You see, I like Sean Dyche. A lot. I don’t like Joey Barton. A lot. I like non-league teams remaining in the FA Cup one hell of a lot. Therefore Lincoln’s history making victory over Burnley at Turf Moor was bittersweet for me, but more sweet than bitter. Joey had enough bitter going on for everyone. Both Liverpool and Chelsea have failed to leave Burnley’s relic of a ground with a win this season, so for (insert your own suitably patronising word related to size here) Lincoln to win and become the first ever non-League side to make it into the FA Cup Quarter Finals is staggering. The Cowley brothers, who sound like a butcher shop more than the tactical masterminds they are becoming, are now the talk of the land as they have achieved more than Klopp and Conte in Lancashire. As for Joey Barton, trying to obviously get a non-League striker, who looked like he was off down the pub after the match, sent off is the mark of the man. Especially when you have openly called out “cheats” on social media as many times as Barton has. Still, Lincoln were more than worthy of their win and fingers crossed they get themselves a dream draw in the next round.
Leicester, you have failed me once more. Not only did I advise a good friend not to stick a tenner on them getting relegated this season despite his gut instincts to snap up the 50/1 odds, I have tipped them openly in this column recently to go on and win the FA Cup. Claudio, you can do one now. You are making me look stupid here. Leicester lost 1-0 to Millwall, and barely looked bothered to have done so. You see, a beating over two legs against Sevilla is what the Leicester boys are saving themselves for, rather than a shot at Wembley. The Millwall manager, Neil Harris, called the post-match pitch invasion “inevitable” doing his best to pretend that this result was a shock to anyone at all.
Wolves fans will have been briefly hopeful that there was some momentum building in the upset snowball. Sadly for them, Chelsea had other ideas. A thoroughly professional job was done at Molineux and the Premier League leaders still look good for the double. Even the gamble of playing JT at centre back paid off. Wolves had hit Liverpool with pace in the previous round, so there was every chance that John Terry might have been blowing a little after his first attempt at catching Helder Costa, but he was rarely troubled. What odds on Terry bowing out at the end of the season lifting the famous old trophy high and shouting something that you don’t want the Queen to hear?
Oxford can feel slightly unfortunate to have played a Middlesbrough side in the mood to score an entire quota of monthly goals in one go. Equally, it is not that often Boro ship two either, so maybe Oxford should have made the most of it? It could have been three, except United had a goal wrongly disallowed and, in time honoured fashion, conceded their second moments after. Ah, football and it’s predictable little in-jokes. Oxford did battle back from 2-0 down only to concede very late on and have the dream whipped away from them as quickly as it had reappeared.
There are bad 0-0 draws, obviously, and there are good 0-0 draws. Huddersfield and Manchester City put on equally high octane performances in their entertaining draw. Huddersfield’s manager, David Wagner, is a Klopp disciple which means his team run around more than most. This gave City problems for the entire game as, frankly, they have several players that would rather do anything other than run around for 90 minutes. Still, both sides are still in the hat for the quarter final and will settle their differences some time soon.
As Richard Osman, him off Pointless, pointed out before the game – how dare Spurs respect the FA Cup? It completely ruined any chance of Fulham getting a result. Harry Kane, only just fit, helped himself to a hat-trick as Fulham disappeared without so much as a whimper. The Spurs fans enjoyed themselves greatly, singing about their desire for Arsene to stay at Arsenal. It would have been cruel to point out that every season Wenger has been in charge, Arsenal have finished above Spurs. But hey, never let facts get in the way of banter between teams. Arsene has in fact intimated that he would not be adverse to another four years at the Emirates. I know, fair play to him mentioning that in the week after they lost 5-1 in Munich!
Jose claimed before the Sunday game at Ewood Park that one day £89m for Pogba would be considered cheap. Well, if Pep goes and spends £100m on an aging Messi I would have to agree. Pogba chipped another few quid off his debt to the club by coming off the bench and teeing up Zlatan for yet another winning goal. It’s not been a bad week for Zlatan, another four goals notched up. Millwall’s fans might have got a little stick for their pitch invasion after beating the current league champions, so what words are there for the United fans that danced on the pitch after their side went 2-1 up Blackburn? I mean come on, you had to bring on your two superstars to beat a side managed by Owen Coyle. Save the pitch invasions for something that counts, no?
On a side note, Chris Sutton is fast becoming my favourite pundit if only for his unbridled ability to put Robbie Savage down on live TV. Sutton managed to get Lincoln the kind of draw they hoped for as Arsenal could well still be there for the taking, or they could definitely beat Sutton. Chelsea, unsurprisingly, drew Manchester United meaning United are in line for a world record 416 consecutive FA Cup matches on television if they get to the final. I also have a sneaky feeling all police leave in North London might be cancelled that weekend, as Tottenham drew Millwall. Ah, the romance of the FA Cup.