FA Cup Round 4: Several non-League sides still remain in contention

Leicester City's English-born Jamaican defender Wes Morgan and Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Leicester City's English-born Jamaican defender Wes Morgan and Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel (Photo by KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

The FA Cup continues this weekend with 32 teams still left in the tournament. Among the last 32 are a pair of non-league sides in Kidderminster Harriers and Boreham Wood. With 5 matches involving solely lower tier sides and a further 8 involving one, there are plenty of chances for upsets over the next few days. Here is what to look forward to.

Five matches between lower league sides in the FA Cup

The best part about this round is that there are still several ties not involving Premier League sides. The tie most likely to garner the most attention would be Boreham Wood’s trip to the Vitality to battle Premier League hopefuls Bournemouth.

The National League side have successfully negotiated the FA Cup qualifying rounds for the second season running. Their latest success in the cup came at the expense of League One’s AFC Wimbledon back in January. Currently in the promotion playoffs in the first step of non-league football, a victory against Scott Parker’s Cherries will almost surely be the highlight of their season.

There will also be two matchups featuring solely Championship clubs. Huddersfield will welcome Barnsley while Queens Park Rangers will head to Peterborough. In both cases, it is a promotion contender battling a relegation threatened side, with both of the hosts being in the former category. While a win might be rewarded with a more renowned opponent in the next round, a loss might not be bad for either side given their respective situations.

Finally, Cambridge United will welcome Luton Town, while Wigan Athletic and Stoke will meet at the Bet365 Stadium. Both ties see a League One side battling a Championship team. Both Luton and Wigan pursuing promotion, with the latter second in League One. In Cambridge and Stoke’s cases, both are comfortably in midtable in their respective leagues. A win will be a bonus for all of the sides involved.

Premier League sides favourites against lower league opposition

A further 8 matches will see Premier League sides battle a team from a lower division than them. Perhaps the most intriguing of the lot will see the pacesetters of both the Premier League and Championship going head-to-head. Manchester City will welcome Fulham in what could very well be a preparation for what to come next campaign for both sides. With plenty of football left for both, do not be surprised to see heavily rotated sides from both.

Elsewhere, Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United host another promotion contender from the Championship, Middlesbrough. Having their fair share of success down the years against the Red Devils, a victory at Old Trafford would be a monumental win.

League Two’s Hartlepool will travel to Selhurst Park to meet Crystal Palace, both teams in midtable in their separate leagues. The same can be said of Southampton and Coventry, the latter heading to Saint Mary’s on Saturday. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will also see Championship opposition, with struggling Cardiff City going to Merseyside hoping for an upset.

Plymouth Argyle, another team with hopes for promotion, meet last season’s finalists Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, hoping to find form in their push for Championship football next season. Defending FA Cup winners Leicester will be set to play Nottingham Forest, the former European Cup winners having knocked out Arsenal last round.

Lastly, it will be a dream match for Kidderminster Harriers. The lowest ranked team left in the cup; the National League North outfit will expect a full house at the Aggborough Stadium when they take on West Ham. David Moyes’ men have had a fine season despite a little dip in form. The Irons topped their Europa League section and are still in the running for the European spots in the Premier League. A win in Worcestershire would do the West Londoners good in their push for Europe.

All Premier League ties

Only three Premier League ties will occur in this round. Everton and Brentford will square off in West London, both sides in the bottom half of the league table. With Frank Lampard on the touchline for the first time as Toffee’s boss, he will look for a good start to life as Everton boss. While The Bees started off their campaign swimmingly well, they have ended up on the losing side in their last four league games. An improvement in performances will be needed from Thomas Frank’s men should they hope to win the tie.

Wolves and Norwich also go at it, with contrasting season fortunes for both sides. While the hosts are enjoying another fine campaign, the Canaries are still in trouble. With back-to-back league wins coming since their narrow victory at Charlton, things are on the up for Norwich. Wolves, however are in much better form, going unbeaten in 6, winning each of their last 4. Bruno Lage’s European hopefuls will surely be favourites here.

The other match featuring all Premier League sides will feature Antonio Conte’s Spurs as they will host Brighton. Another cracker for this round, two top half teams, both in the running for European football. The Seagulls have proven to be quite the challenge for everyone who has crossed their paths, having lost just 4 games (in normal time) all season. Although Spurs have improved considerably since Conte took over from Nuno Espirito Santo, the North Londoners will certainly have their hands full.

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Several fascinating ties will take place this weekend, with much on the line for all clubs involved. The exact kick-off dates and times can be found here. Of course, the FA Cup winner will earn a place in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the following season. The road to Wembley continues over the next three days.