There will have been many a United fan watching the draw for the fifth round of the FA cup hoping for a tie against someone like Luton or Oldham, however, after the high profile upsets this weekend, I am happy we have got a home tie against a bottom-of-the-table Premier League team. Why is that you may ask?
Well for starters, having just watched Liverpool humiliated by lowly Oldham and shown the door, I am long enough in the tooth to know that lower division teams are always steamed up for these ties. Furthermore, they are better football teams these days. Gone are the days of the big donkey centre forward to whom the ball is continually lumped forward, or the huge gorilla full backs that merely launch the ball as far out of the ground as possible every time they get it. Teams in the lower echelons of the Football League these days are a lot more sophisticated. There players may not have quite the level of skills their counterparts in the Premier League may have, but they make up for that with effort, planning and good tactics from young, up-and-coming managers.
For all the above reasons, I am glad we have drawn a team that is in the Premier League, but fighting relegation. The reason is simple. Reading are more interested in staying in the Premier League than they are going any further in the FA Cup. They are preoccupied with survival, especially in a season where they know that if they stay up, there will be a financial bonanza next season with the new television deal being awarded. Clubs in the Premier League will each receive around £60m just for being part of it!
Sir Alex will be pleased that United have got a home draw again. That is all you can ask for from lady luck in these matters. The fact that they will avoid any potential banana skins is just an additional benefit. With Manchester City having to face a rejuvenated Leeds United team and Chelsea facing a tricky away tie at Middlesbrough, United are looking good to progress to the last eight.965452