It was a humbling weekend in the FA Cup for English football's
big guns, as Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal were all embarrassed.
Although United were the only one of the three to win, they
produced the worst performance as they scraped past Crawley Town 1-0.
It confirmed what we all know - including Alex Ferguson -
that United's second string simply isn't good enough.
Gabriel Obertan and Bebe in particular were pitiful. Both
men might be impressive physical specimens, but neither seems to have the
ability or the nous to deliver any end product.
Bebe's crossing was absolutely atrocious, while Obertan
looked like he couldn't pass water.
It was farcical. If you offered those two to Crawley boss
Steve Evans, I don't think he would take them.
The Frenchman is supposed to be the next Ryan Giggs, but not
only is he lacking Ryan's talent, he appears to lack the drive and
determination as well.
Darron Gibson was slightly better, but he does not look like
a true Manchester United midfielder.
United's dismal performance cannot have come as too much of
a surprise to Sir Alex. This was a similar team to the one that got thrashed by
West Ham in the Carling Cup, and struggled past Southampton in the FA Cup
Not that the manager had his best game - his decision to
bring on Wayne Rooney for Anderson left United short in midfield and saw them
outplayed completely in the second half.
It was an embarrassing experience for a team that used to
pride itself on its strength in depth, with a second-string featuring proven
quality like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Teddy Sheringham and Nicky Butt.
Arsenal's back-ups are significantly stronger, and should
have won at Leyton Orient in a game they largely dominated - but they lacked
cutting edge with the goal-shy Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh up front.
As for Chelsea, their defeat to Everton on penalties could
be the final nail in the coffin for Carlo Ancelotti.
It was not so much that they lost - Leighton Baines's
free-kick was a pearler - but they were so anaemic for the first 180 minutes of
Age has finally caught up with them. They have spent over
£70 million on Fernando Torres and David Luiz, and need eight or nine similar
players because they have nothing coming through the youth system.
They have no spark in their team, and nobody to get people's
bums off their seats.
Chelsea are an example of what can go wrong if you do not
strengthen when you are winning - suddenly you have a squad of 30-somethings
and the future does not look bright.