Seven out of the eight FA Cup 5th Round ties were settled this weekend, with only the Middlesbrough-Sheffield United pairing in need of a replay. That match will come at the Riverside on the 26th, but both teams will be in the hat for tomorrow’s quarterfinal draw.
Two surprise teams will be joining the aforementioned sides and the other five winners in that draw.
Barnsley, currently sitting in 14th place out of 24 in the Coca-Cola Championship, shocked Liverpool at Anfield by coming away with a 2-1 victory, a match which I covered in my last post.
The lowest-placed team left in this tournament, Bristol Rovers, hosted Southampton and won 1-0 on an 84th minute free kick from Richard Lambert. The Pirates are in 13th place out of 24 in League One right now and were only promoted to England’s third-tier league last May after defeating Shrewsbury Town 3-1 in the League Two Playoff. This is a team who has now defeated at least one team in every division of the Football League in this year’s FA Cup. They’re riding the wave of success and have become the sentimental favorites to win this competition.
Portsmouth were fortunate to escape Preston with a 1-0 win as it took a 93rd minute own-goal to save the South Coast side from a home replay. David James showed why he’s been selected as England’s number one goalkeeper with a PK save on the hour mark. The most compelling storyline of the game didn’t even come to fruition; David Nugent wasn’t fit enough to play for Pompey in what would have been a return against the club for which he starred before moving on last summer.
Manchester United sent a convicingly strong message to Arsenal in a 4-0 home victory for the Red Devils. Arsene Wenger played a nearly full-strength lineup so there can be no excuses about that, and United showed that they’re a different team when Wayne Rooney is on the field. The title race is not over yet; Arsenal will have to go back to Old Trafford in April and this FA Cup match served them notice that they better come ready to play.
Elsewhere, Chelsea took care of business at home against Huddersfield Town (3-1), and Coventry City thumped West Bromwich Albion 5-0 on the road in a battle of two recent Premiership sides.
Complete FA Cup 5th Round Scores:
Bristol Rovers-1, Southampton-0
Cardiff City-2, Wolverhampton-0
West Bromwich Albion-5, Coventry City-0
Chelsea-3, Huddersfield Town-1
Manchester United-4, Arsenal-0
Sheffield United-0, Middlesbrough-0
Portsmouth-1, Preston North End-0
Note: Premiership teams are in bold
As I said earlier, the quarterfinal draw will be made tomorrow morning here on the East Coast. You can find full coverage and analysis of that on this site and at englishsoccertalk.blogspot.com.