5 talking points from todays FA Cup action

first_imgLast season, Paul Lambert was widely praised for not only helping Aston Villa stay up, but also doing so while playing an enterprising brand of football with a focus on young, up-and-coming players.There is no doubt that he has improved the side significantly, compared with the state they were in under previous boss Alex McLeishNevertheless, amid their 2-1 loss to Sheffield United today, Lambert and his team were booed by the Villa fans, even though the side sit in the relatively comfortable position of 11th in the league.In the context of Lambert’s current relationship with the club’s supporters, the phrase “but what have you done for me lately?” springs to mind. 1. Arsenal expose frailties in Tottenham’s 4-4-2 systemThere is no denying that — up until today — Tottenham’s new look under Tim Sherwood, encompassing a 4-4-2 system, has worked relatively well, with Spurs winning 10 out of a possible 12 points in the league.However, at the Emirates, against a five-man midfield as talented as Arsenal’s, Tottenham were always going to be up against it.Despite a bright start from the visitors, the Gunners largely dominated the game when it was there to be won.Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Santi Cazorla all enjoyed far too much time on the ball, with the latter highlighting the visitors’ vulnerability in this regard, as he was allowed considerable time and space to score the first goal.2. Seamus Coleman gives Irish footballers something to aspire toSeamus Coleman scored again today as Everton outclassed QPR, beating them 4-0 in the process.Amid the dispiriting end of the Trapattoni era, there was much talk inferring that Ireland are incapable of producing top-class footballers — and there is no doubt that there is a patent lack of genuinely great players within the Irish set-up.However, of late, Coleman has gradually developed into one of the league’s most accomplished right backs.Consequently, surely other Irish footballers — both current and underage — will take heart from the full back’s performances and realise that Ireland can produce excellent footballers, despite the recent overly negative suggestions to the contrary.3. Is City’s draw with Blackburn a blessing in disguise?(Manchester City’s players stand dejected after Blackburn Rovers’ first goal – Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport)Man City seem to have a fondness for making life difficult for themselves if today’s match is anything to go by.Their below-par away form was evident again, as Blackburn grabbed as deserved draw against the Premier League side.For a team of Man City’s talent and resources, drawing against a mid-table Championship side is only likely to reinforce the belief that their players’ attitudes are far from exemplary.However, the City players would perhaps be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief, given that the upcoming replay means they no longer have to travel all the way to Abu Dhabi for a meaningless mid-season friendly.4. Is Lambert’s Villa revolution stalling? 5. Walcott wrong to rise to Spurs’ fans idiocyIn recent years, football stadiums have become an increasingly toxic environment whereby many fans show opposition players little or no respect.The Tottenham supporters’ treatment of Theo Walcott tonight epitomised this disconcerting trend, and the England star’s subsequent reaction to the abuse he received was understandable if not excusable.Players are human beings too, so it’s hardly a surprise that they occasionally react to such persistent taunting.However, they are also professionals who know that such abuse is an intrinsic part of the game, so Walcott and others need to smarten up and realise that responding to fans is unacceptable in such circumstances.Provoking opposition supporters only adds to football’s increasing toxicity, and also risks sparking stadium violence.Roy Keane calls Spurs fans ‘idiots,’ says Tottenham ‘will always let you down’>Aston Villa dedicate win over Sunderland to late Irishman Jody O’Reilly>last_img

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