We did have a zillion responses to Smiddy but we would prefer to move on. So send your FA Cup thoughts or Teams of the Season to email@example.com
Team of the season?
Considering it’s been a relatively uneventful day, it must be time to predict the team of the season. Especially (and ridiculously) considering that the players have to vote for their preferred lineup this month. I’m trying to be sensible and fair here and that means that I couldn’t fit a traditional striker in the team…
CB: Van Dijk
MF: D Silva
FA Cup musings
* That second-string midfield for Utd doesn’t inspire confidence – clearly they should not all play at the same time again if it can be helped. If you look at each Utd midfielder there is a weakness, A lot of them give away the ball too easily (Pogba, Fred, Pereira), some can’t pass quickly (Matic) or at all (Fellaini) and one is really just a trier (McTominay). Ole’s job for the next few months is going to be finding the right combination of them to play, especially when the one I haven’t mentioned is inevitably suspended .
* It says a lot that only Darmian came out with any credit, especially as for most people he should be on the next plane out due to being under utilised. These last two games have helped show some of these guys are probably just not up to standard and never will be expect some to be out of here by end of the month.
* Chong however gives us hope for the future. Not yet ready for the first team but showed some decent touches. Along with the rest of the youngsters he should gradually be blooded in games and get loans so we have options in two or three years.
* It hasn’t taken long for the annual bashing of the FA cup to happen and for the same straw man reasons here are a few counter points’:
*It almost feels like the FA Cup read the article where Stephen practically counted his Chickens (sorry) before the round was over. So joining Hudderfield and Cardiff are a set of recent Premier League winners and their Manager at the time they performed the great random act in Premiership history. There’s something poetic about it.
* The giant killings you’re so desirous of weren’t regular occurrences even in the cup’s hey day. A first round where four of the Premier League teams are eliminated by lower league opposition and two being forced into replays hardly meh course.
* Talking about the randomness of the Premier League is a bit rich in an era when the big six hardly lose to clubs outside their group, for example Liverpool haven’t dropped a point to a team outside the top six and Ole’s Utd are now being criticised for beating teams they are expected to and City were a crisis club after losing to Crystal Palace.
* The statistic about five of the last six teams outside the elite now spending their days in the lower divisions falls flat as well. Beyond the big six and the three teams that are relegated each year only 11 teams can actually survive relegation each year, do you know how many teams have survived every year in the Premier League since the year Portsmouth – one of the teams on your list – were relegated in 2010? Just one and that’s Everton.
* Rotation also occurs when a big team is playing a weaker team in the Premier League so why is rotation in the FA Cup a problem? These are squads of 25 players nowadays who need the game time. Totating also preserves the legs of the regulars particularly after the Christmas schedule. To paraphrase a famous old coach if they aren’t good enough to beat lower league opposition they shouldn’t be at the club.
* The early rounds also help young players break through. Who knows if those Reading fans may one day talk about how they were the first to see Chong? This weekend may convince Arsenal to forget about a 30 million signing and give Nketiah and Willock a chance. Who knows what will become of those Spurs lads that came on?
Hate the FA Cup all you want – it’s still a good palate cleanser and I for one am glad my team is still in it.
AFC Wimbledon created a piece of club history by making it into the 4th round draw for the first time since being founded in 2002. Having previously been knocked out at this stage by Liverpool and Spurs. For fans like myself that endured the 18-hour round trip, the last-minute winner more than made up for it!
Oh and the £135k round winnings is about the equivalent of our season budget. That FA Cup magic is well and truly alive.
Other fans can slag Liverpool off all they like but one thing you never see at Anfield is empty seats, no matter who we play.
A quick one on Scott Parker
First, I forgot he existed, then the memory of him winning PWA player of the year so flabbergasted me that I farted so long and hard that I almost shit myself.
Is n, Lfc htfd, CT USA
Anybody watch Star Sixes?
Well football finally came home to the English tonight in the form of the Star Sixes Soccer. Must say I really enjoyed the tournament over the three days. It was great to see some old faces on a pitch again. Was surprised at how ultra competitive it was, especially our Irish team, Stephen Hunt is a nut case.
England got some massive decisions go their way (David James should have walked) but think they deserved it over all.
Would be interested to see what other readers thought about it & if they enjoyed it as much as I did.
Kevin, L.F.C. Eíre
Love it, actually
I thought I’d enjoy your new year resolutions article. But I almost stopped reading after being horrified at the Brighton and Hove Albion item. utterly reprehensibly terrible festive tripe film ‘Love Actually’- WHAT?! That is the most beautiful film, I’ve watched it hundreds of times and I still cry on multiple occasions. And as for chucking the entire cast and crew into the sea (except for Emma Thompson), seriously? You wouldn’t save Alan Rickman? Yes I know he’s dead. Winty, he might not have slagged off Huddersfield but this is the next worst thing, dock his wages.
Rob (Mr Chicken, I’m going to set Liam Neeson after you.), Gravesend