FA Cupdate: Gunners Stunned; Red Devils Ready for Reading
All of that, actually. Along with a lower-division side taking down a Premiership megalodon on the way to a once-in-a-lifetime FA Cup run.
Now in the quarter-final round, memories have been made. Only six EPL sides remain in the running.
Arsenal was the latest to fall. Adding insult to injury, Arsène Wenger's (thankful) dedication to artistic football was done in by a long ball, collected by Blackburn's resident Swede, Martin Olsson, whose rebound was put home by Colin Kazim-Richards and stood as the lone score of the match. Yes, the Gunners had the run of play almost exclusively and looked good doing it. The Rovers' contingent, though, thought the scoreboard looked better.
For all of the Gunners' accolades and decorum, the hard fact remains that they're in the throes of extending a seven-year drought of hoisting the hardware. Any hardware. Manchester United is too far ahead of them in the Premiership tables. Their bouncing by Blackburn now means their only run at redemption in the current season can occur in the Champions League, and even there, Arsenal's round-of-16 draw was not kind. Bayern Munich is having a magical season. Good luck with that.
Chelsea was taken to a replay by the pesky Brentford Bees before prevailing. Cozily nestled in the League One tables, this little West London side got a good payday for its run and its supporters can now settle back into the local surroundings that please them so.
Everton still has work to do. Oldham Athletic may be fighting relegation in League One, but their Cup escapades have offered welcome relief during what has become a most challenging campaign to stop the rot in their table status. Their 2-2 draw with the Blues not only extends their hopes for a Merseyside sweep -- the Latics have already dispatched Liverpool -- but the ensuing replay guarantees them another financial boost that they sorely require.
As often happens of late, Manchester United is renting its domestic rivals asunder. It has only lost twice all season to Premiership opponents. Reading wasn't one of them, but the Royals were fiercely undaunted when they hosted the Red Devils in December. Perhaps that boost in confidence will add to the adrenaline rush of a Cup tie at Old Trafford and produce yet another suprise this year.
In the only country to host a punk cruise, anything is possible.