The FA Cup Roundup

Alexis Sanchez. Manchester United. Debut. £400k a week. How many times were these phrases said on Friday night? Probably as many times as Alexis managed to pass the ball to the opposition, at a guess. Still, he won man-of-the-match in United’s 4-0 over the “plucky underdogs” in what was, according to the excellent Yeovil Town’s Twitter account, “a commercial decision if there was ever one”. Of course, it was, those “Sanchez 7” shirts won’t sell themselves in India, you know?

I have a question for the Liverpool fans. How VAR from winning a trophy this season do you now feel? Could it be more Liverpool to be the first team to beat Manchester City domestically (within 90 minutes before all the Wolves fans pipe up) and then lose to the team bottom of the league in Swansea City and then, almost more hilariously, to Alan Pardew’s West Bromwich Albion at Anfield? Almost as bad as Liverpool’s display was their need for VAR to continuously bail them out and still lose. Someone clearly felt it would be hilarious to superglue Simon Mignolet to his goal line for 90 minutes and see what the end result would be. VAR actually got the key decisions correct, and we could go on about the length of time it took until we are blue in the face but nobody should be able to disagree on the fact that they should have let the video replay take the penalty instead of Bobby Firmino. That way Liverpool would have been 2-2, rather than going into half-time 3-1 down. At home. To a team managed by Alan Pardew. Having spent £75m on a centre back.

Harry Kane has already scored goals in his career against Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City. Now he can add Newport County to the list as the England hitman saved Tottenham Hotspur from being the biggest scalp of the FA Cup so far. That said, I am quietly confident that word went round the Newport side with a few minutes to go saying, “hang on lads, if we actually win this we don’t get to play at Wembley” so they went on to let Harry score, selfishly. Fair play to them, they don’t get to play there every other week unlike some. County will also pick up about £700k for the replay, and every little helps.

Just when David Moyes and West Ham United were starting to look credible, boom! There’s nothing to kneecap you quite like a 2-0 defeat to a League One side away from home and that’s the dish Wigan served up on Saturday. Will Grigg’s fire has been burning a little like a small tealight candle since Euro 2016 but someone must have poured a bucket load of turps on him before kick off. His double, enabled by Arthur Masuaku getting sent off for spitting, saw Wigan Athletic dump out a second Premier League side in a row. They’ve won the FA Cup in the last few years, just in case that didn’t get mentioned too often over the weekend.

One thing that had sailed past Tales during the week was Brighton’s Glenn Murray getting arrested for his alleged involvement in a suspected £1.1m fraud. Murray seemed to put that to one side to get back to doing what he does much better which is scoring terrible goals with various parts of his body. His winner, off his knee, saw Chris Hughton’s men get past Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough.

Leicester City probably fancy a bit of a cup run and Claude Puel is no stranger to Wembley having taken Southampton there in the League Cup, last season. You know, before Southampton fans started moaning about being in a good league position and getting to cup finals because they wanted “entertaining”. The Foxes saw off Peterborough 5-1, killing the game in the opening 30 minutes, a half hour that saw even Kelechi Iheanacho score two as he slowly starts to remind people that once upon a time he was going to be the heir to Sergio Aguero’s throne.

Things are that rubbish for Watford right now that they managed to lose to Southampton and have a fight with their own fans in the same afternoon. Plus, somewhere, someone has definitely called their new manager Javi Garcia at least 100 times, rather than his actual name of Javi Gracia.

The oldest of old-school managers Neil Warnock faced the newest of new school managers in Pep Guardiola in Sunday’s final game. It was probably nice of the Cardiff players to get to see their manager as, by all accounts, he doesn’t bother with turning up to training anymore. Unsurprisingly, City dominated against Cardiff and the chase of the quad continues. Oh, and Kevin de Bruyne you are a very cheeky man.

You may have noticed that I try and point the finger-of-fun in this column and if you haven’t realised by now I am amazed you are still here. With Chelsea still chasing every single striker that can prove he is over six-foot when standing there as naked as the day he was born, I question why when yet again Michy played and Michy scored. Don’t forget, this lad cost Chelsea £30m not too long ago. Don’t try and pretend that Edin Dzeko (who now doesn’t want to live in London anyway), Peter Crouch (sorry Pete) or Andy Carroll (stop smirking) are better than the Belgian. Even touting Olivier Giroud is pushing it slightly. Anyway, one manager who would love to have the option of dropping someone as good as Batshuayi is Rafa Benitez. With days of the transfer window left all he has been given is an FA Cup kicking, a nose dive down the Premier League, a failed sale of the club and Kenedy. That’s a bad, bad January.