A Rant: Has the FA Cup lost it's luster?
by Tom Fraser
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Is the magic of the cup dead in English football?
With the latest round of FA cup fixtures announced during the week we are left with only five top flight teams - Chelsea, Manchester United, Watford, Crystal Palace and Manchester City moving through to the fifth round of the marquee cup competition of English football and a further two - Wolverhampton and Brighton both playing fourth round replays in early February.
Given the bounty of top flight teams knocked out of the competition in the opening rounds, the question has to be asked - “is the FA cup dying?”
You could be forgiven for saying, “of course not, it is the FA cup”, but the facts are starting to tell a different story … Six of the twenty Premier league teams failed to progress past their first game in the competition -Cardiff, Southampton, Liverpool, Fulham, Leicester and Bournemouth, and a further five including West Ham, Tottenham, Newcastle, Everton and Arsenal all falling at the next round.
Premier League managers seem to continue to use the FA cup as an outing for youth players and of course we want to see up and coming players emerge, however it has reached a point where teams are sending out starting elevens almost completely comprised of youth system players. Clubs that have other European competitions to prioritise could be forgiven for resting their stars for games against lower league teams because let's face it, there is bigger fish to fry, however there is the likes of West Ham United’s recent effort in which they fell to AFC Wimbledon - who currently sit bottom of the Sky Bet League One with just six wins from their 29 games. The West Ham United players looked simply disinterested, putting in minimal effort and it was reflected in the 4-2 losing scoreline.
Even supporters have seemingly lost interest with the cup, with a number saying they don't even follow the FA cup when their team is in the competition.
So with top flight Premier League clubs and supporters showing less and less interest in the once magical FA cup, it is time to ask has the FA Cup lost its spark?
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