As the world’s oldest soccer competition, the FA Cup has a rich history. Beyond that, it’s boring, it sucks and it has the congenital romance of a Taylor Swift relationship. Whether two big clubs meet, two small clubs meet or a small club meets a big club, complaints are rampant and the urgency pales when compared to an ordinary league slate. With Serie A in a prolonged funk and the Primera Liga diminished to two relevant teams, England’s FA Cup break castrates the European soccer weekend.
Pickings are slim. Here are five matches that could be entertaining, plausibly.
Chelsea vs. Everton FA Cup (Sat. 7:30am, FSC) Blue. Both clubs wear it. Both groups have fans have felt it. These may be the Premier League’s two most disappointing teams. Despite dumping quite a few Elizabeths for Fernando Torres and David Luiz, Chelsea are outside the top four. Their seven losses through 26 games are more than they’ve had in an entire season since 2004. Everton, expected to compete for a European place, have instead been battling off relegation. They have only lost eight matches, but they’ve won just six. After nearly a decade buoying Everton with minimal expenditure, David Moyes may be out of rabbits.
Corinthians vs. Santos (Sun. 5pm, GolTV) Had Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos been hanging around, this would have been incredibly interesting, Brazil’s vibrant past against its hopefully virile future. Flicks. Tricks. Sexy football. Roberto Carlos shooing everyone away from a free kick before skying it 20 feet over the bar. It would’ve been brilliant. That said, any chance to watch Neymar and Ganso is well worth the effort.
Manchester United vs. Crawley Town FA Cup (Sat. Noon, FSC) A non-league side travels to Old Trafford. This should be where the romance comes. Instead, the match is bathed with flourescent light. Crawley Town are an underdog, but hardly sympathetic. The club’s natural fan base numbers in the hundreds, but they have shady foreign owners who distorted the market by spending $800,000 on players, dwarfing their compatriots in a cynical promotion attempt. Both clubs are nicknamed “the Red Devils.” Neutrals will hope a firery chasm subsumes them both.
Borussia Dortmund vs. St. Pauli (Sat. 9:30am, GolTV) Opposite directions. Borussia Dortmund still have a ten point Bundesliga lead, but they’ve dropped points in three of four matches and have lost Shinji Kagawa for the rest of the season. St. Pauli conversely have vaulted themselves up to mid-table, winning their last three matches by a combined score of 7-1. Perhaps, their paths could meet, creating an even, competitive match.
Leyton Orient vs. Arsenal FA Cup (Sun. 11:30am, FSC) On paper Arsenal’s reserves should obliterate a League One side. That said, Arsenal are in the midst of a Premier League title race, played a feverish first leg with Barcelona midweek and have the League Cup Final on their plate. It’s an away match in what is technically a London Derby. An upset could be feasible.
[Photo via Getty]