Chelsea vs. Birmingham
Cup specialists Birmingham travel to an unhappy Stamford Bridge no doubt confident of pulling off an upset. Andre Villas-Boas’ men lost at Everton last time out in an insipid display, and talk around the club this week has been of player unrest and arguments. Birmingham are unbeaten in 13 games but have injury problems with Nikola Zigic missing out.
Chelsea might be at a seasonal low, but they should overcome a Birmingham side lacking firepower – 3-0
Everton vs Blackpool
The FA Cup looks like a good chance for Everton to pick up some silverware, and they are resurgent since the turn of the year with new signings brought in. Last weeks 2-0 win over Chelsea was a thoroughly deserved triumph. Blackpool are unbeaten in 10 games, incluing some fine away wins, and will be hoping to catch the Toffees off guard.
Blackpool might be in top form, but so are Everton, who will make the quarter finals – 2-1
Millwall vs. Bolton
2003 runners-up Millwall will see this game as eminently winnable. A good performance at Brighton deserved more than the point they earned, while their opponents lost yet again last weekend. The longer the season goes, the harder it is to see the Trotters turning things around. If there is going to be an upset, it is likely to come at the New Den.
Millwall to take advantage of a Bolton side at their lowest ebb – 1-0
Norwich vs. Leicester
Norwich come into this tie brimming with confidence after a fine win at the Liberty Stadium last week against Swansea. The surpise package of the Premier League keep picking up wins, and an FA Cup quarter final appearance would add to what has already been a fine season. The Foxes have slipped back into their inconsistent ways after a fine end to January and lost at Watford on Tuesday, but will hope to raise their game at Carrow Road.
Norwich are flying and will continue their fine season here – 2-0
Sunderland vs. Arsenal
It is hard to think when an FA Cup fifth round game meant so much to Arsenal players, their fans or manager. Out of the race for title and humbled in the Champions League – defeat here would end their season. Without the presence of the departed Thierry Henry, the Gunners will be relying on Robin Van Persie more than ever before. Sunderland have been in brilliant form since Martin O’Neill took over, but were beaten last weekend, ironically by Arsenal. The Irishman says they will have to work hard to get anything from this game, but just how much against a beleaguered Arsenal side?
The Gunners dejected while Sunderland will still be in high spirits, but a draw here looks like a likely result. Back to the Emirates. 1-1
Crawley vs. Stoke
Steve Evans’ Crawley team have been in great form in League Two, despite losing their last match heavily at Swindon and having two of their February matches called off. Stoke are on a worrying dip in form, having lost their last four matches, including the Europa League game with Valencia. In fact, Tony Pullis’ men have only picked up one win in their last seven games. For that reason, Crawley have a real chance of taking the game back to the Brittania.
Stoke are heavy favourites, but Town will hold on for a famous draw – 2-2
Stevenage vs. Tottenham
Borough have lost only one of their last seven games, but with three games called off in February, current form is hard to draw anything from. Tuesday nights 1-0 win at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday will have been the perfect build up however for one of the biggest days in the club’s history. Spurs continue to keep pace in the Premier League after their brilliant destruction of Newcastle last weekend, and Harry Redknapp’s side must be considered favourites for the tournament with both Manchester clubs out.
Stevenage will give it a good go, but no one is bringing Spurs right now – 0-2
Liverpool vs. Brighton
It has been a tough week for Liverpool, on and off the field. Defeat at rivals Man United was compounded by another twist in the Luis Suarez affair, with the Uruguayan refusing to shake the hand of Patrice Evra. Having said that, Kenny Dalglish should have no problem getting his team up for this game – a win here and the thought of Wembley comes into the mind. A cup double would for Liverpool would constitute a good season. Brighton have recovered from an autumn wobble to find some fine winning form in the Championship, and are making late goals their specialty. An 88th minute equalizer rescued a point against Millwall in midweek, while 90th minute strikes have seen off both Leeds and Leicester in the last month. Gus Poyet had a great cup pedigree as a player – can he continue it?
Brighton will run them close, but with home advantage Liverpool will just shade it – 2-1