Magic of the cup?

Does the FA Cup still stir the hearts of fans?

January transfers, Skipp, Foyth & protesting Spurs fans - 5 talking points

It's taken almost five months of the season but Tottenham have definitely found their shooting boots now. This 7-0 win was the club's biggest ever away victory on record.

In their past four victories, Mauricio Pochettino's men have scored 21 goals and Heung-Min Son has been crucial in that.

In those four games, Son has scored six goals and provided four assists, meaning he's been involved in almost half of Tottenham's goals over the festive period.

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Does the FA Cup still have the old magic?

By Joe Harker

With the rich and powerful football clubs of the Premier League only getting even wealthier the FA Cup ties where they are drawn against lower league opposition sometimes have an air of inevitability about them. Even if the second string XI plays it can result in a demolition like the one Tottenham Hotspur handed out to Tranmere Rovers, with manager Mauricio Pochettino deciding that being 6-0 up wasn't quite cutting the mustard so he brought on Harry Kane to get the all important seventh goal that sealed the win.

Then there's the games like Newport County's 2-1 win against Leicester City. Like most Premier League sides facing opposition they should be beating comfortably, Claude Puel selected several players who wouldn't make his first team on a regular basis. Still, they had plenty of Premier League winners medals between them and they cost far more than Newport could afford.

The defeat for Leicester was a shock, but a welcome one. The FA Cup would be no fun if it didn't carry the threat that a lower league side might get the best of a Premier League team. It's an unlikely occurrence but there's always a few teams that get knocked out and told off for not taking the competition seriously. Results like the 2-1 win for Newport are a timely reminder that nobody is safe from a cup upset.

For all the gripes that the cup has lost its magic and is no longer as special or prestigious as it once was there is still enough about the tournament to put stars in the eyes of fans. The giant killers don't go on to win the trophy - in the last decade the only team to win it other than Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United was Wigan in the year they got relegated - but they do create memorable moments for their fans. Newport fans will cherish the day they beat the 2015/16 Premier League champions.

Unfortunately there is enough about the competition to put some fans off. Spurs fans protested the "unacceptable scheduling" of their game against Rovers, with the match played on a Friday evening and there being little in the way of public transport for away fans. They carried banners calling broadcaster BT Sport "FA Cup killers".

There's also the slight disappointment of the biggest teams seeing the early rounds of the competition as a chance to rotate their squad and play the second string. Games against top Premier League sides are big events but the shine is somewhat lacking when they put out a team who spend most of their time on the bench or not even making the squad.

However, the scheduling of the FA Cup ties, this round in particular, make many managers justified in not picking their first team. Having just come off the back of the intensive Christmas period this is seen as a chance for many managers to rest their stars and give fringe players a chance to either prove themselves or earn a transfer.

Most Premier League managers would also rather have three points in their next league game than get into the next round of a competition where they will almost certainly be knocked out by a bigger side. The gravy train at the top of English football is just too valuable to risk falling off.

There's also the luck of the draw that comes with the competition. Each round tends to throw up some interesting ties, perhaps even a game between rivals, but some of the games will hold little interest for anyone beyond fans of the clubs playing. Not every tie has to be magical, but the FA Cup still has the potential to throw a wonderful story our way. That's always going to be a good thing.

Now, the Carabao Cup on the other hand...

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Newport knock Leicester out of FA Cup in magic third round moment |

The magic of the Cup is alive and well

League Two Newport County have knocked the Premier League's Leicester City out of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win at a sold-out Rodney Parade.

Jamille Matt headed home for the fourth tier side in the 10th minute, putting them on track for a huge upset, only for Rachid Ghezzal to break the home side's hearts with an equaliser in the 82nd minute.

However, moments later a penalty was awarded to Newport when the ball struck Marc Albrighton's arm, which was converted by Padraig Amond in the 85th minute.

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