Manchester City throw the FA Cup for England as Chelsea march on
The newspapers are torn: did Manchester City throw their FA Cup tie against Chelsea, losing the match 5-1? The Telegraph says Manuel Pelligrini’s decision to field a greatly inexperienced side “backfired”. The inference is that the City manager thought an experimental City youth side could defeat the Chelsea first team at Stamford Bridge. Surely not. City came to chance their arm and gain experience for their young players.
Chelsea v City was scheduled for late yesterday, before the Manchester side play Wednesday’s Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine. Then City play Liverpool in the Capital One next Sunday.
City have higher priorities.
The Mirror accuses City of being the “Cup Killers”.
Pelligrini has hammered another nail into the demise of football’s oldest Cup, says the Mirror. Says Pellegrini:
“We were forced to select that team, we couldn’t play another day and didn’t have any more fit players. We knew it was a difficult chance to carry on in the FA Cup. We cannot do anything more. If we play on Saturday, it is better for us, then we play in the Champions League for England. We have six players injured and cannot take any more risks. We played against a very good team and that’s why they won.”
The Sun mocks Pelligrini’s claim that city did it for England:
Is Pelligrini wrong to claim England came first? Not entirely, no.
The Barclays Premier League claims four spots in the Champions League. Italy’s Serie A has three. That could change. Slots are allocated according to how well a nation’s sides fare in both European competitions. The Uefa club association co-efficients are:
1 Spain 85.142
2. Germany 66.749
3. England 65.034
4. Italy 60.605
5. Portugal 44.582
(Top three associations currently have four Champions League places)
The Times notes:
The Italians cut the deficit by more than half last season, thanks to Juventus reaching the Champions League final and a strong showing by Napoli and Fiorentina in the Europa League.
Should England’s representatives struggle again this year, it is conceivable that Italy might catch them at the end of the campaign – meaning England would only be able to send three teams to the Champions League in 2017/18 – though the following season is more likely.
So, Pelligrini might not be “kidding”, as the Sun puts it.
Meanwhile, Chelsea move on, travelling to Everton on March 12 – three days after they play PSG in the Champions’ League.