Year after year the FA Cup was able to back its reputation as the “world’s favourite domestic cup tournament”.
However, in recent years it has lost its spark but the 2012/2013 competition is proving to be just like the glory days. Here are the reasons why this year will be the most exciting:
The Premier League giants taking it more seriously
Both Manchester clubs are still in at the last 8 stage along with Chelsea who are no strangers to FA Cup silverware. Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United have not been winners since their 3-0 win against Millwall nine years ago and are due another cup victory. Ironically Millwall are in this year’s semi-final draw as they face Wigan so a potential repeat of the 2004 is on the cards. The winners of the Chelsea/Man Utd play Manchester City in a mouth-watering semi-final.
Great runs from football league teams
Oldham, Blackburn Rovers, Millwall and Brentford have all had brilliant runs this year. It is fantastic for lower leagues clubs because it gives them extra TV revenue and sponsorship. Along with the Capital One cup, it enables teams to go out on the field knowing they have that extra incentive to win and help their respective clubs financially.
The main successes over the years have been due to the surprise factor within the cup competition. Being that there is no seedings, any team can play anyone and proves for some interesting ties and big names going out early on.
The draw has produced great matches this campaign
The recent quarterfinal between Manchester United and Chelsea was a fantastic game for the neutral fan. It also proved how top teams still want to win this prestigious trophy. In the early rounds, MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon played out a long standing rivalry. Brentford had Chelsea on the ropes for a large part of the tie at Griffin Park but unfortunately couldn’t keep it going and the blues managed to scrape a 2-2 and win the fifth round replay at Stamford Bridge.
The FA Cup plays a tremendous part in the historical lineage of the English game and it should be continued to be respected in the modern game. This year has been all about the lesser names coming through and showing they can be a force making the big premier league sides looking over their shoulders for other potential contenders for glory.