FA Cup Fifth Round preview: Down to the final 16

Getty Images
0 Comments

With the Premier League on break, FA Cup play rules the weekend as football’s oldest competition is down to the final 16 teams.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores ] 

There are three all-Premier League matchups in this fifth round, as only five clubs remain from outside the top flight.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Below we have a quick preview of each match, with action kicking-off on Saturday morning and wrapping-up Monday afternoon.

Arsenal vs. Hull City — Saturday 7:45 a.m. ET

Arsenal are looking for their third straight FA Cup title, and face off against Championship leaders Hull City. With a Champions League match against Barcelona on Tuesday, Arsene Wenger must make a decision whether to go full-force or rest his starters for Hull.

Watford vs. Leeds United — Saturday 10 a.m. ET

The Hornets also host Championship competition as Leeds United travel to Vicarage Road on Saturday. Leeds has struggled this season, but that gives them freedom to go all-out for FA Cup glory. For Watford, Troy Deeney scored two goals last weekend and has scored six times in his last six matches against Leeds.

[ RELATED: Premier League Power Rankings, Vol. IX ]

Reading vs. West Bromwich Albion — Saturday 10 a.m. ET

Reading will be keen to upset the Premier League Baggies, as West Brom have needed two replays in the FA Cup to advance to this stage. While Reading haven’t been in great form in the Championship, they reached the semifinal of this competition last season and are eager to get back.

Bournemouth vs. Everton — Saturday 12:15 p.m. ET

In the first all-Premier League matchup this weekend, Bournemouth host Everton on the South Coast. The last time these two teams met at the Vitality Stadium, they traded late stoppage time goals in a wild 3-3 draw. John Stones is fit to return from injury for Everton, as the Toffees would love a deep run in the FA Cup as they falter in the league.

Blackburn Rovers vs. West Ham United — Sunday 9 a.m. ET

West Ham make the long trip north for a fifth round tie at Blackburn, a club sitting towards the bottom of the Championship table. While the Hammers are seventh in the Premier League, they head to Rovers with a banged up squad, with Andy Carroll the latest addition to the injury list. Slaven Bilic knows West Ham have a good shot at winning a trophy in this competition, which would cap off an excellent first year in charge for the Croatian boss.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie set for Crystal Palace return ]

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace — Sunday 10 a.m. ET

Another all-Premier League tilt, surging Tottenham host struggling Crystal Palace. Spurs have won five straight in the league, while Palace are winless in nine. Alan Pardew‘s Eagles have just two wins in their last 11 matches, but both of those victories came in the FA Cup. Palace will also be well rested having last played on Feb. 13, while Tottenham had to travel to Italy for a Europa League match on Thursday.

Chelsea vs. Manchester City — Sunday 11 a.m. ET

Manchester City are still in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple, but they may be forced to look past this FA Cup tie. Manager Manuel Pellegrini said he has just 13 players fit, and with a long midweek Champions League trip to Kiev, he may choose to field a lesser side at Chelsea. For the Blues, this is a prime opportunity to take advantage of a distracted City team and push on for a trophy in an otherwise disappointing campaign.

[ MORE: Injured John Terry to miss Chelsea’s match vs. Manchester City ]

Shrewsbury Town vs. Manchester United — Monday 2:45 p.m. ET

After two disastrous losses to Sunderland and FC Midtjylland, Manchester United cannot afford anything but an emphatic win over Shrewsbury Town on Monday. Shrewsbury are the lowest-ranked team remaining as they sit 19th in League One, England’s third tier of football. If United don’t cruise to the quarterfinal, the hot seat Louis Van Gaal is sitting on may just tip over.