FA Cup - Parker: FA Cup not enough to save Ancelotti's job

Fri, 18 Feb 14:30:00 2011

Even if Chelsea win the FA Cup it should not be enough to keep Carlo Ancelotti in his job and the pressure is on ahead of the clash with Everton.

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Match of the weekend: Manchester United v Crawley Town

Manchester United will be wary of being caught in a state of complacency against Crawley Town as they have been troubled in recent years by lowly opposition.

Burton Albion claimed a replay after holding United to a goalless draw in 2006, and Exeter famously staged a stunning rearguard at Old Trafford a year earlier to seal the same result.

I know Crawley Town very well - they are a side on the up who can give United a tough game and provide the English giants with a stern test.

Crawley's manager Steve Evans is a hugely volatile character, but it will be very interesting to see him suddenly behave like a kitten up against his hero and fellow Glaswegian, Sir Alex Ferguson.

It will be the first time in years that Evans will be like a baby in a cradle, and not hurling abuse along with his assistant at the opposing dugout: it will be a real shock to the non-league folk who know him all too well and have little good to say about him.

Ferguson will be hugely determined for his side not to give Crawley any leeway, and he will be urging United to be focused, fired up and clinical in front of goal.

Of course, you can never rule out Crawley nicking a draw, and if the non-league side can survive the opening 20 minutes, they will grow in confidence enormously.

From that point on, anything could happen.

Player to watch: Matthew Tubbs (Crawley Town)

Matthew Tubbs is a player I have seen a lot of in non-league football, and he is an instinctive goalscorer.

I know Tubbs from his days at Salisbury City, and he has not stopped scoring: he will present United with a few problems.

The 26-year-old has an astonishing amount of self-belief in his ability and will certainly not be overawed by the big occasion.

Tubbs knows how to finish: if he has a half-chance to make a name for himself at Old Trafford, I would back him to pounce and capitalise on it.

Upset of the weekend: Leyton Orient v Arsenal

You can hardly imagine a greater comedown for Arsenal after beating Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek than having to travel to East London to take on Orient.

It will be a vociferous atmosphere in such a rare London derby and the League One side's fans will be at Brisbane Road in their droves.

Quite simply, the foreign players in the Arsenal side will not understand the nature of the match and will most probably be a touch complacent and soft.

I can certainly see Orient grabbing something from the game, and the hosts will be very fired up for the match and could catch Arsenal napping.

If I were an Orient defender I would let the Arsenal forward know that I was there with a few robust challenges in the opening 10 minutes, to see if they are up for the fight.

Often these ties come down to who wants it more, and Arsenal may not have sufficient guts or resolve to stand up for themselves against a League One side with nothing to lose.

Under pressure: Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea v Everton)

What is there left realistically for Chelsea to win this season - and is it enough to save Ancelotti's job? Those are the questions owner Roman Abramovich will be pondering on his yacht ahead of the Blues' clash with Everton.

Frankly, even if Chelsea do win the FA Cup, it should not be enough to keep the Italian in his job - and that is what I expect Abramovich will think too.

The Blues are already dead and buried with moss growing on the gravestone in the league, and I would not put any of my hard-earned cash on them doing anything in Europe this season either.

Ancelotti simply has to steer his side to victory over Everton at Stamford Bridge to salvage even a faint hope of keeping his job come the end of the campaign, but even then I don't think it's enough.

For a club with Chelsea's resources and clout their performance domestically this season has been nothing short of diabolical and, with Tottenham pushing hard for fourth place and Liverpool also on the horizon, Ancelotti is under huge pressure.

Can Chelsea win the FA Cup? Undoubtedly. Is that enough for a club which has just plundered £50 million on an out-of-form forward? Absolutely not.

Paul Parker / Eurosport

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