Jan 28 2008
Before the fifth round draw of the FA cup, my sixth sense was telling me that Manchester United might get Arsenal, and when i saw the fifth round draw, I almost couldn’t believe it. Manchester United vs Arsenal, what a game that promises to be. Although i would have liked to see the two teams battling in the final, but I feel the game will be like a final. The teams are currently first and second in the league, and who can forget the classic 1999 semifinal which was settled by Ryan Giggs goal. The home advantage of United does give them a upper hand in the match but with these 2 sides, you just cant tell. Also as the ties take place during 16-17th Feb and both teams have big Champions League matches after some days, so it will be interesting to see what the teams might look like, which manager will give more importance to the FA cup. That can turn out to be a deciding factor here.
The magic of the cup lies in the fact that i opens a lot of opportunities for the non Premier League clubs also. This time we have only 6 Premier League teams left in the competition. And even after the fifth round, there will be at least 3 non Premier League teams in the quarter final. Although i don’t expect any of them to win the title, they do provide great matches and entertainment. Just look at the fourth round match between conference side Havant and Liverpool. Even though the score line of 5-2 suggests that Liverpool won it comfortably, that was not the case. Liverpool had to come from behind twice to beat them. Sheff Utd fought hard and knocked Manchester City out. These cup games can take so much pressure of the manager. Who might answer it better than Sheff Utd manager Bryan Robson who was booed by there own fans after loss to Sheff Wed but a Cup win against a Premier League club has changed all that and not to mention a home game against a Premier league club.
Liverpool and Chelsea have got relatively easy home games against Barnsley and Huddersfield. Portsmouth are traveling to face Preston. Portsmouth are another team that have a great chance in the cup. They have been fantastic this season in the league as well. Whatever happens , the next round is definitely going to be interesting.