Early Doors

Overreaction Theatre: Hot balls! It’s a fix!

The tin foil hat brigade were out in force on Twitter after Sunday evening's FA Cup draw paired Chelsea and Manchester City and Arsenal and Liverpool in two huge fifth-round ties.

While most people were acclaiming an exciting draw, others broke off from their devoted investigation into the Illuminati, or their frame-by-frame analysis of the Zapruder film, to declare the whole thing a fix.

Not only was the integrity of the Football Association impugned, but also that of Andros Townsend, as the Tottenham winger and his father were the two lucky men asked to draw the balls out of the bag at Wembley.

And how did the governing body and the Tottenham winger so devilishly collude to fix the draw? Why of course, by heating certain balls - the go-to accusation for sporting draw conspiracy theorists.

Some, though, were rather more sceptical about claims the FA had hoodwinked us all...

And one cheeky viewer saw the opportunity for a little dig at Tottenham midfielder Townsend...

And so so the weekend's football action...

Manchester City had a patchy start to the season, but with 110 goals scored in all competitions, a spot in the League Cup final already assured, and Barcelona fans groaning when the all-conquering Catalans drew City in the Champions League, you'd think that people would have accepted that they're fairly good at football.

But a poor start and two goals against them in the early stages of Saturday's FA Cup clash against Watford was seemingly enough to erase all that hard work.

Even the FA's official Twitter account was ready to predict Doomsday:

Of course, City hit back in style - as we knew they would - and Early Doors' only regret is not lumping on Manuel Pellegrini's side at 5-1 early in the second half as they still trailed by two goals. And you can almost hear the bookies' relief that nobody else bothered to do so either:

In fairness, even Manchester City themselves appear to have stopped believing in their team, if their palapable relief at full-time is anything to go by:

Away from the FA Cup action, the big news was of course Manchester United's signing of Juan Mata, which met with almost universal acclaim:

David Moyes even earned some rare praise:

But not everybody was convinced:

Mostly, though, everybody played nicely. Almost oddly so, as one football site pointed out: