EPL Talk Podcast Live Show, Open Thread: FA Cup, Down To Four


Wins by Manchester United and City have set up a derby in the FA Cup semifinals, though the story of the weekend will be the Gunners, who saw an exit to a third competition in two weeks in failing to beat a patchwork United side on Saturday. As downtrodden as Gooners were after the shock loss to Brum and the travails of the Nou Camp, a 2-0 defeat to a United side hamstrung by injuries and Champions League preparations may have been the most disheartening, not only because it was the last nail in a coffin built by two weeks’ disappointments, but also for the continuation of Alex Ferguson’s recent dominance over Arsène Wenger, now having lost only once in the clubs’ last 11 meetings.

On this edition of the EPL Talk podcast, myself and my co-hosts – Laurence McKenna and Kartik Krishnaiyer – talk about the four weekend matches, games that set up semifinals on April 16 and 17: Manchester United and Manchester City, as well as Stoke City and Bolton, with one of those two clubs likely to punch their ticket into Europe.

Also on the show, a look to mid-week Champions League action, a look back on City and Liverpool’s Europa League struggles, the news from around the league, as well as …

Your feedback. As you know, one of the great things about the Weekend Review shows is your input. Use the comments (below), Twitter, and email to give us your questions, concerns, insights and highlights and we will work to get them onto today’s show …

Which will be streaming live at 9 p.m. England-time, 5 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Pacific. UStream audio player is below, with music starting about 30 minutes before show time. Likewise, we will be in the chat room before the show, looking for more ways to get you involved in the show.

Player and chat room, after the jump.

Live TV : Ustream

A Note On The Chat: UStream’s funky chat room may not let you see the chat unless you’re logged in, and even then it will only let you see the posts submitted since you signed-on? I dunno. That’s what I’m told. Regardless, sign in, and possibly suggest another chat service we should use.

13 thoughts on “EPL Talk Podcast Live Show, Open Thread: FA Cup, Down To Four”

  1. I know this sounds like a silly question, but does Wenger have the qualities he needs to in order to continue as Arsenal’s coach. His team gets beat handily — albeit at Old Trafford — by a patchwork United side and are now out of three competitions in a little over two weeks’ time. Arsenal play beautiful football, but is it time to start asking tougher questions as to their mental makeup? And why has Wenger repeatedly refused to strengthen the spine of his team (goaltender, central fullbacks, etc.) despite it being obvious to the most casual of observers that their current squad is just not tough enough???

  2. Just please don’t talk about Manchester City not having won a trophy for 34 years. They were the 2nd division champions in 2002 remember.

    My wish as a fan is to see anybody not named Manchester United is who I am cheering for to win the FA Cup now. I’m sure many people here feel the same way as I do.

    1. When the 34 years is mentioned, it’s in reference to what are generally considered “major” trophies (i.e. champions league, premiership, fa cup, and yes for some reason, the carling cup). Thus Red Devil supporters tend not to count a 2nd div. title as a valid trophy. It’s just the way it is.

      Also, to add to your second point, I think most people are looking at the final four that way (except for myself and many others of course). This is where United supporters will generate a siege mentality and claim that the ABU’s (anyone but united) have it out for them. Common practice.

      I respect your line of reasoning though.

  3. Can you comment about the state of Italian football? I watched the Roma-Lazio game today and it was a very sloppy and unattractive affair throughout I think.

    1. Will do, Justin. I’ll try to talk about this one in the run-down of Europe. I agree that it was the best of derbies. In addition, recent high profile matches (Milan-Napoli, Juve-Milan) have been stinkers.

    2. I watched too and agree that it was hard to watch, but I think at least some of that can be blamed on the fact that it was pouring rain, and had been for several hours before the match too.

    3. Italian football is beset with so many problems right now it’s hard to know where to begin. A lack of promising youth players, decreasing revenue for many clubs, and a continiuing lack of progression away from the defense based tactics that have become endemic in Italian football are just a few of the major problems.

      The lack of promising young Italian players is possibly the biggest problem. The Italian league has a relatively high number of home-grown players compared to other top european leagues, yet when you think of high profile young Italian players, who comes to mind? Balotelli would be one but he plays in the EPL, and there really isn’t anyone else. Davide Santon looked to be a rising star, but has fizzled after injury and a drastic loss of form. The Italian League is very similar to the national team, a decade ago it was chocked full of top-level players, and now they’ve all become old, and there is no one with the quality required to replace them.

  4. So let’s get my requisite Liverpool question out of the way:

    What was Lawrence’s reaction to Liverpool’s rather tepid display away at SC Braga on Thursday. Braga is a very competent team under Domingos Pacienca and set records in the Liga Sagres last year, but after releasing many of their players in the January window, should not have posed such a problem for a resurgent Liverpool side. Is this something that should be read into, or is it only a minor blip in the second reign of Dalglish?

  5. With Arsenal crumbling in yet another big game, it is obvious that they need to bring in a big time player with world class experience. My question is, if the pod had a choice between ONE of the following world-class players, who would you choose to suit up for Arsenal next year:
    – Keeper
    – Centerback
    – Defensive Midfielder
    – Striker (to replace the often injured RVP)

  6. ManU’s formation and personnel was extremely interesting in the cup-tie against Arsenal. Sir Alex has followed a trend that is beginning to be seen across the leagues in Europe (and is really a reversal of a long-standing trend) where-in many attacking fullbacks are being moved up into midfield. It really took off this season with Gareth Bale being moved to a left-wing/left-midfield position, but can be seen in many other teams (Fabio Coentrao with Benfica, Dani Alves with Barcelona occasionally, etc.). Is this signifying a continuing change in the game towards priority being given to defensive solidity before focusing on attack, or is it that the young-players coming to the fore now are so complete that they just aren’t effected by this kind of change in position?

  7. I couldn’t stand the announcers on FSC for the City/Reading match. They had City’s excuses lined up if City didn’t win and every time City did anything (especially Tevez) it was minutes of waxing philosophic about how awesome City is and on and on. Tevez could have easily been carded twice for shoving people to the turf. Reading play a solid game. Yeah, it wasn’t spectacular, but still would it have killed to announcers to say something positive about something other than City? They were even wanking about the supporters when there wasn’t anything to praise on the pitch.

  8. Arsenal miss Walcott more than Cesc. Even when he doesn’t score he adds the quick strike ability that no one else on the team brings to the table. Problem is you essentially need two Walcotts because the one they have now can be counted on to miss games due to injury every season.

    ManU had every reason to be somewhat disintereted in that match on Saturday yet they dominated IMO.

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