Wembley one step away for The FA Cup's last eight

Wednesday 18 Feb 2015
Jamie Carragher under pressure for Liverpool against Blackburn's Nathan Blake

It’s 15 years since the last time there were no replays in the Fifth Round of The FA Cup. 

So with the line-up for the last eight of this season’s competition complete, we take a closer look at the four exciting ties. 

Bradford City v Reading
Saturday 7 March, 12.45pm - Live on BT Sport

Phil Parkinson, Reading

Bradford boss Phil Parkinson is a Reading legend

This season’s surprise Cup package has come in the shape of League One Bradford City. After seeing off Premier League big boys Chelsea and Sunderland, they now take on a side they’ve not faced since 2004. 

Reading’s FA Cup campaign may not have hit the headlines as much as their quarter-final opponents, but consistency has been the key. 

Three wins over Championship rivals Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City and Derby County – all away from home – will send them to Valley Parade quietly confident. 

The two clubs have not met in The FA Cup since way, way back in 1907 - Bradford won that game 2-0. Four years later they lifted The Cup, while Reading’s best run was in 1927 when they lost to Cardiff in The Semis. 

The Sixth Round tie will be a special day for Bantams boss Phil Parkinson, who guided his club to Wembley in the League Cup Final two years ago. He faces Reading where he ended his playing career and is still hailed as a club legend. 

Aston Villa v West Bromwich Albion
Saturday 7 March, 5.30pm - Live on BBC One

West Brom v Villa

West Brom beat Aston Villa in December

The FA Cup quarter-final draw was complete when a classic derby encounter was the final tie out of the hat, with the bragging rights in the West Midlands on the table. 

Both clubs have recently seen a change in managers; Tony Pulis taking over at the Baggies in January, while Tim Sherwood was named Villa’s new boss on the eve of their Fifth Round win over Leicester City. 

While recent history slightly favours West Brom, who have two victories over Villa in their last seven meetings to Villa’s one win - and have four more points in the Premier League this season, Villa’s FA Cup pedigree is superior. 

Seven-time winners Villa last welcomed the Throstles, with five Cup wins, to Villa Park for a Fourth Round tie in 1998, winning 4-0. 

Current players Scott Sinclair, on loan at Villa, and West Brom’s Craig Gardner will be keen to impress as they go up against former clubs. 

Liverpool v Blackburn Rovers
Sunday 8 March, 4pm - Live on BT Sport

Nathan Blake

Nathan Blake celebrates his match-winner at Anfield in 2000

Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers have not met since a 3-2 win for the Reds at Ewood Park in April 2012. The scorers that day – Yakubu got both for Rovers, Maxi Rodriguez (2) and Andy Carroll – have since moved on. 

The game earlier that season at Anfield, where next month’s FA Cup Sixth Round tie will take place, was a 1-1 draw. Maxi netted for the Liverpool that day, too. 

You have to go back as far as 2000 for the last FA Cup encounter between the clubs, who have both won League titles under Kenny Dalglish. 

Blackburn arrived for the Fourth Round clash at Anfield as underdogs, having been relegated from the Premier League the season before, but striker Nathan Blake grabbed a late winner to send Liverpool out. 

Rovers’ run came to an end in the next round at the hands of another of Kenny Dalglish’s former sides, Newcastle United. 

Manchester United v Arsenal
Monday 9 March, 7.45pm - Live on BBC One

Ryan Giggs, Man U v Arsenal

Ryan Giggs scores THAT goal

An absolute bumper FA Cup tie is in prospect at Old Trafford as two of the Premier League’s biggest clubs go head to head. 

There’s usually not much between them when they come together, and even their FA Cup record can’t separate them. Arsenal’s win at Wembley last May took them level with United on eleven wins. 

United edged the last meeting in November, though, with Wayne Rooney scoring the decisive goal for the visitors in a 2-1 victory at Emirates Stadium. 

They’ve played each other 14 times in The FA Cup, again the Old Trafford outfit with the slightly better record, winning seven to Arsenal’s five. 

Rooney was again on target when the eleven-time Cup winners knocked the Gunners out of the Sixth Round in 2011. 

Arsenal were winners on penalties when they met at Millennium Stadium for The Final in 2005, but arguably the most memorable FA Cup tie between them was in 1999. 


Following a 0-0 Semi-Final draw at Villa Park, the pair returned to the Midlands for the replay three days later. 

Again, it finished all square after 90 minutes, but was full of incident – Roy Keane had been sent off and Dennis Bergkamp had seen his potential match-winning penalty saved. 

Then in extra-time Ryan Giggs collected a loose Patrick Vieira pass in the middle of the park, ran half the length of the field and smashed past David Seaman to win it. 

The result catapulted Sir Alex Ferguson’s side on to their greatest achievement – the Treble. 

The winners of each of the four ties will scoop £360,000 from The FA’s Prize Fund and a place in the Semi-Finals at Wembley Stadium in April.

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor