Five footballers preparing to face former clubs in FA Cup fifth round
We love the FA Cup here at Coral. The world’s oldest knockout football competitions throws up amazing results and superb sub-plots.
Cup romance in the previous round got our football experts thinking about the last 16 ties held on Valentine’s weekend. Who has this wonderful competition thrown together, and is anyone preparing to face a former club?
After getting our heads together, we’ve come up with five players that, like an old flame, could come back to burn ex-teammates. Read on and discover who they are…
West Ham United’s attacking midfield maestro Amalfitano has mainly been used as an impact substitute by Sam Allardyce, and a similar story off the bench on Valentine’s Day could break the hearts of West Bromwich Albion fans, where he spent last season on loan.
During his campaign with the Baggies, Amalfitano should have garnered a whole lotta love with The Hawthorns faithful, as all of his four Premier League goals for the West Midlands outfit were vital.
He grabbed the opener in a famous 2-1 away victory at Manchester United (see highlights below), netted in home matches with Sunderland and Cardiff City, and proved the match winner at Norwich City.
After all these contributed to points that preserved West Brom’s top-flight status, awesome Amalfitano is now sizing Europe with the Hammers. Odds of 6/1 he will score anytime on his old stomping ground in FA Cup action.
Although he never played a Premier League game for Man Utd after coming through the Old Trafford academy, current Preston North End striker Ebanks-Blake did score for the Red Devils in the League Cup.
Best known for his five-and-a-half-year spell with Wolves (2008-13), where he twice scooped the Championship golden boot, Simon Grayson brought him to Deepdale on a free in January. Ebanks-Blake is a 16/1 shot to grab the last goal in the final FA Cup tie of the round.
Liverpool native Kelly spent 17 years man and boy at Anfield from 1997-2014, coming through Reds ranks in defence before a summer switch to Crystal Palace.
Now he will be trying to stop his boyhood side scoring as Brendan Rodgers’ team travel to Selhurst Park. The Eagles are tasty 10/3 chances to keep a clean sheet in the teatime kick-off on Valentine’s Day.
French anchorman N’Zonzi is in his third season at Stoke City, who spent £3m to bring him down from Blackburn Rovers in 2012. It was his steady displays in the holding role at Ewood Park that attracted then-Potters boss Tony Pulis to him.
N’Zonzi is always good for a long-range goal once every so often, and it’s 7/1 that he nets anytime in front of his former fans in Lancashire.
If Bradford City striker Stead can score at Chelsea, then a goal at home against Sunderland, where he was derided as a flop after netting just twice in 40 outings, is surely possible. Relive the mother of all giant-killings with these highlights below:
Odds of 11/4 say Stead will be on target against the Black Cats after doing so in every FA Cup round so far.