By Teo Icliyurek
The Football Association Challenger’s Cup, better known simply as the FA Cup, has long been a staple of professional British football. Essentially, the tournament of the underdog, the FA Cup allows lower league teams to battle with the big boys of the premiership. Since 1871-72, it has been seen the greatest of upsets professional football has to present. After all, who doesn’t like seeing a construction worker by day/footballer by night win against professional’s with multi-million pound contracts? For this reason, the FA Cup is special in the footballing world. This past week, it reminded us why.
- Chelsea 2-4 Bradford
Chelsea are currently first in the top tier of English football. With a perfect home record up to this point in the season, Chelsea were (and still are) the most powerful team in the country. Yet the club that finally managed to ruin Chelsea’s perfect record at Stamford Bridge was one of the least expected teams to compete there. After 38 minutes, both Cahill and Ramires’ goals had the blues up 2-0, to no one’s surprise. A quick response, however, at the 41 minute mark by Jon Stead led to the comeback of the ages. By the final whistle, a team 49 places below Chelsea in the English professional football system had beaten the giants, at home, by 4 goals to 2, ending the Blues’ chances of a quadruple.
- Manchester City 0-2 Middlesbrough
In what was undoubtedly one of the craziest weeks in the footballing world, yet another giant fell to a minnow. Current Premiere League second place holders, Manchester City, fell at home to Middlesbrough. The scoring opened in the 53rd minute when Patrick Bamford, a Chelsea loanee, slid into Kompany’s goal-line clearance, redirecting the ball into the back of the net. The guests, who held out for the duration of the entire game, finally toppled the sky blues with a 90th minute goal by Spanish striker Kiké. In a game that embarrassed the Citizen defense, Middlesbrough made history by beating the Emirati-owned giants.
- Blackburn Rovers 3-1 Swansea City
In a relatively less surprising upset, Blackburn rovers, a tier two side, defeated Swansea City. Currently on the top half of the Premier League table at 9th, the Welsh side is known for their passing-intensive game that was introduced by Brendan Rodgers during his tenure there. Starting off with a 7th minute red card to Kyle Bartley, the Swans followed up with a twenty-first minute goal by Gylfi Sigurdsson, putting the Welsh side up despite being a man down. Blackburn were quick to reply, however, with a 23rd minute Taylor goal. The second half was even worse for the Premier side who let in a goal at the 78th minute, followed by one in the 89th minute. The torrid game was summed up by 91st minute Sigurdsson sending off. A bad defeat for the away side which was also a great victory for the home side.
Among other notable results were Tottenham’s home defeat to Leicester (2-1), Manchester United’s draw to Cambridge United (0-0), and 3rd place Southampton’s home defeat to 13th place Crystal Palace (2-3). Week eight showed once again the beauty of the FA Cup: the top three teams in the country each lost, at home, to lower league sides. David defeated Goliath in week eight, and the advancing lower-league teams create even more opportunities to upset the big boys in this year’s edition of the FA Challenger’s Cup.