FA Cup 4th round tonight as Arsenal face Manchester United.
There is a bed sheet going round on Twitter which states “Friday night TV, 4000 stolen tickets, The FA + Arsenal killing the FA Cup”.
Whilst I understand the sentiment and frustration of the fan, it is extremely misguided.
The FA have not done much to help the FA Cup. They have sold their soul to TV companies at home and abroad meaning that we now have Friday night and Monday night games. In the 3rd round, games were moved from 3pm to lunchtime despite not being on UK TV. This was to give foreign broadcasters a wider choice on who to show.
The rest of the banner is laughable.
Let’s take the tickets firstly.
Manchester United have not given 15% allocation for years. They have hidden behind health and safety and supported by the FA, so to talk about “stolen tickets” is a joke. Maybe they should petition their own club first to give away fans the right and proper ticket allocation?
Once Man U begins doing so, they might find other clubs doing the same to them.
Also he needs to question his fellow fans.
One of the problems at the Emirates is club level and executive boxes between upper and lower tier. This means that on FA Cup games, you could have away fans above and below Arsenal fans in the middle. This would be OK if fans could behave themselves, but they can not.
There have been numerous stories over the years of fans in club level being spat on, coins being thrown and, disgustingly, cups of urine dropped from the upper tier. If you can not behave yourself, do not expect to get a full ticket allocation.
As for killing the FA Cup, let me take your mind back to 1999.
Manchester United had just won the Champions League, completing a historic treble. They were due to take part in the inaugural World Team Championship. It take place between the 4th and 15th of January, meaning that they would miss FA Cup 3rd Round day.
Mancheaster United accepted an offer from the FA to not play in the cup.
The FA wanted United to play in the new tournament in Brazil – because they believe it could aid England’s 2006 World Cup bid. England lost their bid and Man U did not even make it out of their group.
It was that day the cup died.
Both Man U and the FA decided that the competition was low priority. That teams could just “skip” it to play elsewhere. So if United fans want someone to blame for “killing the FA Cup”, by all means blame the FA, but also blame your own club.
Manchester United are more to blame for the dying FA Cup than any other side.
In other news Tottenham confirmed it would be 11 years without a trophy last night as they crashed out of the League Cup to Chelsea.
I had to laugh during the game as the caption came up on the screen when Sky showed Maurico Pochettino and Maurizio Sarri.
Pochettino’s said “252nd game in charge of Spurs” whilst Sarri’s said “Still yet to win his first major honour”. It was the same captions in the first league.
This highlights the pro-Tottenham agenda within the media.
Yes, Sarri is still looking for his first major honour, but so is Pochettino. Why is it relevant to mention it about the Chelsea manager, but not the Tottenham? It is almost like the media are trying to hide the fact the Pochettino is in his 10th season as a manager, his 5th at Spurs, and has nothing to show for it.
As for those saying “he is only 46”. Well before Unai Emery is only 47-years-old. At 46 he had already won 3 Europa League’s with Sevilla and 7 trophies with PSG in France.
It is clear who the serial winner is…
Arsenal have been lined with PSG central midfielder Christopher Nkunku.
I would normally have written this off as his agent linking his client with Arsenal to get him in the British press – with the hope of a move to a Premier League club. However the move has been confirmed by David Ornstein.
A few have said “but what abut Ainsley Maitland-Niles”., and they do have a point.
On paper Nkunku and Maitland-Niles do seem similar. Central midfielders who are versatile, and the same age. But we should not see it as Nkunku replacing Maitland-Niles, but repalcing Ramsey.
Emery clearly likes playing 3 central midfielders. As it stands we have Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi, Mohamed Elneny and Maitland-Niles. We ideally need 6 if we are going to play 3, so we need to buy.
Rather than go for an ageing talent in Ever Banega, we are targeting a youngster with talent. This is the type of recruitment we need to get back to. Players under 25 who can develop, rather than on established players who command a high wage and have no sell on value.
And Nkunku would also be a replacement for Elneny.
We get Nkunku, we then have 4 central midfielders who are 22 or under – with Xhaka the elder statesman at just 26. It would then be an area of the park that we would not have to invest in for a couple of years.
Finally sad news from France.
Thierry Henry has been sacked by Monaco.
It does not come as much of a surprise. Monaco was a sinking ship having got into bed again with Jorge Mendes. They moved away from what had won them the league – signing and developing bright young talent – and returned to signing ageing has-beens.
It was a tough job for Henry to take. One that he was always likely to struggle at. He has not helped himself with some of his comments, however you can see his frustration with some of the overpaid senior players.
Some people are saying “thank god we didn’t employ Henry” but to judge him on his first job would not make sense.
Henry clearly loves the game, and has a lot to give. Monaco was just the wrong job.
He could do with going to a club filled with young talent, where he can develop that talent – both the bodies and mind. A bit like what Frank Lampard is doing at Derby. I hope he gets another chance.