Sun. Mar 7th, 2021

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FA Cup fifth-round: Eight things to look out for in mid-week games

8 min read

The FA Cup returns for an action-packed set of mid-week fixtures – and there’s plenty to get excited about.

The holders Arsenal are out but last season’s runners-up Chelsea are still in the competition with Thomas Tuchel is yet to taste defeat as the Blues manager. Manchester United face West Ham and Tottenham travel to Everton in some of the stand-out games.  

There are several players with a point to prove with manager’s set to give their back-up choices a chance to impress. Sportsmail takes a look at the things to look out for in each match as teams look to book their place in the quarter-final.

The FA Cup returns this week with teams looking to book their place in the quarter-final

The FA Cup returns this week with teams looking to book their place in the quarter-final

Bournemouth v Burnley – Jonathan Woodgate’s chance to impress 

Two days after joining the club as a first-team coach, Jonathan Woodgate suddenly found himself in the hot-seat after Bournemouth sacked Jason Tindall.

The former Middlesborough boss, who has enlisted the help of Harry Redknapp, guided the Cherries to a 3-2 win over Birmingham in his first game in charge – ending a run of five straight defeats.

The 41-year-old may only be in temporary charge but a victory over Premier League opponents would do his chances of landing the job a permanent basis no harm.

Bournemouth have the best chance of progressing to the quarter-final of all the Championship teams remaining in the competition with Burnley’s priority staying in the top flight.

Sean Dyche will likely have one eye on the two huge games against Crystal Palace and Fulham with his side one place above the relegation zone.

Woodgate had a rocky start to managerial life at Boro but he has another chance to prove himself at the Vitality Stadium. 

Jonathan Woodgate has a chance to impress as he continues to take temporary charge

Jonathan Woodgate has a chance to impress as he continues to take temporary charge 

Manchester United v West Ham – Can Dean Henderson take the No 1 spot?

Dean Henderson was always set to start against West Ham but he will be sensing his chance to stake a serious claim to usurp David de Gea as Manchester United’s No 1 goalkeeper following the Spaniard’s mistakes against Everton.

Henderson has made 10 appearances this season and played in the previous two FA Cup matches against Watford and Liverpool. 

Aside from a calamitous error at Sheffield United, the 23-year-old has impressed when he’s played this season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he is champing at the bit to be the first-choice ‘keeper. 

‘He’s not the most patient guy,’ said the United boss after warning De Gea that no-one’s place is safe.

Dean Henderson is looking to stake a claim for the No 1 from David de Gea

De Gea was at fault for two goals in the 3-3 draw with Everton

Dean Henderson (left) is looking to take the Manchester United No 1 goalkeeper’s spot from David de Gea (right)

‘He wants to play every game because he knows he will perform well, so long may it continue because he’s improved since he come here.

‘He’s played well when he’s got the chance. For me, he’s developed his game. I know he’s not played as many games as he would have done (on loan) last season.

‘You see his improvement in every game when he plays and in training. He’s working hard on a couple of aspects that we’ve spoken about, and I’ve been impressed with his attitude and work-rate.’

Henderson will also know he needs to be playing regularly to make the England squad for the Euros this summer. 

Swansea v Manchester City – Steve Cooper’s side a potential banana skin for Pep

Manchester City scored three goals to come from 2-0 to beat Swansea 3-2 in the quarter-final two years ago with Pep Guardiola’s side going on to lift the trophy.

The Swans felt hard done by that day with City’s equaliser coming from a harsh penalty before Sergio Aguero scored the winner from a marginally offside position.

Steve Cooper’s side are on course to challenge for promotion back to the Premier League and that will no doubt be their priority but they should not be written off. 

Steve Cooper's Swansea could be a potential banana skin for Pep Guardiola's side

Steve Cooper’s Swansea could be a potential banana skin for Pep Guardiola’s side 

Cooper will know all about in-form man Phil Foden after working with him for England U17

Cooper will know all about in-form man Phil Foden after working with him for England U17

The Championship club are unbeaten in 10 games and Conor Hourihane has been in great form since joining on loan last month. 

Swansea will be confident and this a free hit for them. Man City, however, have a tough run of league fixtures coming up with Tottenham on Saturday before games with Everton and Arsenal. 

Guardiola’s side are also in great form but if they take their foot off the gas they could be punished. Cheltenham gave them a scare in the last round and they needed Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus to bail them out of jail.

Cooper will know all about Foden, who won the Golden Ball when the Swans’ boss led his England U17 side to World Cup glory in 2017. He will likely be hoping the in-form man will be given a rest on Wednesday.

Leicester v Brighton – Mike Dean in the spotlight but Jamie Vardy in the wings

Mike Dean won’t be in charge of a Premier League game this weekend but he will be back in the spotlight at the Kingpower on Wednesday.

The referee asked to be withdrawn from top flight games this weekend after he and his family received death threats following his decision to send off West Ham’s Tomas Soucek against Fulham.

That red card has since been overturned, as was the one he gave to Jan Bednarek a few days earlier.  

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers condemned the abuse Dean received and called on social media companies to do more to stop people being able to post whatever they want online. 

Mike Dean will be in the spotlight after the referee asked to be withdrawn from league games

Mike Dean will be in the spotlight after the referee asked to be withdrawn from league games 

Jamie Vardy may have to be content with a place on the bench after returning from injury

Jamie Vardy may have to be content with a place on the bench after returning from injury

The Foxes will be hopeful of progressing to the next round but face a Brighton side who are unbeaten in their last six games with just two goals conceded.

The Seagulls may well fancy a cup run after pulling ten points clear of the relegation zone while Leicester, who are looking to cement their place in the top four, have a huge game with Liverpool at the weekend.

Jamie Vardy may have to be content with a place on the bench again after returning from injury. No Vardy, no party? Dean will be hoping it’s a low-key affair in the midlands.

Sheffield United v Bristol City – Blades set to replicate Wigan’s 2013 triumph?

Chris Wilder is still confident his side can avoid relegation but it will take an almighty effort from the Yorkshire club, who are 12 points adrift at the bottom.

However, the Blades have been in much better form recently and they will see their game with second-tier opponents Bristol City as a chance to continue that.

Wigan famously beat the much-favoured Man City to win the competition in 2013 despite being relegated in the same season. Could we see something similar this year?

Sheffield United could be faced with a similar situation to Wigan in 2013 if they progress

Sheffield United could be faced with a similar situation to Wigan in 2013 if they progress

The likes of Oli McBurnie and Oliver Burke could do with a goal and will see this as a good opportunity to build some confidence.

The Robins may fancy their chances too. Dean Holden’s side have had an up and down season but are only six points off the play-offs. 

The Blades made the semi-final when they were still a League One club in 2014 and gave then Premier League opponents Hull City a scare before losing 5-3. They perhaps feel they have some unfinished business in the competition.

Everton v Tottenham – Jose Mourinho’s selection dilemma 

Harry Kane didn’t even make the trip to Marine for the third-round but the striker needed to come off the bench to help Tottenham get past Wycombe in the following tie.

Kane made a quick return to injury to ensure Spurs ended a run of three straight defeats as he scored in a 2-0 victory over West Brom. The forward is simply irreplaceable. 

However, with a big game against Man City on Saturday, Jose Mourinho may be caught in two minds over whether to start him at Goodison Park. Tottenham need a trophy this season and the FA Cup could be one of their best chances of silverware. 

Jose Mourinho has a selection dilemma over whether to start Harry Kane against Everton

Jose Mourinho has a selection dilemma over whether to start Harry Kane against Everton

Mourinho does not seem to trust Gareth Bale and Dele Alli has been on the fringes all season. This would be a perfect chance for both to get game time and prove they can still have a big part to play for the remaining games. But 

Everton are also in desperate need of trophy and are perhaps the favourites to progress after their last two performances at Leeds and Manchester United.

There is no doubt that Carlo Ancelotti will pick a strong team. Spurs’ starting XI will show us just how important this competition is to Mourinho.

 Wolves v Southampton – Who will keep their season alive?

For the second round running Southampton will play their FA Cup opponents in their next league fixture. The Saints beat holders Arsenal in the fourth-round but were beaten by the Gunners in the following league fixture.

Hopes of challenging for a Europa League place now look slim for both teams but the FA Cup presents an opportunity to keep a bit of excitement in their season.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side will be low on confidence after they followed up their 9-0 thrashing by Manchester United with a 3-2 defeat at Newcastle.

Wolves are in slightly better form after holding Leicester to a 0-0 draw and beating Arsenal 2-1. 

New signing Willian Jose will want to get off the mark after joining the club in January but goals have been hard to come by for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side this season. However, Southampton’s recent defensive record may help that. 

Willian Jose will want to get his first Wolves goals against a shaky Southampton defence

Willian Jose will want to get his first Wolves goals against a shaky Southampton defence

Barnsley v Chelsea – Hakim Ziyech’s point to prove

His first season at Chelsea has been marred by injury problems but his recent omission from the starting XI has been down to Thomas Tuchel’s team selection.

The winger started the German’s first game in charge against Wolves but has not played in the following three matches and it’s unclear where he fits into Tuchel’s plans.

The Morocco international will likely start against Barnsley and he will be desperate to play well. 

Hakim Ziyech has a point to prove after being dropped for the last three games

It's not been clear how the winger fits into Thomas Tuchel's plans

Hakim Ziyech (left) will want to prove a point to new manager Thomas Tuchel (right)

Ziyech showed earlier in the season that he can provide the creative spark for the Blues but he will need to prove it to his new boss. 

Barnsley are having a steady season in the Championship after avoiding relegation on the final day of the previous campaign. 

The Tykes will be hoping to repeat their shock win over Chelsea from 2008 but it will be a tough ask if Tuchel plays a strong team.

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