FA Cup Fever: Battle of the Black Country headlines the 4th round

2 min read

The Premier League takes a back seat this weekend with the return of the FA Cup at the 4th round stage. There are 15 more ties left to play, following Bournemouth’s impressive 5-0 victory over Swansea on Thursday evening.

With four games taking place this evening, the sofa is the only place you need to be – and you might want to stack the fridge, too. 

The pick of the games comes in the form of Tottenham vs Manchester City. These two teams are hammering it out tooth and nail in the league, both with lofty ambitions of clinching the title and both remain in contention with the campaign edging ever closer to the business end. 

With this in mind, there is an expectation that the emphasis on this FA Cup showdown will be slightly lower than if it were played out in the top-flight, with both managers set to make changes to their starting XI. Holders Manchester City are never short of star quality, however, and irrespective of their lineup, are always able to field a showstopping team due to their immense strength-in-depth. 

Pep Guardiola’s main focus this season will be on retaining their Premier League crown and seat on the Champions League throne but he will not underplay the importance of a run in the FA Cup, and it is City who will enter this clash as the favourites. 

Ange Postecoglou will be without star man Son Heung-min for this bout, with the Tottenham skipper away representing South Korea at the Asia Cup. Coupled with Son’s absence is the long-term injury to James Maddison – Spurs’ biggest creator – with the attacking-midfielder’s return date still as of yet unconfirmed. 

There are murmurs that he could feature against City, should his mooted return to training earlier this week have proven a success, though it remains to be seen if Ange risks him in the cup with such an intense run of games approaching in the Premier League. 

Saturday sees six games in action, kicked off by non-league Maidstone – the lowest-ranked team left in the competition – taking on Championship high-fliers Ipswich at 12.30. 

Former Wolves defender George Elokobi is at the helm for the National League South visitors – who defeated Stevenage in the 3rd round to reach this stage – and they will be full of hope and optimism of continuing their dream run at Portman Road. 

With Ipswich’s sights set firmly on promotion to the Premier League this term, manager Kieran McKenna will certainly rotate his team for this one and hand minutes to the squad’s lesser-used members and that could potentially afford Maidstone with an opportunity to cause a major upset, although the task which lies in wait for the part-timers will be substantial regardless of the team they face on Saturday. 

Sunday brings with it four more games, with Liverpool in action against Newcastle; Southampton travelling to Watford and League Two outfit Newport hosting Manchester United in the hope of writing Monday morning’s headlines. 

The tie of the day, though, undoubtedly comes courtesy of West Brom vs Wolves (11:45 KO).

These two Black Country rivals haven’t faced each other in three years following West Brom’s relegation from the top-flight, and with a spot in the 5th round up for grabs the stakes are extremely high. 

Wolves, who are mid-table in the Premier League, are in no danger of relegation and will view a strong run in the FA Cup as the perfect tonic to their positive campaign after many had them down as contenders for the drop before a ball was kicked last summer. 

West Brom are battling it out for a spot in the Championship play-offs and will also relish the opportunity of travelling deep into this year’s tournament. They came out of their 3rd round clash against National League Aldershot unscathed, beating the Hampshire side 4-1 earlier this month, and have been extremely solid at the Hawthorns of late – losing just two of their 15 matches across all competitions on home soil this term. 

Wolves also enter this game in fine fettle, having won four and drawn one of their previous five games. They needed extra-time to edge past Brentford in their 3rd round replay last Tuesday and will be chomping at the bit to get one over on their long-standing rivals come Sunday afternoon.


Bristol City 19:45 Nottingham Forest

Chelsea 19:45 Aston Villa

Sheffield Wednesday 19:45 Coventry City

Tottenham Hotspur 20:00 Manchester City


Ipswich Town 12:30 Maidstone United

Everton 15:00 Luton Town

Leeds United 15:00 Plymouth Argyle

Leicester City 15:00 Birmingham City

Sheffield United 15:00 Brighton

Fulham 19:00 Newcastle United


West Bromwich Albion 11:45 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Watford 14:00 Southampton

Liverpool 14:30 Norwich City

Newport County 16:30 Manchester United


Blackburn Rovers 19:30 Wrexham

Related news

Consetetur sadipscing elitr, sed diam nonumy eirmod.