The FA Cup is the tournament where giant slayers in the mold of Jack are born. In a tournament involving clubs from all tiers of English football, it has become tradition for low clubs to punch above their weight and write their name in the history books. This weekend proved that the tradition still holds strong, with the only top five teams to avoid defeat being Manchester United and Arsenal.
Tottenham Hotspurs vs. Leicester City (1-2): Leicester City, currently battling at the bottom of the table, may have finally found a source of solace. They played a spoiler role to the Spurs in a surprising revival of their season.
The Spurs were up a goal courtesy of an Andros Townsend penalty, when six minutes before time, Leicester equalized through Leonardo Ulloa. Jeff Schlupp then scored the winner two minutes into injury time, preventing the game from advancing to extra time. Let us hope the Foxes (Leicester) can continue this form in the regular league.
Chelsea vs. Bradford City (2-4): An unimaginable result by any standards. The match was a classic example of why we love this game called football: the thirst to win no matter what, the courage in the face of overwhelming odds and the passion to make their dreams a reality. Bradford City will be on cloud nine after knocking the current Premier League leaders (Chelsea FC) out of the FA Cup. Chelsea were already two goals up courtesy of Gary Cahill and Ramirez when Bradford proceeded to turn the game on its head with Chelsea reject Filipe Morais scoring the equalizer after Jon Stead had scored to ignite the comeback.
The Bradford boys kept up with their Chelsea counterparts throughout the game and extracted four goals from one of the stingiest defenses in Europe. “Even though the Blues made nine changes from their Capital One Cup semi-final squad, their starting lineup was still estimated to have cost around £98m, compared to Bradford’s £7,500” (source: Sky News). The win is all the sweeter for Bradford after Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho commented on the disgrace it would be to lose against such a low-level team.
Manchester City vs. Middlesbrough United (0-2): Middlesbrough United pulled off a huge upset by knocking out current Premier League title holders Man City. Manchester City were the better side in the first half, although United were able to score the only goal of the half and hold on that lead. The goalkeeper (formerly of Real Madrid) Mejias had the game of his career, stopping all efforts to score against him.
Manuel Pellegrini attempted some tactical changes to give City a goal, but it ended up being all for naught as Lampard’s trademark last minute shot hit the woodwork. Middlesbrough then did the unthinkable and scored a second through substitute Kike.
Southampton vs. Crystal Palace (2-3): Southampton were given a reminder of how quickly luck can change. It was a shock for the in-form team that has only just become comfortable with the idea of shaking up the traditional balance of power in the Premier League, where they are currently third place.
On the flip side Alan Pardew as the new manager of Crystal Palace will be ecstatic to see the club he played for and now manages respond so quickly to management under him. If he plays his cards right, it might just be possible for Palace to escape relegation, and even win a title if luck is on his side.