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FA Cup Fifth Round Special

Friday, February 17, 2017 10:35
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No apologies for ignoring this weekend’s truncated programme in the Championship, although I must admit I’ve got my doubts about how many  – if any – teams from the second tier will make it into the draw on Monday evening.

Huddersfield Town v Manchester City (Saturday 3pm, no TV coverage)

It’s almost 30 years since these clubs last met in the competition and although Huddersfield have never beaten City in the FA Cup, the visitors haven’t faced an important Champions League game a few days after one of their previous meetings. Then again, Huddersfield haven’t been chasing promotion from the second tier for a while either – but they have reached this stage twice in the last decade.

The Terriers victory over Port Vale in the Third Round was their first victory in a home cup tie since they beat Dover Athletic six years ago, but Huddersfield have only lost twice at the John Smith’s Stadium in the Championship this season and they’ll be hoping that City may have their mind on other things. I think the best that David Wagner’s side can hope for is a replay: it’s worth remembering that Town haven’t reached the Sixth Round since the early 1970s.

Wolves v Chelsea (Saturday 5:30pm, BT Sport 2)

After their heroics at Anfield in the last round, I’m afraid that this looks a step too far for Wolves. The hosts haven’t won a home FA Cup tie at Molineux since beating Doncaster Rovers 5-0 in 2011: since then they’ve lost four on the bounce and their only win in the FA Cup against Cheslea was in January 1928. Then there’s the fact that Wolves have only won twice at home in the league since the start of October: this could get very one sided very quickly.

Fulham v Spurs (Sunday 2:00pm, BBC1)

If I had to pick a surprise winner this weekend it would have to be in this game.

There have been four meetings between this sides in the competition since the turn of the century, the most recent was at Craven Cottage was January 2011 when Fulham won 4-0. That result was never in doubt after Spurs had Michael Dawson sent off either side of a pair Danny Murphy penalties. Fulham’s 4-1 triumph over Hull in the last round was their first triumph in a home FA Cup tie for three years; the Cottagers have won four of their last six home games in the Championship but have conceded in five of those matches and that doesn’t bode well.

Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United (Sunday 4:15pm, BT Sport 2)

The holders play another struggling Championship team and I’d be amazed if United don’t stroll to another victory, although history buffs might want to point out that all but one of the previous eight meetings between the sides in the FA Cup happened before World War II and Blackburn only lost once. Having said that, the last meeting in the Cup was at Ewood Park in Feburary 1985, the season when United beat Everton in the final despite having Kevin Moran sent off.

Rovers have won half of their last six FA Cup ties at Ewood Park but the victory against Blackpool in the last round was the first time they hadn’t faced Premier League opposition in a home cup tie for four years. Although Rovers beat QPR at home a fortnight ago, they haven’t won consecutive games at home this season.

There’s nothing much going on this weekend, although there are a couple of interesting games at either end of the table next week, so I’ll update as we go along and I think there may be a short preview post on Tuesday.


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