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All Things Footie | Monday, March 10 | Jordan


The prospect of a repeat of Saturday’s thrilling FA Cup Quarter-Final at Highbury is certainly one to whet the appetite. Of course this time it’ll be down the road at Stamford Bar and Grill; as well as disturbing a Sven-Goran Eriksson party, congesting an already rather hoarse fixture list and making a 30,000 people late for work on a Wednesday morning.

And the World’s oldest and finest cup competition is worth that twice over.

It was a cracking game on Saturday for neutrals and partisan observers alike; I also think even the most ardent Gooner would concede that Chelsea deserved something from the game. The boys in blue played out of their skins — even fat Frank looked reasonably impressive. Two of the game’s most talented and affable characters had rather mixed days; after impressing early on, Gianfranco Zola was substituted at half time after his influence on the game began to wane, but Thierry Henry was no-doubt near his breathtaking best.

It’s quite incredible how one player can look literally twice as fast as everyone else on the pitch; but to combine that with the strength, touch and poise he possesses makes him truly unique. I’ve never seen a player quite like him, and doubt if I ever will again. Like Maradona, Cruyff, Pele, and George Best before him, I suspect that anyone who has had the pleasure to see him play will be telling tales of his feats to future generations. And like the greats before him those tales will be told by more than just Napoli, Ajax, Santos and United fans.

Though my vote for February’s goal of the month goes to Jon Harley and his sweetly struck thunderbolt for Fulham, I challenge anyone to find me another player capable of scoring Thierry Henry’s majestic two touch masterpiece against West Ham. Anyone.

Francis Jeffers may have dived, but before casting the first stone consider: Michael Owen, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Paul Scholes, Robbie Keane, Harry Kewell, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Kieran Dyer, Joe Cole, Nicolas Anelka, Darius Vassell, Ruud Van Nistelrooy. And so many more.

Congrats to Sheffield United in ending Leeds’ cup run too. Nobody likes Neil Warnock (or so I’m told) but I don’t like Terry Venebles, so there. Winning goalscorer Steve Kabba is an Arsenal fan too.

Next round. Chelsea put in probably their best performance of the season against Arsenal on Saturday, and anything less will no doubt see them out of the Cup. Whatever the outcome (and I won’t bother stating the obvious by saying I think Arsenal will prevail, oops — I just did) the winners face a trip to Brammell lane, whilst Watford will face Southampton at Vicaridge Road. So it’s a Southampton - Arsenal final then … or is it?

Deliberate mistake. The games will of course be played at neutral venues, not Brammell lane and Vicaridge road, well done to a total of zero readers that spotted this. My guesses would be Watford vs. Sheffield at Villa Park (or maybe Stamford Bridge) and Sheffield United vs. Arsenal/Chelsea at Old Trafford.

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