FA Cup Round 5: Eye-catching ties all around

Djed Spence of Notingham Forest. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Djed Spence of Notingham Forest. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

We have reached the fifth round of FA Cup football, with 16 teams from three different tiers remaining. This is the sole midweek round of action in the main rounds of the tournament, with seven of the eight games to be played between Tuesday and Thursday this week. The other one will take place the following Monday. Let’s see who will meet who, over the next week.

FA Cup Fixtures: Peterborough vs Manchester City (Tuesday 20:15 CET)

Six-time FA Cup winners Manchester City will head to Cambridgeshire to meet the last-placed team in the Championship, Peterborough.

The Posh got the better of QPR in the previous round, but have yet to be victorious in six games since, losing five. In fact, the last win for them (excluding the FA Cup) came in the league last December. It goes without saying that they are the overwhelming underdogs against City.

The Cityzens meanwhile cruised to victory in four of their last five following their 4-1 success against Fulham in the last round. Pep Guardiola’s side has seen their massive Premier League lead dwindle to as little as three points in recent times. The 2019 winners will be expected to make short work of the opposition in their quest to complete the treble.

Crystal Palace vs Stoke City (Tuesday 20:30 CET)

Another one of four Premier League vs Championship ties, the Potters will make the trip to London for the Tuesday night clash.

Sitting midtable in the second tier, Stoke are on a run of four without a win. Their last two matches have seen them fall 2-1 to Luton and more recently Bournemouth. Their last victory on their travels came a month and a half ago, so a full effort will be needed from them to cause an upset.

Also sitting comfortably in midtable, Crystal Palace have one win in five. Patrick Vieira’s men last tasted home success in their most recent FA Cup tie ending Hartlepool’s run at the start of the month. While The Eagles have seen better times, they should still have enough quality to make it past their struggling guests.

Middlesbrough vs Spurs (Tuesday 20:55 CET)

An interesting tie awaits us at the Riverside, as promotion-chasing Borough will welcome a reeling Spurs side needing some confidence.

It has been an inconsistent month for Middlesbrough following their upset at Old Trafford a month ago. A pair of wins and defeats, plus a draw followed. Their weekend defeat at Barnsley was another setback in their push to return to the Prem, but another vintage performance from Chris Wilder’s side could see them pull off another shock.

A similar mood can be described in North London regarding a lack of consistency. Despite a huge win at the Etihad, back-to-back losses before and another one the following match left a sour taste in Antonio Conte’s mouth. A more convincing 4-0 drubbing of relegation-threatened Leeds this past Saturday gives a confidence boost in Spurs’ hopes of ending their decade-plus hiatus of silverware.

Luton Town vs Chelsea (Wednesday, 20:15 CET)

With four wins in their last five outings, EFL side Luton are in fantastic form as they host Thomas Tuchel’s Blues. Three successive victories followed a disappointing display at Birmingham for David Wilkinson’s Hatters, and can come into this tie with the belief that they can throw out last season’s finalists in this tournament.

They just might have caught Chelsea at the right time. The Blues of West London have had a turbulent last few days. From Roman Abramovich leaving the club to their EFL Cup final failure on penalties, there are plenty of reasons for the defending Champions League winners to be distracted.

Whether they will be able to overcome their recent problems in time, remains to be seen. Don’t count Luton out just yet.

Southampton vs West Ham (Wednesday, 20:30 CET)

Two Premier League clubs will go at it at Saint Mary’s as the Saints and Irons both will fancy their chances at progression.

Following their narrow win earlier in the month at Coventry’s expense, Ralph Hassenhuttl’s Southampton have been in red-hot form. Three wins in four with back-to-back clean sheets sees them in the top half of the league table.

While a spot in Europe via the league still looks rather unlikely, they may be able to put all their effort into the cup and end their 46-year wait to taste glory in this competition again.

Also unbeaten since their scare at Kidderminster, the Hammers have a ton of football still ahead of them. Still left in the Europa League, David Moyes’ side have a lot on their plate. Being two points out of a Champions League place, they may have priorities lying elsewhere as they head to Hampshire.

Liverpool vs Norwich (Wednesday, 20:55 CET)

The other all-Premier League affair will see bottom side Norwich travel to Merseyside to take on Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, again.

It seems as if everything is going perfectly for Liverpool this calendar year. Since their dismissing of Cardiff last time out, the Reds have won 5 of their last six in normal time, the exception coming in the EFL Cup final.

They won that too, via an 11-round shootout. They are also in the running for a domestic quadruple, being six points back of Man City with a game in hand, plus a foot in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Facing a side they love to dismantle Norwich, find themselves in dire straits yet again. Three defeats in a row, with just one goal scored in that stretch, means the Canaries are back in the basement.

It is unlikely that they will come out on top in this one, and it might not be a bad thing. With Premier League survival looking grim, they will need to muster all their energy into staying up.

Everton vs Boreham Wood (Thursday, 21:15 CET)

Another team marred by the fear of going down, Everton will take on the lowest-ranked team left in the tournament.

The Toffees have seen very little success since Frank Lampard’s arrival to Goodison Park. With one win in seven league outings, they face an uncertain future in the top flight of English football. Despite wins over Hull and Brentford in their first two cup games, things are not looking favourable for the Merseysiders.

They will have the favourites tag in this though. They face a side 79 places below them in the football league pyramid. It has been a season to remember for Boreham Wood fans.

Third, in the National League, the dream of returning to the Football League yearns on Luke Gerrard’s men. Causing waves in their last game in the cup, they will relish the opportunity to make the same waves on Thursday night.

Nottingham Forest vs Huddersfield (Monday, 20:30 CET)

The last game of the round will be the only one not to feature a Premier League team, as Championship sides Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield will meet at City Ground.

Like their opponents, Forest finds themselves in a dogfight for promotion. With three clean sheets in four, they are in good stead to push for a top-six finish. The defeats of Arsenal and defending champions Leicester in their previous ties leaves Forest in prime position for a run here.

A return to the Prem and to European, the latter for the first time in a quarter-century, would be a fantastic way to end the campaign for them.

The Terriers are in even better form with three wins on the bounce. Sitting third in the Championship, automatic promotion is still in their sights. Having won the side’s most recent clash, Huddersfield could fancy themselves as favourites to repeat the same trick in West Bridgford.

With 15 games left in this season’s FA Cup, plenty of excitement is still to be witnessed. Several upsets have been made over the last couple of rounds, and hopefully, the trend will continue throughout the week.

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Europa League football in September is on the line along with a trophy and nearly £2 million in prize money, much is still to be decided among the last 16 teams. Sit back, and enjoy the ride as 16 will become 8 over the next week.