March 6, 2012: Birmingham City vs Chelsea
Everyone’s talking about it. It’s impossible to analyse issues at Chelsea without mentioning the sack of Andre Villas-Boas. The Portuguese manager was on a three-year contract but his spell at the club suffered a brutal end on Sunday, March 5.
Under AVB, the Blues failed to defeat Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge. Murphy stunned the home crowd with a goal in the 20th minute and Daniel Sturridge replied with a second half strike. However, Chelsea lacked efficiency on the pitch. The Blues will therefore engage in a replay on Tuesday night with FA Cup quarter-final tickets at stake.
The relationship between Roberto di Matteo and Chelsea’s players will be exhibited at St Andrew’s. The 2011/12 FA Cup presents the Blues with their last realistic chance of winning silverware. The Birmingham City match will help define if the timing of Andre Villas-Boas’ sacking was actually perfect.
Fans want to believe that Spurs are not losing it even if distraction surrounds England coaching job favourite Harry Redknapp. The London contenders fell 3-1 to Manchester United on Sunday. This defeat, which follows the 5-2 meltdown at Arsenal, has affected the momentum at White Hart Lane.
While Tottenham Hotspur are looking to secure the third and last automatic Champions League spot in the English Premier League, Arsenal are making a late resurgence. As of now, success in the 2011/12 is not guaranteed for Spurs at this stage.
What is important for Redknapp and his men is to bounce back and hold on until the end of the marathon. Tottenham Hotspur will test their strength against Stevenage on Wednesday night. The FA Cup contestants drew blank at Broadhall Way in front of a very small crowd.
In this FA Cup Fifth Round replay, the White Hart Lane stadium is expected to provide Spurs with great fan support. Underdogs Stevenage will try to condemn the hosts to an upset. The winners of this game will affront Bolton Wanderers on March 17 in the quarter-finals of the 2011/12 FA Cup.
2011/12 FA Cup quarter-final fixtures
Meanwhile, two line ups are already identified. Everton and Sunderland will clash at Goodison Park while Liverpool will host Stoke City in what promises to be a tight encounter. Chelsea or Birmingham City will have the honour of being in the comfort of their home against Leicester City on March 18.