So, what have the FA Cup results this week, particularly at Millwall, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, Brentford, Leeds United and Oldham Athletic told us?
That the FA Cup is not a priority for most of the Premier League, for reasons of other more important targets? Probably. (Survival for Villa, QPR and Norwich, Champions League qualification for Chelsea and Spurs, not certain what Liverpool’s excuse is.)
That the game can be gloriously unpredictable, and on any given day, almost any team can beat another? Certainly.
What it could also have shown, are the fine lines between what makes good players and good teams into excellent ones.
It can never be scientifically proven, but just ask yourself these questions:
In terms of ability, which players in e.g. the top three divisions could be described as being in a higher bracket than the rest? How many players are stand out? 5%? 10%?.
At the other end of the scale, how many players are probably just getting away with making it in the game and only manage it by hard work, attitude and endeavour? Again 5%-10%?
Taking that, admittedly convenient figure, that leave between 80% and 90% of the players in top three divisions who’s ability level is actually not that far apart. Even if you up the % at each end, it leaves the greater majority of players, with an ability level that is quite narrow.
If you take some of the players who played for the so called giant-killers, give them organisation, a clear game plan, motivation from a good manager and a desire to win, maybe it is not so much of a shock that they hold their own against the teams who are more illustrious and maybe leave some of the top 10% player out of the equation.
This is also a reason why the lower league gems, can be unearthed, players with lots to offer, just need the right environment, the right manager and the right club.