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5 talking points ahead of the FA Cup fifth round

Can non-league Sutton United add to Arsene Wenger’s woes?

FOOTBALL 17/02/17 17:36
5 talking points ahead of the FA Cup fifth round

The FA Cup is back this weekend as the remaining clubs fight it out for a quarter-final berth.

Here, we pick out some of the main talking points on fifth-round weekend.

Wenger must avoid Sutton embarrassment

The pressure on Arsene Wenger mounted after the 5-1 midweek humbling at Bayern Munich in the first leg of Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 tie. At the Gunners helm for more than 20 years, on Friday the Frenchman confirmed that he would make a firm decision on his future in March or April – but a negative result at Gander Green Lane might see that decision made for him. Sutton are 17th in the Vanarama National League so are targeting one of the most remarkable upsets in the FA Cup history. The lowest-ranked side remaining in the competition will be gunning for Wenger’s men on Monday evening.

Impish Lincoln look for an upset

Lincoln City's Alan Power, centre, celebrates scoring against Brighton in the fourth round
(Mike Egerton/PA)

There are two non-league sides in the fifth round for the first time and Lincoln, top of the National League, are heading to Premier League surprise package Burnley looking to make more history. Danny Cowley’s men have already dispatched Championship sides Ipswich and Brighton this year, so will fancy their chances at Turf Moor in the opening tie of the round. Sean Dyche’s side have a remarkable home record but will not be taking the Imps lightly.

Ranieri to be mauled by Lions

Last season’s Premier League champions now lie just a point above the drop zone courtesy of their chastening loss of form. Scrutiny over Leicester’s players and manager Claudio Ranieri grows by the week and, before their Champions League last-16 clash at Sevilla, comes the small matter of a trip to Millwall. Neil Harris’ men are in the Sky Bet League One play-off hunt and this season have already beaten Bournemouth and Watford at the Den. Will they make it a Premier League treble on Saturday?

Will Spurs struggle at the Cottage?

Fulham are hoping to cause an FA Cup upset against Spurs
(Nigel French/EMPICS)

Fulham have not had a lot to shout about since dropping out of the Premier League in 2014, but they appear back on an upward trajectory. Slavisa Jokanovic has got the Cottagers playing exciting football and challenging for the Championship play-offs. Mauricio Pochettino has done even better at White Hart Lane, but they make the trip across London reeling from a damaging league defeat at Liverpool and Thursday’s shock Europa League loss at Gent. Pochettino needs progress here and, ultimately, a trophy to back up his burgeoning reputation.

Upset potential aplenty

If the aforementioned matches do not provide enough upset potential then the rest of the draw should. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City head to high-flying Championship side Huddersfield on Saturday afternoon looking to avoid a bloody nose, while Wolves, buoyed by overcoming Liverpool in the fourth round, host runaway Premier League leaders Chelsea. Blackburn welcome FA Cup holders Manchester United to Ewood Park and League One side Oxford will fancy their chances at stuttering Middlesbrough.

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