FA Cup Fifth Round Preview: Spurs Travel to Spotland in the Pick of the Ties8 min read
The fifth round of the FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend and I will be at Hillsborough with BT Sport for the visit of Swansea and the return of former Owls manager Carlos Carvalhal.
Once again, I’ve spoken exclusively with BetVictor ahead of all the weekend action.
Leicester City v Sheffield United
Leicester won 4-1 at Bramall Lane in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season and I expect to see the Foxes make it through to the last eight at the King Power Stadium on Friday night.
The Premier League outfit went out to lower league opposition – Millwall – at the same stage last season but Claude Puel’s side should have too much pace and power for the Blades.
Kelachi Iheanacho has scored nine goals in his nine FA Cup ties including a brace at Peterborough in the previous round and he looks likely to retain his place in the Foxes’ starting line-up with Jamie Vardy likely to be kept in reserve.
Leicester to win and both teams to score at
Chelsea v Hull City
Chelsea entertain Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday but first they face a Hull side who sit just one point above the drop zone in the Championship and are fighting to avoid back-to-back relegations.
The Blues have never lost at home to Hull in 22 previous encounters and it is hard to make a case for the Tigers despite the fact that they have kept four clean sheets in their last seven games under Nigel Adkins.
Antonio Conte might select a side with one eye on the visit of the La Liga leaders, but that is likely to include Willian who is a player I have a lot of time for.
Willian to score at anytime
Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea
Swansea are the leading scorers in the competition so far this season having put eight past Notts County at the Liberty Stadium in a fourth round replay earlier in the month.
The Swans have lost just one of their 11 games in all competitions since Carlos Carvalhal took over and the Portugese boss returns to Hillsborough and a club he managed for two-and-a-half years before he was sacked on Christmas Eve.
He would not be human if he did not want to put one over his former club although he remembers his time with the Owls fondly. I think the Swans can win a low-scoring game.
Swansea to win at
Brighton v Coventry City
The last time Brighton were in the top-flight of English football, they reached the final of the FA Cup (1983) losing to Manchester United 4-0 in a replay and I think the Seagulls can ease into the quarterfinals against their League Two opponents.
The hosts have only lost two of their last fifteen home FA Cup ties and they were both against Arsenal. The Sky Blues obviously lack the class of the Gunners but they have already beaten Premier League opposition (Stoke) this season. However, I do not expect Chris Hughton’s side to slip up.
Brighton halftime/fulltime at
West Brom v Southampton
The only all-Premier League clash of the fifth round sees two sides currently in the drop zone go head-to-head at the Hawthorns.
The teams met in the PL back at the Hawthorns earlier in the month with the Saints winning 3-2 but I expect the Baggies to get their revenge in what promises to be an entertaining clash.
West Brom to win at
Huddersfield v Manchester United
United have only lost one of their last 13 games against Huddersfield although that was in the Premier League in west Yorkshire earlier in the season when Jose Mourinho’s side were beaten 2-1.
Denis Law scored a hat-trick – against his former club – when the Red Devils last met the Terriers in the FA Cup back in January 1963 and Huddersfield haven’t reached the quarter-finals since the 1971-72 season.
The FA Cup is Jose Mourinho’s best chance of silverware this season and I expect his side to win in 90 minutes and follow up their recent home league win against the Terriers.
United to win to nil and under 2.5 goals at
Rochdale v Tottenham
UP NEXT | 3⃣ days to go!
— Rochdale AFC (@officiallydale) February 15, 2018
I was fascinated to hear Rochdale is where it all started for Spurs and England striker Harry Kane who played his first professional game, while on loan at Leyton Orient, at Spotland back in January 2011.
Spurs were outstanding against Juventus midweek and they continue to go from strength to strength. I will be surprised if they do not make it past Dale at the first time of asking.
The Spotland pitch will not be the carpet that the Premier League produces week in week out, but I do not think it will make any difference and expect the Spurs to go marching on.
Spurs to win and over 3.5 goals at
Wigan Athletic v Manchester City
A repeat of the 2013 final when Wigan rocked City at Wembley courtesy of Ben Watson’s solitary goal. The clubs have gone in different ways in the interim period and it is hard to believe the Latics can beat Pep Guardiola’s side despite the fact that the hosts have won their last six home FA Cup ties including wins against Palace, Bournemouth and West Ham.
City put four past Basel in the St Jacob Park midweek in the Champions League and I believe Pep Guardiola’s side will take another small step to a possible clean-sweep of major trophies this season.
City -2 on the handicap at
My weekend wager:
Leicester, Swansea and Spurs at