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Opinion

Is Newcastle United losing disgracefully at Oxford United in the FA Cup maybe all for the best?

3 weeks ago
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The FA Cup Fifth Round draw took place on Monday night.

Newcastle were one of six matches at the weekend to end in draws and need a replay, so there were a fair few ‘either ors’ in the draw.

However, one thing was clear, it couldn’t have gone much more badly for Newcastle United.

If Newcastle reach the fifth round, that game will be midweek on one of Tuesday 3 March, Wednesday 4 March or Thursday 5 March, with no replays in the fifth round this season, the game having to be decided on the night.

If that is the case, then it would be an extra match having to be played between Burnley home and Southampton away, two games where we would be hoping Newcastle might pick up points from.

Newcastle have drawn West Brom away, which won’t be simple (if NUFC even get past Oxford), the Baggies currently top of the Championship.

However, I think the rest of the draw was far more disastrous for those of us who still retain dreams of doing something beyond finally reaching the fifth round under Ashley…

Full FA Cup fifth round draw:

Sheffield Wednesday v Manchester City

Reading or Cardiff City v Sheffield United

Chelsea v Shrewsbury Town or Liverpool

West Brom v Newcastle United or Oxford United

Leicester City v Coventry City or Birmingham City

Northampton Town or Derby County v Manchester United

Southampton or Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City

Portsmouth v Arsenal

So IF Newcastle get past Oxford in the away replay, then IF they get past West Brom away from home, they are set to end up in a sixth round draw very likely to be…

Man City, Sheffield United, Chelsea or Liverpool, Newcastle United, Leicester, Man Utd, Tottenham or Southampton, Arsenal

In an ideal world we would have seen Reading or Cardiff v Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry or Birmingham v Northampton or Derby, Portsmouth v Norwich.

Then you start to think…if we get through, we could be playing League One Portsmouth at home in the sixth round and then even say somebody like Birmingham in the semis.

Instead of having the better teams knocking each other out, we have them all laid out waiting for us.

Plus, as the likes of Man Utd and others have struggled, they are now taking cup competitions far more seriously, you just need to see how they approached that Tranmere game at the weekend.

When Newcastle United reached Wembley in 1998, we had ended up with only half a decent team as Dalglish ruined much of Kevin Keegan’s great work. However, we had unbelievable luck in terms of who we were drawn against right up until having to play Premier League Champions Arsenal in the final!

In our semi-final at Old Trafford, Newcastle faced Championship side Sheffield United, how lucky is that.

Steve Bruce likes to frequently talk about his greatest moment in management, the Hull City FA Cup adventure of 2014.

At the time a Premier League team, Hull/Bruce had incredible luck and in their cup draws they only played one Premier League side before the final and that was the Mackems!

In their semi-final they ended up against League One side Sheffield United, how lucky is that!

The comparisons with the Dalglish season don’t end there, as Hull then faced Arsenal in their final and lost.

Anything but a win on Saturday against Norwich and I will be 100% thinking about whether losing disgracefully at Oxford United next Tuesday is maybe all for the best.

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