Liverpool not so good in the FA Cup, this weekend’s Premier League games20th Jan 2017 |
It will be very nice to return to league football after a midweek of only FA Cup rematches. It is still a long time until the European competitions starts again, so we can expect some quiet midweeks for some time now. But we shall not underestimate the drama of FA Cup rematches, as we saw some fine examples this week.
Too close for Liverpool
Everyone should agree that Liverpool did not perform well enough in the FA Cup this round. Only one goal in two games against Plymouth Argyle from League Two is just very bad, although we must give great honour to them for their fight against Goliath. But a win is a win in the FA Cup, and a 0-1 victory away does the job for Klopp. The greatest surprise of the round is without a doubt Lincoln City’s 1-0 victory over Ipswich. The home team plays in the Conference National, while the guests has their day jobs in the Championship. We got some marvellous scenes at Sincil Bank Stadium when Nathan Arnold (you are forgiven for not knowing that name) scored during the overtime. That is truly what the FA Cup is all about. Sunderland was the only Premier League side to get knocked out this week, as they lost to Burnley.Changes might be coming
But now we should focus on league football once again. We get an appetizer at 1945 today, when Brighton will face Sheffield Wednesday at home. They have been looking quite safe in their place for direct promotion, but a loss here might get Leeds uncomfortably close if they manage to beat Barnsley at 1730 on Saturday. Brighton has been very good at ruining a good position over the last season, and that might happen again.
Big changes unlikely
But big changes are quite unlikely in the Premier League. The biggest game of the weekend is by far Manchester City-Tottenham at 1730 on Saturday. The goal difference will probably not allow City to get past Spurs on the table if they win. But a victory for City on Saturday and for Arsenal against Burnley on Sunday will put Arsenal in the place where they belong: Ahead of Spurs. Chelsea and Liverpool is both facing relegation candidates. The former will face Hull on Sunday, while the latter will face Swansea on Saturday at 1230. Manchester United will face Stoke at Britannia at 1500 on Saturday. Middlesbrough-West Ham might be one of the finest games of the weekend as well. A victory for the Hammers, who has been in great form lately, will send them ever more clear of the relegation zone where they were struggling very hard at the beginning of the season. It will be exciting to see whether Dimitri Payet will stay or not. Middlesbrough is just four points clear of Hull on 18th place, so a victory for them will be of huge importance.