Football Features

“The game of the season at Goodison” – Six things you might have missed from a night of fantastic FA Cup fifth round action

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 23:05, 10 February 2021

The FA Cup fifth round really hit its stride on Wednesday with awesome action all over the place.

Here’s some of the action you might have missed.

1. Man City make history

There it is. 15 straight wins across all competitions. A record for the English top flight.

In truth no one really expected City to struggle to get this record win, the impressive fixture was the win against Liverpool, but it is still a remarkable achievement for Pep Guardiola’s men. In a season where no English side has really stepped up to state their claim to trophies, City have done just that in spectacular manner. Would you rule out yet another domestic Treble for Guardiola’s men? At this point it looks the likely outcome.

2. The game of the season at Goodison

With 35 minutes gone in the first-half of Spurs vs. Everton it had been a rather pedestrian affair. Spurs held a 0-1 lead and nothing looked great. Then Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored and all hell broke loose. Two minutes later Richarlison put Everton into the lead for the first time and then a few minutes after that a dubious penalty was coolly dispatched by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

3-1 Everton and surely that would be it? Absolutely not. Spurs kept on fighting and got a goal back in first-half stoppage time courtesy of Erik Lamela. Then at the start of the second period Dominic Calvert-Lewin had to go off injured and minutes later Davinson Sánchez equalised for Spurs with a neat finish at the back-post.

The drama wasn’t done however as Richarlison powered home a superb strike to give Everton the lead but of course Spurs fought back and Harry Kane, who else, equalised with a stunning diving header at the back-post.

Extra time was even more of a riot with Kane missed an incredible chance to give Spurs the lead before Sigurdsson and Bernard recalled Ronaldinho and Xavi at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the Icelandic international delectably lifting the ball over a static Spurs back-line with his weaker left-foot, allowing the diminutive Bernard to steal into space, size it up and slam the ball home.

The only surprise in this endlessly surprising match was that it ended 5-4 and Spurs were unable to roust themselves one more time. They tried but the fatigue in their legs and limbs was achingly obvious. And so it ended and Everton advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time in half a decade. And having come through the game of the season at Goodison Park they will believe that they can take anyone on, even the mighty Manchester City.

3. Guardiola’s double century

So not only was Manchester City’s win the club’s 15th consecutive in all competitions, but it was also the 200th win of his entire career as City boss. That is an outrageous number of victories made all the more incredible by the fact that he’s only taken charge of 268 City games!

That means the Catalan coach has won a whopping 74.6% of his matches as City boss. That is absolutely preposterous; the Premier League was meant to be his greatest challenge yet he has dominated it in a way he never did La Liga or the Bundesliga.


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4. Prayers up for James Justin

The absolute worst part of Leicester’s win over Brighton was James Justin being stretchered off the field with what looks like a serious knee injury. The full-back has been an absolute revelation this season, playing so well for the Foxes that they’ve not missed Ricardo Pereira at all. And if you remember how well Ricardo Pereira was playing, that’s a serious statement.

At 22-years-old he obviously has lots of time to recover and make his name in the game, but knee injuries are no joke and we can only hope that he makes a full recovery as quickly as is medically advisable. Injuries are always horrible but especially for youngsters like Justin.

5. Kelechi to the rescue

The best thing about Leicester’s win over Brighton was Kelechi Iheanacho’s last gasp winner. For a striker who has the unenviable task of backing up Jamie Vardy in a side designed for Jamie Vardy’s unique skill-set, the Nigerian had just one goal in his previous 20 games for the Foxes prior to tonight and was in desperate need of a confidence boost. And turning home Youri Tielemans’ cross unmarked at the back-post in stoppage time to send his club through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup would be exactly what he wanted.

6. The power of the cup run

Sheffield United have won three Premier League games in the last month and everyone is talking about how they might survive, but no one is pointing out that their recent uptick in form is all down to the healing power of the cup run.

Sheffield United’s first win of the season was actually in the FA Cup away to Bristol Rovers. They followed that up by beating Plymouth in the fourth round. Now here in the fifth round they dispatched Bristol City 1-0 at Brammal Lane, meaning that the Blades are into the quarter-finals. They are one win away from Wembley and, even if they don’t make it, this cup run mi8ght just have rejuvenated the side enough that they could survive.

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