FA working on fixture mess

The Football Association is attempting to sort out the fixture mess that was caused by the FA Cup quarter-final draw between Manchester United and Chelsea.

Last Updated: 11/03/13 at 14:28 Post Comment

Everything hinges on Chelsea's Europa League encounter with Steaua Bucharest at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

If Rafael Benitez's men are able to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit, they would qualify for a quarter-final that would be played in the two midweeks immediately prior to the confirmed FA Cup semi-final dates of April 13 and 14.

The preceding international break rules out United heading to Chelsea for the right to play Manchester City in the last four any earlier, as it is impractical to cancel Premier League fixtures due to be played this weekend as some have suggested.

It would leave the FA either asking for matches on Easter weekend - United visit Sunderland and Chelsea head to Southampton, both for TV fixtures - to be postponed, or those on the following weekend, which would include the Manchester derby.

The FA might be loath to do that, though, because it merely stacks up a problem for later in the season, with matches from this weekend, and those due to be played when the semi-finals take place, already needing to be rearranged.

That would force Chelsea into sandwiching the replay at the start of a midweek that also involves a European commitment.

Even that is not straightforward as Fulham are due to entertain QPR on Easter Monday, April 1, and local police are unlikely to sanction a cup tie on the same day.

The following Monday is when United are set to entertain City, although that fixture was set to be pushed back to the previous Saturday had Sir Alex Ferguson's men made it past Real Madrid in the Champions League.

An additional complication is whether Chelsea get drawn to play at home first, or away in the Europa League draw when it is made on Friday.

These complications would disappear if Benitez's men fail to make it past Steaua this week, with the replay then likely to be played during the first week of April, even though UEFA prefers major countries not to arrange domestic fixtures at the same time as their competitions.

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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