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FA Cup Fifth Round Preview
It’s another weekend without Premier League action in England but that is no reason to feel low, especially with eight fantastic FA Cup ties to look forward to. There are still eleven Premier League sides involves, including both Manchester giants and holders from the last two seasons Arsenal, who have now amassed an incredible fourteen-game unbeaten run in England’s premier cup competition. Four Championship sides and a lone-representative of League One complete the set for what promises to be a weekend of top-class cup action
There are four ties scheduled for Saturday, with holders and record twelve-times winners Arsenal in action against Championship side Hull City – a repeat of the 2014 final in which the Gunners dramatically came from two-nil down to claim the famous old trophy. Five-times winners West Bromwich Albion and 1984 beaten finalists Watford are also in action against Championship opposition, the Baggies playing away at Reading and the Hornets facing fallen giants and 1972 winners Leeds United at Vicarage Road. Saturday’s evening match sees Premier League strugglers Bournemouth hosting divisional rivals and five-times winners Everton in what promises to be a Saturday evening thriller at the Vitality Stadium. One look at the bookmakers suggests at least three Premier League sides will make it through from these four ties, although the Championship clubs involved will have something to say about that.
A further three ties are schedules for Sunday in what promises to be another tasty day of cup action. Indeed, the six clubs involved have a combined 29 successes in this competition, with only Crystal Palace, of all the teams involved on Sunday, yet to claim the biggest knockout prize in English football. If the Eagles, famously beaten finalists in 1980-90, hope to taste a maiden victory, they will have to overcome high-flying Tottenham Hotspur, who themselves are eight-times winners of this competition, but who may well be feeling the pace after their Thursday night exertions in the Europa League which took them to Italy to face Fiorentina. Sunday’s early game is at Ewood Park, where Championship strugglers Blackburn Rovers, a side with a rich history in this competition with five successes to their name, host West Ham United who are flying high in the Barclays Premier league and have claimed the old trophy on three occasions. Then, Sunday evening pits together the two biggest spenders in English football – Chelsea and Manchester City, two teams who will be bitterly disappointed with their Premier League positions and will be looking for Cup success to cover their league deficiencies. Indeed, Manchester City still harbour hopes of an unprecedented quadruple, and may well benefit from having had a week off as Chelsea faced a difficult trip to Paris, where they were beaten by Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday night in the Champions League. An enticing encounter awaits at Stamford Bridge.
And as an added treat, Monday night sees the lowest ranked side left in the competition, League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town, face the mighty Manchester United at New Meadow. Indeed, the Shrews were only promoted from League Two last season, and haven’t reached this stage of the competition since a home-defeat by Arsenal knocked them out of the 1990-91 version, and have only been further on two occasions, the last being in 1981-82. Manchester United, eleven-times winners of the iconic trophy, need success in this competition this season to sate the ever-increasingly unsatisfied appetite of its hungry fans who will only have been further frustrated by the club’s defeat in Denmark at the hands of FC Midtjylland on Thursday night in the Europa League. A win here is a must for Louis Van Gaal’s struggling giants, yet the League One side may well fancy their chances ahead of this one. A real cup classic promises to ensue on Monday night.
Full List of FA Cup Fifth Round Fixtures
Arsenal V Hull City, Saturday 20/02/16 at 12.45 GMT
Arsenal 1.55, Draw 4.20, Hull City 7.00
Reading V West Bromwich Albion, Saturday 20/02/16 at 15.00 GMT
Reading 2.87, Draw 3.20, West Bromwich Albion 2.75 Watford V Leeds United, Saturday 20/02/16 at 15.00 GMT
Watford 1.66, Draw 3.90, Leeds United 6.00 Bournemouth V Everton, Saturday 20/02/16 at 17.15 GMT
Bournemouth 3.25, Draw 3.50, Everton 2.30Blackburn Rovers V West Ham United, Sunday 21/02/16 at 14.00 GMTBlackburn Rovers 3.30, Draw 3.30, West Ham United 2.37
Tottenham Hotspur V Crystal Palace, Sunday 21/02/16 at 15.00 GMT
Tottenham Hotspur 1.66, Draw 4.00, Crystal Palace 5.75
Chelsea V Manchester City, Sunday 21/02/16 at 16.00 GMT
Chelsea 1.90, Draw 3.75, Manchester City 4.33
Shrewsbury Town V Manchester United, Monday 22/02/16 at 19.45 GMT
Shrewsbury Town 7.50, Draw 5.00, Manchester United 1.36
All odds courtesy of Bet365 and correct as of 17.00 GMT on 19/02/16
By: Steve Paget