FA Cup Fourth Round Preview

FA Cup Trophy

With the FA Cup fourth round due to commence on Friday evening with Derby County taking on the mighty Manchester United, take a look at some of the biggest ties you don’t want to miss out on this weekend. Here I’ve teamed up with Sbat to give some football previews for all the major ties this weekend.

Derby County v Manchester United

As previously mentioned, Louis van Gaal takes his side to promotion-chasing Championship side Derby County on Friday evening, in a tie which has banana skin written all over it. It’s pretty well documented that Manchester United have struggled to get a grasp of consistent results and performances this season, and are a regular target for criticism across most platforms. It will be the first time Paul Clement will be able to test himself against one of the world’s most reputable managers, and it will be interesting to see how he fares after a successful start to his managerial career, having previously worked with Carlo Ancelotti. After losing 4-1 to top six rivals Burnley on Monday night, the Rams will be heavily motivated to bounce back with a performance – not that any extra incentives are needed for an FA Cup tie against Man United.

Colchester United v Tottenham Hotspur

Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off sees Tottenham make the trip to League One strugglers Colchester United. Eight-time winners of the FA Cup, Spurs have the third most successful record of all-time in this competition, although their last win came back in 1991 – 25 years ago. With Colchester currently 22nd in the third tier and seven points adrift of safety, a cup run may be the only thing for supporters to cherish in what has been a hugely disappointing season of struggle yet again. Remarkably, this is the first time these two sides have ever met in their entire history, with Colchester never playing in the top flight since their inception in 1937. Mauricio Pochettino is continuing to enhance his reputation at White Hart Lane, but has still not won a trophy in his managerial career, and given what the FA Cup means to Spurs as a club, there may not be a better one for him to kick off with.

Arsenal v Burnley

Holders Arsenal are of course looking to make it a triple crown of FA Cup’s this season after winning the trophy in 2014 and 2015, and face Championship side Burnley at the Emirates in their second step to a historic treble. Burnley however will come into this tie full of confidence after defeating fellow promotion hopefuls Derby County 4-1 at Turf Moor, much to the delight of manager Sean Dyche. Arsène Wenger has emphatically ended his side’s trophy drought in the past two seasons with two cups, but it is the big one in the Premier League that he will have his sights intensely on, with this season presenting itself as their best opportunity to win it since 2004. With Alexis Sánchez returning to fitness and Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck all to come, they have every chance of completing the double this season.

Aston Villa v Manchester City

Manchester City face Aston Villa in an all-Premier League FA Cup fourth round tie at Villa Park, the second time they have travelled away from home to a top-flight side in this season’s competition. The FA Cup has surprisingly proved to be somewhat of a turning point for Villa this season, who since drawing away to Wycombe Wanderers in the third round have not lost; a run which currently stands at five matches. The confrontation between both Villa players and supporters in the aftermath of that clash has potentially turned into a wake-up call for the club, who had previously not won in the Premier League since the opening day. City have been hot and cold for much of the season, perhaps reflective of the speculation linking Pep Guardiola with the manager’s job. Having not won the FA Cup since 2011 – a trophy which sparked a series of success at the Etihad – and if they were to reach the final this time around, could prove to be Manuel Pellegrini’s final game in charge.

Portsmouth v Bournemouth

League Two Portsmouth entertain AFC Bournemouth at Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon in what looks set to be a feisty south coast derby. The two sides last met back in 2013 – when both were in League One – with Bournemouth getting the better of their opponents with a win and a draw from their two meetings. Pompey won the FA Cup back in 2008, beating Cardiff City 1-0 in the final thanks to Kanu’s close-range goal; a day which must feel an absolute age ago for the Fratton Park faithful. That same season the Cherries were relegated from League One via a 10-point deduction for entering administration. Eight years later, and it is Portsmouth who are in the fourth tier after three relegations, whilst Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are enjoying the bright lights of the Premier League after three promotions, with each side suffering an incredible contrast in fortunes in less than a decade.

Liverpool v West Ham United

Liverpool meet West Ham at Anfield on Saturday, with the Hammers arguably the favourites to progress having completed the double over the Reds in the Premier League already this season. With a 3-0 win on Merseyside followed by a 2-0 win at Upton Park, Slaven Bilić looks to have Liverpool’s number, whilst Jürgen Klopp is still looking to find a way to break down their East London counterparts – with his side unable to score from 180 minutes of football versus the Hammers this season. This fixture will always bring up a certain element of nostalgia when associated with the FA Cup, given the blockbuster served up in the 2006 cup final at the Millennium Stadium. Remembered as the ‘Gerrard Final’, Liverpool ran out winners on penalties after captain Steven Gerrard produced an inspired performance with two goals and an assist in the game, including a 35-yard thunderbolt in stoppage time. West Ham were generally known as a cup team earlier in their history, but having not won this competition since 1980, will be keen to end that drought this season after a 36-year wait.

Milton Keynes Dons v Chelsea

The final FA Cup clash of the weekend comes in Milton Keynes, with the MK Dons hosting Chelsea on Sunday afternoon. Chelsea have found the FA Cup to their liking since the turn of the century, winning it five times since 2000. Guus Hiddink famously won this competition the last time he was interim manager at Stamford Bridge, defeating Everton 2-1 in the final, Frank Lampard scoring the winning goal back in 2009. Chelsea’s last success came back in 2012 when they conquered Liverpool at Wembley – Roberto di Matteo the man in charge for the Blues that day, again on an interim basis. MK Dons defeated Manchester United 4-0 at home in the League Cup last season, with Karl Robinson’s side capable of producing excellent performances on their day. Renowned in the Football League for their insistence of playing attractive football, Chelsea will have to be at their best defensively to shut out their opponents.

Check out more football betting tips for today with Sbat.

Messi vs Ronaldo: How the World’s Media Voted for 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi won the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the fifth time in his career at Monday’s ceremony, taking 41% of the vote.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo won 28% of the vote, whilst Neymar took 8% in his first top three finish.

The Argentine’s victory put an end to Ronaldo’s back-to-back awards and in the process Messi becomes the first player to win the award on five occasions.

Messi had been the bookmaker’s comfortable favourite prior to the announcement of the award which proved to be a comfortable victory.  Below is a map of the world showing which player each country’s media voted (this does not include the country’s coach or captain’s votes).

Lionel Messi is in blue, Cristiano Ronaldo in red and none or other in white:

2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or World Map: Messi vs Ronaldo

Click to enlarge

As you can see, Lionel Messi won the vote hands down when it came down to the world’s media.  The Barcelona forward took 138 of the 171 votes (81%), compared to Ronaldo’s 22 votes (13%).

The fall list of votes are below:

Country Media Captain Coach
Afghanistan Ronaldo
Albania Messi Ronaldo Messi
Algeria Messi Messi Messi
American Samoa Neymar Sánchez
Andorra Messi Messi
Angola Messi Messi Ronaldo
Anguila Messi
Antigua and Barbuda Lewandowski Messi
Argentina Messi Messi Messi
Armenia Messi Messi Messi
Aruba Messi Messi Messi
Australia Messi Ronaldo Messi
Austria Messi Neuer Ronaldo
Azerbaijan Neymar Messi Messi
Bahamas Messi Messi
Bahrain Ronaldo
Bangladesh Messi Messi Messi
Belarus Messi Ronaldo Messi
Belgium Messi Hazard Neuer
Belize Messi Ronaldo
Benin Messi
Bermuda Messi Messi Lewandowski
Bhutan Ronaldo Ronaldo
Bolivia Suárez
Bosnia & Herzegovina Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Botswana Ronaldo Ronaldo Ronaldo
Brazil Messi Messi Neymar
British Virgin Islands Messi Messi
Brunei Ronaldo Bale
Bulgaria Messi Messi Ronaldo
Burkina Faso Ronaldo Müller
Burundi Messi Messi
Cambodia Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Cameroon Ronaldo Yaya Touré Ronaldo
Canada Messi Messi Ronaldo
Cape Verde Islands Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Cayman Islands Messi Messi Messi
Chad Messi Messi
Chile Messi Messi
China PR Messi Messi Ronaldo
Colombia Messi Ronaldo Messi
Congo Messi
Cook Islands Ronaldo Messi Bale
Costa Rica Messi Neymar Iniesta
Croatia Messi Messi Messi
Cuba Messi Messi Messi
Curaçao Messi Ibrahimović Neymar
Cyprus Messi Messi Ronaldo
Czech Republic Messi Messi Messi
Denmark Messi Messi Messi
Djibouti Messi Messi Messi
Dominica Messi Agüero
Dominican Republic Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
DR Congo Messi Messi Messi
Ecuador Messi Neymar Ronaldo
Egypt Ronaldo Messi Messi
El Salvador Messi
England Messi Messi Ronaldo
Eritrea Ronaldo
Estonia Messi Messi Messi
Ethiopia Messi
Faroe Islands Messi Messi Messi
Fiji Mascherano Messi Ronaldo
Finland Messi Messi Messi
France Messi Messi Ronaldo
FYR Macedonia Messi Ronaldo Messi
Gabon Messi
Gambia Ronaldo
Georgia Ronaldo Messi Messi
Germany Messi Neuer Neuer
Ghana Messi Messi Neymar
Greece Messi
Grenada Yaya Touré
Guam Messi Messi
Guatemala Messi Mascherano Mascherano
Guinea Messi Messi Messi
Guinea-Bissau Messi Ronaldo
Guyana Messi
Haiti Messi
Honduras Messi Ronaldo Neymar
Hong Kong Messi Messi Ronaldo
Hungary Messi Messi Ronaldo
Iceland Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
India Ronaldo Messi Sánchez
Indonesia Messi
Iran Messi Messi Messi
Iraq Messi
Israel Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Italy Messi
Ivory Coast Yaya Touré Messi Messi
Jamaica Messi Neuer
Japan Messi Messi Messi
Jordan Ronaldo Messi
Kazakhstan Messi Messi Messi
Kenya Suárez
Kuwait Messi
Kyrgyzstan Messi Ibrahimović Lewandowski
Laos Messi Messi
Latvia Messi Lewandowski Messi
Lebanon Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Lesotho Messi
Liberia Ronaldo Ronaldo Ronaldo
Libya Messi
Liechtenstein Messi Messi Messi
Lithuania Messi Messi Messi
Luxembourg Messi Messi Messi
Macau Ronaldo Messi Messi
Madagascar Ronaldo Messi Messi
Malawi Messi
Malaysia Messi Ronaldo Yaya Touré
Maldives Messi Messi Lewandowski
Mali Messi
Malta Ronaldo Müller Messi
Mauritania Messi Mascherano Messi
Mauritius Messi Ronaldo Messi
Mexico Messi Messi Müller
Moldova Messi Messi Messi
Mongolia Ronaldo Ronaldo Ronaldo
Montenegro Messi Messi Ronaldo
Montserrat Lewandowski Messi
Morocco Messi Lewandowski Messi
Mozambique Messi Messi Messi
Myanmar Ronaldo De Bruyne
Namibia Messi Messi Messi
Nepal Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Netherlands Ronaldo Messi Messi
New Caledonia Iniesta Neymar
New Zealand Messi Lewandowski Ronaldo
Nicaragua Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Niger Messi
Nigeria Messi Messi Messi
Northern Ireland Ronaldo Messi Suárez
Norway Messi Mascherano Ronaldo
Oman Messi
Pakistan Messi Robben
Palestine Ronaldo Messi Messi
Panama Messi Ronaldo Messi
Paraguay Messi Messi Messi
Peru Messi Neuer Messi
Philippines Messi Neymar Ronaldo
Poland Lewandowski Neuer Lewandowski
Portugal Messi Benzema Ronaldo
Puerto Rico Messi Messi Messi
Qatar Messi Messi Suárez
Republic of Ireland Messi Ronaldo Messi
Romania Messi Messi Messi
Russia Messi Messi Messi
Rwanda Messi
Samoa Messi Messi
San Marino Messi Ronaldo Iniesta
São Tomé and Príncipe Messi Messi
Saudi Arabia Messi
Scotland Messi Lewandowski Ronaldo
Senegal Messi Messi Yaya Touré
Serbia Messi Messi Messi
Seychelles Messi Messi Messi
Sierra Leone Messi Messi Messi
Singapore Messi Ronaldo Messi
Slovakia Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Slovenia Messi Ronaldo Messi
Solomon Islands Neymar Messi
Somalia Messi Messi
South Africa Messi Messi Ronaldo
South Korea Messi Messi Ronaldo
South Sudan Messi
Spain Messi Messi
Sri Lanka Iniesta Iniesta
Sudan Messi Ronaldo Ronaldo
Suriname Messi
Swaziland Messi Ronaldo Messi
Sweden Ronaldo Messi Ibrahimović
Switzerland Messi Ronaldo Messi
Syria Messi Messi Messi
Tahiti Messi Ronaldo Messi
Tajikistan Ronaldo Ronaldo Ronaldo
Tanzania Ronaldo
Thailand Messi Messi Messi
Togo Ronaldo Messi De Bruyne
Trinidad and Tobago Messi
Tunisia Messi Iniesta Lewandowski
Turkey Messi Messi Messi
Turkmenistan Messi Messi Messi
Turks and Caicos Islands Neymar Messi Messi
UAE Messi Ronaldo
Uganda Messi Ronaldo Messi
Ukraine Neymar Messi Messi
Uruguay Suárez Messi
US Virgin Islands Messi Messi
USA Messi Messi Messi
Uzbekistan Ronaldo Messi Messi
Vanuatu Lewandowski Pogba Messi
Venezuela Messi Messi Messi
Vietnam Messi Messi Messi
Wales Messi Bale Bale
Yemen Messi
Zambia Messi Neymar Neymar
Zimbabwe Messi Ronaldo Messi

Yes, the Pakistan head coach really did vote for Arjen Robben…

10 Interesting Stats from Premier League Matchday 20

0 – After scoring in 18 consecutive Premier League matches from May-December 2015, Leicester City have now failed to score in each of their last three after being held 0-0 at home by Bournemouth this weekend.

1 – Aaron Lennon scored his first Premier League goal for Everton at Goodison Park in what was his 12th appearance at the Merseyside ground as the Toffees drew 1-1 at home against his former side Tottenham on Sunday.

7 – Seven of Willian’s eight goals in all competitions for Chelsea this season have come from outside the penalty area.

9 – Arsenal have won their last nine Premier League games versus Newcastle.

9 – Manchester United have failed to score in the first half of their last nine games at Old Trafford. Juan Mata was the last player to do this, versus VfL Wolfsburg back on 30 September.

9 – Everton and Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at Goodison Park means these two sides have both drawn a league-high nine Premier League games this season.

10 – Romelu Lukaku has been involved in 10 goals in his last six Premier League appearances at Goodison Park (7 goals, 3 assists).  The Belgian striker is now the bookmakers’ favourite to win the Golden Boot this season.  Perhaps you may want to use a free bet from www.bethut.co.uk to back him or anyone else.

41 – West Ham 2-0 Liverpool saw 41 shots (including blocked efforts) – only Leicester City 2-5 Arsenal (43) back in September has seen more attempts on goal in the Premier League so far this season.

92% – Arsène Wenger has won 11 of his 12 Premier League matches versus Steve McClaren (D0, L1).

171 – Petr Čech extended his Premier League record by keeping his 171st clean sheet in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Newcastle.

2015-16 Premier League Goalkeeper Stats

Jack Butland

Here are the statistics for every goalkeeper to have made at least one appearance during the first half of the 2015-16 Premier League season:

2015-16 Premier League goalkeeper stats

Click to enlarge

At the half-way stage of the season, 36 goalkeepers have made an appearance.

Seven goalkeepers have played every minute for their team this season: Petr Čech (Arsenal), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Łukasz Fabiański (Swansea City) and Boaz Myhill (West Bromwich Albion).

Clean Sheets

11 goalkeepers have kept at least five clean sheets in the opening 19 games of the season.

Goalkeeper Club Appearances Clean Sheets
Joe Hart Manchester City 17 8
Petr Čech Arsenal 19 8
Jack Butland Stoke City 19 8
Gomes Watford 19 8
David de Gea Manchester United 15 7
Simon Mignolet Liverpool 18 7
Hugo Lloris Tottenham Hotspur 18 7
Boaz Myhill West Bromwich Albion 19 7
Wayne Hennessey Crystal Palace 13 6
Maarten Stekelenburg Southampton 16 6
Tim Howard Everton 19 5
Łukasz Fabiański Swansea City 19 5

Joe Hart, David de Gea and Wayne Hennessey are all just short of averaging a clean sheet every other game.

Crystal Palace’s Alex McCarthy has made the most starts (6) without keeping a single clean sheet this season.

Minutes per Goal Conceded

Goalkeeper Club Minutes Played Mins per Goal Conceded
Wayne Hennessey Crystal Palace 1170 130
Hugo Lloris Tottenham Hotspur 1620 116
Joe Hart Manchester City 1530 102
David de Gea Manchester United 1350 96
Petr Čech Arsenal 1710 95
Jack Butland Stoke City 1710 90
Gomes Watford 1687 89
Simon Mignolet Liverpool 1620 85
Maarten Stekelenburg Southampton 1440 80
Adrián West Ham United 1440 76

Amongst goalkeepers to have played at least half of their team’s games, Crystal Palace’s Wayne Hennessey tops the list, averaging a goal conceded every 130 minutes. Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris and Manchester City’s Joe Hart are the only other goalkeepers to go more than 100 minutes between goals against.

At the other end of the scale, Sunderland’s Costel Pantilimon concedes a goal every 46 minutes, Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan and Norwich City’s John Ruddy every 50 minutes.

Liverpool’s s Ádám Bogdán conceded three goals in 90 minutes, therefore a goal every 30 minutes, although Watford’s Giedrius Arlauskis technically concedes goals most frequently having conceded one in his 23-minute appearance this season.

Most Saves

Goalkeeper Club Minutes Played Saves
Jack Butland Stoke City 1710 74
Costel Pantilimon Sunderland 1530 71
Tim Howard Everton 1710 63
Brad Guzan Aston Villa 1710 61
Boaz Myhill West Bromwich Albion 1710 59
Petr Čech Arsenal 1710 58
Adrián West Ham United 1440 57
Gomes Watford 1687 52
Kasper Schmeichel Leicester City 1710 51
Łukasz Fabiański Swansea City 1710 51

Stoke City’s Jack Butland currently leads the Premier League in saves during his first full season in the English top flight.

Although they have conceded the most goals to-date, Sunderland’s Costel Pantilimon is next in line with the most saves and actually leads the league in saves per minute among regular first-choice goalkeepers.

Watford’s Gomes is the only goalkeeper of the three promoted teams to feature in the top 10.

Save Percentage

Goalkeeper Club Minutes Played Save %
Jack Butland Stoke City 1710 79.6%
Hugo Lloris Tottenham Hotspur 1620 77.0%
Wayne Hennessey Crystal Palace 1170 76.9%
Petr Čech Arsenal 1710 76.3%
Adrián West Ham United 1440 75.0%
David de Gea Manchester United 1350 74.1%
Gomes Watford 1687 73.2%
Joe Hart Manchester City 1530 71.7%
Boaz Myhill West Bromwich Albion 1710 71.1%
Rob Elliot Newcastle United 900 69.8%

Stoke City’s Jack Butland also leads the Premier League in save percentage among goalkeepers to have made at least 10 appearances so far this season. He is 2.6% ahead of Hugo Lloris, who himself narrowly beats Wayne Hennessey in this category.

At the other end of the table, Bournemouth’s Artur Boruc has saved only 59.6% of the shots he has faced this season, Norwich City’s John Ruddy has only saved 60.3% and Southampton’s Maarten Stekelenburg has only saved 62.5%.

Notably, Giedrius Arlauskis (Watford), Ryan Allsop (Bournemouth), Ádám Bogdán (Liverpool) and Adam Federici (Bournemouth) have all conceded more goals than saves made so far this season.  Federici has made five appearances, conceding 12 goals and making only 11 saves.

Data collected from Opta Sports

10 Interesting Stats from Premier League Matchday 19

5 – Sunderland have lost their last five Premier League games, conceding 12 goals during this run.

6 – Manchester City are winless in their last six Premier League away games (D3, L3).

6 – Manchester United have drawn six games 0-0 in all competitions since 27 October.

8 – Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea means they have now gone eight games without a victory in all competitions; their worst run during the Premier League era.

8 – Only Sunderland (6 in 2005-06) and Derby County (7 in 2007-08) had fewer points at the halfway stage than Aston Villa this season.  The two aforementioned teams were relegated those seasons.

9% – Following their 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace on Monday, Swansea City have now managed only one victory in their last 11 Premier League trips to London (D3, L7).

30 – This is Manchester United’s lowest points tally after 19 games in any Premier League season.

30 – Watford’s Odion Ighalo ends the year having scored more league goals in 2015 than any other player in England’s top four tiers.

100% – Everton scored with all three of their shots on target versus Jack Butland, losing 4-3 at home to Stoke City.

170 – Petr Čech set a new Premier League record by keeping his 170th clean sheet in the competition as Arsenal beat Bournemouth 2-0 on Monday.