It’s difficult to properly evaluate the status of the FA Cup in this present moment. On the one hand, you have Premier League teams who all too often see most cup competitions as some sort of a distraction and often field a weakened team as a result. On the other hand, the FA cup provides teams with less standing in the game the opportunity to go toe to toe with the giants of English football and earn a good amount of money in the process. When you consider that, just a couple of weeks ago, Hartlepool United were trying to raise £200,000 simply to keep their club afloat, the importance of the financial rewards to lower league clubs becomes very apparent.
There’s obviously a degree of good fortune required when it comes to giant killing in the FA Cup but, even so, a properly formulated plan and strategy is key to winning any football match. While it would seem like the best approach is to simply batten down the hatches, prepare for an onslaught and pray that the other team don’t score, the best teams invariably have the players to unlock any defense and often to do so with aplomb. However, Rochdale’s recent FA Cup performance against Tottenham showed us that there’s something to be said for taking the game to the opposition and standing toe-to-toe with a superior team. However, this is often easier said than done.
Despite their spirited performance, Rochdale were a huge price with most bookmakers to even earn a replay before a ball was kicked. Odds like that are perhaps more often seen around people who win the lottery, with gaming brand Lottoland putting that outcome in the millions to one. However, giant slaying isn’t all that rare; Bradford were 30/1 to win by any margin when they defeated Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the competition back in 2015.