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FA Cup Home Field
Posted by Kevin Martin on Tuesday, Mar. 3rd, 2009 at 6:05 AM

Currently, for Rounds 1 & 2 & 3 of the FA Cup, home field appears to be a random chance.  You only get the replay in case of a draw, so essentially the home field team gets a significant advantage to win and clear without having to worry about going on the road for the replay.

The AP Cup starts neutral and future home field is determined by standings and points, i.e. you earned it.  Youth Cup is all neutral.

So just the "featured competition" - the FA Cup - creates a strong competitive advantage for one of the teams until the Semis?  Not sure that quite sits right with my admittedly overly sensitive "fairness meter."

For future seasons, any chance of modifying this or finding a way to make it merit-based like the AP Cup?

Suggestions:

1) The replays are already in the schedule.  Make them planned, not contingent on a draw in the first round so both sides get a chance at home field until the semis.  Since we've nixed the away-goals edge in this league, aggregate goals advances, or else we go to the extra time rules as already written in case of two draws or even score when combined.

2) Make them neutral ground as well.  I don't really like this idea, as the other Cups are neutral field and this one needs a different feel.

3) Make the home field for the opening leg of each round merit-based.  I like the idea of giving the higher league finisher last season the first leg (making being in a higher division an advantage for the FA Cup, since it is no advantage in the others).

4) Make home field based on prior round.  You'd have to have a heirarchy of "merit" to determine who gets the home field this round such as: 1st - Away win in one game; 2nd - Away draw, then home win to advance; 3rd - Home win in one game; 4th - Home draw, then away win to advance.  Teams meeting who did the same in the prior rounds would then go to a Margin of Victory tiebreak (where wins are better than OT wins are better than PK wins), then goal differential, then goals scored, then finally a coin flip if they're really that even.

Other suggestions are welcome, including the whole "so what if it's a tad unfair - I like it that way" train of thought.

Readers Comments

Why not do the following:

A lower division team get the advantage on a higher divsion team. In the case of two teams from the same division playing each other, the lower finisher last season gets the advantage.So it will be the following schedule

Division Division Home Team
3 2 3
3 1 3
2 1 2
3 3 Lower finisher
2 2 Lower finisher
1 1 Lower finisher

 

 

Rene Wilkens on Tuesday, Mar. 3rd, 2009 at 1:03 PM
 

I am not in favour of all cups home advantage being done in favour of the "higher" placed team. A league competition is just that - a competition for playing and winning a league. 

Fine where there are qualifying sections and placings are necessary to progress to an alloted place in the KO draw.

A Cup competition should be treated differently - it's a new competition for every team, regardless of your league position and should be treated as such - shame to be downtrodden (and know you will be) purely because of results in a different competition. 

Ask any player who is going through a bad patch in a league and tell them they will be penalised for it when the Cup draws come around!!  They look forward to days when they can be "equal" and enjoy a  chance to progress in a Cup.

FA Cup - either leave as a straight draw - 50% says you get the home game anyway - OR make it a 2 leg affair.

My money is on leaving it the way it is (and I have received 2 away games for my troubles).

David Blair on Wednesday, Mar. 4th, 2009 at 12:32 PM
 

Like the real FA Cup, I like the idea that every round up to the semis has half the teams given a random home draw - I think it will add more to the Cup when the league becomes more unequal in terms of team SL i.e. David could beat Goliath.

Dan Fitzgerald on Saturday, Mar. 7th, 2009 at 8:44 PM
 

I like the random home advantage - like the real FA Cup as Dan says.  Just the luck of the draw.

James Tucker on Sunday, Mar. 8th, 2009 at 12:24 AM
 

I have to say I love the format of this.  Can I say that? 

But I'll keep listening as I think there's always room to firm some things up.

Al

Allan Sellers on Wednesday, Mar. 18th, 2009 at 1:22 AM
 

When I first started this thread, I was concerned about the home teams having a significant advantage due to the +7 (or 9) home bonus, especially early in the season before coaching could even things out or bring up fitness levels.  So far, the exact opposite has occurred.  Admittedly, in Match 1 half of this league had little if any idea about what we were doing with lineups and playing youth vs. playing to win vs. both.  There was at least one manager that wasn't even using the full home bonus!  To give you a clear picture of how match 1 played out versus how home field has been affecting the rest of the season, here are the results:

Home team in Match 1 - combined record of 1-9-6.  That's right, only one home team won match 1 (Port Vale over a non-league team).

In the replay (Match 6) the home teams then went on to post a 3-0-6 record.  In Match 10 (2nd round of FA Cup), the home teams posted a 3-4-1 record, considerably better.  The replay (match 14) saw a 2-0-2 record.

So overall, the FA Cup has not been kind to the home teams, with a combined 9-13-15 record (.419 win%).

For the rest of the league to date:

League matches, home record of 46-24-20 (.644 win%)

FA Shield, home record of 5-1-2 (.688 win%)

AP Cup, home record of 6-1-1 (.812 win%)

Total home record, all matches: 66-39-38 (.598 win%)

Total home record, FA Cup record vs. All other matches

FA Cup: 9-13-15 (.419 win%).   Others: 57-26-23 (.660 win%).

While future seasons will likely see the shift closer to the .600 home winning average, as of now the one competition where there is the most room for "unfair" home field advantages is the one where home field is helping the least.  So with that being said, I'm not sure whether to be more impressed by BHA's run (this session making it all three away openers) or SHU for defying the odds (three home openers)!

In any event, the numbers from this season definitely do not support any need for a change to the format.  Even if the home teams go 4-for-4 in Match 18 they'll finish with a losing home record going into the neutral turf  semis & final.

Kevin Martin on Wednesday, Mar. 18th, 2009 at 5:09 PM
 
 
 
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