I am really enjoying the FA Cup this season, I surprise myself saying that as the most important component is missing……..THE FANS! Here is some of my takeaways from the weekend:
Tiredness Cost Cheltenham
City are being overhyped this season, defensively better and create so many chances but without Aguero they lack that finishing touch, too many times this season they dominate matches spurning chances. On Sat night their first 2 goals came from defensive lapses by Cheltenham, both times a defender lost the line and played City onside. Too often it’s considered tiredness means a physical act but it’s mental affects which cost footballers, the excellent defensive performance undone in the end. Cheltenham rattled City who got away with it in the end, the BBC1 audience nearly witnessed a upset, Swansea will hope they will gain revenge from 2 years ago.
Arsenal Team Selection
The holders went out, big deal, Southampton have had a great season but I don’t buy into the weakened line up criticism labelled at Arsenal. Many teams rest players during the cup rounds, the big clubs possess squads full of internationals. Arsenal was no different on Saturday, end of the day they played better in the second half and it was a deflected own goal which won Saints the tie. The league is the gooners priority that’s their prerogative, fingers crossed a new name completely goes on the cup like the Saints or West Ham.
Cold, snowy weather, concerns over pitch conditions brought back memories of my youth watching FA Cup games. No upsets occurred due to the conditions but you could witness players in games not fancying it, fans on their backs could have pushed it over the edge.
Werner Penalty Miss
I do feel for Lampard losing his job, many do not and Chelsea are renowned for pulling the trigger quickly. The form of Werner under his tutelage has been a concern, could it have played a part in the decision? The guy looked like a world beater when he first joined, now he couldn’t score a goal even if the keeper wasn’t there. It was the right thing to do as a team to give him the pen but wow it ultimately showed how out of touch he is.
Brentford v Leicester was an intriguing game, The Foxes in the end deserved the victory but I found the dive by Tielemens to win his side a penalty for the 2nd goal pretty sickening. The way he fell is not a FA Cup issue it’s a football one, the contact is bought, ref falls for it and the commentators lapped it up. Would Brentford been awarded that penalty? Too many Prem v EFL games I witness ref bias if they work in the elite league.
Man U v Liverpool Goals a Plenty
It was so nice to see a game between the 2 teams in red dish out goals, too often it’s tight, turgid battles. Both teams possess so much attacking dynamite it was nice to see the league shackles loosened. Bruno’s winner was down to Pogba’s duck assist, timed perfectly! On another day Liverpool could have came out on top, they can get back to defending their title and European glory.
West Ham Dark Horses
The Hammers are shocking a lot of people this season and as we speak they show no signs of letting up on their current form. The next round is difficult v Man Utd but they have Everton before the cup game, who knows how Ole sets up his team that night. Any eye off the ball could allow West Ham to progress with the impressive Soucek the current star man backed up by Bowen, Yarmelenko & Antonio.
Midweek cup ties for the 5th round will be fun and I look forward to reviewing them next month.