Review of the 4th Round of F.A. Cup
After a very fun and eventful weekend of football, the F.A. Cup really gave us some surprises, loads of drama, some goal-packed games and several counts of controversy as Liverpool, Arsenal and Fulham all crashed out in the 4th Round.
- Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
While Wolverhampton Wanderers started off the action on Friday night, their docile 1-0 dismissal of non-league Chorley was not the cup cracker most fans were looking for. Any neutrals hoping for a enthralling tie at St. Mary’s were probably not too disappointed, with the home side in great form and playing a powerful side.
The same unfortunately can’t be said of Arsenal, who were defending the cup they had won merely six months ago. When the loved Gabonese striker and cup talisman last season Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to make the squad this time around, boss Mikel Arteta took a chance with Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah up front and it unfortunately didn’t work well.
It was another Gabriel, the Arsenal defender, who scored the winner, but sadly for Gunners fans all over the world, that was an unlucky touch on a roughened Kyle Walker-Peters cross to turn the ball past Bernd Leno into his own net. That ended up being the only goal of the game and The Saints will be moving on to a 5th Round tie against Wolves. The winner of that one, whomever it may be, really will be dreaming of Wembley, but for Arteta’s Arsenal, they don’t just want to focus on the Premier League – they have to.
- Brentford 1-3 Leicester City
A comeback win for Brendan Rodgers men was sealed in a second half display of bravery, strong will and quality as goals from Cengiz Under, Youri Tielemans and James Maddison saw The Foxes proceed to a home tie against Brighton in the following round.
Brentford showed a lot of determination in the first half and that was represented by their opening goal in the game. Mads Bech Sorensen nudged home after confusion took over in the Leicester ranks from a corner and in truth, while the Bees were barely buzzing, they provided enough of a sting to many of their attacks to guarantee going into the half-time break ahead by a feeler.
During the second half of the game, Leicester simply turned on the afterburners and were too fast for their Championship-level opposition. An equaliser from Turkish loanee from Roma Cengiz Under was full of quality, and a penalty only a few minutes later was transformed with clinical ease by Belgian Youri Tielemans to provide a 180 degree turn for the game.
A third ended the game 20 minutes later and it was not shocking that James Maddison was the one to provide it. After immaculate efforts in his last three games, a scruffy finish after a Marc Albrighton shot was saved would have been exactly what the former Norwich and Coventry man wanted – a fourth goal in as many games.
- Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool
In this throbbing encounter, pace, trickery and wide open teams were features of the game, all qualities that were missing in the less-than-ideal spectacle that occurred in the Premier League barely a week ago.
It was Liverpool who took the lead this time around, with Roberto Firmino turning provider for Mo Salah to speed past Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof into the box, scoring with a finish past Dean Henderson in the United goal.
The Red Devils were fearless, however, as you might expect for a side who has saved 21 Premier League points from trailing positions this season alone. United equalised thanks to Mason Greenwood, but it was a splendid 60-yard ball from Marcus Rashford which set it up. That combination brought forth Liverpool’s downfall, as all changed in the second half and Greenwood slotted Rashford through to push the Old Trafford side into the lead.
United probably thought they had already done enough to take control of the match, but that wasn’t the case. Liverpool rallied and equalised through Salah again as the Egyptian smashed in after a cut-back, once again beating Shaw to the ball. United drove on looking for a winner and their courage was in due course rewarded when Bruno Fernandes stepped up to curl a fantastic free-kick into the far right corner past the flailing arm of Alisson after Edinson Cavani was fouled on the edge of the Liverpool area.
The Merseysiders couldn’t find an equaliser and it is United who go through to host West Ham. Jurgen Klopp’s side have now failed to win in their last six games.
F.A. Cup 4th Round Results:
Friday 22nd January:
Chorley 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Saturday 23rd January:
Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
Barnsley 1-0 Norwich City
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Blackpool
Millwall 0-3 Bristol City
Sheffield United 2-1 Plymouth Argyle
Swansea City 5-1 Nottingham Forest
West Ham United 4-0 Doncaster Rovers
Cheltenham Town 1-3 Manchester City
Sunday 24th January:
Chelsea 3-1 Luton Town
Brentford 1-3 Leicester City
Fulham 0-3 Burnley
Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool
Everton 3-0 Sheffield Wednesday
Latest F.A. Cup Winners Odds:
Manchester City – 2/1
Manchester United – 5/1
Chelsea – 8/1
Leicester – 10/1
Tottenham Hotspur – 10/1
Everton – 16/1
Southampton – 18/1
West Ham United – 20/1
Wolves – 25/1
Sheffield United – 40/1
Burnley – 50/1
Brighton – 50/1
125/1 – Bar