FA Cup 4th round preview as five North West sides look to progress

Only five teams from the North West remain as they go into this weekend’s  FA Cup fourth round ties, following the introduction of Championship and Premier League teams into the competitions third round earlier this month.

Still competing for the ultimate cup prize in English football are Premier League clubs Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Manchester City and Everton FC as well as Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers- who will see out the fourth round proper with their match on Monday. 

Here’s the who, when and where of the matches across the weekend. 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester City, Friday 26 January, 8pm

The current cup-holders, Manchester City will be taking their defence of the title to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium tomorrow night. 

The Cityzens doled out an expected 5-0 thrashing in their third-round face-off against Huddersfield Town, with Stockport native Phil Foden picking up a brace.

Their next game is expected to be much more of a challenge for City, who currently sit second in the Premier League, as they travel to take on fifth place Tottenham, who dispatched Burnley 1-0.

Still without talisman Erling Haaland due too injury, Pep Guardiola’s side may have to dig deep in their challenge against Ange Postecoglu’s tenacious Spurs, who in their last meeting at the Etihad on 3 December clinched a 90th minute comeback to end the match 3-3.

Everton vs Luton Town, Saturday 27 January, 3pm 

Despite their 10-point deduction, Sean Dyche’s Everton have thus far managed to climb out of the Premier League relegation zone.

Meanwhile, this weekend’s opposition sit one place behind the Toffees in the league and have already bested Everton in their own ground this season. 

The Blues advanced from the last round after surpassing Crystal Palace, who sit above them in the league at 15th, in a home fixture at Goodison Park, whilst their Bedfordshire adversaries narrowly squeezed pass League One Bolton, winning 2-1 in a replay at the Toughsheet Stadium following a goalless draw. 

The game will run as close as the two teams league positions, with one point separating them, but   an inspired Everton have a stronger history in the cup- having advanced into the fifth round in seven of their last eight attempts, and have always historically beaten Rob Edwards’ Hatters in their three previous FA Cup meetings.

Liverpool vs Norwich City, Sunday 28 January, 2:30pm

Following their defeat of Fulham last night, Liverpool are now confirmed as finalists for the Carabao Cup final, but now they will be looking ahead to the add the FA Cup fifth round to their fixture list. 

The Premier League leaders took a major scalp in the third round, beating third place Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates, whilst Championship opposition also took an away victory on the west coast, seeing off League One Bristol Rovers 3-1.

Norwich hold the unfortunate title of being Liverpool’s longest current unbeaten run, with them last beating the Merseyside outfit in April 1994, nearly 30 years ago.

With strong historic form against the away side, as well as an unbeaten domestic run since October, Jurgen Klopp and his men are almost more than set to advance past the second-tier Canaries.

Newport County vs Manchester United, Sunday 28 January, 4:30pm

This fixture comes as the first-ever competitive meeting between the South Welsh minnows and Manchester United.

The red side of Manchester will be in attendance following their third round 2-0 drubbing of League One side Wigan Athletic, whilst their opponents took their

Separated by 74 league positions, Manchester United will take their might to Rodney Parade in search of advancing towards an FA Cup trophy, a prize that has eluded the Red Devils since Louis Van Gaal’s reign of the club in 2016. 

Fellow Dutchman Erik ten Hag has guided United through a tough time of late, with the Reds only returning one win in their last six Premier League games- however, this David and Goliath match-up has all signs pointing towards a giant’s victory. 

Blackburn Rovers vs Wrexham AFC, Monday 29 January, 8pm

Hollywood heads to Lancashire by way of North Wales, as the League Two club made famous by celebrity owners, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, head to Ewood Park to attempt to increase their chances of an FA Cup joining the Emmy in their trophy cabinet. 

On paper, the odds would favour the home side: Jon Dahl Thomasson’s team sit two leagues above in the Championship and advanced to this round via a confident 5-2 victory over League One Cambridge United. 

However, on the pitch, there is a different story as the beleaguered Blues have failed to win their last seven Championship fixtures, and are facing a litany of injuries, as well as the loan transfer of club captain Lewis Travis to Ipswich, which has seen the East Lancashire outfit slide to 17th in the league. 

With a sold out away end of 7,000 Wrexham fans incoming, Rovers will face a strong opposition to replicate last year’s quarter-final run. 

The fifth round of the FA Cup will be drawn live on ITV1 at 2:10pm Sunday 26 January before Liverpool vs Norwich City