A look at the five Premier League clubs which went tumbling from the cup this weekend against lower league opposition...
QPR's form had picked up in recent weeks, after Harry Redknapp took over from Mark Hughes' disastrous early season efforts, but this weekend was a shambles. QPR hosted League One side MK Dons, and were thrashed 4-2. Only late goals in the final 10 minutes from QPR added a modicum of respectability to the scoreline. QPR did play a weakened side, DJ Campbell got a rare start up front, the usually unreliable Rob Green in goal, and Armand Traore at left-back got proceedings off to a bad start with an early own goal. However their midfield of Park Ji-Sung, Esteban Granero and Alejandro Faurlin was pretty first choice, so excuses are thin on the ground. MK Dons have been on the up this season, and after their close-run 'derby' against AFC Wimbledon in round two, they now find themselves hosting Barnsley in the fifth.
The television cameras jumped on Liverpool's tie against Oldham as a potential shock, and they proved spot on. The Reds made incredibly difficult work of Mansfield in round three, and didn't up their game this time around. Oldham's early goal gave themselves confidence, and set up a titanic cup tie. Even with Luis Suarez netting a quick equaliser, the Latics knew they were not overawed, and stood firm. Not even the 55th minute introduction of Steven Gerrard could turn the tie. Liverpool's team was a mixture of fringe players and youngsters - except in attack where Suarez and Sturridge both started along with Fabio Borini, who failed to impress. Oldham were terrific and fully deserved their win, and host...wait for it... Everton in the next round. Another shock?
Aston Villa's week from hell was compounded on Friday night when they were unsurprisingly dumped out of the FA Cup by Millwall. After being knocked out of the Capital One Cup in the semi-final by League Two Bradford City, their confidence was shattered. Paul Lambert unexpectedly rested Christian Benteke for the game, with Darren Bent grabbing an early goal but contributing little else, with Villa devoid of creativity. Millwall played their part expertly, without being excellent, Villa's performance meant they didn't need to be, with John Marquis' 89th minute winner sealing the win. Villa at least can put the cup dreams out of the way, and focus on trying to ensure Premier League survival, but they will need a dramatic improvement on recent performances.
Tottenham's trip to Elland Road was always going to be tough, and so it proved as they were defeated 2-1, also going behind to an early goal which got the home crowd going. Jermain Defoe, scorer of a hat-trick on his last visit to the ground, was left out and Clint Dempsey leading the attack and scoring his team's only goal. Tom Huddlestone got a start in midfield but was thoroughly disappointing, and even wing wizards Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon - playing against his former club - couldn't rescue the game for Spurs. Leeds were without star striker Luciano Becchio, who handed in a transfer request ahead of the game, making their win even more noteworthy. The defeat is a big blow for Tottenham, as the FA Cup is a real genuine chance of silverware. While the race for the top four matters greatly, Andre Villas-Boas will have to make sure their Europa League campaign counts.
We've saved the biggest shock until last, and that's Norwich's loss to conference side Luton Town. Carrow Road is a ground where both Manchester United and Arsenal have been beaten this season, but Luton pulled off a truly remarkable victory. They became the first non-league side to beat a top flight side since 1989, scoring their winner in the 80th minute. The half-time introduction of Grant Holt couldn't help Norwich, who had fielded a side more than capable of gaining victory. Norwich are now on a real bad run, winning just one of their last eight matches in all competitions. Perhaps even more remarkable than the result, was that these teams were playing in the same division six years ago, outlining just how differently their fortunes have changed, but this weekend Luton tipped the tables.
images: © OliverN5