The FA Cup was back in action over the weekend, giving us a break from seeing Liverpool spontaneously self-combust their Premier League title challenge. What we got instead, having seen Liverpool struggle in high winds at Anfield during the week was Liverpool being undone by a Wolves team that had a couple of lads that could run fast. Yes, that was the cunning plan devised by failed Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert. Defend well and get it to the quick boys. Credit to him though, it worked. Apparently some, but probably not the ones that know anything about football, Liverpool fans have started calling for Kloppo’s head. Many managers, not just Klopp, spent the weekend resting first choice players shunting the Cup down their priority list. Some got away with it, some didn’t.
Still, it wasn’t all bad for Liverpool. They may have proven they are a one Mane team, but their main Mane will soon be back in a red shirt having missed the decisive Senegal penalty in the AFCON Quarter Final defeat. You could almost hear Jurgen willing him to miss it on the commentary.
Pochettino seemed to be on a one man mission to give the FA Cup the fairytale result that the competition desperately needs. Spurs found themselves 2-0 down against Wycombe and then, having got themselves level, 3-2 down once more. The League Two outfit had their collective hearts broken, jumped up and down on and then kicked over the touchline as Tottenham grabbed a late winner in the seventh minute of injury time.
Conte’s Chelsea had far less stress, comfortably dispatching Brentford back down the road with a 4-0 defeat to think about. Middlesboro treated Accrington Stanley like they would any other Premier League team, and by that I mean they kept it very tight at the back, rarely ventured into their lower level opponents half and shut up shop having scored a scrappy goal. As for Palace, I presume Big Sam chose the “FA Cup run could be a distraction from the relegation battle” option over the “FA Cup run could be great for morale in the relegation battle” whilst stepping quietly out of the way for Manchester City.
Southampton’s heads were already measuring up their Wembley suits having beaten Liverpool in the League Cup Semi Final in the week, and they were clearly in no mood for another cup run. Danny Welbeck returned from injury with a brace and Theo Walcott put three past his former club, Arsenal putting in the type of performance that their fans would really prefer to see in the league.
Hull, having believed they had beaten United in the week only for Jose to correct them, were still in a state of utter confusion and contrived to miss two penalties in thirty seconds whilst getting battered 4-1 away at Fulham. Watford have clearly decided to let Lincoln take on the mantle of remembering Graham Taylor with a fine FA Cup run. Lincoln knocked out the Championship leaders Brighton 3-1, whilst Watford were literally tamed by the Lions of Millwall 1-0.
I know I try to focus on the Premier League in this column, but a special mention has to go to both Sutton United and Oxford United for beating two clubs who still believe they have a divine right to be in the top flight. Sutton beat Leeds on their school pitch whilst Oxford took apart Rafa’s rotated Newcastle side 3-0. Will Rafa ever learn that rotation against smaller sides is what cost him various Premier League titles at Liverpool?
Finally United made fairly light work of Wigan which was an excuse for the TV to roll out the well worn fact that their former chairman, Dave Whelan, broke his leg in a cup final. His grandson, who is now the chairman due to a brilliant application letter and stunning interview, was delighted to be overshadowed once more.
If I missed any games, they probably were not worth mentioning. There’s plenty of Premier League action to be thinking about this week instead.