FA Cup Holders Portsmouth Dumped Out at Home, Chelsea to Visit U.S. in July, Dimitar Berbatov Is Smarter Than You Think, and more

Nothing like an FA Cup upset or two to add a little spice to your Saturday. Well, unless you’re on the receiving end of said upset, at home nonetheless.

Harry Redknapp has plenty to be concerned about with his current side, though he might have a little room to sympathize for his old side Portsmouth, whose chances to defend their cup crown went up in smoke in a 2-0 home defeat to Swansea City. Hooray for the upset lovers, but quite the opposite for Pompey.

As for old ‘Arry’s current side, well, Tottenham fought the good fight at Old Trafford, but Manchester United sent Tottenham packing with a 2-1 win. Both managers put strong sides out, even though forthcoming league ties and a need to ward off injury problems were the main concerns going in. Hopefully you followed all of the action with our live match commentary, brought to you as always by Victor Li.

These two sides will face each other in a little over a month in the Carling Cup final, and if Tottenham successfully defend their Carling Cup crown but don’t get the ship righted in the league, they could be one of the few sides that you’ll come across to play in the UEFA Cup (and likely be a favorite) and not be in the top flight. Schadenfreude, anyone?

Tottenham are going to be up against it to successfully defend that Carling Cup crown, whether or not United’s strongest side is on the pitch. With all of the great sides that Ryan Giggs has been in and all of the world-class players that he’s played alongside in his illustrious career, it’s pretty high praise that he considers United’s current side the best he’s played in. If injuries don’t continue to be a problem for United, then he might just be right.

United have already announced their plans for a summer tour of Asia, and it has been confirmed that Chelsea will be making a summer trip to the U.S. for a friendly on July 19 against Freddie Ljungberg and Seattle Sounders FC. Given that the 2009 MLS All-Star Game (hosted by Real Salt Lake) will also feature a quality opponent, and Barcelona is set to tour the U.S. again this summer, it’d be silly for me to miss out on all of the action. Anybody up for a road trip?

One player who may not be with the club when they make the trip to the left coast is Didier Drogba, who seems to have his heart set on a return to Marseille, but is also being courted by Manchester City, who continue to be linked with so and so and so and so, all for prices might normally be referred to as a ‘king’s ransom’ but are now just business as usual. But believe it or not, I was actually able to produce a transfer roundup without a single Manchester City-related rumor. I’ll have to check the archives and see if that’s the first time that’s happened in the last couple of months.

Of course, there are actually some signings going on right now, because that’s what the transfer window is supposed to be about, after all. For the dwarfish (by today’s standards) sum of 3.5 million pounds, Aston Villa get Emile Heskey this month, a young Mr. Agbonlahor gets a little relief, and Villa get a player that they need. As it should be, but as it isn’t.

A few weeks ago, there was a highly-debated piece about who looks to be the best fit to be the ‘next Claude Makelele,’ and the debate continues over at The Offside. From my astute observations, it will either be someone French, someone who plays in France, or someone who took a six-week French course at the Learning Annex to make himself a little more cultured and worldly.

That’s not as hands-on as, say, taking a trip to France or one of many French islands, but if your plane happens to go down, and you get stranded on an island, hope that one of the people you get stranded with is Dimitar Berbatov. My question is, is he going to bring a book with instructions on how to build a boat from materials he finds on said island, or does he always carry a giant blow-up raft in his carry-on just in case anything happens?

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