In England this weekend we saw the FA Cup 6th round take place. With both Manchester United and Manchester City already eliminated from the competition it will allow other teams in the Premiership to look at the FA Cup as a realistic shot at winning a trophy.
On Saturday we saw both Arsenal and Chelsea struggle, while the biggest upset came in the game involving Premiership team Norwich.
Norwich at home in this tie were playing Championship side Leicester. The visitors got off to a great start as Sean St Ledger scored with a header in just the 5th minute. This goal was scored after a flurry of corners from Leicester resulted in St Ledger rising above Steve Morison at the near post to glance the ball into the Norwich goal. Following the goal Leicester continued to attack and had a call for a penalty turned down by referee Mike Dean. Soon after the game turned as Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel conceded a penalty. Schmeichel lived up to the name with a fantastic save from Wes Hoolahan but having dived to his left the ball spun straight back into the takers feet and Hoolahan tied the match.
Into the second half Norwich started to dominate the game and Leicester were pushed all the way in defence. Both Wellens and Koncheskey had to make some good blocks to stop Norwich from taking the lead. However, with 19 minutes remaining former England International David Nugent showed some class by collecting the ball in the Norwich half, he evaded a challenge from Barnett and skipped into the area before applying a cool finish for his third goal in two games – and his 13th of the campaign. This goal sealed the match for Leicester as they hung on to victory and move into the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup.
For both Arsene Wenger and Andre Villas-Boas there positions as manager were put under even more pressure. Aresnal were sent packing out of the cup by Sunderland. Resurgent under manager Martin O’Neil Sunderland have been on a very good run of form. With a goal in each half Sunderland now progress to the next round, leaving Arsene Wenger and Arsenal looking at a 7th successive trophy less year. Richardson put the hosts ahead just before half time. His shot taking a deflection leaving Arsenal goalkeeper Fabianski with no chance. As the second half progressed Arsenal pressed for a goal but it was Sunderland who grabbed a second Sebastian Larsson’s shot was put into his own net by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It was an unfortunate moment for the 18-year-old, who was one of Arsenal’s more impressive performers on a dark day for the club. Coming just a few days after the 4-0 defeat by AC Milan in the Champions League Arsene Wenger will now be under immense pressure to turn the fortune of club around.
Chelsea meanwhile struggled against Championship side Birmingham to heap pressure on AVB. A poor season that seems likely to indicate Chelsea have fallen behind the Manchester clubs will not have got much better over the weekend. Chelsea, below par in the first half, went behind to a close range strike from David Murphy. Moments later Chelsea were awarded a penalty but Birmingham goaly Colin Doyle saved superbly from Juan Mata. In the second half Chelsea pushed for parity and youngster Daniel Sturridge scored just after the hour when his beautifully guided header, from Ivanovic’s cross, nestled in the far corner of the Birmingham net.
In other ties of the FA Cup 6th round, Bolton scored a comfortable 2-0 win against Millwall, and Everton defeated Blackpool with the same scoreline. On Sunday Stoke defeated League 2 Crawley with yet another 2-0 victory. Stoke led by manager Tony Pulis will b looking to go one step further in the competition after finishing as runner-up in last years final. Tottenham struggled to find any rhythm as they were held to a goalless draw by League 1 Stevenage. The final math of the round saw Liverpool claim a 6-1 victory over Brighton. Brighton creating a bit of history by being the first team in the FA Cup to score 3 own goals in a single match. The match also saw Andy Caroll score again as he looks to find the form that brought him the big money move to Liverpool.
The draw for the Quarter Finals was made on Sunday evening:
FA Cup quarter-finals draw
Liverpool v Stoke City
Chelsea/Birmingham City v Leicester City
Stevenage/Tottenham Hotspur v Bolton Wanderers
Everton v Sunderland