Cups: An Alternative View

I wasn’t going to make this an alternative post, but remembered how much it winds up Grumpy G, so here goes…

For everyone who went last Saturday, it was a very special day and one we all needed. The only thing which maybe took some of the gloss of it was the realisation that Brighton’s performance was right up there with the very worst we’ve witnessed this season, which got me thinking about what on earth has gone wrong up there. They have a decent and honest bunch of players and a smart manager who we know they like playing for. So what the hell has happened? Answer…..their cup run. It’s dominated their last few months, taken its toll physically and emotionally, ended in disappointment, and clouded the fact that for the last few months they’ve been sleep-walking towards relegation.

Our cup policy has drawn a lot of criticism, which I get. Some of our performances have been awful. But there is a reality isn’t there. We’ve all seen/read about the accounts, clearly as a club we are absolutely fine as long as we remain in the Premier League at all costs. The minute we drop out, it gets really tricky. Now imagine we had lost Ake, Fraser or Lerma in a cup match a few months ago; where would we be right now given the injuries we’ve already suffered.

This season we may yet record our greatest ever season in terms of Premier League points, yet we all know an injury or two more and we could have been where Brighton or Cardiff are now. The margins are fine, and we literally cannot afford to go down. I’ve been a critic of our cup policy previously, but watching Brighton last Saturday and hearing about their performance against Cardiff, I think I’m starting to appreciate it!
The "The we're s*** in cups" argument is lazy and played out. We've reached the Quarter Finals of the League Cup 3 out of the last 4 years(??), which is very decent.

The FA Cup is obviously a different story, but until this season we haven't much squad depth to be able to play a full strength in the second half of the season, without putting our season in jeopardy. This season, we did, but we also had 9 injuries. Anyone complaining about the FA Cup this year clearly wasn't paying much attention to our season or the state of the squad.
The Xmas / New Year fixture program is apparently popular with fans. Especially with those with no family commitments who like travelling all over the country with no public transport and are wealthy enough to watch lots of football at a time of year when ordinary people might find their finances are tight...

Anyway. The fact is PL managers will want to play as strong a squad as possible in these fixtures. When the 3rd round finally appears, of course managers are going to see that as a chance to give their squad a breather.

There is a lot of “tradition” in football but a lot of this tradition is bad. If the authorities continue to insist on the traditional congested Xmas program and the traditional early Jan 3rd round FA Cup then they have to realise the Cup isn’t going to be taken seriously.