Where giants fall and minnows become heroes – prepare for more upsets and thrashings in the next round of the FA CupChelsea, Manchester City and Southampton have all fallen to their lesser known counterparts in the last round. In the competition where anything can happen, will a second-tier side make a name for themselves?
Blackburn Rovers vs Stoke City (14 Feb, 11pm)
Not a great performance in the Premier League so far from Stoke, sitting apathetically in the middle of the pack. The same can be said for their Championship opponents Blackburn, who also sit in the middle of the table in their league.
Often times mid-table Premier League teams step up in cup tournaments, as we saw with Sunderland a few seasons back. On the other hand, will we see yet another Premier League team fall at the hands of an underdog?
Prediction: Blackburn 0–2 Stoke
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool (15 Feb, 1.30am)
Perhaps not what one would call a classic David and Goliath face-off but Liverpool is undoubtedly the favourite in this tie. Crystal Palace sits at 13th place in the Premier League, with Liverpool ahead in 7th. What’s more, the Reds are on fire after just battling to an ecstatic 3-2 win over Tottenham in midweek.
At this point, no one would be too shocked to see another top tier Premier league team fall to an opponent significantly weaker on paper but Liverpool will be looking to defy the odds and to rekindle its past romance with the FA Cup.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1–2 Liverpool
Arsenal vs Middlesbrough (16 Feb, 12am)
Arsenal’s great run of form in front of goal came to a screeching halt last Sunday in a shocking defeat to long-time rivals Tottenham. They still remain the clear ‘Goliath’ in the upcoming FA Cup fixture where they will face Championship side Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough looks to be no pushover as it currently holds 3rd position in the Championship this season. After an uneasy 3-2 win against Brighton & Hove Albion in the last round, Arsenal will take no chances in its bid to defend its Cup.
Prediction: Arsenal 2–0 Middlesbrough
Preston vs Manchester United (17 Feb, 3.45am)
In the last tie of the FA Cup, star-powered Manchester United failed to dispose of far lesser opponent Cambridge United. It was only during the replay where the Red Devils mustered up the quality needed to beat Cambridge 3-0 at Old Trafford.
Manchester United has had an unstable road to recovery after its disastrous last season, and manager Louis van Gaal will be hoping for no more slip-ups against teams not even in the same league as the former champions.
Preston is currently 4th in the League 1 table but it will not matter to the Devils, who will surely be aiming for nothing short of a one-sided thrashing. However, seeing their late draw against West Ham last weekend, will they slip up again?
Prediction: Preston 0–3 Manchester United
By Basil Lee