Gilder's Weekend Review
Although the FA Cup may be dying a slow death it was certainly alive and kicking this weekend.
It was brilliant the way that Crawley and Leyton Orient both did themselves proud against their more illustrious opponents with Orient earning themselves a money spinning replay the Emirates. However the first question I would put to readers is this. How can English football revive the FA Cup?
Despite two magical stories being told at the weekend attendances at Stoke and Birmingham were sorely below average for a league game. Personally, I feel that the FA have a good set of plans to help revive the competition. Mid-week matches would create better atmospheres for matches and free-up some weekends in the second half of the season for a potential winter break. The scrapping of replays would deny a small club the chance of potential money spinning replay but it would allow supporters to go to a game knowing they will see a result. The only part of the FA's plans I would scrap would be the seeded draw. The FA Cup is magic because the draw is totally open. Manchester Utd could just as easily draw Liverpool as Crawley and that is how the FA Cup gets it's magic moments.
The weekend also saw the race for Promotion to the Premiership become even closer. With Forest beating Cardiff and Leeds and Norwich sharing the points there are just 5 points separating places 2-7. Who do you think will make it to the Promised Land?
I am pretty certain QPR will win the league and I fancy Cardiff still to take second given their depth of squad and proven quality. I have a feeling Leeds' poor defence could be their undoing with Leicester pipping them to the last play-off spot.
The last week has also been an impressive one for English clubs in the Champions League. Tottenham overcame the histrionics of the San Siro to claim a famous 1-0 victory. Can Spurs really be the dark horses of the Champions League?
Arsenal also kept themselves in with a realistic chance of winning all four trophies by beating Barcelona at the Emirates. Can Arsenal cause an upset at the Nou Camp, and has Jack Wilshere booked his regular place in England's midfield with his impressive display against Iniesta and Xavi?
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