The FA Cup fourth-round draw perhaps did not throw up the most exciting ties. Nevertheless there is an opportunity for the odd giant-killing with several Premier League sides on the road against tricky looking opponents; while some sides will be looking to reproduce the same kind of heroic performances of the earlier rounds, and others will be looking at it as another game they have to win to get that bit closer to silverware this season.
Here are five ties that could catch the eye.
Bournemouth v Liverpool
The early kick-off on Saturday sees Bournemouth looking to damage Liverpool’s chances of winning a trophy this season. The Reds’ may rest one or two key players with the side possibly having one eye on Tuesday’s huge Merseyside derby against Everton. Bournemouth may be just seven points above the drop zone in the Championship and their home form is a mixed bag, but they will think they can trouble their illustrious opponents.
Rochdale v Sheffield Wednesday
Rochdale pulled off a great result in their third round encounter by beating Leeds United at Spotland and this time around they welcome another Yorkshire side in the form of Sheffield Wednesday – who still have Stuart Gray in caretaker charge following Dave Jones sacking earlier on this season. Wednesday are struggling in the Championship this season but have shown signs of promise including a 6-0 win over Leeds, while Rochdale are having a pretty good season in League Two in the promotion places. An intriguing battle awaits.
Wigan Athletic v Crystal Palace
The FA Cup holders may have needed extra-time in a replay to dispatch of MK Dons, but under new boss Uwe Rosler their league position has improved a little and they will probably fancy their chances of causing Palace some problems; the Eagles are currently facing one of the tightest relegation battles the Premier League has ever seen. Wigan will want to keep their love affair with the cup going, but will Palace boss Tony Pulis take the same approach as in the third-round against West Bromwich Albion?
Sheffield United v Fulham
Fulham have not got the best of records in cup competitions, but came through quite comfortably against Norwich in their third-round replay. Their reward is travelling to Bramall Lane to face Aston Villa’s conquerors, Sheffield United. The Blades are currently in a tight relegation battle in League One, with Fulham in a similar battle in the Premier League, so both sides will try to use this game to generate some momentum to take into their league campaign.
Chelsea V Stoke City
The only all Premier League tie this weekend at Stamford Bridge sees Chelsea take on Stoke. There will probably be several changes from Jose Mourinho as he rotates his players in order to keep his side as fresh as possible for the rest of the campaign, while Stoke will be looking to repeat their triumph over the Blues from their league meeting at the Britannia Stadium earlier on in the season.
image: © flawka