Another FA Cup round down, another massive upset. Continuing on the theme of the FA Cup this season, a Premier League club falls victim to a lower-league club. The unexpected victim this time around – Arsenal. So how many other 2nd and 3rd tier squads knocked out a Premier League squad? Read below and I will be nice and keep count for you.
The first few rounds of the FA Cup produced huge upsets from low level competition. Newcastle started off the major upsets by losing to Championship League Brighton & Hove Albion…losing 2-0. (Big upset tally = 1) Brighton & Hove Albion would put up a fight against Arsenal in the following round and ended up with a respectable result by only losing 3-2. Then, a not as surprising result saw Sunderland lose to recently relegated Bolton 2-0. (Big upset tally = 2)
The next round began with another Premier League squad falling to a Championship League squad: Aston Villa falling to Millwall. (Big upset tally = 3) A rather shocking upset also occurred this round when Norwich fell to Luton Town (who?) 1-0. (Big upset tally = 4) Luton Town was just happy to be in the 4th round.
They probably burnt the town down after the Norwich victory.
Continuing the theme here, Milton Keynes Dons, a League One side, knocked off a rather disappointing QPR squad 4-2. (Big upset tally = 5)
Two of the largest upsets occurred on the same day. A mid-table Championship League Leeds United beat a resurgent Tottenham side 2-1. (Big upset tally = 6) The most impressive upset of the FA Cup, in my opinion, was when Liverpool fell to a bottom of League One table Oldham Athletic (once again, who?)
Ohhh THAT Oldham Athletic (said no one). (Big upset tally = 7)
That brings us to the most recent upset of the Cup – Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to recently relegated Blackburn Rovers 1-0. Blackburn was more than satisfied to pack the box on defense and let Arsenal hold all the possession they wanted. Without the creativity of Wilshere and Cazorla for 3/4 of the match, Arsenal lacked the creativity needed to breakdown a conservative defensive approach. Blackburn got a rather fortunate bounce on a Szczesny save that came right to Kazim-Richards and his mishit shot looped into the back of the net in slow motion. I am in complete agreement with Arseblog’s Murphey’s Law reference in that whatever could go wrong seems to have gone wrong for Arsenal this season. A Capital One Cup loss to Brentford is also up there for head scratchers this season for the Gunners. One wonders how Arsenal can respond in their toughest test of the season on Tuesday against Bayern in the Champions League clash (more on that tomorrow).
Final big upset tally = 8
Oldham Athletic continued their improbable run against Everton yesterday and earned a 2-2 draw and a replay, so the big upset tally is technically not final; however, Everton SHOULD come away with a victory at home in the replay. Today, Manchester City and Chelsea were able to hold the upset tally at 8 while they both convincingly beat their lower-tier foes 4-0.
It seems as though one of the Premier League giants will still come away with the FA Cup crown. Although, it’s been a fun ride for some of the most unexpected names in English football – not so much for some of the top level squads who were part of this intriguing trend.