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GUARDIAN – FA Cup fourth-round draw – as it happened!| Alan Smith

Cambridge United were drawn at home to Manchester United, while Chelsea could face Millwall in a London derby if the latter can defeat Bradford in a replay 7.51pm GMT Is there a special atmosphere to expect if Chelsea would entertain Millwall?asks Michael Schlagenhaufen via email. Yes, Michael, there would be a cracking atmosphere at Stamford Bridge but Millwall, as mentioned, will face a really difficult task at Bradford next week after their initial meeting at the Den ended 3-3 on Saturday.I know this plea will fall on deaf ears, but wouldn’t it be refreshing if whoever reports on this fixture avoids the pitfall of writing about “United” if who they really mean is the team from Manchester rather than Cambridge?We live in hope!Cambridge versus Man U? I smell a punditry call up for Dion Dublin. 7.45pm GMT Well there you go. One guaranteed highlight – Cambridge United v Manchester United – and a couple of potentially tasty derbies: Chelsea v Millwall (if they beat Bradford in a replay, which is of course no easy task) and Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion 7.43pm GMT Manchester City v Middlesbrough 7.42pm GMT Doncaster/Bristol City v Everton/West Ham 7.42pm GMT Sunderland v Fulham/Wolves 7.42pm GMT Rochdale v Stoke City 7.41pm GMT Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal 7.41pm GMT Burnley/Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City 7.41pm GMT AFC Wimbledon/Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers 7.40pm GMT Cardiff City v Reading 7.40pm GMT Aston Villa v Bournemouth 7.40pm GMT Birmingham City v West Bromwich Albion 7.39pm GMT Preston North End v Sheffield United 7.39pm GMT Derby v Scunthorpe/Chesterfield 7.39pm GMT Chelsea v Millwall/Bradford City 7.38pm GMT Blackburn Rovers v Swansea City 7.38pm GMT Cambridge United v Manchester United (great tie for the U’s) 7.37pm GMT Southampton/Ipswich v Crystal Palace 7.37pm GMT Mark Champan tees it up from the President’s lounge at Kingsmeadow to the usual cheers and oi oisDouglas Hawthorn has been in contact via email:Quick “big up” for Cambridge United. Back in the Football League after a nine year absence, and in the fourth-round for the first time in fifteen years. Glory days. Would settle for a rerun of the rehearsal in the draw, albeit at the Abbey. 7.34pm GMT We’re moments away … but here’s a refresher of the numbers in the pot1. Arsenal 7.24pm GMT There is something terrible about the draw being made with eight teams still to play their third round fixture (not including replays). Then again, who had the bright idea of putting Everton v West Ham on a Tuesday night? Such silliness. 7.18pm GMT While we wait for the draw, why not pay Jacob Steinberg a visit over on the AFC Wimbledon v Liverpool MBM? Just promise you’ll come back in 10 minutes, ok? 7.11pm GMT Glamour of the cup captured perfectly by our man at Kingsmeadow tonightSlightly obstructed view from the pressbox at AFC Wimbledon tonight pic.twitter.com/Ly03b2hyls 7.09pm GMT Lawrie Sanchez, who was part of the victorious Wimbledon team in 1988, and Stef Loucaides, a local grassroots football coach, will be making tonight’s draw.In the trial, Manchester City were drawn at home to Cambridge United, the lowest ranked team left in the competition. 7.02pm GMT Here we go, then. The FA Cup fourth round draw – almost but not quite as good as the third round draw on the basis that there are fewer chances of a major shock.Then again, there hasn’t been a giantkilling yet (step up AFC Wimbledon, who take on Liverpool right after these balls are pulled out of a drum?). Wrexham promised a surprise until Stoke’s Stephen Ireland ruined it, Sheffield Wednesday led at Man City briefly while Blyth Spartans threatened to upset Birmingham and Southport were denied in desperately late circumstances at Derby. Sheffield United, on the basis of their outstanding record in knockout competitions, winning at a QPR side whose priorities lie elsewhere was hardly a shock. It pains to say, the #magicofthecup has not been all that magic so far. 7.00pm GMT Alan will be here shortly before the draw, which is due to start at 7.30pm. Here are the teams and their numbers:1. Arsenal Continue reading…

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TTT: 2013-2014: A One-off Season or Not? Part 2

By Mihail Vladimirov. In Part 1 Mihail looked at Defensive Issues. Now he turns his attention to: Chapter Two: Attacking Issues It’s true that there were plenty of times where Liverpool’s attacking displays were simply breathtaking and the perfect example of ‘poetry in motion’ at its sparkling best. Continuing from the second part of the 2012/13 season, last season saw the further development of the Reds’ ability to either quickly hit the opposition on the break using their attackers’ speed, trickery and overall directness, or use the technical brilliance of their midfield to open up the opposition’s defences. All of this was achieved thanks to the triple-pivot playmaker system of using Gerrard (once he moved at the base of the midfield unit), Coutinho and Suarez dictating play and providing penetrative passes from different zones and angles. This allowed Liverpool to play possession football without lacking in attacking bite and score goals whether they were moving the ball slowly upfield to probe the space in the final third or attacking swiftly as gaps opened up for quicker attacking transitions. However, it’s also true that there were times where Liverpool struggled in attack, unable to get into their usual passing flow and assert their ability to overwhelm the opposition by creating genuine goal-scoring opportunities. Open play struggles against packed defences Liverpool encountering huge problems when facing deep, packed and/or well-organised defences is nothing new or surprising at all. Nor is it the case that it is only Rodgers’ team that struggled in that way. But the fact is that last season the team had their periods when they really struggled and found themselves bereft of ideas on how to open up the opposition when they line up with at least seven players only dedicated to breaking up the play and preventing Liverpool from creating potent attacking moves. Fortunately for Liverpool (and this is the main reason why the team ended up challenging for the title despite all defensive and offensive issues), many of the games where they struggled in this way still resulted with the team actually getting all three points. Often this served to mask the attacking problems blunting the team’s overall play during these games (or at least during certain periods of these games). The usual narrative was ‘the win is all that matters’. All of which is fine during the season and you’re fighting tooth and nail to finish as high as possible, and more so if you’re actually deep into the title battle. But once the season is over and there is enough time to go back and analyse how and why what happened or didn’t happen, it’d be ignorant or even foolish not to examine as much as you can with the aim to improve whatever you can to be even better the next time. The games against Stoke (H), Palace (H), WBA (H), Fulham (H), Spurs (A), Cardiff (H), Everton (H), Arsenal (H), Fulham (A), Swansea (H), Man Utd (A) and Norwich (A), were all outright wins in that Liverpool played superbly in attack, even if some caveats could be applied. At times the team were helped by poor defensive organisation from the opposition, overall tactical naivety in how the other manager set up his team, the opponent being in a ‘black-hole of form’ or the Reds being fortunate to score decisive goals from set-plays. Often in these games Liverpool, for all their attacking prowess, displayed the massive defensive issues discussed earlier. Still, as a whole it could be said Rodgers and his players fully deserved to win in these 12 games by simply outplaying the opposition and being the better team. The rest of this article is for Subscribers only. Member-only content – you need to subscribe to read it ! A subscription costs only £3.50 per month. Find out what you get with your subscription, or Subscribe now.

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