Tag Archives: replays

Sam Allardyce thinks one win will keep West Ham up

West Ham one win away from safety after valiant draw, says Allardyce

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

16:55 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:05 GMT, 7 April 2013

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes his side still require another win to secure their top-flight future following today's 0-0 draw at Liverpool.

The Hammers were denied a first Anfield triumph in 50 years when Lucas turned James Tomkins' goalbound header off the line five minutes from time.

Nevertheless, Allardyce's team are edging themselves away from trouble and, unlike Stoke and Norwich, seem to have played themselves into a little bit of form.

One more needed: West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes his team need one more win to be safe

One more needed: West Ham boss Sam Allardyce believes his team need one more win to be safe

'I'd like another three points,' said Allardyce.

'It depends on the run of the teams below us because some are picking up two or three wins back to back. But we are looking up, not down.'

Tomkins and fellow centre-half James Collins were outstanding, restricting Liverpool to few clear-cut chances, even if one of them was ruled out for offside, only for TV replays to suggest Daniel Sturridge's second-half effort should have stood.

'To have won would have been a massive bonus for us as it is 50 years since we last did it,' said Allardyce.

Outstanding: James Collins (left) was excellent in keeping Luis Suarez quiet

Outstanding: James Collins (left) was excellent in keeping Luis Suarez quiet

Twisting and turning: Mo Diame (left) tries to find a way through the Liverpool defence

Twisting and turning: Mo Diame (left) tries to find a way through the Liverpool defence

'But it is still a very big point, and very well deserved.

'I don't think we have defended better away from home all season.

'Collins and Tomkins were really good when you consider how few chances Liverpool had.'

Tomkins was not able to see out the entire game, although Allardyce revealed the calf injury that forced his early departure was not too serious.

Injured: James Tomkins, who was colossal alongside Collins, went off with a calf injury

Injured: James Tomkins, who was colossal alongside Collins, went off with a calf injury

Not given: Gerrard was denied a penalty, James Tomkins adjudged to have won the ball

Not given: Gerrard was denied a penalty, James Tomkins adjudged to have won the ball

Tracking back: Ricardo Vaz Te (left) epitomises West Ham's work rate

Tracking back: Ricardo Vaz Te (left) epitomises West Ham's work rate

Robin Van Persie hails Manchester United"s team of winners

Van Persie hails United's team of winners as they edge closer to title

PUBLISHED:

15:35 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:23 GMT, 30 March 2013

Manchester United moved another step closer to the Barclays Premier League title as they won 1-0 at Sunderland, and striker Robin van Persie was quick to praise the attitude of his team-mates.

United are 18 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City as a result and it would take a collapse of dramatic proportions for them to throw the title away.

Van Persie claimed the only goal today, although replays suggested his shot was not going in until Titus Bramble put it into his own net, but the striker was not too concerned.

Almost there: Robin Van Persie celebrates United's win

Almost there: Robin Van Persie celebrates United's win

Get in there: Robin Van Persie celebrates with team-mates

Get in there: Robin Van Persie celebrates with team-mates

'We got the three points, we knew it would be tough because Sunderland work hard and we had to dig in, but we deserved it,' he told Sky Sports 2.

'It didn't matter who scored today, it was all about the three points.

'This team is full of winners, everyone knows what they have to do and it was never in doubt for me. I was confident we would win.'

A title coronation seems inevitable in
the next couple of weeks and midfielder Michael Carrick is anticipating
winning another medal.

'We played some good football today, even if we didn't get as many goalscoring opportunities as we'd have liked,' he added.

'It was all about coming here and winning. We're getting closer and it's one game less. We have to keep going.'

Keeping an eye on it: Van Persie sees his goal go in off Bramble

Keeping an eye on it: Van Persie sees his goal go in off Bramble

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland captain John O' Shea tackles Manchester United's Van Persie

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland captain John O' Shea tackles Manchester United's Van Persie

United next face Chelsea in the FA Cup replay on Monday and Van Persie has warned fans not to expect a classic.

It is the kind of scheduling that has England's European counterparts scratching their heads in bewilderment.

And Van Persie points out it is difficult for the players to reach a high level of performance twice in such a short period of time.

'It is not ideal,' he told MUTV.

'Normally on the second day your muscles are quite bad but now we have to play at this certain time.

'It is a shame but we can't do anything about it because there are Champions League games in midweek and Chelsea are still in the Europa League.

'We just have to deal with it.

'People have to realise they can't expect a great game of football because it is not possible.

'If it happens I am glad, but don't expect it because these games are just too close to each other.'

Hectic schedule: Jonny Evans admits United are heading into the unknown during their packed Easter period

Hectic schedule: Jonny Evans admits United are heading into the unknown during their packed Easter period

Van Persie was speaking after
United's 1-0 win at Sunderland, which maintains their 15-point advantage
over Manchester City with just eight games remaining.

City will be the opponents for
Monday's victors at Stamford Bridge, with Van Persie eager to get his
hands on a trophy he won with Arsenal but United have not lifted since
2004.

'It has been a while,' he said.

'It has been nine years since we last won it and we want to win the double.

'We made a big step today but we want to go for both. We have a chance to reach the semi-final against City.'

Jonny Evans admitted Manchester
United will head into the unknown as they attempt to book an FA Cup
semi-final place just 48 hours after strengthening their grip on the
Barclays Premier League title.

Evans said: 'I have never really been in that situation before, so it will be new to probably most of us.

'It's
just all about tonight. We will probably go back and get a good
recovery session in and make sure we have done everything we can
physically to make sure we are right for the game on Monday.'

Evans
will make the trip to Stamford Bridge hoping for a start after getting
his chance on Wearside as a first-half substitute when full-back Rafael
da Silva limped off.

Chris
Smalling moved from central defence to right-back to accommodate the
25-year-old as aUnited defence which had been criticised earlier in the
campaign recorded its sixth successive league clean sheet.

Diving in: Alex Buttner slides in on Sunderland's Simon Mignolet

Diving in: Alex Buttner slides in on Sunderland's Simon Mignolet

Asked about the difficulty of
competing with Ferdinand and Vidic for a place in the heart of the back
four, he said: 'You are always competing.

'Even if one of those two isn't fit,
you have got Chris Smalling, who started at centre-back today. I'm sure
he was disappointed to get moved to right-back, it's not his favourite
position, but for the sake of the team, he did that.

'Phil
Jones is another one. The competition is all over the pitch. You look
at the players who didn't start today or have been left behind – it's
some team, really.'

Monday
night's game represents an opportunity to keep hopes of yet another
Double alive with United marching inexorably towards the league title.

Their
recent surge – they have now lost only once in 22 games in all
competitions, and that in controversial circumstances to Real Madrid in
the Champions League – has been based on defensive resilience rather
than attacking flair, and Evans admits it is a pleasant change for the
men at the back to receive the plaudits normally reserved for their
attacking colleagues.

He said with a smile: “You have probably noticed we haven't scored as many goals. It's getting that fine balance.

'We will take it the way we are at the minute. Especially as a defender, it's better to keep clean sheets than having the forwards getting all the glory, I suppose, so we are just happy.

'Clean sheets, that's what we want as defenders, so we are delighted with that.'

Sir Alex Ferguson used the depth of his squad at the Stadium of Light with Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney not even making the 18.

Da Silva must be a doubt after being unable to continue against Sunderland, while Vidic was left clutching his back after a rugged challenge with striker Danny Graham, although he made it through to the final whistle.

Ghost goal in Spain – hits crossbar and bounces out

Not even close! Spanish ghost goal joins growing list of controversial strikes

The Reebok Stadium hosted a key relegation battle between Bolton and Rangers, and the visitors should have gone ahead but the officials ruled Hill's header had not crossed the line before being clawed out by Adam Bogdan. Replays showed the decision to be clearly wrong and Bolton won the game 2-1.

Juan Mata, Chelsea v Tottenham, 2012

Martin Atkinson awarded Chelsea a goal that put them into a 2-0 lead in this year's FA Cup semi-final despite Benoit Assou-Ekotto appearing to block the ball on the line. The Blues went on to win 5-1 at Wembley.

Marko Devic, Ukraine v England, 2012

England were on the right side of a decision at the European Championships when Marko Devic's shot appeared to have crossed the line before John Terry hooked it out, but it was not given and England won the game 1-0 to top their group.

Bernard Hopkins wins the IBF light-heavyweight title against Tavoris Cloud

Record-breaking Hopkins defies odds to win world title at age of 48

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

10:19 GMT, 10 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:53 GMT, 10 March 2013

Bernard Hopkins broke his own record again by becoming the oldest man to win a world title after beating Tavoris Cloud on points to claim the IBF light-heavyweight crown.

Hopkins (53-6-2, 32KO wins) benefited when Cloud was cut over his left eye in the sixth round, which the referee ruled an accidental clash of heads but replays showed the gnarled veteran opening up the wound with a left hook.

Record: Bernard Hopkins (left) connects with a punch on Tavoris Cloud during their IBF light heavyweight fight

Record: Bernard Hopkins (left) connects with a punch on Tavoris Cloud during their IBF light heavyweight fight

Fighting spirit: Bernard Hopkins poses for a photo after claiming the title at the grand old age of 48

Fighting spirit: Bernard Hopkins poses for a photo after claiming the title at the grand old age of 48

The 48-year-old, who has been linked
with a bout against Wales' Nathan Cleverly, took control against his
fellow American thereafter and was victorious by scores of 117-111,
116-112, 116-112 to the delight of fans in the Barclays Center, New
York.

The former undisputed middleweight champion first became the oldest boxer to hold a portion of the world title when he defeated Canada's Jean Pascal for the WBC light-heavyweight championship in May 2011.

Back-foot: Hopkins (left) tries to fend off a punch from Tavoris Cloud during the first round with the

Back-foot: Hopkins (left) tries to fend off a punch from Tavoris Cloud during the first round with the

Endurance: An exchange of blows between Cloud (left) and an upright Hopkins

Endurance: An exchange of blows between Cloud (left) and an upright Hopkins

He was comfortably beaten by Chad Dawson
in April last year – leading many to speculate his retirement – but his
latest victory has once more galvanised his career.

Bobbing and weaving: Cloud (right) tries to avoid another big swing from Hopkins

Bobbing and weaving: Cloud (right) tries to avoid another big swing from Hopkins

Conversing: Hopkins (right) and Cloud give each other their opinions just after the enthralling fight

Conversing: Hopkins (right) and Cloud give each other their opinions just after the enthralling fight

Loving life: The legendary boxing promoter Don King watching on with glee at the result

Loving life: The legendary boxing promoter Don King watching on with glee at the result

FA Cup fourth round: The ultimate guide to all of this weekend"s fixtures

FA Cup fourth round: The ultimate guide to all of this weekend's fixtures

PUBLISHED:

10:32 GMT, 25 January 2013

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UPDATED:

12:05 GMT, 25 January 2013

With a huge 758 clubs entering the FA Cup this season, there are just 32 left as we head into the fourth round of the competition.

Here Sportsmail has teamed up with statistic giants Opta to bring you all the latest facts and team news ahead of ALL this weekend's fixtures.

Destination Wembley: Sixteen teams will make it through to round five

Destination Wembley: Sixteen teams will make it through to round five

Millwall v Aston Villa

Aston Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood and striker Jordan Bowery will return to the squad for Friday evening's FA Cup fourth round clash at Millwall.

Westwood and Bowery were cup-tied for the midweek Capital One Cup semi-final setback against Bradford at Villa Park after playing in the competition for Crewe and Chesterfield respectively.

But defender Nathan Baker is again ruled out with a hamstring injury and it is too soon for centre-back Richard Dunne to be considered after recovering from his groin injury.

Millwall are short of options in attack with on-loan Derby forward Nathan Tyson injured, while Darius Henderson joined Nottingham Forest on Thursday.

Martyn Woolford is cup-tied, Shane Lowry is suspended and Scott Malone is still sidelined with a back injury but Liam Feeney is fit again.

Available: Ashley Westwood (right) was cup tied midweek for the aggregate defeat to Bradford in the Capital One Cup semi-final

Available: Ashley Westwood (right) was cup tied midweek for the aggregate defeat to Bradford in the Capital One Cup semi-final

Millwall and Aston Villa have met five
times previously in the FA Cup, with Millwall progressing twice (both
after replays) and Villa going through on three occasions.

They were last drawn together in the fourth round in 1986, with Millwall progressing after a replay following a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

The Lions have only lost two of their last 17 FA Cup games on home soil (W10 D5).

Villa were eliminated in the fourth round last year, when they faced Arsenal at the Emirates losing 3-2.

Millwall have only won two of their last seven games (L3 D2), with both victories coming at the New Den.

Aston Villa have now progressed through each of their last 10 FA Cup ties against lower ranked sides. Darren Bent has scored in four of his last five matches in the FA Cup.

Aston Villa provisional squad: Guzan, Given,
Marshall, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj, Stevens, Bennett, Ireland,
Westwood, N'Zogbia, Bannan, Delph, Holman, Benteke, Agbonlahor, Bent,
Bowery, Weimann, Burke, Johnson, Williams, Carruthers.

Stoke v Man City

Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson's back problem is likely to keep him out of Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie at home to Manchester City.

The full-back sustained the problem in their third round replay last week and while Ryan Shotton played 45 minutes in a midweek friendly after a hamstring injury he may not be risked.

Thomas Sorensen is set to replace Asmir Begovic in goal, as has been the policy for cup matches this season.

Stoke and Man City have been drawn together seven time before in the FA Cup, with the Citizens progressing (or winning the final) four times and the Potters progressing on three occasions.

The most memorable of these meetings was the 2011 final, where Man City secured the trophy with a 1-0 win, courtesy of a Yaya Toure goal.
When drawn at the Britannia, the Potters are unbeaten in nine FA Cup games, winning seven and drawing two.

The last time City travelled to the Britannia in the FA Cup, they were eliminated, losing 3-1 in a replay back in February 2010.

The Citizens are enjoying a five game winning streak, netting 14 goals and shipping just three in the process.

City have won just two of their last eight on the road in the FA Cup, drawing three and losing three.

Man City are unbeaten in seven against the Potters in all competitions (three home wins, one neutral win and three away 1-1 draws).

Stoke provisional squad: Sorensen, Cameron,
Shawcross, Huth, Upson, Whelan, Nzonzi, Walters, Kightly, Etherington,
Jones, Sorensen, Whitehead, Crouch, Jerome, Adam, Palacios, Owen,
Shotton, Begovic.

Bolton v Everton
Bolton have not lost to Everton in the FA Cup since 1908, winning all three ties since then including in the semi-final back in 1953.

Overall, these North West rivals have been drawn together six times before, with Bolton progressing four times and Everton twice, both following a replay.

The Toffees are unbeaten in their last six away games in the FA Cup (W4 D2).

Everton have only kept three clean sheets in their last 14 FA Cup games, and only one on the road since 2009.

The Trotters are unbeaten in four games now (1W 3D), their second-longest run without defeat this season (six games in November).

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard netted on the last occasion these sides met, though Bolton still won 2-1 at Goodison Park.

There have been three red cards in the last five clashes between the Trotters and the Toffees in all competitions.

Brighton v Arsenal

Arsenal will be without captain Thomas Vermaelen (ankle) for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Brighton.

Midfielders Abou Diaby (thigh) and Tomas Rosicky (calf) are set to be available again, but Mikel Arteta (calf), Francis Coquelin (hamstring) remain out.

Forward Gervinho is away at the African Nations Cup and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski (foot) is not yet in contention.

This will be only the fourth time the clubs have met in the FA Cup and the third time in the fourth round. Arsenal have won all three previous ties without needing a replay.

Setback: Tomas Rosicky (left) has played only four times for Arsenal this term

Setback: Tomas Rosicky (left) has played only four times for Arsenal this term

Their last meeting came in the fourth round in 1988, with The Gunners claiming a 2-1 victory.

Brighton have won their last two home FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition.

Arsenal are unbeaten in 33 games against lower ranked sides in the FA Cup, not losing since a 0-1 defeat at Sheffield United in 1996.

The Gunners have won none of their last three games on the road, losing one (v Chelsea) and drawing two (v Swansea in the FA Cup and v Southampton).

Brighton and Hove Albion defeated Newcastle United in the third round of the 1983 competition as they did earlier this campaign; they went on to reach the final 30 years ago.

The Gunners have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last seven away FA Cup games, shipping 12 in total in this away run.

Arsenal provisional squad:
Szczesny, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna, Podolski, Cazorla,
Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshere, Giroud, Mannone, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santos,
Arshavin, Jenkinson, Diaby, Rosicky.

Derby v Blackburn
The two sides have been played each on 10 previous occasions in the FA Cup, with both sides progressing five times apiece.

The last meeting between these Championship rivals came back in 2001 at this stage, when Blackburn won 5-2 away in a replay after a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park.

Blackburn have lost their last four away games in the FA Cup.

The Rams have won five and lost none of their last six home FA Cup matches against teams from the same division.

Overall, the Rams have suffered just one defeat in their last five games, winning two and drawing two.

Blackburn have won two and lost just one of their last four trips to the home of the Rams, drawing the other 1-1 earlier this season.

Huddersfield v Leicester
Huddersfield and Leicester have never met in the FA Cup.
The Terriers have won four out of their last five home games in the cup (1L).

The Foxes have struggled of late on the road in the FA Cup, winning only once in nine games (D1 L7).

Jermaine Beckford has scored seven goals in his last five FA Cup appearances and 16 in 19 overall.

Simon Grayson’s Huddersfield side have won just one of their last 13 games (1-0 v Charlton in FA Cup), losing six and drawing six.

Leicester have won each of their last five games, netting 14 goals and conceding just one goal in the process, with that goal against coming in their 6-1 thrashing of Huddersfield on January 1st.

Hull v Barnsley
The two sides met in the third round in 1958, with the tie going to a replay after finishing 1-1. The Tigers eventually progressed to the fourth round after securing a 2-0 victory.

The Tigers have reached the fourth round 23 times, progressing 12 times, including in three of their last four at this stage.

The Tykes have won just one of their last eight fourth round games on the road outright; though they have drawn five of these and gone on to win the replay on each occasion.

Barnsley are enjoying a three game unbeaten streak (W2 D1), their longest run without defeat this season.
On home soil, Hull have enjoyed just one win in their last four games, drawing two and losing one.

The last four clashes between these Championship rivals have all ended in home wins, while only one of the last eight has been won by the away side.

Macclesfield v Wigan

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez looks set to make several changes for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Macclesfield.

Roger Espinoza and Angelo Henriquez are likely to start after making their Wigan debuts in the third-round win over Bournemouth, while Callum McManaman and Fraser Fyvie could also make rare appearances for the Latics.

Arouna Kone is unavailable as he is on African Nations Cup duty with Ivory Coast while Antolin Alcaraz (groin), Ivan Ramis (knee), Adrian Lopez (hamstring), midfielders Ben Watson (broken leg) and Albert Crusat (knee) and striker Ryo Miyaichi (ankle) are still unavailable.

Cup shock: Macclesfield players celebrate after eliminating Cardiff in round three

Cup shock: Macclesfield players celebrate after eliminating Cardiff in round three

This is the first time in Macclesfield’s history that they’ve reached the fourth round.

The Latics and the Silkmen have never met in the FA Cup before.
Wigan haven’t advanced through the fourth round since 1987, where they claimed a 1-0 victory against Norwich City.

The Silkmen have never defeated top flight opposition in the FA Cup.

Despite enduring another difficult season, Wigan are unbeaten in their last three games on the road, winning two and drawing one.

Matthew Barnes-Homer has scored six goals in his last five appearances in all competitions for the Silkmen.

Wigan have won both previous competitive meetings with Macclesfield, beating them 1-0 away and 2-0 at home in the 1998/99 division two.

Wigan provisional squad: Al
Habsi, Pollitt, Boyce, Caldwell, Ramis, Figueroa, Beausejour, Jones,
Maloney, Espinoza, McCarthy, McArthur, Stam, McManaman, Di Santo,
Henriquez, Boselli, Fyvie, Redmond, Mustoe, Orsula, Morris.

Middlesbrough v Aldershot
Boro and Aldershot will meet for the first time in the competition in this clash.

The Shots have scored eight goals in three FA Cup games so far this season, though they are yet to face a team from a higher division.

Aldershot have not won away from home against a side from a higher division since 1983, when they won 3-1 at Portsmouth.

‘Boro have won 11 of their last 15 home FA Cup ties against sides from lower divisions than them (D3 L1).

At the Riverside, ‘Boro have lost just one of their last six games, winning the other five.

Aldershot’s Danny Hylton has only scored one league goal in 19 games all season, but has netted seven times in three FA Cup appearances for the Shots.

Aldershot Town have made the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 1987, when they lost to Barnsley.

Norwich v Luton

Norwich manager Chris Hughton will again rotate his squad for Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round tie with Blue Square Premier side Luton at Carrow Road.

Declan Rudd will come into goal, while the likes of fit-again midfielder Andrew Surman, playmaker David Fox and winger Elliott Bennett are likely to get a chance to impress.

Full-back Steven Whittaker (hip) has resumed full training this week, so could come back into contention, but centre-half Sebastien Bassong (calf) may be rested again while striker Steve Morison (thigh) and England goalkeeper John Ruddy (thigh) remain sidelined.

This will be the fourth meeting between the Canaries and the Hatters in the FA Cup; the Hatters the first two, including the1959 semi, before Norwich won the most recent clash.

Cupset: Non-league Luton knocked out Wolves in the third round

Cupset: Non-league Luton knocked out Wolves in the third round

The last clash between these sides in the cup also came in the fourth round and Norwich won 2-0 (1976).

It’s the first time since 2007 that Luton have made it to the fourth round. That year, they were eliminated by Blackburn Rovers.

Luton haven’t beaten a Premier League side since 1993/94, when they defeated West Ham 3-2 in sixth round replay.

Chris Hughton’s Canaries have managed just one win in their last seven games (3-0 v Peterborough in the FA Cup), losing five and drawing one.
The Canaries have won their last three against Luton in all competitions, winning both meetings in 2006/07 3-2.

Norwich provisional squad:
Rudd, Barnett, Martin, R Bennett, Tierney, Fox, Surman, Snodgrass,
Johnson, E Bennett, Jackson, Steer, Garrido, Tettey, Pilkington, Kane,
Holt, Whittaker, Hoolahan.

QPR v MK Dons
The R’s and the Dons met for the first time in any competition in the FA Cup last season, where they drew the original fixture 1-1 before QPR won 1-0 at Loftus Road, courtesy of a Danny Gabbidon strike.

The R’s have not won an FA Cup tie without the use of a replay since January 1997, when they beat Barnsley 3-2 at this stage in 1997.

MK Dons have scored 10 goals in their last four FA Cup games and they have never helped them reach the fourth round for the first time.

The Hoops have been improving under Harry Redknapp and remain unbeaten in 2013, winning two, drawing three, scoring four and shipping just two in the process.

The Dons have won two and drawn two of their last four games, shipping a total of just two goals in those four fixtures.

Milton Keynes eliminated a higher ranked side for the first time in their history in the third round of this season, beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 in a replay.

Reading v Sheffield United

Reading are without striker Jason Roberts (hip) for Saturday's FA Cup fourth round clash against Sheffield United.

Midfielder Jem Karacan suffered an unspecified knock in training but should be fit, while goalkeeper Alex McCarthy (shoulder) and midfielder Hope Akpan (cup-tied) are unavailable.

Striker Adam Le Fondre could start after scoring two vital goals as a substitute in the Royals' 2-1 Barclays Premier League win over Newcastle last weekend.

Royal no show: Jason Roberts (left) has been ruled out for Reading

Royal no show: Jason Roberts (left) has been ruled out for Reading

Reading’s only previous encounter against the Blades was back in 1998 and ended in a 1-0 home victory for the Sheffield side.

Reading have kept only two clean sheets in 15 home cup ties.
The Blades have only won once in their last 18 away FA Cup games to higher level opposition, drawing three and losing 14.

The Royals have won their last three games in a row, the first time they’ve managed consecutive wins this season, with Adam Le Fondre netting five goals in total in those games.

Reading have won five of their last six FA Cup games against sides from lower leagues, though they did lose their last one at home (0-1 v Stevenage last season).

The Blades are unbeaten in five against Reading in all competitions, winning four.

United have also won their last three at the Madejski Stadium, not tasting defeat there since the 2006/07 Premier League.

Reading provisional squad:
Federici, Ugwu, Taylor, Gunter, Kelly, Cummings, Pearce, Morrison,
Mariappa, Shorey, Harte, McAnuff, Carrico, Tabb, Karacan, Kebe,
McCleary, Robson-Kanu, Leigertwood, Le Fondre, Hunt, Pogrebnyak.

Manchester United v Fulham

Ashley Young and Jonny Evans will remain on the sidelines for Manchester United's FA Cup fourth round tie with Fulham at Old Trafford.

England winger Young suffered a knee injury against Liverpool a fortnight ago, whilst Evans (hamstring) has not featured since the FA Cup draw at West Ham three weeks ago.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson must decide whether to stick with David De Gea in goal or recall Anders Lindegaard, who took over for the replay win against the Hammers.

Old Trafford return: Dimitar Berbatov left Manchester United to join Fulham last summer

Old Trafford return: Dimitar Berbatov left Manchester United to join Fulham last summer

Fulham midfielder Kieran Richardson will miss the chance to take on former club Manchester United.

The 28-year-old suffered a calf injury in last weekend's defeat at Manchester City and will not be fit in time for the game at Old Trafford, although he is likely to return to training next week.

Mahamadou Diarra (knee) is not likely to play again for a month whilst Kerim Frei (pelvis) is also absent.

The two clubs have met nine times before in the FA Cup, with United progressing through the last seven after elimination in the first two (1905 and 1908).

The last time they played each other in the fourth round was in 1979, when the Red Devils won 1-0 in a home replay after drawing 1-1 in London.

United have only lost twice in their last 18 FA Cup games at home, winning 14.

Fulham have won 10 out of their last 11 FA Cup fourth round ties, though they were eliminated at this stage last season (to Everton).

Robin Van Persie has scored in each of his last six games for United (seven goals in total) and has bagged 11 in his last 11 appearances.

Martin Jol’s Whites have registered just two wins in their last nine games, losing four and drawing three.

The Red Devils have won their last 10 at home to Fulham in all competitions, not even sharing the spoils with the Whites since a 1-3 defeat in October 2003.

Manchester United provisional squad:
Lindegaard, De Gea, Amos, Smalling, Vidic, Ferdinand, Buttner, Evra,
Cleverley, Giggs, Anderson, Scholes, Carrick, Kagawa, Nani, Hernandez,
Rooney, Welbeck, Van Persie.

Fulham provisional squad:
Schwarzer, Somogyi, Etheridge, Riether, Hangeland, Hughes, Senderos,
Riise, Briggs, Dejagah, Baird, Sidwell, Karagounis, Kacaniklic, Duff,
Kasami, Ruiz, Rodallega, Berbatov, Petric, Davies.

Brentford v Chelsea
The only time the West London clubs have met in the FA Cup was in 1950, where Chelsea won 1-0 at Griffin Park.

The Blues have won 15 of their last 16 FA Cup fourth round ties, losing the other on penalties to Everton.

Chelsea have only lost one of their last 35 FA Cup games outright; 0-1 v Barnsley in March 2008 (W29 D5 L1).

The Blues have shipped just nine goals in their last 13 away FA Cup games combined, and never more than once in single match in this run.

The Bees have won just one of their last 13 FA Cup games against

Premier League sides; beating Sunderland at this stage in 2006 (W1 D3 L9).

Juan Mata has now scored four goals and assisted five in just eight FA Cup appearances for Chelsea.

Frank Lampard has been involved in 10 goals in his last nine FA Cup appearances; scoring six and assisted four.

Leeds v Tottenham
The two clubs have faced each other five times in the FA Cup before, with Leeds winning just one tie (sixth round in 1972).

The most recent meeting came back in 2010, in the fourth round, when the original tie ended 2-2. The replay saw Spurs win 3-1 at Elland Road, courtesy of a Jermain Defoe hat-trick.

Spurs have kept three clean sheets in their last four away FA Cup games, but have failed to score in three of the four themselves.

Leeds have been eliminated by North London clubs in each of the last three FA Cups, losing to Tottenham in 2010 and Arsenal in 2011 and 2012.

At Elland Road, Leeds have lost just one of their last eight games (W6 D1), although that defeat came against another Premier League side, Chelsea, 5-1 in the Capital One Cup.

AVB’s Tottenham side are now unbeaten in eight games, winning five and drawing three.

After no goals in his first 13 games in the competition, Gareth Bale has scored in three successive FA Cup games.

Oldham v Liverpool
The two clubs met last year in the third round, in a one-sided match dominated by Liverpool who won 5-1.

Oldham have lost all four matches against Liverpool in the FA Cup.
The Reds have won five and lost just two of their last nine away games in the FA Cup (D2).

Oldham have won two of their last four FA Cup games against Premier League sides, including a win against Merseysiders Everton in 2008.

The Latics have lost each of their last four games at Boundary Park, conceding exactly two goals in each of those defeats.

Brendan Rodgers’ Reds are enjoying a good run of form, winning four of their last five (losing the other one), with Luis Suarez netting six goals in total in those games.

The Reds have won their last three against Oldham in all competitions, but did lose 2-3 at Boundary Park in the Premier League back in May 1993.

Tito Vilanova returns to dugout as Barcelona win 4-0 against Espanyol

Vilanova returns to dugout as Messi gets his first of the year in 4-0 Barca win

PUBLISHED:

20:22 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:02 GMT, 6 January 2013

Tito Vilanova returned to the Barcelona bench with the minimum of fuss tonight as his side got all of their work done inside the first 30 minutes of the Catalan derby.

Manager Vilanova, back at the helm after a brief spell out for surgery on his parotid gland after contracting cancer for the second time, was given the easiest of nights as his stellar cast of players made life comfortable for him.

They had scored all of their goals by the time the 30th minute ticked by and after that it was procession football, with Pedro twice denied a hat-trick by the offside flag while other chances also passed.

Back with a bang: Pedro Rodriguez scores past Kiko Casilla

Back with a bang: Pedro Rodriguez scores past Kiko Casilla

After Xavi had opened the scoring, Pedro then chimed in with his brace before Lionel Messi set off on his pursuit of 100 goals this year with a penalty.

The Argentinian scored a record-breaking 91 times in 2012 and is expected to go even further this time around. His only regret will be that he did not make the most of the leisurely second-half conditions.

The writing was on the wall for Javier Aguirre's side early on, with Xavi's goal setting the template for how Barca would play all night.

All together now: Barcelona's players celebrate their 4-0 win

All together now: Barcelona's players celebrate their 4-0 win

Messi slid a pass through to Andres
Iniesta on the left, the cut-back arriving for Xavi to tap in from close
range, and he opened his body slightly to make the finish.

Three minutes later Messi and Cesc
Fabregas combined to release Iniesta but he was denied by Francisco
Casilla, but the keeper could do nothing as Pedro got his first in the
15th minute.

Again it was from a cut-back, this
time from Fabregas, and at first it looked as though it was Messi`s
goal, with replays then showing Pedro got the slightest of touches to
his shot.

Good to be back: Tito Vilanova returned to the dug-out to see Barcelona win 4-0

Good to be back: Tito Vilanova returned to the dug-out to see Barcelona win 4-0

It was three with 27 minutes gone,
Pedro racing onto Sergio Busquets' defence-splitting pass and lobbing
Casilla, and the keeper was all at sea again a minute later as he
bundled over Fabregas as he went away from goal.

Messi duly stepped up and converted from the spot, the first goal of what will no doubt be many this year.

The brakes were applied a little after that, with Espanyol defending better and Barca not as incisive. Casilla denied

In the goals: Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2013

In the goals: Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2013

Fabregas and a flag denied Pedro a 65th-minute hat-trick when Fabregas, crossing after Messi`s pass, was called offside.

The same thing happened again with 17
minutes left as Pedro chipped wide to Alves and then followed in to
score from the cross, while Espanyol`s only real chance ended with
Victor Valdes saving from a clean-through Juan Albin.

Messi then rattled the bar with a
25-yard free-kick, but after such an early rush, there would be no more
goals as Barca restored their 16-point lead over Real Madrid.

Luis Suarez handball: Graham Poll"s verdict

Suarez can't be held responsible for his handball, even if he owned up the ref's call would have stood

By
Graham Poll

PUBLISHED:

21:58 GMT, 6 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:59 GMT, 6 January 2013

Luis Suarez has form when it comes to cheating. But in the latest incident to attract negative headlines the Uruguayan striker was blameless, scoring what proved to be the winner in the FA Cup clash at Mansfield Town.

Handball remains the only offence in law which must be deliberate for a free-kick to be awarded – if the referee sees it.

*LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF SUAREZ'S HANDBALL BELOW AND GRAHAM WILL RESPOND TO THE BEST DEBATED COMMENTS ON MONDAY AFTERNOON

Instinct or intent Luis Suarez handled the ball before he scored for Liverpool

Instinct or intent Luis Suarez handled the ball before he scored for Liverpool

Another view: Suarez bats the ball back into his path before firing it home

Another view: Suarez bats the ball back into his path before firing it home

No chance: Alan Marriott is helpless to prevent Suarez netting the Reds' second of the tie

No chance: Alan Marriott is helpless to prevent Suarez netting the Reds' second of the tie

Rolled in: Suarez tapped the ball into an empty net

Rolled in: Suarez tapped the ball into an empty net

However, there are occasions when the
officials may see a handball they do not believe to be deliberate,
though penalise the offender because they have gained too great an
advantage from the ball hitting the arm.

The Suarez goal was just such an
incident which is why I am sue referee Andre Marriner did not see the
contact, rather than judge it to be accidental. Replays certainly showed
his view was obscured.

To be clear, Suarez sees the ball
rebound from the Mansfield Town goalkeeper, Alan Marriott, and tries to
get his arms out of the way; the ball hits his right arm and drops
kindly for the striker to tap the ball into the empty net.

Complaints: Mansfield players were unhappy with the decision to allow the goal

Complaints: Mansfield players were unhappy with the decision to allow the goal

The celebration, the commonly known
kiss of the wrist, was in no way an indication to opposing fans that he
had cheated, as was asserted by the ESPN commentary team.

Having known he gained from the
handball there have been suggestions that he should have told Marriner,
but I do not believe that would have made any difference – other than to
improve the Uruguayan’s tainted image.

Referees give what they see and stick
with those decisions. The images of Liverpool’s Robbie Fowler asking
Gerald Ashby to change a penalty award at Highbury are still clear – but
the penalty stood.

Trademark: Suarez kissed the inside of his wrist, as he does to celebrate his goals

Trademark: Suarez kissed the inside of his wrist, as he does to celebrate his goals

There was a period when after such
incidents referees in Germany's Bundesliga asked a player if he had
handled the ball. If the player took the opportunity to admit his guilt,
the goal was ruled out.

If, on the other hand, he denied it,
he could be suspended with the use of video evidence. This would not
need a law change to be introduced here – just a change of disciplinary
code from the Football Association.

Perhaps an overspill from his days
playing in Germany, Miroslav Klose did exactly that when playing for
Lazio in Serie A last year. As a result, the referee disallowed the
goal.

Confession time: Miroslav Klose admitted to handling the ball to score during a Serie A match in September, and the referee Luca Banti duly disallowed the goal

Confession time: Miroslav Klose admitted to handling the ball to score during a Serie A match in September, and the referee Luca Banti duly disallowed the goal

There are of course two other
options; Liverpool could have allowed Mansfield to score straight from
the restart, or the referee could have looked at a replay of the
incident.

As neither of those are likely to
happen in the foreseeable future why not allow the offender the option
to confess and improve everyone’s opinion of modern day professional
footballers

Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Stephen Myler misses penalty with last kick

Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Myler miss is a kick in the teeth for Jim's beaten Saints

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UPDATED:

19:40 GMT, 30 December 2012

Stephen Myler and Northampton were left shattered in Milton Keynes as the fly-half’s last-minute, long-range penalty to win a pulsating game hit the crossbar and bounced out, giving Saracens a dramatic reprieve.

The Saints No 10 was presented with a shot for glory from his own half, with just seconds remaining, in controversial circumstances. Saracens prop Rhys Gill was penalised by referee JP Doyle for kicking the ball away from a ruck, when replays suggested that the ball was out and he was entitled to do so.

Then, some back-chat from one of the home players prompted the official to march forward 10 metres, leaving Northampton with a penalty on the limit of kicking range.

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Myler, who had already registered 11 points with the boot, took aim at the posts, some 57 metres away. He let fly and the ball soared towards the target, only to glance off the centre of the bar, allowing Brad Barritt to clear into the stands to clinch the narrow win which sees his side go into the new year second in the Aviva Premiership, one point behind champions and leaders Harlequins.

Back by the halfway line, Myler was left on his haunches, with his head in his hands. Jim Mallinder, Northampton’s director of rugby, turned and strode down the tunnel, frustrated by the agonising manner of this latest defeat against a top-four team and incensed by Doyle’s refereeing.

Afterwards, he said: ‘Should have won, could have won. If Stephen Myler had kicked that goal at the end, we’d all be in there now celebrating a great away victory.

‘To be honest, I didn’t think he could get it. I was definitely wondering if they had made the right decision but you have to leave it to the players. Stephen knows best if he has a realistic chance of kicking it or not. It was left up to him and I think he probably did make the right decision to go for it.’

In a tense final quarter, a few of Doyle’s decisions came in for close scrutiny, particularly a penalty awarded to Saracens at a ruck in the closing minutes. Ben Foden, the Saints and England full back, exploded with rage when the whistle sounded and vented his fury on the nearby touch judge. Mallinder, in slightly calmer fashion, echoed his sense of indignation.

‘The majority of the decisions early on were probably just, but the referee has got to be consistent,’ he said. ‘If he is going to penalise Dylan Hartley for going off his feet, quite rightly, then he has to do Barritt at the end of the game for the same offence. In the final 10 or 15 minutes, there was some decision-making by us which we’ll need to look at, and we’ll look at a couple of the referee’s decisions as well, because they can be the difference between winning and losing close games like that. He got a number of those decisions wrong today.’

For the first quarter of this game, it merely appeared a question of how many points Saracens would win by against their bitter rivals, whose supporters dominated the large festive crowd. The nomadic Hertfordshire club immediately appeared at home in a stadium where their opponents have staged matches in the past, and were ahead in the seventh minute.

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

From an attacking line-out on the left, George Kruis took a clean catch and the Saracens pack drove forward with great conviction, on and on over the line until John Smit touched down. Charlie Hodgson missed the conversion, but he was on target with an 11th-minute penalty and his side continued to dominate proceedings on the back of clear superiority in the scrum.

Yet, that set-piece advantage gradually faded as the Saints forwards rallied and in the 24th minute the visitors hit back.

From a scrum near halfway, Ken Pisi broke clear on the right, Courtney Lawes stormed on and when quick ball was delivered to Phil Dowson, the flanker burst through three tackles to score a try which Myler converted to make it 11-7.

Saracens retaliated with gusto to this renewed challenge and after David Strettle so nearly went clean through the middle in the Northampton 22, Will Fraser and Ernst Joubert drove strongly at the line but the ball went loose, Samu Manoa pounced on it and eventually a clearance kick by Lee Dickson alleviated the sustained pressure.

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Moments later, the scrum-half’s dart forward brought a penalty to the Saints which Myler struck to narrow the deficit to one point at the break. After half-time, the visitors’ No 10 maintained his assured goal-kicking to establish a 16-11 lead for his team, while Hodgson missed three successive shots at the other end. Owen Farrell, who had replaced Joel Tomkins at outside centre, took over kicking duties and calmly dispatched two successive penalties to push Saracens in front again and they clung on with a little help from the crossbar which denied Myler.

Mark McCall, Sarries’ director of rugby, was relieved by the outcome of that last-gasp kick, saying: ‘I felt the same as everyone else felt. It was out of our hands. We knew it was a very difficult kick. It was an unbelievable strike in fairness. He had his kicking boots on today, so we are grateful to have come away with a narrow victory.’

In a measured reaction to Doyle’s officiating, McCall added: ‘There are always going to be things that you are not happy about. There was some frustration in our side from time to time and I am surprised they (Northampton) feel as strongly as they do about it.’

This defeat for the Saints leaves them sixth in the Premiership table but Mallinder remained bullish about their prospects of mounting a convincing title challenge. ‘We know we’re a good side and today proved that,’ he said.

‘There’s not a lot between the top teams and although we’re now mid-table, we’re not out of the running, by any means. There are a few people who have written us off already but there’s a long way to go. We won’t give up, we’ll be back.’

Gareth Bale booked for diving, banned for one match

Fifth yellow of season for Bale as alleged diving earns Spurs winger one-match ban

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UPDATED:

15:09 GMT, 29 December 2012

Gareth Bale received his fifth yellow card of the season for alleged diving and will miss Tottenham's Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham.

The Wales winger has been subject of number of controversial bookings this season for supposed simulation.

The incident came in the 81st minute when the midfielder raced into the box, only to tumble over as he was about to shoot.

Contact: Bale was definitely clipped by Gardner as he raced into the box

Contact: Bale was definitely clipped by Gardner as he raced into the box

Referee Martin Atkinson added to his
total during the clash with Sunderland, despite replays showing there
was contact with Craig Gardner.

Bale looked aghast at the official's decision which means all of his five cautions this season have been for diving – more than any other player in the Premier League.

Bale said after the match: 'This is the third time this season that it has happened, getting booked after being clipped.

'There's nothing I can do. The referees need to take a closer look at what is happening.'

You sure, ref Bale remonstrated with the official after being booked

You sure, ref Bale remonstrated with the official after being booked

Sam Allardyce calls for instant replays

Big Sam calls for instant replays after referee blunders mar Everton clash

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 23 December 2012

Seeing red: Allardyce

Seeing red: Allardyce

Sam Allardyce has called for technology allowing managers to appeal decisions instantly during matches to be introduced and blasted senior figures in football for their ‘antiquated’ approach to the game.

West Ham and Everton will on Monday appeal against the straight red cards given to Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson by referee Anthony Taylor for similar challenges on Saturday.

Both players were sent off for raised feet but neither Allardyce nor David Moyes agreed with the decisions.

The referee’s actions were considered so poor even the home fans booed when Gibson was shown the second red card in injury time.

But it had a much greater impact on West
Ham who went ahead through Cole’s early strike but lost him in the 67th
minute. Three minutes previously Victor Anichebe had headed Everton
level and the numerical advantage helped the away side nick the game
through Steven Pienaar’s scrappy winner.

When asked if he would like a system similar to cricket or tennis where they can appeal decisions instantly and have replays looked at and decisions overturned, Allardyce replied: ‘Yes – the technology today means it’s done in less than two minutes at the absolute most. We used to have two TVs in the dugout. It used to be a big help with referee decisions.

Harsh call: Carlton Cole is given his marching orders

Harsh call: Carlton Cole is given his marching orders

‘The only way to make it better for us all is to bring technology into it. I’ve always said two or three challenges would be in our favour if we were allowed it. Forget about Platinis who are antiquated. I know they’re in strong positions and they affect the game, but they’re not doing us any favours by not allowing technology into the game. They affect the result. There’s 65million coming next year [if we stay in the Premier League].’

Allardyce spoke to Taylor after the match, an official he complained about to Premier League referee chiefs in 2010 when he was managing Blackburn Rovers in a match against Fulham. The Hammers boss watched replays of the incidents on a laptop straight after the match but Taylor could not review his decisions.

And Allardyce said: ‘Unfortunately [the referee] hasn’t got that privilege so it’s hard for him. He can only go from what he can remember from a split decision. It’s very difficult for him to explain why he did it and what he saw.

Double trouble: Taylor also sent off Everton's Gibson

Double trouble: Taylor also sent off Everton's Gibson

‘The referee’s should have their own laptop in their room. Then he could have a better discussion about decisions. And then move. But at the end of the day you can go and see him and it’s not going to make any difference.’

West Ham were already short of options in attack before the match and Allardyce is now relieved their Boxing Day fixture against Arsenal is postponed due to a planned Tube strike.

The 58-year-old added: ‘I haven’t got a team to play Arsenal, so it’s worked out all right in the end. We’ll count up the bodies [today], do no training and see how packed the medical room is. Losing Cole him for three games would be a severe blow which we can’t cope with.’

THE APPEALS PROCESS

HOW IT WORKS IN TENNIS…

Players can make three unsuccessful
appeals per set and get an extra one if it goes into a tie-breaker. They
have to appeal straight away to the umpire and Hawk-Eye replays
accurately a virtual version of what happened. If an appeal is
successful, it does not use up their quota. Out of the four major
tournaments only the French Open does not adopt the system because the
ball leaves marks in the clay.

HOW IT WORKS IN CRICKET…

The umpire Decision Review System was
first introduced in 2009 and allows both teams to make two unsuccessful
reviews of incidents per innings. A third umpire then watches video
replays and has access to technology, including Hawk-Eye, to make a
decision. Regardless of appeals the umpire can also refer to the third
umpire at any time for assistance.

HOW IT COULD WORK IN FOOTBALL…

Each manager could be allowed three
unsuccessful appeals per match, with an added appeal if a game goes into
extra time. A manager would have to appeal the decision straight after
it happened and the referee – who is already connected to the other
officials in the match with microphones and headsets – could refer to
another official with access to video replays and technology.