The Teams and Players to Watch in the FA Cup
It’s once again FA Cup time and this time it’s the fourth round. We pick the games worth watching and let you know which players we will be keeping an eye out for. The FA Cup always produces surprises, Join us as we preview some of the games.
Chorley Town Vs Wolves
Friday 19:45 Venue: Victory Park
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant Referee: Adam Nunn & Lee Betts
Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh
Odds H 25/1 A 17/2 D 1/7
Chorley F.C is in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history. They could not believe their luck when they lined up their best team against Derby County’s academy side due to Covid and managed to outmuscle the Championship side 2 – 0. Conor Hall has netted in the first, second, and third round of the FA Cup, scoring the winning goal in the first (Wigan) and third (Derby) rounds. Wolves have never been eliminated by their weekend opponents, with the only meeting between the two sides back in the 1986-87 seasons. Wolves have reached the fifth round twice in the last twelve campaigns and are clear favourites, after seeing off Crystal Palace by a single goal. It was their only win in seven games in all competitions, Adama Traore fired in the winner in a 1-0 win at the Molineux Stadium.
Player to watch: Conor Hall has scored in all three games in the FA Cup including the winning goal in two.
Southampton Vs Arsenal
Saturday 12:15 Venue: St. Mary’s
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistant Referee: Scott Ledger & Craig Taylor
Fourth Official: Charles Breakspear
Odds H 23/10 A 12/5 D 7/5
Southampton will have an uphill task against a side they have won just once in the last nine games in all competitions against (three draws and five losses). Their poor record extends to just three wins in seventeen encounters against Premier League opponents in this competition. They beat Liverpool recently and hope their best player and top goal scorer, Danny Ings, is fit for the tie. Arsenal has had their way against the Saints in all four previous FA Cup ties and went on to win the competition three times (1979, 2003, 2017). The resurgence of Arsenal who are on a stretch of five wins in the last six games, keeping five consecutive clean sheets could not have come at a better time than right now when they are defending their title. The most successful side in the competition has won eleven of the last twelve away games. Aubameyang has scored six goals in all four FA Cup appearances.
Player to watch: Aubameyang has netted in all his four appearances in the FA Cup.
Brighton Vs Blackpool
Saturday 15:00 Venue: American Express Community Stadium
Referee: Darren England
Assistant Referee: Nick Hopton & Matthew Jones
Fourth Official: Gavin Ward
Odds H 6/13 A 4/1 D 7/1
This game will be the first meeting between Brighton and Blackpool since January 2015 where the Tangerines won 1 – 0. An even encounter on form with each side enjoying one win and three draws in the last five games. This tie is the first meeting between the sides in a domestic cup. Brighton have been successful against sides in the lower division in thirteen of the last fifteen ties. Brighton fans are unlikely to be overly confident about this fixture as they endured a painful elimination against Sheffield Wednesday last season. Blackpool eliminated West Brom in the third round after a hard-fought 2 – 2 draw that had to be settled in penalties. Blackpool won seven of eight games between October and the start of December but have since run out of steam. They will be bold and full of confidence after overcoming West Brom in the third round on penalties. They are among the best scorers though, netting three in the first round, four in the second round and two in the third round
Player to watch: Neal Maupay. Seven league goals this season.
West Ham Vs Doncaster
Saturday 15:00 Venue: London Stadium
Referee Stuart Attwell
Assistant Referees James Mainwaring & Wade Smith
Fourth Official Jeremy Simpson
Odds H 5/12 A 4/1 D 41/5
West Ham is seventh in the Premier League, on a run of four consecutive wins in all competitions and unbeaten in the last six games. They left it late in the third round, winning through a Craig Dawson’s header that was scored in the 83rd minute through against Stockport. The Hammers have won four and lost three in the last seven FA Cup ties against sides from a lower division. Doncaster has one win in sixteen FA Cup games against top-flight opposition (drawing four and losing fourteen). However, they are on a great run of nine wins the last eleven games knocking out Blackburn Rovers in the last round. Doncaster will be hoping to reach the fifth round for the first time since the 1955-56 campaign. They have a great chance of disappointing the Premier League outfit and are on a promising run of three away games in the cup. They have a clean bill of health heading to the weekend to bolster their chances.
Player to watch: Jarrod Bowen, Five goals and two assists so far this season.
Cheltenham Vs Manchester City
Saturday 17:30 Venue: The Jonny-Rocks Stadium
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Assistant Referee: Constantine Hatzidakis & Ian Hussin
Fourth Official: Andrew Madley
Odds H 30/1 A 21/2 D 2/17
This game will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides. The Robins have lost all eight of their League Cup/FA Cup meetings against Premier League opponents and baring a miracle, that fact is unlikely to change over the weekend. If they do the impossible, they will reach the fifth round for just the second time in the club history after managing to do so in the 2001-02 season. The strength in Man City’s depth and the focus they put in the domestic cups make this a fierce battle that could end up in a big thumping win for the visitors. They are on a perfect run of seven wins against lower division sides with an aggregate scoreline of 26 – 4. Phil Foden has eight goals in eight FA Cup ties averaging a goal every 64 minutes.
Player to watch: Phil Foden. Eight in eight FA ties.
Chelsea Vs Luton
Sunday 12:00 Venue: Stamford Bridge
Referee: David Coote
Assistant Referee: Dan Cook & Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Paul Tierney
Odds H 2/11 A 7/1 D 19/1
Last year’s finalists Chelsea thumped Morecambe 4 – 0 in the third round. They have progressed in fifty-one of the last fifty-three ties against lower division sides. Chelsea’s struggles in the league could prompt Frank Lampard to feature a strong side to get back their mojo and improve their performances on the pitch. Oliver Giroud has been involved in twenty-five goals in thirty-two FA Cup appearances in his career. Luton has been eliminated in seven of the last eight by Premier League opponents. The two met in the 1993-94 semi-final where Luton lost 2-0 thanks to Gavin Peacock’s two goals. The next stage is unfamiliar territory for Luton as they have reached the fifth round just once in twenty-six campaigns. A win by a single goal against Reading set them up to face the struggling Blues.
Player to watch: Giroud. A maestro in the competition.
Brentford Vs Leicester City
Sunday 14:30 Venue: Brentford Community Stadium
Referee: Michael Oliver
Assistant Referee: Stuart Burt & Simon Bennett
Fourth Official: Darren England
Odds H 17/4 A 3/1 D 13/17
Brentford are winless in the last seven meetings against Leicester City and lost to them 1 – 0 at this stage last season. They will be hoping lightning doesn’t strike twice as they, just like their opponents, have been on a great form of four wins in the last five games. However, the hosts have been eliminated in twelve of the last thirteen FA Cup ties against top-flight opposition. Leicester City has progressed all four times against Brentford. The Foxes are having a great season and are third in the Premier League table. They did briefly top the table before wins by the Manchester clubs displaced them. They have the ammunition to progress swiftly for the fifth time in seven seasons since promotion. Kelechi Iheanacho averages a goal every eight-eight minutes though he has scored just once in the last six in the competition.
Player to watch: Kelechi Iheanacho. Ten goals in 877 minutes in the FA Cup.
Manchester United Vs Liverpool
Sunday 17:00 Venue: Old Trafford
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistant Referee: Gary Beswick & Richard West
Fourth Official: Jonathan Moss
Odds H 13/8 A 29/10 D 17/10
FA Cup rivalry doesn’t get better than this as the two best sides in England face-off for the second time in a week. Man United won seven consecutive FA Cup ties against The Reds between 1948 and 1999, but they have since lost two of the last three games. United are unbeaten in seven home games (winning three drawing four) in the league. They are on a savage run in the competition winning the last seven home games without conceding. Liverpool are stuttering a bit in the league by their standards and will be facing a side that has eliminated them the most number of times (nine including defeats in the finals). In the third round, Liverpool had to bring out all their tops guns to beat Aston Villa’s youth team 4-1. Both sides are likely to field full-strength sides and fans of both teams, and neutrals will be hoping for goals in this game after the drab 0-0 league game at Anfield.
Player to watch: Paul Pogba scored a cracking goal in midweek.
Everton Vs Sheffield Wednesday
Sunday 20:00 Venue: Goodison Park
Referee: Graham Scott
Assistant Referee: Mark Scholes & Nick Greenhalgh
Fourth Official: Jeremy Simpson
Odds H 7/20 A 17/4 D 44/5
A vintage encounter which is the third most-played match in the FA Cup and this encounter will be the twentieth meeting between the two sides. The Toffees have progressed in the last five ties and will be hoping to reach the fifth round for the first time since 2015-16. The Premier League club has a good record in this competition, winning eleven of twelve meetings against lower division sides. Although Sheffield Wednesday has a good record against Everton, losing just one of the last nine (winning five and drawing three) but most of those wins came when Wednesday was a top-flight club themselves. Wednesday has been eliminated from sixteen of the seventeen FA Cup ties against Premier League opponents but was victorious against Brighton last season. They will be hoping for a similar result this year and most of their hopes and aspirations will be on the shoulders of Callum Paterson who has five goal involvements (three goals and two assists) in five appearances in the cup.
Player to watch: Callum Paterson. Five goal involvements in five games.
Wycombe Wanderers Vs Tottenham
Monday 19:45 Venue: Adams Park Stadium
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistant Referee: Marc Perry & Daniel Robathan
Fourth Official: Kevin Friend
Odds H 19/2 A 11/2 D 5/19
The magic of the FA Cup is seeing the lower tier teams flex their muscles against the big boys in the Premier League. After travelling to Marine (5-0 to Spurs), Jose Mourinho’s team, Spurs now travel to Buckinghamshire to face Championship side Wycombe. The hosts will be playing their first match in over two weeks and have a good record on their turf. They are unbeaten in three of the last four after recovering from a poor start to the league. Spurs come into this on a seven-match unbeaten run and have enjoyed an eight days’ rest before this encounter. The last time the two sides met, Wycombe gave Tottenham a run for their money, the eight-time winners of this competition having to score late to secure a hard-fought 4 – 3 win in an FA Cup classic in 2017. Wycombe won 4 – 1 against Preston in the third round.
Player to watch: Gareth Bale. A three-time Champions League winner.