This weekend’s FA Cup fixtures see two sides from outside the Premier League, including the first non-league side to reach the quarter finals of the tournament. The reason for this isn’t just the luck of the cup though.
It’s the bigger sides’ arrogance, thinking they can field a full starting XI of reserves against “lesser” teams.
One of the few things the disaster that was the Checkatrade Trophy got right was imposing a limit on how many changes teams could make from their regular starting XI. That cup is actually meaningless and most teams didn’t listen. But the FA Cup continues to lose its lustre every time Arsenal field their under 5s against “lesser” opposition, as they will undoubtedly do against Lincoln on Saturday.
So my suggestion is this: Either Premier League clubs make no more than five changes from their regular starting XI or opt out of the cup. When Manchester United opted out of the FA Cup to play in Brazil, Brian Clough famously said “I hope they all get bloody diarrhoea”.
So there. Either give a shit about the cup or shit blood. Not a hard choice.