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6 Things We Learned From a Pulsating Fourth Round in the FA Cup

To paraphrase Dr Frankenstein: It lives. IT LIIIIIVEES. 


That's right, the FA Cup is alive again. Resurrected by a VAR fracas, a flurry of wonderful goal-mouth scrambles and tap ins, a couple of Cupsets and some 90th-minute magic. 


But what did we really learn from the Fourth Round? 

1. VAR Is Great & Should Never Be Doubted Again

All hail our eVARrlasting saviour, our eternal oVARlord, our coVARnder in chief(?). While some were bemoaning the dotted use of VAR throughout the FA Cup fourth round, I think it was a canny move from the governing body. 


Why? Well, firstly, it provided contradictions and contrasting emotions everywhere - who didn't enjoy that armed in leveller at Millwall, and the scenes it provoked in the home end contrasted with despair of Everton fans in the away end - which always equals great entertainment in football. 


But it was also the perfect advertisement for the technology. Not only were bad decisions overruled, and good decisions affirmed, like at Stamford Bridge, but it maintained the status quo of complaints, and football is built on this begrudging principle. If you're not celebrating, you better be moaning about something. And VAR only improves on this. It's perfect fun for all the family!

2. Jesse Lingard Is the King of North London

It's been quite the week for Jesse Lingard. After, opening up on his life and breakthrough at Man Utd to the Player's Tribune, he also unveiled his new YouTube channel.


Finally, he anointed himself King of the North (of London). If VAR is now our Tsar (TsVAR?), then Lingard is definitely his leading general north of the river. I mean, the guy scored, moonwalked, then milly rocked. How's that for a coronation? 

3. The Magic of the Cup Persists

Now, you may be bored of hearing about the magic of the FA Cup, either because you don't believe it or you already know it to be true. 


But, just like whenever something good happens in the Premier League we shout 'Best League in the World' from every rooftop, we espouse on the remaining magic of the FA Cup whenever some plucky underdog slides a ball into the net. It's how it works. 


But, if the magic really is alive and well, then it was particularly present at Kingsmeadow and The Den. There must've been a lot 'I do believe in the FA Cup' mantras repeated round there. 


Also, speaking of mantras, I'd like to make an amendment to the 'Wet and Windy Wednesday Night in Stoke' one. It shall now forever be known as a 'Wet, Windy and VARless Saturday Night in Bermondsey'. Much better. 

4. Tottenham Are Bottlers

Carve it on your wall, get a tattoo, set a yearly reminder on your phone, pin it to your social media timelines. However you choose to remember it, you must remember this definitive official decree regarding the bottling status of Tottenham Hotspur: They are definitely bottlers and definitely always will be.


Three injuries. Two cup exits. Four days. 

5. Olivier Giroud Can Still Do a Job for Chelsea

All eyes were on Gonzalo Higuain at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as the Argentine made his hotly anticipated debut for Chelsea against Sheffield Wednesday. 


And though the number nine showed his instinctive finishing and beguiling movement on a few occasions, traits dearly lacking in west London as of late, he's clearly still shedding the rust from a testing time in Milan.


In this vein, Olivier Giroud's eight-minute cameo showed that the Frenchman still has a role to play in this new dawn. His link up capabilities remain as sharp as they were in Russia last summer, even if his finishing can be wayward. 

6. The Magic Is Aided by Big Boys' Incompetency

Of course the magic is alive and well, it has perfect conditions for growth when middling Premier League boys in dire need of a trophy come to town!


Do the likes of West Ham, Leicester and Everton need a trophy to keep fans interested in an otherwise pedestrain race for seventh place? YES. At the two ends of this middling spectrum, could the same be said for Spurs and Newcastle? YES. 


Do players and coaches act on these facts? Not nearly enough. The magic is alive, alright, but so is the big boys' incompetency. And long may it continue, frankly.