FA Cup

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FA Cup: Sheffield Wednesday into 5th round; Derby headed for replay

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Sheffield Wednesday became the first club to reach the fifth round of the 2019-20 FA Cup by beating Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Friday.

[ MORE: Report: Man United’s list of possible new strikers revealed ]

The Owls took a 1-0 lead into halftime after Morgan Fox squeezed his shot past the goalkeeper from a tight angle, and Sam Winnall put the EFL Championship side 2-0 up by slotting the ball home just before full-time. QPR pulled a goal back through Nahki Wells just moments later, but it wasn’t enough and the game finished 2-1.

It’s the second time in three seasons that Wednesday has reached the fifth round after doing so just twice in their previous 17 seasons.

[ MORE: Solskjaer’s transfer update; positive on rebuild ]

Elsewhere, fellow Championship side Derby County, featuring Wayne Rooney who played all 90 minutes, couldn’t see off League Two side Northampton Town and will be forced into the dreaded replay after struggling to a scoreless draw away from home.

The draw for the fifth round will be held on Monday at 2:20 p.m. ET, prior to kickoff of Bournemouth v. Arsenal.

Vardy injury ‘not as serious as first thought,’ says Rodgers

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Everyone at Leicester City is breathing a huge sigh of relief after receiving the timetable for the injury suffered by star striker Jamie Vardy on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Report: Man United’s list of possible new strikers revealed ]

Manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed after the game that it wasn’t a hamstring injury, as originally feared, but rather a “twinge in his glute.” That was the first bit of “good news,” according to Rodgers.

Now comes the really good stuff for the Foxes: Vardy will be unavailable for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round clash with EFL Championship side Brentford, but he could return to action for the second leg of the EFL Cup semifinals against Aston Villa on Tuesday — quotes from Sky Sports:

“He’s not available for the weekend and there will be a question mark for Tuesday, although it’s certainly not as serious as we first thought.

“It’s not his hamstring, it’s a glute, so we’re hopeful for Tuesday, but there’s a little bit of work to do. He’ll get some work in with the medical team. He’ll stay with them for the weekend.

“He’s much better than directly after the game, when he was tight and sore and struggling to move. But today he was much better.”

Throw in the fact that Leicester currently sit third in the Premier League and Champions League qualification is looking highly likely for next season (they hold a 14-point lead on fifth-place Manchester United with 14 games left to play), and they have truly dodged a bullet on this one.

FA Cup fourth round preview, score picks

Manchester United advances in FA Cup
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The FA Cup fourth round is here as we are down to the final 32 teams in the oldest knockout competition in the world.

[ LIVE: All the FA Cup scores here

There are some intriguing storylines set up for the games across Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as Liverpool and Man United face tricky trips to lower-league opponents, while Southampton host Tottenham, Norwich head to Burnley and Arsenal travel to Bournemouth in two all-PL ties.

Brentford hosting Leicester is one for the purists, while West Brom, Millwall, Hull City and Oxford will all fancy their chances of knocking out their Premier League opponents as plenty of teams will rotate their squads.

Below we reveal our score predictions for each game, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.


FRIDAY

Northampton Town 0-3 Derby County – 3 p.m. ET
QPR 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday – 3 p.m. ET


SATURDAY (all 10 a.m. ET kick offs unless otherwise stated)

Brentford 1-2 Leicester – 7:30 a.m. ET
Burnley 3-1 Norwich City
Coventry City 1-3 Birmingham City
Millwall 1-1 Sheffield United
Newcastle United 2-0 Oxford United
Portsmouth 2-1 Barnsley
Reading 2-0 Cardiff City
Southampton 1-1 Tottenham
West Ham 1-2 West Brom
Hull City 1-3 Chelsea – 12:30 p.m. ET


SUNDAY

Man City 2-2 Fulham – 8 a.m. ET
Tranmere 1-3 Man United – 10 a.m. ET
Shrewsbury 1-4 Liverpool – 12 p.m. ET


MONDAY

Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal  – 3 pm E.T.

Tranmere upends Watford in FA Cup; Hosts Man Utd on Sunday

Tranmere upsets Watford in FA Cup
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Paul Mullin scored in extra time to lift League One side Tranmere Rovers over a much-weakened Watford in a FA Cup replay at Prenton Park on Thursday.

Tranmere runs out a 2-1 winner and gets a lucrative home date against struggling Manchester United on Sunday.

The pitch condition still wasn’t great nine days after heavy rains caused a postponement of the tie.

Watford didn’t have many familiar faces on the pitch due to the match being its third match in six days. Jose Holebas, Andre Gray, and Christian Kabasele did start the contest.

Tranmere out-attempted Watford 20-11 and had nearly 60 percent of the ball.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Kaylen Hinds scored for Watford, his first goal coming in his first match since 2017/18 when the ex-Arsenal academy man was with… Greuther Furth II.

Tranmere took the lead after Manny Monthe swept a ball home after a half-clearance from the box (Can anything be a half-clearance? Self-reporting to the language police).

Manager Nigel Pearson playing a bevy of youth players. The first team will now get nine more days off before a Feb. 1 visit from Everton.

Of course, they would’ve featured Sunday versus Manchester United in the fourth round.

 

Watford leveled the score on a grimy goal in the 18, but Mullin delivered the goods in the 104th minute.

Solskjaer talks Rashford injury, ‘finally’ beating Wolves

Manchester United's Solskjaer talks Rashford injury
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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was going to give Marcus Rashford his first match day off since Dec. 12.

He didn’t, and he regrets it.

Solskjaer plucked his star striker off the bench in the 64th minute and removed him 16 minutes later after a back injury hobbled the 22-year-old.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

“Yes, it backfired,” Solskjaer said, via the BBC. “You got to take them once in a while. He’ll be tested in the next few days – we have to see for Sunday. He couldn’t run. He struggled a little bit with his back and got another knock. It didn’t help.”

Rashford played just 20 minutes in the first meeting between the two on Jan. 4, but started eight other matches in the last 34 days. He went 90 minutes in five of those outings.

The injury, possibly minor, threatens to overshadow a terrific Juan Mata goal as Manchester United earned a date with either Watford and Tranmere Rovers in the fourth round.

The 1-0 win is United’s first over Wolves in six tries since the latter was promoted in 2018 (three draws, two losses).

“I think you can see it was two teams towards the end that were tired. End to end and an open game – sometimes that doesn’t suit us,” Solskjaer said. “We’re delighted to beat Wolves finally. Juan Mata is different class. He’s got the skill, composure and even pace.”

Mata’s looked great in consecutive matches, and he’s gonna need to do it more often if Rashford is unable to go for any prolonged period.