Can you say “giant slayers?” The FA Cup has a notorious reputation of lower seeded football clubs upsetting the top bets to win each round, but this weekend’s round was one of the biggest upsets imaginable.
Football pundits were betting that many Premier League based teams would win their fixtures and advance into the fifth round that begins February 14th. Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester United were all heavily favoured to win their games. However, only two teams lived to fight another day.
Liverpool finished in a scoreless draw with Bolton in the late game on Saturday. The Reds will play a replay match at Macron Stadium to determine which side will advance to the fifth round. Similarly Manchester United drew with Cambridge in their game, and will play the second leg of their series at Old Trafford.
The rest of the Premier League teams were even less fortunate as lower seeded clubs successfully slew the giants. Tottenham fell 2-1 to Leicester City which, technically a bet between two Premier League teams was heavily in favour of the Spurs, as Leicester is at risk of relegation back to the Championship.
Manchester City was shut out at home in a shocking loss to Middlesbrough. The hosts were unable to find their legs or put any decent shots on the net, while the Smoggies broke through the City defensive unit to score 2 goals on their trip. Celebrating the upset win was rewarding in itself, but Middlesbrough also enjoyed a guaranteed place in the fifth round of the Cup.
However, the biggest shock of them all was Chelsea’s 4-2 loss to Bradford City, a team that competes in League One. The Bantams rolled into Stamford Bridge to face the UK’s top seeded football club, and rallied through the second half of the game to slay the biggest giant of them all. Bradford advances to the fifth round, while Chelsea’s Cup dreams came crashing down in what many football experts say was the biggest FA Cup upset of all time.
Certainly not the weekend footballers were betting on, but the tradition of the FA Cup lives on in the surprises. The lesson for fans – always expect the unexpected in the FA Cup.