The Draw For The FA Cup Fifth Round Should See All Four Favourites Progress

Posted: February 13, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, The FA Cup, Tottenham Hotspur
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FAC

Antonio Conte v Nigel Adkins

In a draw which has been uncommonly kind to the remaining four clubs from England’s big six, the only difficulty any of them should encounter is the travelling conditions as, of the four, only Chelsea have been drawn at home.

They are set to face Hull City in a tie which has grown in importance over the last couple of weeks as the cup now represents their best, and possibly, only chance of silverware. (They face Barcelona in the Champion’s League and are unlikely to pass that test).

Tepid defeats at home to Bournemouth 0-3, followed by Watford away 4-1 have made the result of this cup game less predictable than it should have been.

Chelsea, despite their recent woes, should still be too good for Hull and we expect them to go through without the need for a replay.

However, it is a difficult one to call and the odds on a Hull win may be very good with William Hill’s FA Cup.

KH

Keith Hill v Mauricio Pochettino

London’s other representatives, Tottenham Hotspur, must travel to Rochdale and, despite the tie not being played until the 18th February, Mauricio Pochettino has already had his say about the state of the pitch at Spotland. This is what he said;
I think you are going to struggle, no? But not only us, them too,” Pochettino warned. “I think the FA need to assess how the pitch is and then to take a decision about if it’s good for the FA Cup, good for the players, good for the teams to play in this type of pitch, in that condition that I think doesn’t help football.

This is a pitch which has been perfectly OK for two thirds of the season and was fine when Rochdale beat Millwall in their FA Cup replay there recently.

It was, however, the main reason for the postponement of Rochdale’s game against Fleetwood Town on Saturday so he may have a point.

In truth, Pochettino did express his concern for the Rochdale players as well as his own but one can’t help but feel that the Tottenham boss is angling for the game to be moved to Wembley where he realises that the chance of a giant-killing is virtually zero and, like Chelsea, the FA Cup may very well be his best chance of a trophy this season.

Whatever happens Spurs should beat Rochdale.

PC

Paul Cook v Pep Guardiola

Manchester City travel to Wigan in a repeat of the 2013 final which they lost. Wigan also suffered the ignominy of being relegated that season and Roberto Martinez left the manager’s role shortly afterwards to join Everton.

This time around and Wigan are down in League One having been relegated again since their cup win! There won’t, however, be a repeat of the result from the two team’s last meeting for two reasons:

The first is that Wigan are currently top of the division and very likely to be promoted, not relegated, and the second is that City will win the tie. Maybe not at the first attempt, there could very well be a replay, but City will go through.

They seem driven this season and, although talk of the quadruple is rare and the possibility always pooh-poohed by Guardiola, it is actually a realistic, if remote, proposition.

So a win for City, probably after a replay at The Etihad.

DW

David Wagner v José Mourinho

Manchester United must also travel, in their case it is to Yorkshire to the home of Huddersfield Town where they have already lost this season.

That, however, was at the beginning of the season when Huddersfield still had that “new to the Premier League” enthusiasm and went out thinking they could beat anybody. They were helped by United being absolutely woeful on the day and that is unlikely to be the case again.

Again, thanks to Manchester City’s dominance of the Premier League, the FA Cup could well be José Mourinho’s best chance of a trophy this season and, for this reason alone, we think he will approach the tie seriously with the aim of winning and moving on to the quarter finals.

Like City, United may need a replay to get past Huddersfield as they, like Wigan, will no doubt raise their game a level or two for the home tie.

Do you agree with our assessment or do you think we have it all wrong? Let us know below.

 

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