Unfortunately for most, Lincoln City and Millwall’s dream of FA Cup glory disappeared this weekend at the hands of North London opposition. However, there were lots more talking points from this week’s domestic football and we see who is a winner and who is a loser this week.
Fulham travelled to the North East and top of the table Newcastle facing a daunting task, especially after their opponent’s latest run of form. However, a Ryan Sessegnon inspired Fulham deservedly took three points back to Craven Cottage. Not afraid to attack their opponents, Sessegnon scored two great counter-attack goals as Newcastle’s defence simply could not cope. The highlight of Fulham’s performance was a great long-range strike by Tom Cairney which set Fulham off and they never looked back. Under Slavisa Jokanovic, Fulham look and outside bet for the play-offs and if they can replicate this form, they will be a force to be reckoned with come May.
2) BOLTON WANDERERS
Despite last season’s struggles, Bolton have been at the right end of the table this season and will be aiming for promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking. This weekend, they travelled to Fleetwood who themselves have been on a great league run, unbeaten since mid-November. Bolton though, led by former Reading striker, Adam Le Fondre, defeated Fleetwood 4-2. A match between two teams so close to the automatic promotion places could have been a cagey affair but Bolton took the three points home and closed the gap to Fleetwood, now standing at a solitary point.
3) HULL CITY
Relegation-threatened Hull City and Swansea City clashed at the KCOM Stadium in a real relegation six-pointer. Both teams have enjoyed marked improvements under their new managers and it was Hull who emerged victorious after a brace from January-singing Oumar Niasse. This result is a massive step in the right direction for Hull in their bid to escape the drop and will take confidence from this as they travel to Goodison Park on Saturday.
1) MANCHESTER UNITED
Before Monday, Manchester United had a great chance of completing the treble (EFL Cup, FA Cup and Europa League). However, their trip to Stamford Bridge was blighted by absentees in the striker department with Marcus Rashford, despite reportedly being ill, having to start. Matters were compounded when Ander Herrera was sent-off for a second yellow card and then N’Golo Kanté doubled his tally of goals against Manchester United this season as Chelsea progressed as 1-0 winners. Some United fans have even claimed there is an FA conspiracy against them… I wonder why Manchester United are considered losers this week?
2) MILTON KEYNES DONS
MK Dons have struggled since coming down from the Championship and are languishing in 17th and not too far away from the relegation zone. A home match against Rochdale yielded just a single point, not good preparation for their grudge match against AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday. This match, for all its historical significance, ended with Wimbledon winning 2-0. To make matters worse, Wimbledon refused to make any reference to MK Dons in their match-day programme, resulting in a very bad week of results and on-field action for MK Dons.
3) LUTON TOWN
Luton, in the play-off places of League 2, faced two difficult games in the shape of Stevenage and Carlisle United. Luton took just one point off their rivals and failed to score a goal. Winning these games would have allowed Luton to fully consolidate their position in the playoffs, however, they now find themselves just four points ahead of Blackpool who are in 7th place. Luton face an uphill task and they need to regain their form as they have a huge match against Exeter at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.