Gérard peers into the future to see if he can determine who Villa will play in the FA Cup finals. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
As you may have read, Aston Villa know their destiny for the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. After thrashing Manchester City over the weekend, the Barry Bannan led Villans will travel to face giant-killers Everton for the next round. Or, perhaps they'll take a ride on the Reading Railroad. Or maybe they will watch Manchester City do the very same from a pub near Bodymoor Heath.
The FA, in their wisdom, have decided to schedule the sixth round of the FA Cup already. Now, I imagine to most people this absurdity is normal. In fact, from what I've picked up about the FA in general, the same can be said for any and all absurdities. But you'll have to forgive me, as this is my first year dealing with the organization. Why is there a schedule, when five of the eight teams have yet to be decided? I understand the idea of scheduling early, and I've enjoyed the past few rounds where the draw occurs immediately after the main weekend. And, I can understand having a replay or two to deal with. For the most part, the previous draws in the competition have settled the upcoming schedule. They help teams and fans plan for what is ahead. But this draw? What exactly does it do?
My math is a bit hazy here, but I can guarantee that there are at least 36 different possible combinations of teams for the 6th round of the FA Cup. Do you see why this is unhelpful to anybody at all? Something like this makes sense in a bracketed tournament with pre-selected locations. As a host, your job won't change regardless of who's playing. But in a tournament played at each team's home site? This is ridiculous.
We waited approximately 3 weeks to find out who we would play in the 5th round. And before we can hardly accept the fact that it will be Manchester City, the FA have forced us to look forward to yet another away match. My love for the FA Cup is documented. I think it's one of the greatest tournaments on Earth. However, I can't help but think the organization behind it is incredibly stupid. I don't understand how the FA can (seemingly) do so well when there are hundreds of teams, but give us a Choose Your Own Adventure when there are fewer than sixteen.
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