FA Cup thrid round weekend. One of the most magical and exciting in the English football fixtures. Full of the prosepect of upsets, David v Goliaths and unexpected match-ups. Thankfully for us we avoided the upset and safely booked ourselves passage into the next round.
Only five of the 22 goals we’ve scored this season have come from recognised strikers, so it was a bit of a shock to see Kamara put the ball in the net three times on Saturday. The lack of goals from the team must be something the coaches are working on. For a team with the fifth best defensive record in the Premier League a place in the relegation tussle shouldn’t be happening. And if that wasn’t shock enough we also got to see Etuhu score – wowsers trousers! The young lady next to me, seemly unable to comprehend such an event, took some convincing from me that it actually was Etuhu who scored, and it wasn’t some mirage. Though I’m not Dicksons biggest fan, and think he’s surprisingly light weight for such a big lump, lacks presences, doesn’t shoot enough and lacks vision to do anything other than passing the ball sideways or backwards he seems to be slowly improving. After a good showing at Spuds he put in a good shift against the Baggies with an amazing 98% completion rate on his passes (I don’t have the figures as to how many were forward however). Perhaps he’s realised there’s new recruits on the way in.
Sparky stuck with the same eleven from the Baggies game and ‘Boro started with famous faces such as ex-neighbours actor Mark Little and U2’s Adam Clayton. After withstanding a Posh onslaught in the first five minutes or so the result was pretty comfortable. Baird setting up the first with a delightful cross from the right, and Gera and Greening completing the scoring for the whites. A Posh Penalty (conceded by debutant Haliche) did make the score 4-1, and another goal from Tomlin, but the result was never really in question.
The night before the game Stockdale announced to the world, through the medium of Twitter, that he was off for some dirty chicken at Nandos. And after seeing some of the saves he’s been pulling off between the sticks for us, I’m considering sending my 5-a-side teams keeper down to Chicken Cottage before games too.
Which brings us nicely to our new number 7, Mr Sidwell. Considering Sparky saying we were his first choice it seems odd he had a medical at West Ham just before Christmas, before Karen Brady and Bongo Dave decided they knew best and cancelled the transfer. He also then had talks with Wolves before rejecting them late last week because, well because it was far too close to Wolverhampton. McCarthy said:
“I just can’t move Wolverhampton any closer to London. There’s nothing I can do about that. We can’t do anything about the geography”
So, eventually, he found his way to Motspur Park. Although only signing on a six month deal, with an option of a four year extension to me it looks like he could be being lined up to fill Murphy’s boots in the centre of the park. Hopefully we got a reduction on his £35k a week salary he had reportedly been on.
Back to cup action, and only a late penalty saved Arsenals blushes at the Emirates. Arsenal have never lost to a lower league opponent in the cup and not a single FA cup game on home soil under Wenger but came close on Saturday to losing both these records. Although being under the cosh for the opening part Leeds took the lead after Denilson fouled Max Gradel in the box. Snodgrass put the visitors in front from the spot after an hour who then who withstood the Arsenal pressure until the last minute when Fabrigas slotted home the leveller, again from the spot.
The draw means Leeds are still in the draw and also the most northerly team still in the competition.
Just hours after sacking Uncle Roy, sorry mutually agreeing it was time for him leave, ‘King’ Kenny led Liverpool out to a defeat at Old Trafford. For me the penalty, Gerrard’s red card and giving nothing against Rafael were all spot on from the ref.
Just ask the man who took a tumble, who said after the game:
“There was contact, enough to make me lose my balance and fall on the ground. People who know me know I don’t go down that easily so I think it was a fair decision.”
The holders got off to a solid start in the competition. Ipswich Town hit the A12 to visit that lot down the road and probably wish they’d stayed back in Suffolk. Days after sacking Roy Keane, days before a cup semi final against Arsenal, they suffered a seven nil drubbing. The result means that on his last four visits to Stamford Bridge Marton Fulop has conceded a total of 23 goals. Today the club have announced ex-Wigan gaffer Paul Jewell has taken charge at Portman Road.
Sol Bamba scored with his first touch in English football when he helped Leicester City achieve a draw against Man City. A late equaliser for the Foxes means a replay will be required to separate the teams before the victor travels to Notts County.
As far as I’m aware, the norf-east of England are walking around town whistling in a nonchalant manner and nodding to each other pretending the cup doesn’t exist this season. With Sunderland, Middlesbrough and the Barcodes being knocked out by lower league opponents there was very little to celebrate up there this weekend. While Avram Grant, surely he’s got his desk all packed up just waiting for THAT phone call, saw his side beat Barnsley 2-0 to safely reach the sixth round. Other Premier League sides safely through to the next round include Everton, Wigan and Birmingham. While Wolves will host Doncaster in a replay next week, as will Stoke and Cardiff.
Last night in the Cup Crawley Town entertained Derby Country. Despite conceeding and then going on to save a spot kick, Crawley went on to beat the Championship side 2-1. Town now face a trip down to Torquay in the next round. While, as I’m sure we all know by now, we face Spuds again at the Cottage.
Up next for our boys it’s back to league action with a trip to the DW Stadium when we face Wigan Athletic on Saturday afternoon. The Latics are sitting in 19th spot, some five places below us, but just a sing