The Premiership will take a break this weekend as we look forward to some exciting fifth round FA Cup ties. The FA Cup is one of the most respected and well known domestic cups in Europe and is the ultimate arena for clubs from all leagues to do battle.
Here we will take a brief look at the games due to play on Saturday.
Chelsea v Cardiff: Chelsea dropped some points through the week in the Premiership and will be looking to find that fine form which has seen them climb to the top of the league when they play Cardiff on Saturday. The Blues will be without their skipper John Terry who is away on compassionate leave, and Ashley Cole will also miss the match after fracturing his ankle during the 2-1 loss at Everton.
Cardiff’s form has been up and down in the Championship. The Welsh team are in fourth spot but were hammered 5-1 by Newcastle, a result they got out of their system through the week when they beat Peterborough 2-0. Injury stricken Cardiff will be up against it on Saturday though.
Whether Chelsea will play a full strength squad remains to be seen but Cardiff will be scrambling to find any squad so the ball is certainly in the Chelsea court.
Manchester City v Stoke City: Man City are busy in the league with their efforts to slip into fourth spot so they might rest a few players for their home tie with Stoke, but when you have a reserve team worth more than most clubs; this isn’t an issue. Stoke are looking strong and may fancy their chances against the big spenders here, so expect a tough game.
Derby v Birmingham: After thrashing Championship leaders Newcastle 3-0 during the week Derby’s confidence will be sky-high when they meet Birmingham. Birmingham on the other hand are coming off a 2-0 defeat to West Ham but they have played beyond all expectations this season and may want a good cup run.
This should be a tight game, Derby will find it hard to break down Birmingham’s tough defense and, buoyed on by the fans and looking for the win, may leave themselves open to some counterattacking.
Reading v West Brom: West Brom knocked out league rivals Newcastle in the last round and will be looking to take another Championship scalp against Reading who find themselves struggling in the relegation zone this season. Despite their league form Reading have been capturing all the headlines in this cup, knocking out Premiership teams Liverpool and Burnley to get this far, but can the underdogs keep up their winning streak against the leaders of their own league?
Southampton v Portsmouth: This is perhaps the biggest game of the round and has already attracted a lot of media attention. Struggling Portsmouth are hoping for a win against their rivals who are two leagues below them. The tie is promising to be aggressive and action packed, with a lot at stake for both teams; including south coast bragging rights.
On Sunday Bolton will be playing a lackluster Tottenham team, Crystal Palace will be hoping for a good performance to get them past Aston Villa whilst Notts County, who are the lowest ranked side left in the Cup, will need to get past Fulham at Craven Cottage if they are to continue on this amazing Cup run of theirs.