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

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  • Mrkgw

    Just typical. We seem cursed under this rotten regime.

  • Leazes

    Hey ….. I’ve found one of them ‘positives’ thingies that idiots, I mean journalists love so much…..

    Ashley has saved £20 million in bonus payments…..

    ….see what I mean about the cup….Carlisle might progress, so what does it prove?

    • Kneebotherm8

      He’s probably lost his 200k bet at 100/1 for us to win the FA cup with Bet Victor(pay your taxes MT)

  • gallowgate26

    Let’s be honest, we’ve won one game, at home, against a League 2 side. Let’s not get carried away, we could have drawn any PL or championship side away, before an important PL mid-week home game and been knocked out. We couldn’t get past Oxford last year… The Swansea game is the big one. Yes I was pleased that a strong team was put out and we respected the cup. If no players are signed, or even loaned this month, then by 27th Jan it will be a farce to think that we can seriously compete on two fronts.

    • Paul Patterson

      Yeah, but win against Swansea and a home draw against a lower league team would have been a decent outcome. Even Norwich away would be manageable, but not Chelsea away.
      The longer you face lower opposition the better, it doesn’t make anything certain but it helps.
      Let’s hope Norwich spring a surprise . .

      • mentalman

        surely though going out of the cup to Norwich would have a worse effect on the players than going out to chelsea

        • Paul Patterson

          I do feel we would have a better chance against Norwich.

          • gallowgate26

            I think the only hope is that Chelsea are playing a lot of games, they have the semi-finals of the League Cup against Arsenal (2-legs) before the 4th round and they are not safe in the top 4. Then of course they have champions league again in February. So I wouldn’t expect them to put out the under 21’s but they certainly have bigger fish to fry this season I would say. I feel sorry for their largely ungrateful fans, what an awful position to be in eh?..

  • TheFatController

    I just don’t find playing Chelsea at any time enjoyable, it’s not romantic, not a classic fixture, nothing in my view. If Rafa came out now (well, if they beat Norwich) and said to fans wanting to go to the game, ‘i’ll Be prioritising Burnley and Palace’ I’d almost be happy, just leave Chelsea to it.

    However, were it Man Utd or Liverpool instead, I’d want a full team, 8k tickets and tv coverage, just in the hope we could win there or get a draw. But Chelsea, it’s not worth risking anyone’s fitness for. Stoke and mark Hughes actually had the right idea, let the flat track FFP* bullies get on with it.

    Norwich I’d be up for too, anyone but Chelsea – i half expected Hull (imagine going there again…) but I actually wanted Notts county – If Shola scores…

    * FFP flat track bullies – select clubs allowed to spend way ahead of revenue then all agreeing no other clubs should be allowed to do it via intro of financial fair play (fair how?) to protect this new ‘elite’ – then they moan when the rest of the league don’t play open football against them – so they’re the victims suddenly of course.

    • Phil

      I don’t see the difference you are making between Liverpool, Man U and Chelsea. Surely if we got offered 8k tickets should we play Chelsea we would snap them up. Travel down and support the lads in the same way we would were it Liverpool or Man U? We would have the same chance of beating any 3 of the teams.
      It’s about what happens on the day.

      If Rafa came out and said he wasn’t going to try and win the game. He would be torn to pieces on here! He tried to get a result against city and got blasted for doing it ‘the wrong way’ so if he actually said he wasn’t expecting to win he would be hounded out

      • TheFatController

        You misread my comment, I just said I personally don’t find Chelsea anything special and worth effort in beating of the risk is injuries and not being ready mentally and physically for Burnley and Palace. I just don’t find Chelsea such a prize scalp that it would be worth risking injuries to secure it. They are the only big team that I don’t find ‘big’ other than in having an Oligarch owner.

        Others may hate Chelsea and want to beat them. I find them ‘beige’, I don’t respect them, whereas I respect Man Utd and Liverpool but want them beaten. They’d represent cracking draws in my eyes.

        It was a personal opinion, not intended as a shared vision. I take your point, 8k no doubt would love it, it’s just not for me. I’m gutted!

        • Phil

          I see. Yeah we have more history against Man U and Liverpool definitely. Mostly bad apart from a few stand out games.

          We used to do well against Chelsea from what I remember. Until abramovic rocked up that is!!

          • TheFatController

            I expect them to get past Norwich and then take the cup very seriously. Conte looked livid to have a replay after Norwich. Lesson learnt.

            They won’t want out of the cup and they won’t want a draw. Expect their full team, why rest anyone?

  • anyobrien

    Ashley out!

  • Phil

    Good chance we will get knocked out IF we play Chelsea. But you never know. Stranger things have happened.

    • Wor Lass


  • Wor Lass

    I`ve just lambasted Lee Ryder on the Chronic for the same negative approach to this draw and said his article would have been more at home on a Mackem site. The same goes for this one. It`s the cup and strange things happen in the cup. Chelsea havent actually won a replay yet, by the way. This is an nufc site and, as such, we should be getting behind the lads and manager and supporting them rather than writing their chances off before the current round`s even finished. Disgraceful.

    • Phil

      Be careful. We will get called deluded, stupid, pathetic etc for even thinking that Norwich or ourselves have any chance!

      If there’s no hope what’s the point?

      • TheFatController

        Sadly with Rafa having to sell to buy, and thus no real improvement in squad likely, can we really go to Chelsea and risk any players we would want to face Burnley and Palace?

        Lascelles withdrawal after 30 minutes had everyone worried we’d have another period without him and thus a defence badly weakened. We’ve had concussions from Cup games in the past, playing a strong team is a luxury that can’t be afforded before the Burnley and Palace games – we just don’t have any cover and Chelsea away isn’t Luton at home.

        • Phil

          Definitely agree Luton aren’t Chelsea.

          But I remember a few years ago we beat man city away in a cup game.

          Chelsea may not play a full strength team. They might have an off day. Or we could be playing Norwich. Then we should definitely be in with a shout!

          I’m not expecting to win or anything. I’m just saying there’s always hope!

          I personally think we will stay up as well. Our games coming up are huge but I think we will be ok come May. A few additions would be nice to help us mind!!

  • S.G.M.

    We can beat an uninterested Chelsea side.

    • NUFCDan

      I think Chelsea will be pretty interested in winning the FA Cup as its probably their most realistic chance of significant silverware

      • gallowgate26

        True but they are in the semi-final of the league cup and only have to knock out the Gooners over two-legs to reach the final. They’ll probably have to beat Aguero and co. over one game, but if anyone can it’s probably a full-strength Chelski in London. As things stand, that’s their most realistic chance of silverware this season, just depends whether or not Chelski class the EFL Cup as ‘significant’. They’re not quite in the same class as some of the champions league sides in my humble opinion.

  • NUFCDan

    I was accused of all sorts by saying we should prioritise avoiding relegation over the cup. I said ‘we can’t risk injuries to key players’ and ‘regardless of how far we get we’ll loose to one of the top 6 at some point.’ Don’t mean to say I told you so but Lascelles gets injured and we draw Chelsea in the 4th round :/

  • kingfisher

    I don’t think NUFCDan is being pessimistic, just realistic! Normally I would say field our strongest team in the Cup, however with this takeover in the background we really have to ensure our Prem survival, and as such, as a lot of Managers say after getting beat : we can now concentrate on the League! We are not in a position to risk injuries and tired legs for the sake of winning a couple of rounds then inevitably getting hammered off one of the big lads when they start getting interested and playing a strong eleven! Points make prizes, and unfortunately considering our lack of quality, size of squad and finances, we really need to safeguard our Premiership survival !