FA Cup quarter-final preview - Wembley beckons, but who will make it?

FA Cup

Arsenal, Everton, Manchester City, Wigan Athletic, Sheffield United, Charlton Athletic, Hull City and Sunderland will all battle it out for a chance to get to Wembley.

Eight sides are just one step away from a trip to Wembley, and there will be at least one side outside of the Premier League who will be walking down Wembley Way in April. There is also the eye-catching tie between two sides towards the top of the Premier League, a rematch of last season's final and two sides who will see this as a rare opportunity of a trophy this season. Here is a look at all of the FA Cup ties this weekend:

Arsenal v Everton

Odds: Arsenal 11/13, Draw 45/17, Everton 15/4

This begins yet another difficult batch of fixtures for Arsenal which could potentially be season defining. They have had an injury blow in that midfielder Jack Wilshere has been ruled out for six weeks because of a hairline fracture to his foot following a challenge with Daniel Agger. Their form going into this game hasn't been marvellous having lost their last game to Stoke City, but they bounced back from disappointment in the last round of the cup - beating Liverpool 2-1 they week after they were battered 5-1 at Anfield in the League. In other injury news, both Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal should be available for selection after recovering from hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.

Everton on the other hand managed to bounce back from a sticky patch of form by digging out a win against West Ham United courtesy of a Romelu Lukaku goal - whose return to fitness will be welcome for Roberto Martinez. Phil Jagielka wasn't part of the England squad with a hamstring injury meaning John Stones could come into the side. The Toffees have had two big games in the capital recently - losing them both 1-0 to Tottenham and Chelsea. However, they will take heart and confidence from their performance in the Premier League in April, where they drew 1-1.

Sheffield United v Charlton

Odds: Sheffield United 13/10, Draw 12/5, Charlton 13/5

Both of these sides must be thinking it's a great opportunity for them to get to Wembley. Sheffield United have been the side causing upsets this season having beaten Fulham and Nottingham Forest en route to the quarter finals. Their cup run seems to have acted as a springboard for Nigel Clough's men. After appearing to be in a perilous position in the League One table, they have climbed up to tenth having won six games on the bounce and are now eight points off the play-off places. They go into the match at Bramall Lane full of confidence.

Charlton are in the midst of a relegation battle in the Championship but have plenty of games in hand. Nevertheless, a win here could provide the confidence required to aid them in their campaign to beat the drop given that they have three games in hand on the sides above them. They've beaten fellow Championship sides Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday so far in the competition - both of them away from home. 

Hull City v Sunderland

Odds: Hull City 15/13, Draw 12/5, Sunderland 11/4

Steve Bruce welcomes his old side to the KC Stadium, whilst Sunderland are looking to reach Wembley for the second time this season. They will be without both Nikicia Jelavic and Shane Long as they are cup tied and have seen off Middlesbrough, Southend and Brighton to get their place in the last eight. Bruce's Hull have done the double over Poyet's Sunderland this season in the Premier League and will fancy their chances of making the last four. Robbie Brady has a groin injury whilst Paul McShane has an ankle injury. Joe Dudgeon is ruled out with a knee problem.

Sunderland will be looking to bounce back from their spirited loss to Manchester City at Wembley in the League Cup final where they look to have a nearly full strength squad at their disposal with goalkeeper Kieren Westwood still recovering from a shoulder injury. Sunderland's cup run so far has seen them have three home matches where they have beaten Carlisle United, Kidderminster and Southampton but this is their first match on the road as they look to continue their love affair with the domestic cup competitions this season.

Manchester City v Wigan Athletic

Manchester City 1/6, Draw 15/2, Wigan Athletic 20/1

A rematch of last season's final but the two sides predicaments are rather different to that of a season ago. Uwe Rosler is now the manager of Wigan Athletic as he heads to his old club. Wigan have overcome two Premier League opponents in their run to the last eight in Crystal Palace and Cardiff City whilst Manchester City have overcome a scare against Watford and managed to put things right against Chelsea after their Premier League loss by running out winners against them in the FA Cup. 

The home side will be without Stevan Jovetic with a hamstring problem whilst defender Matija Nastasic has a knee injury. Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini may change his side around as he looks ahead to the task of trying to overhaul a two goal deficit against Barcelona the following Wednesday in the Champions League as they look to keep their dream of a quadruple alive. Wigan Athletic will be without their Cup final hero from last season as Ben Watson has recently been ruled out for the rest of the season with a double leg-break.

image: © flawka

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