Chelsea drift after drawing Man City in FA Cup
This year’s FA Cup competition has been quite dull up to now with few shocks and no heavyweight clashes to get excited about. Well, all that has changed with the 5th Round draw.
Manchester City will play Chelsea and Arsenal will play Liverpool in the last 16, so that guarantees that two of the four favourites – and also the current top four in the Premiership – won’t make it to the quarter-finals.
City (100/30) remain favourites with Coral, while Arsenal are unchanged at 9/2. But Chelsea, who must have been pretty pleased with themselves after dispatching Stoke in such a professional manner at Stamford Bridge, are now out to 11/2, while Liverpool have also been eased out to 6/1.
Chelsea haven’t beaten City in the FA Cup for 99 years, but to be fair, they have only ever played them four times, most recently when losing 2-1 in last season’s semi-final.
A trip to the Etihad will be a huge test for Jose Mourinho’s men, but if they can somehow succeed where every other English club has failed so far this season and come away with a result, Blues fans will then be entitled to be confident of a fifth FA Cup triumph in eight years.
Arsenal and Liverpool have played each other 16 times in the competition down the years. Liverpool beat them 2-1 in the 2001 final at the Millennium Stadium, Michael Owen scoring two late goals, but older fans from both clubs will also remember the epic semi-final encounter in 1980 when they needed three replays to decide who would go to Wembley. Arsenal edged the fourth game 1-0, but after all that, they lost the final to West Ham!
The draw has also opened up the possibilities of a team (or teams) outside of the usual suspects getting through to the final in May and even winning it.
Fans of both Everton (6/1) and Southampton (10/1) will certainly be daring to dream, but first they will have to get past Swansea (25/1) at home and Sunderland (28/1) away respectively and you can’t take either outcome for granted after those sides in turn dumped Manchester United out of the two Cups.
For the real Cup romantics, there could still be an all League One 5th round tie if Preston (at home to Nottingham Forest) and Sheffield United (away at Fulham) win their replays.
A Championship side in the last eight is guaranteed with Sheffield Wednesday meeting Charlton (both 80/1), while last year’s shock winners Wigan (66/1) won’t be giving up on retaining the trophy just yet after being drawn away to Premiership strugglers Cardiff.