Rantlines: Why I Love The FA Cup, Liverpool Right For Once, Beckham at Arsenal, Barton out of Jail, and More.

07 January 2008

To be honest Friday night I wasn't looking forward to this weekend. While I was going to enjoy the FA Cup Third Round for what it was, I honestly didn't expect a shock result...
Then Chasetown took the lead on Cardiff City. From that point forward you couldn't get me away from doing everything I knew possible to follow this weekend. Even though the lead didn't last the remaining first half, Chasetown have nothing to be ashamed of. For a bunch of part timers who weren't expected to give the Championship side much trouble, for the opening half an hour they were the better side.
Then the glut of traditional kickoffs came, and while I was following the club I support closely, I couldn't stop myself from hitting refresh on Sporting Life and BBC's general roundup of the day. The TV had Ipswich Town v Portsmouth and I must say for everyone who has complained about Liam Trotter's sending off, the decision was the correct one. Just because the second foot didn't make contact (or get more than two inches off the ground), doesn't mean that both feet did not leave the ground...because they did. Have these players not been reading about the two footed sending offs that we have seen lately? I know I'm in the minority, but upon seeing the replay again, Mark Halsey made the letter of the law correct decision (and isn't that what everyone cries about them not making in the first place). That said, Ipswich missed way too many chances, and were undone by David Nugent's goal. In reality, it should have gone to replay.
Other thoughts from the shocks of the round:
Blackburn Rovers 1 Coventry City 4: Well done by the cash strapped Championship side. If you can find a clip of Dele Adebola's goal to make it 0-3, do it because it was a thing of beauty.
Everton 0 Oldham Athletic 1. In my honest opinion the shock of the FA Cup Third Round Proper that resulted in a side going through. Despite Everton having plenty of scoring chances to put this game away, it was a peach of a goal from Gary McDonald that knocked sixth place Everton out of the competition. At least David Moyes admitted his side blew it.
Huddersfield Town 2 Birmingham City 1. Two massive mistakes at the back were all Huddlesfield Town needed. Birmingham City may have gotten back in the tie, however as has been the case all season, their defense exposed massive holes that the League One side pounced on. I wonder if Alex McLeish is wishing he had the comfort of the Scotland job now?
Bolton Wanderers 0 Sheffield United 1. When you're Gary Megson and you are playing Championship opposition what do you do? You end up giving seven starters off and rendering your side a Championship club. It's fine and dandy to be negative, however if you're unable to get results with it as has been the case lately, it makes you wonder if the players have already tuned out their manager and are looking for a new team to call home? You simply cannot wait until late to start going for goal.
Swansea City 1 Havant and Waterlooville 1: Swansea City have nothing to complain about. Four off the woodwork, plenty of other chances, and it took a goal not in open play to get their goal. Swansea City then become the stupidest team in the FA Cup by deciding that having a man advantage just wasn't good enough and start a fight after Brett Poate goes two footed studs up and rightfully gets sent off. At least that scuffle saw fists fly. Havant and Waterlooville had spirit and were well worthy of the equalizer after Swansea City forgot how to find a seven yard by seven foot box.
However the biggest shock of this FA Cup Third Round Proper happened at Kenilworth Road where in administration Luton Town dominated Liverpool from the opening kickoff until the final whistle in getting a 1-1 draw and much needed money with a replay coming at Anfield. Despite a few nervous back passes from Luton, the second resulting in a harsh opener from Peter Crouch, Luton were justly rewarded for their hard play when three minutes later, Luton Town's equalizer came off the arm of John Arne Riise. In all the football I have watched as a neutral since I've started following this sport, this game will forever remain in my mind. In all honestly, Luton Town should have won the game as they had the best chances, but if Rafa is hell bent on this rotation policy, they have a legit chance to win the replay.
Another thing that shocked me this weekend was the number of Premier League sides that bastardized the competition by fielding weakened sides, ultimately paying the price for it. We knew when the weekend ended, at least 4 would be out as they were the Premier League v Premier League ties. However by the time Saturday was over, at least eight would be out and by the time games were concluded today, we could have only 8 Premier League teams left in the FA Cup if results go to all the lower league sides in replays. To those teams who did field weaken teams, was being knocked out of the competition worth it? The vast majority of the fans still love a deep cup run and let's be honest about it, a place in Europe is still up for grabs. While we know there will be at least eight Premier League teams left, there is a very good chance that Stoke City, Bristol Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday can get results in the replay, meaning that less than half of the Premier League sides that started in this Third Round will have been Chasetowned. Boy those players must be proud of that fact.

All of that said, time to get on with some more rants. These should be fun.
I hate agreeing with Liverpool on too many occasions, but for once they are right. They are right that they shouldn't be the ones who break the rules of the competition and give Luton their portion of the gate money. If Luton Town had to be frank about it, is 100,000 pounds going to keep them in business more than one extra week? In reality it would be like putting a tiny band-aid on a wound that is a foot long and gushing blood. While I feel for the players who haven't been paid the wages they signed on for, I'm tired of reading about the sob stories. At least Luton Town did earn the replay, and I do hope they are able to find someone to purchase the club and get them out of the problems they are in. However don't go begging for money you know you do not deserve.

Can anyone on earth please explain to me why the media is making a big deal about an over the hill man training at Arsenal? With hair that is grayer than my old man's David Beckham took to training with Arsenal reserves in the .01 percent chance that he will get his 100th cap. Honestly it is high time for Capello to end the charade that is going on and just point blank state if Beckham has a prayer for a cap or not. Frankly he doesn't deserve it anymore. Another DB, David Bentley, can do the same exact thing and if he's forced to can do a bit of defending. It's embarrassing that David Beckham has worried more about getting his 100th cap for England than he has for playing for the Los Angeles Galaxy. What's even sadder is if Beckham does get the cap, where would it stop? Beckham, worry about staying fit for a season and not on the treatment table. Your days of playing international football are simply finished.

So Joey Barton ended up out of prison after all. However he won't be playing football anytime soon. I'm sorry but couldn't the work that those at Sporting Chance Clinic want to do with Barton be done while he is behind bars? To me, Barton is leaving where he should be and going to a vacation spot (with a curfew) where he won't be subjected to what he deserves. Football be damned, this player is a disgrace to the profession. The lawyers should leave this one alone, saying sorry cannot make us forget what he's done throughout the course of his life.

The Long and Short of Quick Rants
Maybe he's too young, but why would anyone bother trying to start something with Dennis Wise? You are only asking for trouble and a quick funeral.
You have to love Frank Lampard for a blatant lie. He maybe sincere in his words about wanting to stay with Chelsea until he retires, but anyone with a brain knows he will more than likely leave the club once Jose Mourinho is managing another club.
Sucks to be Tottenham after Alan Hutton told them no. I guess he realized he would have to do all the work at the back and it just wouldn't be worth it. If Tottenham are going to get any defenders at this rate, they better have four of them ready to sign before any of them say yes.
Boy Sunderland have some guts after picking up Jonny Evans on loan. I guess though it would be wise for Evans to get away from Manchester United with a rape allegation hanging over his head. However with his second spell at the club, Sunderland may as well sign the lad.
It's never a good thing when your own players are saying getting the title doesn't look likely. It's doesn't help matter that player is Steve Finnan. Unfortunate for Liverpool fans, he's right.
Well I have to give Manchester United credit for this one. If this number is true, the club is right for valuing Ronaldo at seventy-five million pounds. If Real Madrid are that stupid (and sometimes I wonder), at least Manchester United can take that money and get about five or six more players.
I am a bit shocked that Robbie Savage is ready to leave Blackburn Rovers. I'm even more shocked he wants to play for Derby County. I guess he must enjoy the thought of playing in the Championship.

Until I write again, may the debate begin! To comment, go here.

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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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