FA Cup fourth round weekend threw up plenty of twists, turns and talking points. Here are five big stories to come from this weekend’s action.
MORE PRAISE FOR PATINOEmbed from Getty Images
Blackpool may not have got the result they wanted in new boss Mick McCarthy’s first game in charge, losing 2-1 to Premier League Southampton, but young Arsenal midfielder Charlie Patino again impressed.
The Seasiders have struggled so far this campaign and find themselves 23rd in the Championship. But Patino has been a bright spark in what has been an otherwise forgettable season for the club to date.
Patino scored for Blackpool against the Saints to make it 2-1, setting up a nervous final 20 minutes for the Premier League side, but it was the 19-year-old’s overall display that pleased his new manager.
“He has a right go at it, Charlie,” McCarthy said.
“He’s a young man, a young player, and sometimes he doesn’t always get the other side of it right, where he might go and press and gets played past.
“He did it in the first half, he went and lost it just in front of us, about 20 yards into their half, and he won it back in the 18-yard box on the other side of the pitch.
“I said if you can do that mate, you’ll do for me. And it’s the willingness to do it. I’ve loved working with him for last few days and he’s going to be a very, very good player.”
SON’S LONG-AWAITED RETURN TO FORM
Heung-Min Son has been well below his best this season, scoring only four Premier League goals, but Spurs boss Antonio Conte will be hoping Saturday’s two-goal performance at Preston in a 3-0 win will be the catalyst to go on an improved run of form in the league.
Both goals were reminiscient of Son at the peak of his powers, the first a lovely curling strike from distance and the second a fantastic turn and finish inside the box.
“He’s a top player,” Tottenham’s assistant manager, Cristian Stellini, said.
“He only has to wait for the right moment, to feel comfortable to find the space to attack and to play one v one. This evening was a good game from him.
“Without Harry (Kane), he was the most important striker for us. It was important for him to find a way to score.”
KLOPP HOPEFUL BUT ROBERTSON UNHAPPY
Liverpool were beaten at Brighton for the second time in January, with the increasingly impressive Kaoru Mitoma scoring a late winner in a 2-1 win.
After the game, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp stressed that his side had shown progress from their previous 3-0 defeat at the Amex and that his team was moving in the right direction.
But speaking to ITV Sport, Liverpool left-back Robertson said: “This season has been nowhere near good enough, at the turn of the year we wanted a new start. But it’s not got off to that… it’s probably been worse.”
Klopp was asked for his response to Robertson’s comments in his press conference, and said: “I don’t think it makes too much sense that I comment on things that you pick out.
“It’s not 100% true but it’s not 100% wrong. Of course you want a new start, it’s clear when you come back from a World Cup break, you want to go for it definitely. So far it didn’t happen properly, that’s true
“But that means we have to keep working. There’s nothing else to do. There were good performances against Brighton as well, good moments in the game and very good performances in the game.
“It’s something we have to build on and that’s what we’ll do.”
FA CUP WON’T IMPACT TITLE RACE SHOWDOWNEmbed from Getty Images
The FA Cup fourth round action started with the first face-off between the Premier League’s top two this season as Manchester City edged past Arsenal 1-0 thanks to a Nathan Ake goal.
Both sides were due to face each other in September only for the clash to be postponed due to concerns around policing because of the Queen’s funeral, with the two set to go head to head for the first time in the league on 15 February.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta opted to field a much-changed team for the clash and both managers agreed that little can be read into the game when it comes to discussing the Premier League title race.
“I think it will be a very different match, I’m sure from both sides,” Arteta said.
“There will probably be different personnel as well.”
And City manager Pep Guardiola agreed: “I’m pretty sure both teams are going to adjust something.”
HOLLYWOOD’S FA CUP RUN CONTINUES, FOR NOW
The lowest ranked team left in the competition, National League side Wrexham, are still in the competition for now after a dramatic 3-3 draw with Championship promotion hopefuls Sheffield United earned them a replay.
Wrexham, who are owned by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, were leading 3-2 against United’s ten men following Daniel Jebbison’s red card, only to be denied by a last-gasp equaliser from John Egan.
They will now go to a replay at Bramall Lane looking to progress to the fifth round and will be in the hat for the draw, which will take place on Monday evening.Embed from Getty Images