What transpired in this weekend England’s premier cup competition was on par with three number one seeds losing to 16 seeds in the NCAA tournament in the same weekend.
When the dust settled, only three teams in the top ten of the premier league standings had advanced, with the top three teams eliminated, and two more facing replays after struggling against profoundly inferior sides.
Top of the table Chelsea was unceremoniously bounced after League One side Bradford City over came a two goal deficit at Stamford Bridge, only to reel off four unanswered goals to send Mourinho’s men packing with their dashed trophy dreams in tow.
Second-placed Manchester City decided not to show up against a Middlesborough team that displayed heart and grit as they grinded two goals out at the Emirates. Now the Championship division side will face the tournament’s new favorites, Arsenal.
While City was being out-hustled and Chelsea bleeding out, Southhampton was also was outlasted 3-2…by Crystal Palace.
Within the span of mere minutes, the top three teams in the EPL vanished from the FA cup.
United couldn’t muster a goal against Cambridge, and Liverpool now must travel to Bolton for a replay as well after that tie ended goalless.
It was a funky weekend to say the absolute least, and now the defending champion Gunners are in prime position to repeat.
There has been much debate over the significance of the English Football Association Cup. What used to be the Super Bowl of Britain has been slowly relegated to second tier viewing, but this weekend’s outcomes have ramifications far beyond the knockout competition.
There will be no consolation prize for our two powerhouses, Chelsea and Manchester City. Now Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini’s season ending appeal to their oil rich owners, if they are pipped by their rivals for England’s top prize, the premier league, may fall on deaf ears when their fates will be decided.
United and Liverpool, who are in dire need of statement making after underwhelming campaigns are performing in ways comparable to the Yankees and Red Sox struggling against AA baseball teams in the playoffs.
Arsene Wenger is sitting pretty, and he has made it clear how much preference he will give this tournament. Why shouldn’t he be focusing on a repeat? Bringing another FA Cup, in all its tacky Budweiser adorned glory, would tell the haters that last year was no fluke.