FA Cup Replay – Rafa and Fergie get their diaries out
For all Rafael Benitez’ righteous indignation that Manchester United veteran manager Alex Ferguson displayed after their FA Cup quarter-final at the weekend by not shaking his hand, imagine the scene that would have unfolded if he’d been holding his pocket diary in hand!
March 12th, 2013
See, the two men are now having trouble finding a window in their schedules in which they can stage the sixth-round replay – with Chelsea’s European progress proving the main obstacle, Ferguson can rightly moan that Rafa is just being difficult by not being able to find the time, given the Spaniard’s pure bad manners of still being alive in Europe.
Thursday’s second leg against Steaua Bucharest will be the deciding factor; Chelsea trail 1-0 from the first leg and, given everyone’s automatic assumption that the Blues will overturn the scoreline, it will prove to be quite the fixtures headache that you hear so much about in cliché-land.
The replay, obviously, needs to happen in good time before the semi-final clash with Man City at Wembley which is scheduled for the weekend of the 13th and 14th of April. It would just be weird if it didn’t. Assuming Chelsea win this second leg against Steaua, then the four matchdays before are all out – with a Premier League fixture on both sides of their two-legged Europa League quarter-final due to be played on the 4th and 11th of April.
“But wait!” I hear you cry, as you pull up the FootballScores.com fixtures list. “There’s a massive gap here in the middle of March!”
Not so, I’m afraid – that whole period is out due to those pesky internationals. You know, those bloomin’ World Cup qualifiers? UEFA rules probably prevent a replay here – even if they didn’t, you shouldn’t expect a big player turnout.
Easter Monday? Nope. Big police presence required elsewhere in London that day; Fulham are playing QPR.
Whenever the game ends up getting played, it’s hugely likely to play out in United’s favour due to their far lighter spring schedule. Assuming of course, that Chelsea win their European game on Thursday by two clear goals. If they do, then assume one thing – it won’t be “Tuesday week”.