The F.A. Cup, sponsored by eon, was pretty exciting in the 5th round last weekend, with the big story from Anfield, where under fire Rafa Benitez had few excuses as Championship side Barnsley FC came from behind to win 2-1 in the last minute of added time with a goal by Brian Howard and a wonder debut performance by goalkeeper Luke Steele.
The 'keeper, on loan from West Bromwich Albion where he was 3rd choice,was offered the loan 2 days before kick off, as one Barnsley goalie was injured and the other 'cup tied'. Luke rose to the occasion and denied the expensive Reds a victory. Their 6th round opponents are the holders Chelsea, who will have to travel up to Oakwell in this quarter final. Since both semi-finals as well as the final will be played at Wembley this season,, The Tykes are only one step away from the hallowed turf.
At Old Trafford, The Theatre of Dreams, proved hell for visiting Arsenal and their travelling fans suffered from GOONERIA!!.(The Gooners is the nickname of the Gunners fans). Wayne Rooney ran riot even though he only scored once and it was all over with a 3-0 half time lead. One more goal after the interval sent Arsene Wenger's team back down south with a headache.
The quarter finals sees Manchester United hosting Portsmouth; Barnsley vs Chelsea; Sheffield United or Middlesborough vs Cardiff City, and Bristol Rovers vs West Bromwich Albion. Rovers, nicknamed The Pirates, or The Gas, beat Southampton 1-0 on their muddy pitch, and Albion won't relish a visit there against third tier opponents.
The 39th Step, the brainchild of Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore suffered another blow when the Football Association, under their new independent chairman Lord Treisman, rejected the idea, although he has agreed to visit Sepp Blatter at FIFA HQ in Zurich next week with the EPL big wigs and F.A chief Brian Barwick.
In The Champions League, the big news was from Olympique Lyonnaise, in Lyon that delightful gastronomic city where fans used laser beams that shone into the eyes of Cristiano Ronaldo whilst warming up with Manchester United in the Stade de Gerland. A late equaliser by Carlos Tevez gave United hope with a 1-1 tie and a valuable away goal. Glasgow Celtic took the lead twice against favourites Barcelona at Celtic Park but 2 goals by Lionel Messi and the third from Thierry Henri proved too much as the Catalans won away 3-2. Chelsea tied 0-0 in Athens against Olympiacos while Liverpool scored twice in the last 3 minutes to beat Inter Milan 2-0 and give then some satisfaction and hope in the 2nd leg. The other Milanese team. AC Milan were playing Arsenal at The Emirates and there it finished 0-0 in the first leg.
Last, why not spare a thought for well travelled and often injured Jonathan Woodgate, transferred a few weeks ago for £7 million from Middlesborough to Tottenham Hotspur. He is due to play against Chelsea in the Carling League Cup Final at Wembley this weekend. Depite a weekly wage of around £50,000 he claims that he can't find a house that he can afford in London!!! (please send donations to White Hart Lane) children empty your piggie banks please.