The FA Cup was good while it lasted.
Never say never but surely after being drawn away at Chelsea, presuming the blues win their third round replay against Norwich at Stamford Bridge…Newcastle will once again fail to progress beyond round four under Mike Ashley.
Rafa Benitez was rewarded with a comfortable third round win after choosing almost a full strength team against League Two Luton.
However, Chelsea away is a different matter.
There were only four balls left in the hat and either Preston or Sheffield United at home would have been decent (see full fourth round draw below).
It wasn’t to be though and it is Chelsea (or Norwich…) away on the weekend of Saturday 27 January.
The two clubs played out a goalless draw at the weekend and meet at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday 17 January to decide who Newcastle will play.
The FA Cup fourth round draw was screened live on both BT Sport and BBC Two tonight and host Jake Humphrey revealed beforehand that in the final rehearsal Newcastle had picked out Manchester United away – how we laughed in relief!
It is a bit of a shame that Newcastle have a crucial game at home to Burnley on the Wednesday (31 January) after the FA Cup fourth round weekend.
The Magpies have no midweek game after playing away at Manchester City on Saturday 20 January and if they’d had no midweek match after the fourth round weekend, Rafa could have had a right go. Maybe he still can if his players get six points from Swansea and Man City…
Chelsea play Bournemouth at home on Wednesday 31 January and the previous midweek (Wednesday 24 January) they have the second leg of their League Cup semi-final, away at Arsenal.
I know they have a big squad and all that but how about this for a statistic, between Sat 18 November and the weekend of Saturday 27 January when they will likely play Newcastle, Chelsea will have played every single midweek.
In that period of 10 weeks the Newcastle match would be Chelsea’s 21st match in all competitions, in comparison it will only be Newcastle’s 15th in the same time period.
Norwich gave Chelsea a bit of a game at the weekend and caused a few problems without really working the goalkeeper, just maybe it could end up being their night next week.
Giving Jacob Murphy a chance to face brother Josh and his other former Norwich teammates, the dream lives on, for now.
The full FA Cup fourth round draw:
Liverpool vs West Brom
Peterborough vs Fleetwood or Leicester
Huddersfield vs Birmingham
Notts County vs Wolves or Swansea
Yeovil vs Man Utd
Carlisle or Sheffield Wednesday vs Stevenage or Reading
Cardiff or Mansfield vs Man City
Milton Keynes Dons vs Coventry
Millwall vs Rochdale
Southampton vs Watford
Middlesbrough vs Brighton
Bournemouth or Wigan vs Shrewsbury or West Ham
Hull vs Nottingham Forest
Newport County vs Tottenham
Norwich or Chelsea vs Newcastle United
Sheffield United vs Preston