FA Cup Round 4

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Klopp admits Liverpool youngsters will feature in Shrewsbury replay

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In proper FA Cup fashion, League One side Shrewsbury Town pulled off a late draw against Liverpool, forcing a replay at Anfield.

[ RECAP: Shrewsbury forces FA Cup replay with Liverpool ]

The replay, which is set to take place during the Premier League’s winter break, is going to be a problem for Liverpool, according to manager Jurgen Klopp. First-team players have been granted the time off, forcing Klopp and company to play the “kids” for the upcoming replay of the fourth-round bout.

“We intend to honor the original idea of the break,” the Liverpool manager said on Sunday. “We have respect for the players’ welfare and they need this time off.”

“We got a letter from the authorities in April last year asking us not to organize anything during the week of the break and we haven’t,” he added. “We have given the players the time off, and some are going away. They will still be keeping fit, but they do not have to play football that week and they do not have to come in to Melwood.”

Jason Cummings’ right-footed strike in the 75th minute nulled Liverpool’s two-goal advantage early in the second half. The German also admitted that there was no reason for a replay on Tuesday 4 February or Wednesday 5 February.

“We lost the ball in the wrong moments and we never got used to the pitch,” he said. “We conceded the penalty after losing the ball and when they scored their second goal it was after we had lost two challenges in a row. We didn’t play well enough to take anything from the game, we got what we deserved. I would like to give Shrewsbury credit for their performance and the atmosphere their supporters produced. I enjoyed the atmosphere around the cup tie, I just didn’t enjoy the way we played.”

FA Cup Draw, Round 5: Liverpool to visit Arsenal, Manchester City host Chelsea

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With the exception of two ties that must be replayed, Sunday put a wrap on the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. In total, ten Premier League clubs have advanced, four Championship sides move on, and two League One sides will await their fate in replays.

One of those sides is Sheffield United, who went up 1-0 on Fulham in Sunday’s first match. The Blades then lost their captain to a straight red card, saw the Cottagers come back and equalize, and managed to hold on to force a replay. That game will take place on Tuesday, February 4 at Craven Cottage.

The second of Sunday’s games was much more straightforward. Stoke City paid a visit to Stamford Bridge. Oscar put in a tremendous free kick that put Chelsea ahead in the 27th minute. The hosts held on, Stoke barely threatened, and Chelsea advance to the final 16.

(READ MORE: FA CUP ROUNDUP, SATURDAY EDITION)

The draw for the next round was made immediately following the conclusion of the game at Stamford Bridge. The Fourth Round brought little in the way of giant-killings or cup-sets, and it looks like the Fifth Round will be much the same. Championship sides Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton face off, while Hull travel to Preston. The lower-division victor of the Nottingham Forest vs. Preston will play either Sheffield or Fulham.

But what the next round lacks in David-vs-Goliath matchups, it more than makes up for in excitement. Two matches feature top Premier League sides. First-placed Arsenal will host Liverpool, who will be looking to collect a trophy if their league position keeps slipping. Perhaps even more intriguing is Chelsea’s visit to the Etihad to face still-undefeated Manchester City. Should City really want that quadruple, they’re going to need to stay perfect at home, despite facing an almost even match in the Blues.

The next round will take place the weekend of February 15 and 16.

Round 5 Draw in Full

Arsenal vs. Liverpool
Brighton vs. Hull
Cardiff City vs. Wigan
Everton vs. Swansea
Manchester City vs. Chelsea
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Charlton
Sunderland vs. Southampton
Sheffield United or Fulham v Nottingham Forest or Preston

Fulham can’t get past 10-man Sheffield United

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Fulham can look forward to another FA Cup replay after failing to score more than a goal against League One side Sheffield United, despite the Blades being down a man for nearly forty minutes.

Clint Dempsey didn’t even make the bench for Fulham’s trip to Bramhall Lane, possibly because the US international played the full 90 minutes against Arsenal last weekend, and René Meulensteen wasn’t prepared to risk him ahead of the midweek relegation battle against Swansea. All in all, the Cottagers made 11 changes to the side that lost 3-0 to Arsenal last time out, although Darren Bent still didn’t manage to make the starting XI.

But even the use of an entirely new side wasn’t enough to boost Fulham to victory over a side sitting two divisions below. In fact, it was Sheffield that scored first, in the 31st minute. Chris Porter easily wiggled through the Cottagers defense, got on the end of a low cross and neatly put the ball past David Stockdale.

The visitors very nearly got their own back minutes later, when  Hugo Rodallega was brought down inside the area, but Andre Mariner waved away appeals. When halftime came around, the Blades were still on top, both in score and in play.

Fulham were thrown a lifeline when Sheffield captain Michael Doyle  was sent off five minutes after the restart, although the hosts nearly doubled their lead just a minute after. But with fifteen minutes remaining, Rodallega leveled things up, sending a sharp shot into the bottom corner.

With Fulham sitting just a point outside the relegation zone, another replay is likely the last thing Meulensteen wanted. Now he’ll have to decide again: prioritize the league and send out another inexperienced squad to face the Blades, or field a few regular starters in hopes that a solid win will give his side a confidence boost.

FA Cup preview: Fulham host Sheffield United before Stoke travel to Chelsea

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The weekend’s been full of FA Cup Fourth Round action, but there’s been surprisingly little giant-killing this time around. Nine Premier League sides have made it through to the final 16, where they’ve been joined by four Championship clubs. Two more teams will be added to the list today, with the final slot decided after a replay between Nottingham Forest and Preston North End.

(READ MORE: FA CUP RESULTS FROM FRIDAY AND SATURDAY)

Along with Preston, there’s just one other League One side that still has a chance to make it to the next round. Sheffield United host Fulham at 8 a.m. ET on Sunday, with Nigel Clough hoping his side might be lifted by a surprise victory against the Premier League club. The Blades aren’t having an easy time of it in the league, where they’re trying to avoid being dropped to League 2. But the hosts did manage to beat Aston Villa at Villa Park at the beginning of the month, so they’re hoping to take advantage of another struggling side in Fulham. The visitors have pulled themselves out of the relegation zone but are hanging on by just a point, and might be a bit weary after beating Norwich 3-0 in a replay before losing 2-0 to Arsenal last week.

The final match of this round (excluding replays) sees Stoke visiting Stamford Bridge at 10:30 a.m. ET. The Potters, who faced Leicester City last time out, had some worse luck this time, drawing away at third-place Chelsea. But it’s ok: Fernando Torres is out with injury, so that’s one goalscoring threat gone, plus Stoke could see the return of goalkeeper Asmir Begović, who’s sure to help them keep the score respectable. Unfortunately for the visitors, José Mourinho will see no need to rest players for the league match midweek, as that’s against West Ham.

FA Cup Roundup: Few cup-sets on the way to the final sixteen

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Those looking for dramatic David-beats-Goliath stories from this weekend’s FA Cup action were solely disappointed. Only one Premier League side fell to lower-level competition, but as that side was Crystal Palace, who lost to Championship Wigan, it’s a bit difficult to even classify that game as a “cup-set”.

Watford, to their credit, did their best to provide us with a genuine thriller. The Championship side, currently 15th, went to Manchester City and nearly came away winners. The Hornets were up 2-0 by the 30-minute mark, and carried that lead until 30 minutes to the end. Then Sergio Agüero happened. The Argentine scored a hat-trick, with Aleksandar Kolarov adding a fourth, to make sure City advanced and kept their dreams of a quadruple alive.

(READ MORE: MANCHESTER CITY COME BACK TO BEAT WATFORD)

Liverpool started off Saturday’s action with a routine 2-0 win over Bournemouth, and Everton closed it in similar style by beating Stevenage 4-0. All in all nine Premier League sides advanced to the final sixteen: Arsenal, Liverpool, Swansea, Cardiff City, Manchester City, Southampton, Hull City, Sunderland and Everton.

The remaining slots are filled by Championship sides Brighton and Hove Albion, Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan. Two League One sides remain hopeful of making it to the final sixteen: Sheffield United play Fulham on Sunday, while Preston North End face a replay against Nottingham Forest.

Finally, one of Chelsea or Stoke will be the final addition to Round 5. The two sides meet tomorrow in the final match (excluding replays) of Round 4.

Friday’s Results

Arsenal 4-0 Coventry
Nottingham Forest 0-0 Preston

Saturday’s Results

Bournemouth 0-2 Liverpool
Birmingham 1-2 Swansea
Bolton 0-1 Cardiff
Huddersfield 0-1 Charlton
Manchester City 4-2 Watford
Port Vale 1-3 Brighton
Rochdale 1-2 Sheffield Wednesday
Southampton 2-0 Yeovil
Southend 0-2 Hull City
Sunderland 1-0 Kidderminster
Wigan 2-1 Crystal Palace
Stevenage 0-4 Everton

Sunday’s Fixtures

Sheffield United vs. Fulham
Chelsea vs. Stoke City