FA Cup Fourth Round Saturday, Open Thread

The fourth round of the FA Cup today offers too very explosive matches for all of the wrong reasons. Let’s hope the off-the-field drama involving QPR and Chelsea plus Liverpool and Manchester United doesn’t spill over to the pitch. The sooner we get the handshake or no handshake behind us, as well as the whole Patrice Evra incident, the better. Today should be a day to concentrate our focus back on the football that’s played on the pitch.

For viewers in the United States, there’ll be three other FA Cup games televised in addition to QPR/Chelsea and Liverpool/Man United. Those are Leicester against Swindon (a battle between two up-and-coming teams), Derby against Stoke City (a chance for American-owned Derby to try to get a Premier League scalp) and then, last but not least, Brighton against Newcastle. Brighton manager Gus Poyet’s side started off the season very well, but may find it too tough to beat Newcastle at their brand-new stadium. However, if Newcastle’s defense plays anything like they did against Fulham last week, anything is possible.

Starting line-ups:

Manchester United: De Gea, Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Park, Welbeck.

Liverpool: Reina, Kelly, Enrique, Agger, Skrtel, Carragher, Henderson, Gerrard, Downing, Maxi, Carroll.

Before, during and after today’s FA Cup matches, post your rants, raves, questions and observations in the comments section below.

51 thoughts on “FA Cup Fourth Round Saturday, Open Thread”

  1. Can’t see anything other than a resounding Chelsea win today.
    QPR are thankfully going to get relegated back to the league where they belong.

  2. So, after all that, QPR and Chelsea decided not to have both teams do handshakes, so they had the captains and match officials do handshakes instead. Crisis averted.

    The Gaffer

  3. I wish the booing of Evra would stop. Like Mark Lawrenson said on BBC Five Live, enough is enough. Let’s get on with the game instead of constantly booing Evra. The French left back got the message.

    The Gaffer

  4. Congratulations to Liverpool. One of their best weeks in years? They’re now in the driving seat in the FA Cup with Manchester City and United out. And they’re favorites to win the Carling Cup.

    At this rate, Liverpool could end up winning more trophies this season than Manchester United.

    The Gaffer

  5. For all of Manchester United’s possession, 57%, they didn’t create too much. Very disappointing. Evra’s poor defending against Kuyt cost them the game.

    The booing of Evra was actaully not as loud as that of Terry in the Chelsea-QPR game. At least as heard on TV.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the Liverpool-United game. Typical FA Cup tie and both teams did their part in making sure it was a hard-fought game. Also was nice to see the players being professional and not let the Suarez-Evra situation affect them on the pitch. This is the type of game with all the passion on display that more Americans should be exposed to. Nothing like it. Well done to both teams for a well-played game.

    Now let’s hope Sunderland win tomorrow.

  6. DeGea is the highest paid #2 goaltender in the BPL.he was awful today.M Kelly has a lot of potential good pace and strong body.if you can fault SAF he can not pick out goaltenders he does not have a good track record.i know Peter S and Van Dar Sar after those two a whole lot of nothing.

    1. jtm, DeGea was not awful – he was nervous and wanting of confidence – yes. He probably could have been more decisive on the first goal but he is not the reason they lost today.

    2. You’re forgetting this American kid he saw that now plays for that tiny club called Everton…

      De Gea is in desperate need for a loan out. Right now Lindegaard is playing at a significantly higher level.

  7. Maybe if De Gea wasn’t busy giving Carrol a giant push in the back he would have saved Agger’s header that trimmed his hair.

  8. so if he was to blame for the first goal would the match ended 1/1.his distribution was awful he gave away a corner that he could have let go.he did not know if he could pick up the ball or if it was a back pass.DeGea is immature and weak no command of his area.don’t forget he is paid to do his job he is not a apprentice.you don’t come to MUFC to build your confidence

    1. JTM, your points are well taken, I’m not going to argue for DeGea, he’s not a typical Manchester United type keeper, how Sir Alex allowed Manuel Neur to slip through his hands is beyond me. Years later, I’m still scratching my head on how Fergie didn’t get Van der Sar the first time round from Juve.

      I was surprised that Lindergaard did not start. As Matt said, perhaps the Spaniard should be loaned out to get some rhythm and confidence back – he needs to be built up in the gym during the summer, he’s far too (physically) lightweight to be a top keeper in the PL.

      1. i did not think i was way off base.i agree loan him out the only problem with that think of the stick SAF would take.how SAF could not get Neur is beyond me.Lindergaard has to see out the rest of the season if they think they can catch city.great post!ENJOY

      2. Neuer always wants to go to Bayern, like most of German players. Fergie wanted to get VDS straight from Juve but VDS had a horrible time at Juve that he wanted to be in a “more relaxed” atmosphere.
        I personally wanted Fergie to sign Marten Stekelenburg from Ajax: he’s experienced and more, he’s cheap (his contract ran out last summer). De Gea reminds me of David James

  9. Credit to Dalglish and Ferguson shaking hands amicably and smiling at each other before the game. Helped ease the tension loads. The booing of Evra wasn’t ideal, but it was to be expected. Liverpool players looked tired and the pace of the game was almost at a crawl compared to the City game, as United did not ever really seem to kick into gear either despite all the possession. A draw would’ve been a fair result, but luckily for Liverpool, Kuyt got his 50th goal at the death and crucially, the winner. All in all, surprisingly clean game with only one booking? and a lot of effort even if the quality was lacking at times. The Manc clubs seem to be having their own little tit tat game going on at the moment but nice way to cap off what has been a great week for Liverpool.

    1. There’s always a mutual respect between Dalglish and Fergie. Heck, anyone ever read Dalglish autobiography and notice who wrote the forewood ? No other than Fergie.
      A lot of people/fans could learn from this. They might not like each other, they might be extremely competitive but there’s always a certain degree of respect. And fans need to learn to respect: it’s ok to dislike but let’s leave the hate, soccer it’s too beautiful for that.

  10. For all his hard work, Carroll looked about as average as it gets. It’s almost as if he’s not capable of anything better…

    1. I disagree. He was the one who assisted on the Dirk Kuyt goal. Plus he hit the crossbar late in the game. I thought this was one of the better games he’s played recently.

      The Gaffer

      1. I definitely agree that this was his best game in awhile, but that isn’t saying much. He’s only now putting forth the effort that was needed months ago. I agree with Colin too; with his height, he simply has to be winning the balls in the air. His movement is all too predictable. Teams have long since caught onto the tactic of dumping balls in the box, and for the most part, come out on top against this gentle giant.

  11. Carroll only came alive in the last few minutes. Otherwise he was mediocre. maybe today’s win might give him the confidence to push forward. I thought the commenattor who kept criticizing carroll for his lack of mobility and positioning was right on the money.

  12. Carrol should have his supposed aerial dominance to win balls, something he was quite ineffective with this afternoon gaffer, isn’t that the role of a center forward? To win those 50/50 aerial battles against the likes of Carrick, Evans, and even Scholes and to hold up play up top?. Regardless if he played provider for Kuyt’s winner, the lethargic big oaf was average at best on this day

    1. He’s still not getting the service he needs. The one time he did get a good ball from Downing, he hit the crossbar from a tight angle.

      The Gaffer

      1. Completely disagree with the service argument. He’s had PLENTY of service over the course of the season. LFC are something like second or third in the league in creating chances. He’s not creating space for himself inside the area or winning headers to make something happen on the end of those crosses. Also, and this has been noted by others, he often feigns going to the far post as the play is developing then inexplicably darts AWAY from goal as the cross comes in. This happened several times yesterday as well. The ONE time he finally did what he should always be doing, attacking that far post, he won the ball and rattled a header off the bar.

        1. Aaron – Andy Carroll can be his own worst enemy I agree but, like Torres he needs a certain type of set up and service to flourish, and if their respective clubs don’t have the courage to implement a cohesive link, they should have never bought either striker in the first place.

          Carroll’s form, work-rate, positioning, and quality aside, Downing and Adam have both woeful at creating chances for their strikers this season. Downing, in particular, has been horrible. Giggs at 38, still whips in peaches with his eyes closed, Downing couldn’t do half as much with two hands.

  13. Praise goes to referee Mark Halsey. After all the criticism for referees in recent weeks, we should compliment a referee who does a great job. It was a fast-paced match full of excitement and back and forth playe. This was because Halsey refrained from hiding behind the cards. Everyone is so quick is jump down referee’s throats these days, but Halsey allowed the game to flow.

  14. I watched the match late tonight, so this post is a bit behind everyone else, but let me just say, I found the booing of Evra to be quite despicable. A stadium full of white people booing a black guy for speaking out about being racially abused by another player….hardly a shining moment in football history. I’m sure it’s not indicative of all the people of Liverpool, nor all their fans, but it was rather an uncomfortable thing to watch.

    1. They’ve ALWAYS booed Evra, though it was definitely louder this time. So what? LFC supporters do not feel the case made by the commission on the FA’s behalf was at all proven, and to be sure, there’s not a single person in this or any other board who can point to a scintilla of proof other than hearsay. Evra takes the brunt of this enchantment because he’s become the symbol of a farcical process where, in England, such cases are supposed to be legally ironclad, a la Terry. If this case didn’t have sufficient evidence that the legal system MANDATES in cases of racism, it should not have been levied. THAT’S why LFC supporters are adamant in their support of Suarez.

      1. Thank you. I don’t know why this is so hard for people to understand.

        I’m perplexed by the criticisms being leveled at Liverpool fans for booing Evra. Should they have cheered him and presented him with a bouquet of flowers? For f*cks sake, it’s just booing. If poor fragile Patrice can’t keep his head on straight because of that then that’s his problem.

  15. JC, you obviously know very little about soccer fans in Britain. If you think the booing was bad you should try and listen to the chants by fans. It’s much worse. Actually, even United fans are bad towards one of their own when they sing about Park, their S. Korean player, and sing about him eating dogs which is not well received by S. Koreans.

    1. I don’t think David quite understands British humo(u)r.

      Celebrating Park’s heritage AND having a dig at the Scousers… all in the same chant. That’s bloody brilliant!

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