When the draw for the FA Cup’s fifth round was made it brought about two eye-catching ties in particular.
The media had especially bemoaned the lack of mouth-watering ties in the fourth round as there was only one all Premier League affair but this time the draw threw up ties between the Premier League’s top four – with Champions League football back on the agenda this month – following on from some results between the side this month that have raised a few eyebrows.
Chelsea will be hoping to repeat their heroic performance that ended Manchester City’s scoring and 100% home record at the Etihad Stadium, whilst Arsenal are looking to avenge the 5-1 demolition job Liverpool performed on them at Anfield last weekend.
Do any of the sides need to win their cup tie more than the other?
Manchester City are in the unfamiliar situation of going into their clash with Chelsea without scoring a goal in their past two outings.
A couple of weeks ago they looked to be irresistible having topped the Premier League table and still in all four competitions with City fans dreaming of a quadruple.
Now having dropped five points in the last week, with sides below them able to put a little bit of pressure on them given their Premier League match with Sunderland was postponed they're to keen to pick up some momentum again.
If City were to get anything other than a win this weekend – people will start asking questions about their season. If it’s a draw, there will be talk of fixture congestion, but if any squad has the quality to handle it, it’s them, but if they lose there will be those who think they buckle when under pressure, even if you could argue they are still in pole position in the title race.
Chelsea are in a position of strength and have been the FA Cup Kings in recent years. Jose Mourinho won the cup in his final season of his first spell, and the Blues seemed to have formed a special bond with the competition having won it three times in his absence so there seems to be less pressure on Chelsea. However, despite them being in the mix to win the three competitions they remain in, the FA Cup probably remains their best chance of silverware this season.
To the Sunday game and the February curse seems to be striking again for Arsenal. After Liverpool took them apart at Anfield, they served up a goalless draw with a struggling Manchester United side. There have been reports that Arsene Wenger may rest players in this weekend’s clash against Liverpool ahead of their crucial Champions League game against European Champions Bayern Munich.
A win for Arsenal however would put their season back on track – and in a promising position to end their nine year trophy drought. Of course, Wenger may need to freshen up the side, but surely the opportunity for keeping every avenue possible for trophies open.
Whilst momentum may be in Liverpool’s favour in the league at the moment, they know their best chance of picking up a trophy this season lies with the FA Cup. The title race is too close to call and this is a competition that can be won not depending on the quality the side has in depth unlike the league. Again it is their best chance to win a trophy this season.
In both games, the victor will have a tremendous opportunity of ending the season with a trophy in the cabinet as the competition opens up, surely these sides must grab it with both hands?
image: © flawka