Louis van Gaal, the current manager of Manchester United, is a confusing figure. Frequently disarming and able to display a self-deprecating humour, he's occasionally also abrasive and blinkered. Sometimes, he's just downright weird, a facet of his personality that came to the fore after the most recent act of thuggery from one of his least admirable players, a certain Monsieur Fellaini.
The FA Cup is a stranger beast than normal this year - in most cases, a semi-final line up where only one of the five is counted among the traditional big boys, and a quarter-final where both Arsenal and Chelsea were comprehensively beaten, would make for a major shock that would be talked about for days.
No wins in November. One win in January, before a run of four games without tasting triumph. The team have been shooting themselves in the foot for so long that any slip-up really does look like it rips the heart out of the side. It just screams 'here we go again'. How can anyone believe Arsenal can win the Premier League if they don't seem to truly believe it themselves?
With plans possibly afoot to kill off FA Cup replays and play games midweek in order to increase English chances in Europe and in international tournaments, we should enjoy the cup in its current form. Although looking ahead, I'm not seeing too many possible shocks.
The traditional view of the FA Cup upset is that the minnows must be at home, welcoming the posh, pampered top tier side to a ploughed field, grimy dressing room and gnashing, foaming fans at uncomfortably close quarters. Recent history, however, has suggested otherwise.
Footie fans are used to roller-coasters of emotion, but this January is a particularly breathless experience for many. After the FA Cup action over the weekend, there are busy programmes both midweek and next weekend - and cup replays for some the midweek following...
This Saturday I went to Goodison Park to see my local team Dagenham & Redbridge take on Everton in the FA Cup. This is what it meant to me and many other full time and part time Daggers fans.
Last year, the FA Cup Third Round saw Blyth Spartans reach the highest point in their recent history, as they led Birmingham City 2-0 and at one stage were being followed on Twitter by Luis Figo. This year, who will the greatest single day in the annual football calendar be remembered by the most?
In an astonishing show of preparedness, I'm doing this preview of the FA Cup Second Round a full week before the fixtures are played. I find this pre...
"It's been a long time. I've been watching you. But at last, here we are". To slightly misquote Christoph Waltz from the mediocre new Bond flick Spec...
I'll get it out the way straight away. Whitley Bay are still in the cup, beating Congleton Town 2-1 last weekend at Hillheads. A money-spinning tie ag...
Yes, it was the first qualifying round of the FA Cup. After the two preliminary qualifying rounds were completed, it was time for some proper qualifying. What else could I have been talking about?
The tournament this year began with the Extra Preliminary Round - there are so many teams that want to enter, they couldn't even fit them into a pre-qualifying round. In the pre-pre-qualifiers, a lot of interesting stories were thrown up.
Having seen a lot of coverage in the press about the Football Association's decision to agree a sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines, I thought I'd chip in with my thoughts.
Arsenal are like that talented kid at school - the one who who has so much to offer, but is a little scared of the spotlight. He prefers to just fade into the background and while he might be a little proud of what he's done, he doesn't like the attention on him. Nor the pressure.
It looks absolutely certain that Falcao will not be making his loan spell permanent in the summer, but if he does leave, there will be a sense of embitterment that could have been easily avoided.