As we all saw on Wednesday, City progressed to the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup and have a golden chance of reaching the Semi Final, if not the final itself.
But there has been a lot of criticism over Villa manager Gerrard Houllier’s team selection for the game, with the Frenchman claiming he was taking the competition seriously, before leaving out several key players for the clash. But should Houllier face an FA charge for fielding an under strength side?
I’m a bit torn in two about this topic. On the one hand, you want teams to field their strongest side possible, which would make cup ties much more interesting. Most of us would agree that if Villa had played some of their better players, City would have needed to be worked a lot harder for the win and they would have had to move out of third gear.
But on the other hand, managers have their league status to consider and feel a cup run, whether they get to the final or not, is nothing compared to retaining their top flight position, so you can see it from that point of view. A good run in the cup would almost certainly distract them from the league and some may see it as an unwelcome distraction.
Earlier this season, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway was fined for fielding what the FA considered an under strength side for a Premier League fixture at Villa Park. The Seasiders lost that game 3-2, but Holloway was adamant he’d done nothing wrong and, in truth, he hadn’t.
At the beginning of the season, manager’s had to select a 25 man squad for the entire season. Now forgive me if I’m wrong but, is it not a manager’s prerogative to choose any of those 25 he wants? Is team selection the manager’s decision, not the FA’s?
Now Houllier and Holloway may have left players out in those games that could very well have made a difference to the outcome of the game, but they shouldn’t face action for selecting players from their own 25 man squad.
What do you think? Should managers who weaken their sides for cup competitions face action or should the FA stay out of it? Did Houllier disrespect the competition, or safeguard his team’s top flight status? Let us know your thoughts.
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