After the mild excitement of the Third and Fourth rounds of the FA Cup, it is now time for equally mild FA Cup 5th round.
Although one could argue that it is actually an FA Cup 5th round that offers more than most previous edition with not one but two Non League teams remaining. That hasn’t happened since…well we’ll get back to you on that one.
But with Lincoln City and Sutton United headlining the minnows and 6 other non EPL sides from the Championship (4) and League One (2) , it is 50-50 with EPL and Non EPL.
BIG 6 IS NOW 5
5 of the big 6 remain though, and they all avoided each in the FA Cup 5th round, which is great for all their chances to win the Cup, and for Broadcasters to show all of the teams. One of them will win it, unless we see a massive cupset or they all draw each other next round.
One lesson from the 4th round which saw Liverpool knocked out by Wolves and Spurs almost embarrassed by 4th tier Wycombe is the teams used. Whilst there is a chance to play lesser names against the lesser teams, why not put a strong team to begin with.
Instead of starting with a much weaker sides and go 2-0 down against the relative minnows and having to bring on the best players anyway to attempt to get the win in a panic, why not start with your best first and go 2 or 3 nil up and then take them off at half time. If it is tight then leave them on depending on how much you want to win it. If it isn’t job done, through to next round, best players handed cotton wool.
Or perhaps the FA Cup could allow 5 or 6 substitutions to give the teams more options of squad rotation and keeping fans happy. FIFA probably don’t allow it, although can’t see why not as it would be more exposure for the sponsor with the sub board held by the fourth official.
Everyone talks about the Magic/Romance/Something Fluffy about the FA Cup, yet most teams from the EPL and Championship (who only bother joining in the third round) send out weak or very weak sides and the only teams who seem to truly care and take it seriously are the lower league minnows and Non League sides. Thankfully there are still some of those left to cheer for.
One of them, Sutton United, could give Arsenal an even bigger embarrassment than their Champions League result from yesterday as they venture to south London and their synthetic pitch.
Talking about cheering for minnows, here are our FA Cup 5th round selections. Similar to our weekly EPL tips, we are taking on a opponent with a head to head tips battle. And similar to our weekly EPL tips that opponent is a little silly.
In the tradition of Paul the tipping Octopus from the 2010 World Cup, we have enlisted a Dog to provide selections, and see whether we are smarter than a dog.
THE GURGLER’S FA CUP 5TH ROUND SELECTIONS
BURNLEY to beat Lincoln
MANCHESTER CITY or DRAW v Huddersfield
OXFORD or DRAW v Middlesbrough
MILLWALL to beat Leicester
CHELSEA to beat Wolves
SPURS or DRAW v Fulham
MANCHESTER UNITED to beat Blackburn
SUTTON UNITED or DRAW v Arsenal
$1 for $113
THE DOG’S FA CUP 5TH ROUND SELECTIONS
DRAW – Burnley v Lincoln
DRAW – Manchester City v Huddersfield
MIDDLESBROUGH to beat Oxford
LEICESTER to beat Millwall
CHELSEA to beat Wolves
FULHAM to beat Spurs
BLACKBURN to beat Manchester United
ARSENAL to beat Sutton Utd
$1 for $3,497
FA CUP 5TH ROUND TV FIXTURES
Times in Qld Summer Time
Saturday 10:25pm – Burnley v Lincoln
Sunday 12:55am – Huddersfield v Man City
Sunday 3:25am – Wolves v Chelsea
Sunday 11:55pm – Fulham v Spurs
Monday 2:10am – Blackburn v Man Utd
Tuesday 5:50am – Sutton v Arsenal
ALL ON ESPN on Foxtel.