After a two-week gap for the F.A. Cup and League Cup to take center stage, the Premier League returns to action this weekend, with the top two teams facing each other on Saturday. Before looking at that Chelsea vs Manchester City game, here’s a recap of what happened in the cup tournaments over the last fortnight.
F.A. Cup 4th Round
Last weekend was possibly the biggest collection of upsets in a single round of the F.A. Cup, none were bigger than the one that occurred at Stamford Bridge. Early on, it seemed as though League One’s Bradford City were going to take a hiding, as they fell behind 2-0 to Chelsea inside half an hour. However, the Bantams pulled one back before half time, then scored three more after the break to record an astonishing 4-2 victory over the current leaders of the Premier League. It was only the second time in either of Jose Mourinho’s spells in charge of the Blues that he has lost at home inside 90 minutes to another club from the English leagues – the other being Sunderland last season.
Manchester City exited the tournament at the exact same time, as they also lost at home to lower division opponents, as Middlesbrough triumphed 2-0 at the Etihad. The reigning champions had returned from a trip to the United Arab Emirates less than 24 hours before the match kicked off (in part due to a delayed flight, but mostly because of ridiculous planning to fit in lucrative friendlies in their owner’s home Emirate, Abu Dhabi). However, City still played pretty much their best players, so nothing should be taken away from Boro’s achievement.
In comparison to those two results, Manchester United’s 0-0 draw away at League Two’s Cambridge seems like a positive scoreline, especially since they now have a home replay to try to progress to the fifth round of a wide-open competition. Only United and Arsenal – who overcame a resilient Brighton comeback to win 3-2 – remain in the F.A. Cup out of the current top 6 in the Premier League, since Southampton were beaten 3-2 at home by Palace; while Leicester scored twice in the final 10 minutes to eliminate Spurs 2-1 at White Hart Lane. Bolton held Liverpool to a draw at Anfield; Blackburn knocked out Swansea 3-1; and the match between Sunderland and Fulham at the Stadium of Light ended goalless. Continue reading