FA Cup Quarterfinals: Eight Teams a game away from Wembley

Josh Coburn of Middlesbrough; FA Cup (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Josh Coburn of Middlesbrough; FA Cup (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images) /

We have reached the quarterfinal stage of this year’s FA Cup and two Championship teams are still in the running. With this being the last round where teams play at home grounds, Wembley beckons for the victors of each match. Let’s see who will take on who over the next couple of days.

FA Cup Quarterfinal Fixtures
Middlesbrough vs Chelsea (Saturday, 18:15 CET)

One of the previously mentioned Championship clubs features in this one as Boro is set to face a Chelsea side hoping to head into the international break on a high note.

The hosts got past Birmingham in their league fixture last weekend, keeping them in the hunt for the playoffs. It has already been an amazing cup run for Middlesbrough, pulling off a shocker at Old Trafford before getting the better of Spurs last time out. One of two sides left to have never hoisted the FA Cup, Boro will hope to go one better than the 1996/97 campaign, where they lost the final to, fittingly, Chelsea.

The Blues have had quite the off-field drama this week. Due to the perilous situation at Stamford Bridge, they will not have any away fans head to the Riverside with them. Initially asking for the game to be played behind closed doors, they swiftly retracted the request. How focused Thomas Tuchel’s men will be ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup meeting is still yet to be determined.

Crystal Palace vs Everton (Sunday, 13:30 CET)

One of two all-Premier League meetings this round; it will be Frank Lampard’s Toffees heading to Selhurst Park for an encounter with the Eagles. Easily the most evenly matched game, both will aim to maintain their chances of lifting the trophy in May.

Palace are the other side left to have never tasted FA Cup success. The Eagles have fallen in the final to Manchester United in the 1989/90 season, and again in 2015/16. This will be their first meeting with a Premier League team in the cup this campaign, however, seeing off Millwall, Hartlepool, and Stoke to get to this point.

After finally getting back to winning ways on Thursday, Everton still find themselves in an even more uncomfortable position in the league than they did a few weeks back before their cup victory at the hands of Boreham Wood. Three points off the drop, a little more cup magic will be a needed boost in their fight for survival in England’s top flight.

Southampton vs Manchester City (Sunday, 16:00 CET)

Saint Mary’s is the venue as the Saints welcome the Cityzens on Sunday. Being one of City’s bogey teams in recent times, Southampton will look to end their opponent’s hopes of a treble.

Things have not looked good for the Hampshire side of late. Following their defeat of West Ham in the previous round, it has been three losses on the spin for Ralph Hassenhuttl’s team. While they still hold the underdog tag in this one, it is worth remembering that the Saints avoided defeat in both league matches this season. They will need to be at their very best to make it three unbeaten against City.

After being held scoreless on Monday, Guardiola’s Cityzens will aim to do some damage in Southampton. Seeing their league lead evaporate to just one point over Liverpool, this tie acts as an opportunity to add some confidence into the players before they depart for international duty.

Nottingham Forest vs Liverpool (Sunday, 19:00 CET)

The most historically significant match of the lot; it will be the other Championship side, Nottingham Forest, playing host to an eager Liverpool team hungry to add a second piece of silverware to their cabinet this season.

Boasting the Championship’s fourth-best defense, Forest is in good shape going into the meeting. Unbeaten in nine since a 2-1 reverse at Cardiff, Steve Cooper’s club also have the honor of knocking out the most successful side in the cup’s history (Arsenal), as well as current holders (Leicester), on route to this meetup. City Ground will be bouncing with the chance of a long-awaited return to Wembley.

Standing in front of them is maybe the hottest team in Europe at the moment. They have lost just three times all season, recently capturing the EFL Cup as well. A quadruple is still on the cards for Jurgen Klopp’s charges, who are in the race for the Prem once again. Combine that with a Champions League quarterfinal where they will face Benfica, and there is still football aplenty left for the Reds before the football year is up.

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With seven games left until a champion is determined, the FA Cup still has a chance to see yet more magic and drama this weekend. With eight well-known sides on a quest for silverware, the action coming our way promises to give us more twists and turns.