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FA Cup fifth round preview, score picks

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The last 16 of the FA Cup takes place this weekend and there are plenty of big boys aiming to avoid upsets in the oldest knockout competition on the planet.

[ LIVE: Follow FA Cup scores here ]

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur are all still in the competition and all four are heavily favored to ease into the quarterfinals.

Where will the upsets be? Tottenham head to third-tier Rochdale to play on the freshly laid pitch at Spotland and we saw how they struggled at Newport in the fourth round, while Brighton host fourth-tier Coventry City who have already knocked out Stoke City on their way to the last 16.

Wigan have also beaten PL opponents on their way to the fifth round after dispatching Bournemouth and West Ham but they face a Manchester City side who are eyeing the quadruple.

Below is a look at the schedule in full, while I make my score prediction for each game.


FA Cup fifth round schedule

Friday
Leicester City vs. Sheffield United – 2:45 p.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Leicester to win 2-0)
Chelsea vs. Hull City – 3 p.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Chelsea to win 4-1)

Saturday
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Swansea City – 7:30 a.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Swansea to win 2-1)
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Coventry City – 10 a.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Coventry to win 2-1)
West Bromwich Albion vs. Southampton – 10 a.m. ET (JPW’s pick = 0-0 draw)
Huddersfield Town vs. Manchester United – 12:30 p.m. ET (JPW’s pick = 1-1 draw)

Sunday
Rochdale vs. Tottenham Hotspur – 11 a.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Tottenham to win 3-0)

Monday
Wigan Athletic vs. Manchester City – 2:55 p.m. ET (JPW’s pick = Man City to win, 3-1)

PHOTOS: Leeds United release new badge amid uproar

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Leeds United is a proud club.

But their fans aren’t so proud of their team right now.

The Yorkshire club — three times champions of England who have been outside of the Premier League since they were relegated in 2003-04 amid financial ruin — announced they have released a new club badge.

Citing “six months of research” and “10,000 people consulted” the club released the new logo which shows a headless figure with a white shirt on, holding their right arm up and having a clinched fist over their heart in the club salute. And that’s pretty much it.

Have a look for yourself below. Seriously. That’s their new badge.

There has been an overwhelmingly negative response to the new crest, with online petitions already having thousands of signatures to change the badge back to the previous design.

To me this all looks rather MLS 1.0.

It’s a bold design but a little lifeless and you can certainly understand why the vast majority of Leeds’ fans are more than a little underwhelmed.

Their badge previously featured the “White Rose of Yorkshire” within it, but that’s now gone as new owner Andrea Radrizzani, who bought Leeds outright in May 2017, is trying to give the Elland Road club a new identity and get away from its recent troubles of bouncing between the second and third tiers of English soccer.

Leeds are currently in 10th place in the Championship table, three points off the playoff spots as they battle to return to the PL.

Other clubs have since responded to Leeds’ new badge on social media. Warning: banter zone.

League Cup semi: Man City take 2-1 lead into 2nd leg vs. Bristol

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Manchester City can move one step closer on Tuesday to claiming their first of four potential trophies this season, when Pep Guardiola‘s men take on Bristol City in the second leg of the League Cup semifinal.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup | Sunday | Friday ]

After coming back to beat the Robins in the first leg at home, Man City must now go on the road and take care of business to reach the Feb. 25 final at Wembley Stadium. As he has done so many times — and so famously — in the sky blue of City, Sergio Aguero grabbed the late winner (91st minute — WATCH HERE) 14 days ago.

For a few not-so-insignificant periods of the game, Bristol were very much the aggressors and appeared more likely to make the score 2-0 than for City to get back to 1-1. Bobby Reid converted from the penalty spot in the 44th minute after her was brought down under John Stones‘ wild, sliding tackle. Kevin De Bruyne leveled things up 10 minutes into the second half, setting the stage for Aguero’s late heroics.

[ MORE: Alexis-for-Mkhi swap complete | De Bruyne’s new contract ]

Since the first leg on Jan. 9, City have failed in their bid to finish the PL season with an unbeaten record before bouncing back to beat Newcastle United on the weekend, courtesy of a hat trick from Aguero — Guardiola quotes, from Sport24:

“I said many times it was going to happen, we can lose, so (it is) important the reaction we have. Still we have 42 points to play (for). It is 14 games. It is a lot of games to play and difficult games like Saturday and like Liverpool. It is important to show the team is still there but I don’t have the feeling we give up.

“We want to go through to the final in the (League) Cup and the FA Cup, so (we have) a lot of games but I think the people have the desire to keep going, to keep going, to keep going.”

[ MORE: One dream January signing for each top-six side ]

Bristol, meanwhile, have fallen on hard times: it’s been nearly a month (Boxing Day, to be specific — five losses, one draw) since Lee Johnson’s side last won a game in any competition, and they’ve fallen from second to fifth in the Championship table — Johnson quotes, from the Guardian:

“We don’t want to be brave losers, we want to compete to win. It’s up to the players to be focused and tactically aware, and who knows what will happen if we can show the same quality as we have shown in the previous rounds?

“We have to make sure we’re really bold. If you’re going to deliver a corner, do it like you mean it. I’d rather fail bold than fail timid. We know we have to score. I hope Pep picks his absolute best team and we can give them a right go. I’m not sure you could go and play an under-23 side against us at the moment and I think he’ll know that.”

The winner of Arsenal versus Chelsea (0-0 after the first leg) awaits in the final.

LIVE, League Cup semifinal: Man City v. Bristol City

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The quadruple is still on.

Manchester City host Championship side Bristol City in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal on Tuesday, with the Premier League leaders still on to win all four competitions they entered in the 2017-18 season.

[ LIVE: Follow Man City – Bristol City ]

Pep Guardiola‘s men are 15 points clear atop the PL table, in the FA Cup fourth round and the UEFA Champions League last 16, but they’ve taken the League Cup very seriously this season.

As for Bristol City, the fairytale continues for their manager Lee Johnson. The promotion hopefuls have already beaten Watford, Stoke, Crystal Palace and Manchester United en-route to the final four. A young, hungry squad know they are the heavy underdogs but if they can keep the first leg tight, who knows what could happen in the second leg at Ashton Gate.

Click on the link above to follow the action live from 2:45 p.m. ET, while we will have reaction and analysis right here on Pro Soccer Talk.

LIVE, FA Cup: Liverpool v Everton, Man United v Derby

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The FA Cup third round kicks off with two intriguing games on Friday.

 [ LIVE: Follow the FA Cup scores ]

There is the small matter of a Merseyside derby at Anfield as Liverpool host Everton with both Jurgen Klopp and Sam Allardyce eager for a cup run but also wary of mounting injuries after a hectic festive period in the Premier League.

Virgil Van Dijk makes his Liverpool debut, while Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana all start. Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson both start in a strong Everton lineup.

At Old Trafford, Manchester United welcome second-tier Derby County who are flying high in the Championship as they aim to return to the PL for the first time since they were relegated in 2008. Jose Mourinho will be keen to rest players but knows that Derby are more than capable of causing an upset to reach the last 32.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while we will have reaction and analysis from both games right here on Pro Soccer Talk.


Friday’s FA Cup schedule

2:55 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. Everton
3 p.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Derby County