The Top 10 in the Premier League table after last weekend’s games all went into the Fourth Round with winnable looking games which set up the chance of it looking like it could be the strongest contended 5th Round in years.
With the exception of Tottenham – who faced Leicester at home and Southampton (home to Crystal Palace) – all were faced with lower division opposition as the draw failed to throw up any matches between the top 10 sides.
I guess we could have got a glimpse of what was to come when Cambridge held Manchester United on Friday night but that was just a minor tremor in a series of shocks on Saturday that you could not have predicted. The Swans lunchtime loss at Blackburn barely then raised an eyebrow when 5pm came around with Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton all dumped out of the competition at home as the competition opened up completely for those who proceeded through to the 5th Round.
With Bradford winning at Chelsea and Middlesbrough at the Ethiad the competition was blown wide open and when you throw in Leicester winning at Spurs and Bolton holding Liverpool at Anfield and you just wonder what we missed out on when we went out at lunchtime to Blackburn.
Had we gone through today we would be currently the highest ranked club left in the competition although that would have been unlikely – but not impossible to have remained that way.
As it stands now you can imagine the likes of West Brom, Palace and Leicester are thinking that this could be their year to progress further. The right pairing of the balls on Monday night seeing the competition favourites paired together and the Championship sides could also start to dream themselves.
We definitely can look on the tie therefore at Blackburn as a chance missed for us to progress not just to Round 5 but beyond in the competition and the results proved for me beyond doubt that the magic of the FA Cup is very much alive.