third round---Grimsby, Kidder-
minster and Macclesfield.
They would have been hop-
ing for money-spinning match-
es against the likes of Chelsea,
Manchester United and Arsenal
but the trio was given relatively
Kidderminster hosts third-
tier Peterborough and Grimsby
and Macclesfield were handed
home games against League
Championship clubs Hudder-
sfield and Sheffield Wednesday,
Haves vs Have Nots
Blackburn s home match
against Manchester City offers
a reminder of how the fortunes
of clubs can fluctuate when
they are taken over by foreign
City has flourished since
being bought by Sheikh Man-
sour of the Abu Dhabi royal
family in 2008, with the club
winning the FA Cup in 2011,
the Premier League in 2012 and
now being regarded as a heavy-
weight in European football.
With its star-studded squad,
City is second in the Premier
League and is many pundits
favorite to win the title.
For Blackburn, on the other
hand, it has been a joyless ride
since being taken over in 2010
by Venky s, an Indian poultry
giant. At the time of the
takeover, Rovers were an estab-
lished Premier League team---
within 18 months, they had
been relegated and then reg-
ularly changed managers as
they struggled to avoid drop-
ping out of the second tier.
BARCELONA --- Barcelona and Atletico Madrid resume
their quest for the Spanish league title after a two-week
The teams share the league lead with identical records
of 15 wins, one draw and one loss. Real Madrid trails by
Here are five things to know about this weekend s
When Barcelona hosts Elche on Sunday, most of the
eyes at Camp Nou will be looking for Lionel Messi either
in the dugout or the stands.
Messi has been at home in Argentina healing a left
hamstring he tore on November 10. The club s all-time
leading scorer was expected to return to the Catalan capital
and train again with his teammates later on yesterday,
but the team may not rush him onto the field against
promoted Elche considering he has had three muscle
injuries this season.
Neymar will return for Barcelona after a one-game sus-
pension for accumulation of yellow cards. Goalkeeper
Victor Valdes may also rejoin his team after a long injury
Elche, back in the first division after a 25-year hiatus.
And for Bale
Real Madrid hopes it can get Gareth Bale back for Mon-
day s home match against Celta Vigo.
Bale missed Madrid s final two games of 2013 with a
knock on his left leg and has been left off the squad for
Thursday s friendly against Paris Saint-Germain in Doha.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti had said that Bale was
expected back two weeks ago for its trip to Valencia, but
Bale didn t make it in time.
Bale, who joined Madrid for a world record transfer
fee, last played in its 2-2 draw at Osasuna on Dec. 14.
Costa vs Caballero
Diego Costa will aim to add to his league-leading 19
goals this season when Atletico visits Malaga on Satur-
To do so, he will have to beat Malaga s Willy Caballero,
one of the league s best goalkeepers.
Costa has scored five goals in the last four rounds and
leads Madrid s Cristiano Ronaldo by one in their scoring
An Atletico win will give the team the provisional lead.
Malaga, however, has improved of late and is unbeaten
in three rounds and with wins in the last two, relieving
some pressure on coach Bernd Schuster.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone has the safest job in Spain
after forging the team into a legitimate title contender.
Real Sociedad hosts Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in a
Basque Country derby will both battling for Spain s final
Champions League spot.
Bilbao enters in fourth place and with four wins in a
five-game unbeaten run. Sociedad has improved after its
exit from the Champions League and has only one defeat
at Anoeta Stadium in league play this season.
It has only lost once in its last nine league games and
has risen into fifth place four points behind Bilbao.
Sociedad is led by French forward Antoine Griezmann
and his 11 goals, making him the league s third leading
ZURICH---Fifa President Sepp Blatter
wants to clamp down on play-acting in
football by introducing an unofficial
sin-bin for players who feign injury.
In his column for Fifa Weekly entitled
"Stop the amateur dramatics," the head
of world football s governing body said
he finds it "deeply irritating" when "the
(supposedly) half-dead player comes back
to life as soon as they have left the pitch."
Blatter urged referees to make these
players wait on the touchline so their
absence has an effect on their team.
"In practical terms this amounts to a
time penalty---and it could cause play-
actors to rethink," he wrote.
Blatter didn t specify the length of time
these "stricken" players should be held
up on the sideline.
Blatter said diving and feigning injury
"has become a normal and accepted part
of football nowadays."
"Cutting out this kind of cheating is
a matter of respect towards opponents
and fans," Blatter added, "and ultimately
one of self-respect as a professional and
LONDON --- Stoke manager Mark
Hughes has been fined 8,000 pounds
(US$13,000) by the English Football
Association for "improper conduct" after
he was sent to the stands during a 5-1
loss to Newcastle last week.
Hughes was ordered from the dugout
after he reacted with fury to the dismissal
of midfielder Glenn Whelan just before
halftime in the Premier League match on
December 26. As Hughes was going into
the stands, after throwing his coat, Stoke
defender Marc Wilson was also sent off.
The FA confirmed the sanction in a
short statement released yesterday.
All eyes on Messi
Arsenal, Spurs in
game of season FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi from Argentina, celebrates
after scoring during his Spanish La Liga soccer match
against Almeria at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona,
Spain. AP PHOTO
Blatter looks to clamp down on play-acting
Hughes fined by English FA for improper conduct
Arsenal's Theo Walcott reacts after scoring against Cardiff City during their English Premier
League match, at Emirates Stadium, in London, Wednesday. AP PHOTO
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