In Review

FA Cup fourth round: Where will the upsets come?

The big guns will be out, but there could be some high-profile casualties over the weekend

The Premier League takes a back seat this week as the FA Cup fourth round takes precedence, although the top six teams will all be in action. 

But the cup is not just about the big guns and there are plenty of smaller teams hoping to make it to Wembley, including non-league sides Lincoln and Sutton, who are both at home against high-fliers from the Championship.

There were plenty of surprises but few genuine shocks in the third round, with Lincoln's win over Ipswich perhaps the biggest upset.

But which ties are the ones to keep an eye on this weekend?

Derby vs Leicester: Friday

The action begins with a big Midlands derby as the fallen Premier League champions visit Pride Park. Derby are pushing for promotion to the Premier League, while Leicester are having a torrid time after winning the title last season. The relative fortunes of the two clubs and their geographical proximity give this game the hallmarks of a classic cup tie.

"The chances of an upset are good considering TV bosses deemed it worthy of the Friday night television slot," says Metro. "A giant killing here would set the tone for the weekend."

Liverpool v Wolves: 12.30pm Saturday

A few weeks ago, this would have been a nailed-on home win. But, as Paul Merson ofSky Sports says, Liverpool "have hit a brick wall" and "look tired". They have won once in seven games since the turn of the year and that was a 1-0 win over League Two Plymouth in the third round.

"This a real opportunity for Wolves because I can't see Jurgen Klopp playing a strong team, what with Chelsea on the horizon," says the pundit.  

A bet on the Reds not winning "looks as close to a free hit on the Saturday coupon as you're likely to see", says Sporting Life.

Southampton vs Arsenal: 5.30pm Saturday

After beating Liverpool to book their place in the EFL Cup final, Southampton will have the scent of glory in their nostrils as they welcome the Gunners to the south coast. They also have form against Arsenal in the EFL this season, having beaten them 2-0 at the Emirates on course to Wembley.

Much depends on how the two teams approach the game. Merson believes the Saints will cause Arsenal "problems", but others are not so sure. Unlike Southampton Arsene Wenger's side will be well-rested and even though they have tough tests ahead, with Chelsea and Bayern Munich on the horizon, Sporting Life believes the manager will field a strong side.

However, it's worth remembering that he did so against Preston in the last round, too, and the team were lucky to make it through. A draw may be the most likely outcome.

Millwall vs Watford: 12pm Sunday

The Lions knocked out Bournemouth in the third round and have been rewarded with another home tie against Premier League opposition. The Cherries showdown came against a backdrop of uncertainty about Millwall's future, but plans that would have put their stadium in jeopardy have been dropped, which will only add to the feeling of positivity at The Den.

The match has upset written all over it, says the Daily Telegraph. 

Sutton Utd vs Leeds: 2pm Sunday

On paper, this looks like an easy away win as Leeds, who are third in the Championship, take on Sutton, 15th in the National League.

But things might not be that simple. 

"Sutton play on a 3G pitch so that makes things even more interesting," says Sky's Merson. "Leeds rested a lot of players in round three at Cambridge and with Newcastle potentially catchable [in the league], they could rest again."

Mark Lawrenson of the BBC is looking forward to the match. "For me this is the tie of the round - a non-league side at home to a massive club," he says.

FA Cup draw: Derbies for Man Utd Chelsea and Leicester

10 January

After a largely uneventful third round of the FA Cup the draw for the fourth round later this month has thrown up some tastier clashes.

Holders Manchester United will host 2013 winners Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford and that North-West affair is just one of several local derbies produced by Monday night's draw.

In what could be the tie of the round, Steve McClaren's Derby County welcome Premier League champions Leicester City to Pride Park in an East Midlands derby, while there is a David vs Goliath clash in the capital where Chelsea welcome Brentford to Stamford Bridge to see who'll have bragging rights in west London.

In addition, Manchester City could meet Bolton, depending on whether the Trotters can overcome Crystal Palace in next week's third round replay.

Similarly, Arsenal won't know where they will be heading in the fourth round until Southampton and Norwich meet again next week, although the Gunners will be hoping it's the Canaries who triumph, having already been knocked out of the EFL Cup this season by the Saints.

National League outfit Sutton United, the lowest-ranked side left in the tournament, will play Leeds United (who beat Cambridge 2-1 on Monday evening) if they win their replay against AFC Wimbledon.

The only other non-league team left in the tournament is Lincoln and, if they can win their replay against Championship side Ipswich, they will face Brighton.

The FA Cup Fourth Round draw

Spurs v Wycombe Wanderers

Derby County v Leicester City

Oxford United v Newcastle United or Birmingham City

AFC Wimbledon or Sutton United v Leeds United

Plymouth Argyle or Liverpool v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Southampton or Norwich City v Arsenal

Lincoln or Ipswich v Brighton

Chelsea v Brentford

Manchester United v Wigan Athletic

Millwall v Watford

Rochdale v Huddersfield Town

Burnley or Sunderland v Fleetwood Town or Bristol City

Blackburn Rovers v Barnsley or Blackpool

Fulham v Hull City

Middlesbrough v Accrington Stanley

Crystal Palace or Bolton v Manchester City

Matches are scheduled to be played from 27-30 January.

Recommended

Messi vs. Ronaldo: football’s great rivalry
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Profile

Messi vs. Ronaldo: football’s great rivalry

Qatar’s tainted World Cup
Workers at the site of the Lusail Stadium in 2019
Why we’re talking about . . .

Qatar’s tainted World Cup

Ralf ‘professor’ Rangnick takes charge at Man Utd
Ralf Rangnick: a hatred of star players
Profile

Ralf ‘professor’ Rangnick takes charge at Man Utd

Solskjær saga and lack of strategy defines the Glazer era
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
View from the terraces

Solskjær saga and lack of strategy defines the Glazer era

Popular articles

19 advent calendars for adults
Selection of advent calendars
The wish list

19 advent calendars for adults

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life
Vladimir Putin and his now ex-wife Lyudmila Putina
Profile

Vladimir Putin and his mysterious love life

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’
Donald and Barron Trump
Tall Tales

Trump ‘upset his son won’t say he loves him’

The Week Footer Banner