Emirates FA Cup fourth round preview

Tuesday 21 Jan 2020
Southampton host Spurs in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup

The Emirates FA Cup is back again with a raft of fixtures spread out across the entire weekend all the way through until Monday night.

Reigning champions Manchester City will face Fulham on Sunday for only the fourth time in the competition and for the first time in 106 years, a 2-0 win for City all the way back in 1914.

Pep Guardiola’s men have won their last seven Emirates FA Cup matches, scoring 30 goals and conceding just four since a 1-0 defeat to Wigan in February 2018 while star striker Sergio Aguero needs just one more to be outright fourth-highest scorer in the competition.

Sergio Aguero scores his 19th goal in the competition against Port Vale in the third round

Sunday is also reserved for Liverpool’s trip to Shrewsbury Town with the teams having only ever faced once previously, a fourth-round tie in February 1996 – the Reds won 4-0 at Gay Meadow.

The Shrews should not be underestimated having lost just one of their last 17 home matches in the competition (W10 D6), a 3-0 defeat against Manchester United in February 2016.

And Manchester United lie in wait Tranmere Rovers after their epic replay win over top-flight Watford on Thursday night. 

But before any of that there is plenty of action to get through starting from Friday night when the lowest-ranked team left in the competition in Northampton Town host Wayne Rooney’s Derby County.

Derby have never lost against Northampton in any competition in 10 previous games (W6 D4), though this is their first meeting since January 1967 while Northampton Town haven’t reached the fifth round for 50 years.

Friday night will also see QPR welcome Sheffield Wednesday to Loftus Road on a particular hot-streak in the competition winning three of their last five matches in the FA Cup (D1 L1), more than their previous 26 games combined in the competition (W2 D7 L17).

Scoring against the Owls will be no mean feat however as they have kept six clean sheets in their last nine FA Cup matches (W4 D3 L2), winning 1-0 away at Brighton in the third round this season.

Saturday afternoon kicks off with Brentford v Leicester and the Bees don’t have the best record against top flight opposition in the competition having progressed from just one of their last 12 meeting with Premier League opponents - a 2-1 win against Sunderland in January 2006.

In the Foxes’ dugout Brendan Rodgers has progressed from his last six Emirates FA Cup ties against lower-league opposition since losing 3-2 to Oldham Athletic in the fourth round in 2012-13 as Liverpool boss.

In his entire managerial career, Tottenham Hotspur boss José Mourinho has only lost two games against an opponent in the same calendar month once previously, losing two Champions League games against Real Madrid in February 2002 as FC Porto manager.

Jose Mourinho and Ralph Hassenhuttl on the touchline

Southampton’s 1-0 Premier League win on New Year’s Day put that record in jeopardy and the Saints will hope to  recreate the 4-0 third round victory they managed over Spurs the last time the clubs met in the competition back in 2002-03.

Another all-Premier-League clash comes via Norwich’s trip to Burnley having only met once previously in the competition, with the Canaries winning 4-1 in the third round during the 2011-12 season.

Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez has scored nine goals in his last 13 Emirates FA Cup appearances, netting in his last three games in the competition for the Clarets, including a goal in a 4-1 defeat to Norwich in January 2012.

Coventry and Birmingham haven’t met in any completion since August 2012 in the League Cup second round, with the Sky Blues winning 3-2.

However the two sides will meet again on Saturday in peculiar circumstances as they both currently share St Andrew’s as their home stadium.

Millwall and Sheffield United are another pairing that haven’t met in the competition since 1914.

And the Blades should be wary of Millwall who, since 1992-93, have eliminated seven Premier League teams from the Emirates FA Cup – no side who haven’t played in the Premier League themselves has done so more.

Since winning the FA Cup in 2008, Portsmouth have reached the fifth round just once, doing so during the 2009-10 campaign.

Now it is Barnsley who stand in their way, a team who themselves has only reached the fifth round twice in their previous 20 seasons (2007-08 and 2012-13).

Cardiff have not been on the best run in the competition either reaching the fifth round in just two of their previous 11 seasons since losing the 2008 final against Portsmouth.

Portsmouth beat Cardiff 1-0 in the 2008 final

They will face a trip to Reading, who boast a good record at the Madjeski Stadium with six wins and a draw from their last eight Emirates FA Cup games there.

Newcastle United have gone out at this stage on six occasions since their last appearance in the fifth round back in 2005-06 and face an Oxford United team they’ve only met once before in the competition - the U’s winning 3-0 at the Kassam Stadium in the fourth round in 2016-17.

West Brom have won none of their last nine away matches against West Ham (D6 L3), with all games coming in the Premier League between 2005 and 2018.

The Hammers will be looking to preserve a record dating back to January 1997 when they last lost to an opponent outside the Premier League - 1-0 defeat to Wrexham.

And Saturday will be wrapped up with a repeat of 2017-18’s fifth round meeting between Chelsea and Hull City in which the Blues won 4-0, scoring all for before half time.

Chelsea have progressed from 49 of their last 51 FA Cup ties against non-Premier League sides, and haven’t lost away from home since March 2008, losing 1-0 to Barnsley.

Rreiss Nelson scored the winner for Arsenal in a 1-0 win over Leeds United in the third round

And finally Monday night will see Bournemouth meet Arsenal in their first ever Emirates FA Cup encounter.

The Gunners have progressed from seven of their last eight fourth round ties, with their only failure in that run coming last season, losing 3-1 at home to Manchester United.

But they will be without the suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who has three in his last four appearances against the Cherries.

By Tom Dean