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Are You Excited For The FA Cup Final?

For the second time in four years, we are presented with an FA Cup devoid of a big four team (you can thank Yaya Toure for that, or perhaps Michael Carrick). Let me preempt any comments about a “new big four” by saying that I’m going to oblige King Kenny’s Liverpool team and stick to the original big four. By the way, I refer to Kenny Dalglish as ‘King Kenny’ purely out of endearment. As a Chelsea fan, I can honestly say for the first time that another emotion besides bitterness flows through me when I think about Liverpool. That’s all to do with Kenny, but I digress.

Interestingly, I picked Manchester United and Bolton for the final. Clearly I wasn’t going out on a limb. I’m curious to know what you guys think about the upcoming FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Stoke City (get the latest FA Cup odds through sports betting at BetUS). I remember back to the anticipation surrounding the Portsmouth versus Cardiff final a couple years back. However, I, like many, don’t actually remember the game very well. It was pretty obvious that while many of us were intrigued by the idea of a smaller club winning the trophy, we weren’t nearly as up for the game as we usually would have been had Chelsea been facing Manchester United. I think there’s a similar situation here.

The passionate side of me is attracted to the type of jubilation demonstrated by two teams who were clearly desperate to win the cup. The sight of the stern Tony Pulis frolicking along the sideline was truly touching. However, even so, I can’t see myself counting down the days to see Manchester City and Stoke face-off. I’m sure it will be a hard-fought match and naturally exciting given the occasion, but neither of these teams are particularly stimulating. Manchester City, while pushing into the top echelon of English football, are arguably the dullest team in league. If Mancini lines up with four defense midfielders I might just turn off the TV.

Essentially, the question rests on one’s desires. Would you rather see the usual contenders for the cup or have a relative outsider win? I’m sure I’ll plan to catch Stoke’s first FA Cup Final in 148 years, but I can see the event simply slipping my mind.

What do you think? Share your feedback in the comments section below.

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  1. David Callan

    May 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    May be going out on a limb here but i think that the writer of this article is not English.

    The FA Cup is an English institution and no matter who is playing neutral fans will be watching the game in droves at home and in pubs. Don’t be fooled, English fans just love football. Yes they have a bias towards their own teams but on FA Cup day, even if your team isnt playing you still watch (if you are a football fan that is).

    And “why?” –
    We are the pride of all Europe,
    The cock of the North,
    We hate the Scousers,
    The Cockneys of course (and Leeds!);
    We are United,
    Without any doubt,
    We are the Manchester boys, nah, nah, nah…..

    • Why?

      May 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

      Now I get it your from London lol!!! Your right about the cup though it’s the greatest club cup competition in the World no others even come near. Though a few time it’s seems the FA have tried to lower it i.e. Telling Utd to play in that daft South American tournament a few years ago instead of the cup and pandering to UEFA this year regarding Wembley.
      Anyway Good luck to both teams tomorrow may the best team win! please let it be City though xx.

  2. Why?

    May 13, 2011 at 8:30 am

    So that must mean that Wigan, Bolton, Oldham, Bury, Rochdale and many more are all Manchester Clubs then? I don’t think they will agree with you on that. By the way how big is the City of London compared to the City of Manchester. I think you will find that you it would be a struggle to even fit the clubs you mentioned pitches in without the grounds as It’s near enough 1 sq mile. Daft comparison really.

    Ohhhh Man City the only club to come from Manchester!!! That’s why we will be wearing the Manchester coat of arms on our shirts tomorrow and Utd won’t!

    • David Callan

      May 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      Its not the City of Manchester, is Greater Manchester. Its about half the size of London. So your comment is daft too.

      • Why?

        May 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm

        Doh, I live here my man! The central Manchester area is the City known as Manchester or the City of Manchester. Which is about 50 sq miles much, much bigger than London City or the City of London. Greater Manchester is a Metropolitan County NOT a City! Which is about 500 sq miles this includes the City of Manchester’s surrounding areas which contain Salford, Wigan and Bolton etc. Nobody calls These Manchester especially those living there. Greater London is also a Metropolitan County around 600 sq mile, so you can clearly see neither are even near twice the size of Manchester. So in conclusion you’re wrong David and my comment is not in the slightest daft!

        • david callan

          May 13, 2011 at 6:05 pm

          I’m from oldham and if someone outside of manchester asks I say I’m from manchester, as do the majority of my friends. Also, how many london teams play in the “city of london”? Arsenal and at a push milwall

          • Why?

            May 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm

            To my knowledge there are no football teams that play in the actual city of London as it is so small, 1 sq mile. Unlike the City of Manchester 50 sq mile. You are from Oldham my friend not Manchester end of, I think the only reason you say Manchester is because of Utd but you shouldn’t as there not from Manchester either! lol

    • Devils Advocate

      May 16, 2011 at 3:55 pm

      Inasmuch as those towns mentioned fall within the boundaries of Greater Manchester County, they are in essence, “Manchester” towns as David rightly points out. Having said that, each would naturally want to preserve their individual identities, in the same way that Hammersmith, Chiswick, Peckham, Camden Town, Canning Town, Clapham, Highgate, Islington etc. do.

      The notion that Man City is the only “true” Manchester club is indeed an old chesnut, rolled out by the supporters from time to time as if it had any practical relevance. It is truly odd that Wythenshawe, some 10miles south of the city is deemed to be part of the City of Manchester, yet Old Trafford, less than half the distance is not. It is a nonsense, pure and simple, and is the product of political gerry mandering. Boundaries have been moved for decades back and forth to retain constituency “integrity”. For business and political purposes, Manchester and Greater Manchester are synonymous in the same way London is not just the “City of London”, but the City of Westminster and all associated boroughs collectively.

      One final point, in terms of population and area, Greater London is significantly larger than Greater Manchester, a population in excess of 7.2million speaks for itself. The good news, however, is that we have enjoyed the better teams, right?

  3. Devils Advocate

    May 13, 2011 at 4:29 am

    Craig..I know City fans like to make a big deal over this but we both know it’s an old chestnut, right? If you’re suggesting Man Utd are not a “true” Manchester club based on its location in Greater Manchester, you can equally apply the same logic to the City of London, for there are no clubs there either.

    But I’d like you try to convince fans of Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham, QPR etc . that they are not London clubs. We all know Manchester is a metropolitan county similar to London and consequently United are clearly a Manchester club 🙂

    Best wishes to both clubs in the FA Cup Final tomorrow. Should be a cracker!

  4. Craig A.

    May 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Oh, Man city
    The only club to come from Manchester!!

    I feel a 35 year drought coming to an end!!

    Come on, you blues!!


  5. Dakota

    May 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Whatever the case, this game between ManCity and Stoke is gonna be huge for both teams. Whether or not you favor either team is now out of the question because these are the 2 teams playing for the FA Cup Final…I would kinda like to see Stoke get the win just out of spite really. I was hoping Chelsea was going to win last weekend, but they didn’t play well and ManCity rightly took advantage of that. But honestly, I just know that this is a huge honor for these 2 teams to be here and I am okay with whatever happens.

    • MCHobbit

      May 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      City played Chelsea last weekend?? Where was I? Were City wearning their 4th “Red” kits again? Drat that red shirt . . .

  6. Dave C

    May 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    By the way, I refer to Kenny Dalglish as ‘King Kenny’ purely out of endearment.

    Ok, this may be pedantic, but here goes: Of course you only call him “King Kenny” out of endearment. The only reason anyone calls him “King Kenny” is out of endearment. The only other reason anyone would call him “King Kenny” would be if they thought that he was literally the patriarch of a royal family, and I doubt anyone actually thinks that.

    • Dave C

      May 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      Anyway, on a less pedantic note: I find it hard to care about the FA Cup these days, as the EPL/Champions League Qualification has grown in importance. And am I right in saying this year, the final is not even on the last day of the season? That takes a lot of shine off the event as far as I’m concerned.

    • Adam

      May 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      Pedantic and frankly, incorrect. You’re telling me that everyone who refers to Jose Mourinho as “The Special One” is doing so endearingly? No, that’s not correct. It’s a nickname. It can be used as a flavoring particle. As a Chelsea fan and someone writing a blog post, there’s actually a number of reasons I could have called him that.

      • Dave-One

        May 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm

        Agreed. Sarcasm can be read 50/50 with endearment, so the clarification is a necessary one.

  7. Jason

    May 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    The FA Cup is always better when you have teams other than Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottemham in it.

    This has been the best FA Cup since 2008 no doubt about it.

  8. R2Dad

    May 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Depends on which teams show up. The Stoke of last weekend, or the grind-out-a-result Stoke. The MC team featuring Tevez terrorizing opponents like a bulldog at a chiuaua convention, or the narcoleptic squad of Liverpool/Everton/Arsenal matches.

  9. Dave-One

    May 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I’m a new football/EPL/Man City fan as of the World Cup/this EPL season and I already notice that Mancini can really get into a defensive mindset, and I could see it boring neutrals. But when he pulls the trigger, as he’s done a lot more often over the past couple of months, it’s great to behold.

    Can’t wait for Saturday. I have no real comprehension of the long suffering of the rest of the Man City fanbase, but I feel good for them that it finally seems to be coming together.

  10. Adam

    May 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Just so we’re clear, I’m actually not taking any sides in the article. I presenting two sides of an argument, both of which actually exist. The only disdain I have is for Manchester City’s style… impartiality is hard with that.

    • Adam

      May 11, 2011 at 10:41 am

      I’m presenting*

      You cursed me, Guy. 😉

    • Evan

      May 11, 2011 at 11:15 am

      “Manchester City’s style”
      Only United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool have scored more goals than City. Compare that to a team that plays long ball half the time and long throw ins. I prefer City’s style actually.

      • Adam

        May 11, 2011 at 11:22 am

        Barcelona score more than all those team but I still find their ping pong approach very boring. Goals occur in a matter seconds, but the match is 90 minutes long.

    • Earl Reed

      May 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm

      Your final question was fair, but I felt like the rest of the article skewed a tad towards the view that the FA Cup is worthless without one of the Big 4.

      And the whole “style” thing…makes you sound like Wenger. I’m a results kind of guy. The result dictates the response. If Mancini runs out his big names and then plays defensive, that’s fine…as long as he wins. If he loses, questions should be asked about his approach. But Stoke isn’t a walk in the park. I wouldn’t blame Mancini for being concerned about the aerial game from the Potters.

      That’s why I love the tactical aspects so much. Some people want to cry about a pragmatic approach. I’ve even given ManUtd some flak at times about their approach in certain matches (Arsenal, for one). I’d imagine they’ll be somewhat pragmatic against Barca, otherwise they’re bound to be gashed like a grapefruit in the blender. If they lose in that fashion, they may catch flak just like if they were to try to play wide open and lose 5-3.

      • Adam

        May 11, 2011 at 12:53 pm

        I totally agree with the pragmatic sentiment. The difference between Wenger and I is that I would never tell a club they should play a certain way. That is an arrogant attitude practiced by the likes of Barcelona. A team plays to win and there should be no argument about how they go about winning. The whole, “they didn’t play football” attitude is frankly nauseating.

        Now, whether certain styles of play are aesthetically pleasing is a different story. When I’m watching a football match as a spectator, it certainly helps when a team is entertaining. Considering the FA Cup is a big competition, the majority of the viewers will be fairly neutral spectators. For the sake of the occasion, I hope the teams go out to entertain. With that said, I won’t diminish Manchester City’s accomplishment if they win the match with four defensive midfielders — I’ll just be sleepy afterward.

  11. Guy

    May 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I’m ready. Gonna go out and get some red and white crepe paper for the den! (and no, I’m not a Stoke fan or a City hater)

    This match is going to massive for both clubs and I don’t see what more you could want. This will be no “secondary” match or trophy for these clubs or their fans and competitively, well, it really is up for grabs. Many may feel that City have the edge, but no one will be shocked if Stoke pulls it off, particularly Stoke’s players. They are not going to just show up and be happy that they got there. I expect spirited play from both sides and am quite happy none of the big boys are in it.

    I really don’t need to constantly see one or more of the BIG clubs in these competitions. Maybe it’s just me, but that gets so o-l-d. It’s like ESPN hyping yet another Yankees/Red Sox game. Really? Again? *Yawn*.

    Go on Stoke! 🙂

    • Guy

      May 11, 2011 at 10:10 am

      How can you read something over 50 times for mistakes and miss “be”? 😀

    • Devils Advocate

      May 12, 2011 at 10:43 am

      Am in total agreement with you on this one Guy. It’s actually good news that this Final is not contested by any of the traditional “big 4” clubs. Both sides have contrasting styles, financial set-ups and muscle etc. so it will be interesting to see how it pans out on the day. A Man City win is by no means a given.

      But if Man City lift the FA Cup and Man United can pick up the one point required to secure the Premier Crown, all of Manchester and beyond will be celebrating. If Stoke take the trophy, it’ll be a “clean sweep” of all the major domestic prizes for teams within and north of Birmingham.

      Happy days for all the “regional” clubs!

  12. Yespage

    May 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

    So, as a Chelsea fan, you find it hard to get into the FA Cup final that doesn’t involve Chelsea. Of course, I looked forward to the Chelsea v Man United game this past weekend and all I remember was Man U. spanking Chelsea in what was a rather one-sided, boring affair.

    Stoke’s fans will probably be blaring in the stands of Wembley if their team drops behind a few goals. Man City has a definite desire to win this, while Stoke City have put the screws to Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham recently, making for some good matches, and let us not forget a 5-0 drubbing of Bolton in the Semi-Final.

    Please, don’t mistake your blog article as anything more than relenting that Chelsea isn’t in the final. I’d love to see Stoke City win on a long throw assisted goal, just to make the haters froth a little more.

  13. 1fingerwillie

    May 11, 2011 at 9:12 am

    TV coverage in the States is better than it is in England.

  14. eplnfl

    May 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

    No not really. It has become second best in England clearly. Championship playoffs seem more interesting especially this year.

    With the race for the Prem title and the big Champion’s League clash the FA Cup seems distant. Lack of great tv coverage in the US does hurt a bit.

  15. Jason

    May 11, 2011 at 9:05 am

    We have two teams in the final that deserve being there. Manchester City are now one of the bigger clubs in the EPL, they just made it into the CL and will continue to buy big players just as United, Chelsea and Liverpool have done in the past and still do. I think City are here to stay among the top teams in the EPL. Stoke are the underdogs and many will want them to win as they cannot compete with the money City have. Stoke have shown that their dogged, physical style of play can disrupt and get the better of some of the best teams in the EPL. This season they have added the likes of Pennant, a pure winger, and Jones, a strong striker, to their squad. They no longer just win by the odd goal.

    This is going to be a very intriguing final. I have a feeling this one might go into extra time. With yesterday’s victory over Spurs and 4th plalce guaranteed, City will be much looser and I think that will help them. Won’t be surprised if either team wins but if I had to pick a winner I’d pick City to win it in extra time.

  16. 1fingerwillie

    May 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

    The days of the “Big Four” are over. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you will stop sounding like an ass.

  17. IanCransonsKnees

    May 11, 2011 at 8:20 am

    We could improve th epremier League and FA Cup if we reduced them to including only Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Totenham, Manchester City and Liverpool. The England team would benefit from the reduced pressure on their players and all the glory hunters would be satisfied by the match ups and eventual winners.

  18. Earl Reed

    May 11, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I don’t quite get the disdain. Two teams playing for one of the most important trophies in their history? What, you preferred the Barcelona/Real Madrid Copa del Rey that was just one of four? Same goes in Scotland, with Rangers and Celtic always playing each other. Doesn’t that end up getting a little boring in itself? Do I need another Manchester United v Chelsea showdown right now? We just had two legs in the Champions League, and one in the Premier League.

    Nope, thank you very much, I’ll take a match-up between two teams that would cherish this trophy. For ManUtd or Chelsea or Arsenal, they think of it as a matching set only, which is a shame (double, treble). I’ll guarantee that Brum fans cherish the League Cup more than any of the Big Four had they won. I’ll bet if Arsenal had won that match, they’d still be up in arms over Wenger’s mindset and failure to get defenders and a keeper.

  19. Sam Saunders

    May 11, 2011 at 5:42 am

    I feel you’re being a tad harsh on both teams there. Yes, there isn’t a traditional ‘big 4’ team in the final this year, but that doesn’t mean the excitment of the game will be any less. If Mancini lets his boys run wild, then I think they are one of the most exciting to watch in the league. Stoke don’t play pretty football (as many of their fans agree) but they don’t care; yet they have been in their fair share of exciting games this season already. Look at the semi-final for instance..

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