In Brief

FA Cup fifth round: Where will the upsets come?

Huddersfield, Oxford and Millwall are the among lower-league teams hoping to scalp a Premier League rival this weekend

The FA Cup splutters back to life again this week with eight ties, all of which pit Premier League sides against lower division opposition, raising the possibility that all lower league interest in the cup will have been ended by Monday night.

It also means that there are eight potential upsets, which could include Arsenal losing to a non-league side. So which of the weekend matches are most likely to produce a shock?

Huddersfield Town vs Manchester City (Saturday, 3pm)

The two teams haven't met for 17 years and Terriers fans may fancy their chances against the Premier League giants at the John Smith's stadium.

Huddersfield's German manager David Wagner has achieved cult status in 16 months in West Yorkshire, guiding his team to third place in the Championship, four points off an automatic promotion place. In those circumstances Wagner could be forgiven for concentrating on the league, but he "is 'hungry' for a shock and wants to test his Terriers team against one of the best sides in the country", says the Daily Mail.

City on the other hand are likely to field an under strength side as they look forward to their Champions League clash with Monaco. 

"Guardiola's City have fluctuated between being unplayable to a muddled mess at times this season and Huddersfield's best bet is to hassle them and allow no time on the ball," says the Mail.

Middlesbrough vs Oxford (Saturday, 3pm)

Under Michael Appleton, Oxford have made a habit of knocking big clubs out of the cup. Two years ago they beat Swansea and in the third round they saw off Championship leaders Newcastle. Now they face another team from the North East and will be hoping for another big scalp.

Boro, whose focus is on Premier League survival, "should not underestimate their League One opponents," says Robyn Cowen of the BBC. "Oxford's form in cup competitions this season has been outstanding. As well as their FA Cup exploits, they're into the semi-final of the EFL Trophy and a late push for the play-offs is also in their sights."

Mark Lawrenson believes the tie is an "absolute free hit" for the U's but he backs Boro to scrape through.

Millwall vs Leicester (Saturday, 3pm)

The most obvious shock on the coupon this weekend, Millwall have already seen off Watford and Bournemouth at the New Den this season and haven't conceded a goal in the process. Leicester on the other hand are enduring the mother of all hangovers after winning the Premier League last season.

It's clear that Leicester have little time for the cup this season, says the London Evening Standard. "The Foxes made ten changes for the fourth-round replay extra-time win over Derby County, and with [Claudio] Ranieri already declaring his side the 'underdogs', their fight against relegation is likely to again take priority over the trip to south London."

Guy Mowbray of the BBC is surprised to hear the manager of the English champions describe his side as second favourites to a team lying sixth in League One. "Clever reverse psychology to get his much-changed team up for the test, or just muddled thinking that sums up the Foxes' current mess?" he wonders.

The Mail sees an upset on the cards. "Bring a weakened team down to The Den at your peril. As Bournemouth and Watford have discovered, Millwall are well and truly up for the Cup this season."

FA Cup fifth round: Sutton face dream clash with Arsenal

31 January

It's safe to assume that Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil won't have seen anything like Gander Green Lane in their professional careers. With a capacity of 5,013 - including 765 seats - the home of none-League Sutton United is rarely packed out.

But it will be next month when Sanchez, Ozil and the rest of the Arsenal squad are in town. The north London club who, along with Manchester United, have won the FA Cup a record 12 times, will make the short journey south to Sutton for the fifth round of the tournament.

That is Sutton's reward for beating Leeds at the weekend, a dream tie against one of the most famous clubs in the world. "I have had to come and sit down, I cannot quite believe that but we will take that," said United assistant manager Micky Stevens, minutes after the draw was made on Monday evening. "I am a life-long Chelsea fan so I had my fingers crossed for that but it cannot be much better... there is nothing going on between now and the 18th of February. We have got a couple of games but our thoughts will be directed on the cup."

For Craig Eastmond, the draw was also what he wanted, the chance to play against his old club. The Sutton midfielder played a handful of games for the Gunners between 2009 and 2013 - including an appearance in the FA Cup against Stoke City - before signing for Colchester. Since 2015 Eastmond has been on Sutton's books but Micky Stevens said he and teammate Roarie Deacon (an Arsenal youth player) were ecstatic at the draw.

Asked if he believed Sutton could repeat their heroics of 1989, when they knocked out FA Cup holders and top-flight team Coventry City, Stevens replied: "The pitch plays to our advantage but let’s be realistic, whatever side Arsenal put out they have got players who can perform on any surface."

Paul Doswell, Sutton's manager, said the tie "will be like our World Cup final... to have Arsenal coming to Gander Green Lane is just incredible."

The other non-league team left in the draw, Lincoln City, also drew a Premier League team in Burnley. "It is a great draw to pit our wits against Sean Dyche and hopefully something we will learn a lot from," said Lincoln manager Danny Cowley. "This is a great club with a fantastic support base and it has been great to see smiles on people's faces during this cup run."

The draw has kept apart all the eight remaining Premier League sides but presented them with several awkward encounters. Holders Manchester United, for example, who thrashed Wigan on Sunday, face another North-West derby after drawing Blackburn Rovers, while neither Manchester City nor Tottenham will relish trips to Huddersfield and Fulham respectively.

FA Cup Fifth Round draw

Burnley v Lincoln City

Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur

Blackburn Rovers v Manchester United

Sutton United v Arsenal

Middlesbrough v Oxford United

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea

Huddersfield Town v Manchester City

Millwall v Derby County/Leicester City

Matches will be played between 17-20 February.


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