FA Cup Saturday preview: Chelsea, City and Spurs in action

Matthew Hill
LiveScore
Dejan Kulusevski could make his Tottenham debut against Brighton
Dejan Kulusevski could make his Tottenham debut against Brighton

The FA Cup returns this weekend with 32 teams targeting a spot in the fifth round.

Get the lowdown on all the potential thrills and spills with our bumper preview ahead of Saturday’s action.

Kidderminster vs West Ham (12.30pm, BBC One)

National League North outfit Kidderminster’s reward for stunning Championship side Reading in round three is a home tie with David Moyes’ Champions League-chasing West Ham.

A whopping 112 places separate the two clubs in the English football pyramid with Kiddy defeating six teams to reach this stage having entered at the second qualifying round. 

The visitors should be confident of avoiding an upset though after winning their last 10 ties against non-league teams, while boss Moyes has never conceded a goal to such opposition in five career encounters.

These two sides have history in the Cup, with a Lee Chapman winner seeing the Hammers edge past their plucky opponents 1-0 in 1994.

Chelsea vs Plymouth (12.30pm, BBC Red Button)

Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea should have too much for Plymouth
Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea should have too much for Plymouth

European champions Chelsea welcome League One Plymouth to Stamford Bridge looking to continue their route to a third-straight final.

The Blues have lost to Arsenal and Leicester in the last two Wembley showpieces and are firm favourites to dispatch Steven Schumacher’s Pilgrims, winning 10 of their last 11 home matches in the competition by an aggregate score of 30-4.

Argyle, who made the quarter-finals in 2007, have seen their play-off charge wobble since former boss Ryan Lowe left for Preston in December but did stun Championship side Birmingham in round three.

They can look back to their League Cup victory over the Blues in 1979 for inspiration — though they have lost three meetings since that previous triumph.

Crystal Palace vs Hartlepool (3pm)

After dispatching rivals Millwall in the previous round, Crystal Palace now must guard against complacency as League Two Hartlepool visit Selhurst Park.

Patrick Vieira is looking to take his hosts into the fifth round for only the second time in six years and the Eagles have never been dumped out by a club from the fourth tier or lower.

Hartlepool are having an unremarkable campaign in League Two but the Monkey Hangers are proving to be knockout specialists, having already accounted for League One duo Wycombe and Lincoln as well as Championship club Blackpool on this run.

Graeme Lee’s visitors also have a Football League Trophy semi-final with Rotherham to look forward to next month, with their success delivering a timely boost to the club’s coffers.

Everton vs Brentford (3pm)

Frank Lampard kicks off his tenure as Everton boss with a home tie against fellow Premier League side Brentford.

Lampard, 43, won the famous competition four times during his playing career with Chelsea and led the Blues to the final during his one full season in charge — going down 2-1 to Arsenal at Wembley on that occasion.

These two sides had met just once in 68 years prior to last November’s league meeting, with an Ivan Toney penalty securing a win for Thomas Frank’s Bees.

The visitors have struggled to progress beyond this stage in recent times, losing four of their last five fourth-round clashes including in the two most recent campaigns.

Manchester City vs Fulham (3pm)

Fulham will look to their talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic for inspiration against Manchester City
Fulham will look to their talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic for inspiration against Manchester City

Premier League leaders Manchester City meet the table-toppers from one tier below as Championship high-fliers Fulham look to ruffle feathers at the Etihad.

Despite their relative domestic dominance over the last decade, the Citizens have only won the FA Cup once in the last 10 campaigns and Pep Guardiola’s strong team selection when beating Swindon 4-1 last month suggests the Spaniard is keen to change that.

They enjoy playing the Cottagers too, having won their last 11 meetings with the West Londoners — only twice in their history have City beaten a team on more consecutive occasions.

Fulham forward Aleksandar Mitrovic, 27, is ripping up the second tier with 28 goals in 26 games and will be desperate to prove he has what it takes to terrorise the country’s meanest defence.

Southampton vs Coventry (3pm)

After overcoming Swansea in a dramatic third-round encounter earlier this month, Southampton face second-tier opposition once again in the form of Coventry.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints sealed a 3-2 extra-time victory in South Wales despite playing most of the contest with 10 men and will now look to make the fifth round for consecutive seasons — last doing so in 2006.

The Sky Blues only lost three of 19 meetings with Southampton between 1996 and 2008 but have lost all three since, also losing three of the four historical FA Cup clashes.

Mark Robins’ men have proven solid travellers in recent times, with last Saturday’s 1-0 loss at play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough ending a five-game unbeaten run on the road.

Wolves vs Norwich (3pm)

Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves will hope to help his side into round five
Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves will hope to help his side into round five

Another all-Premier League affair sees Bruno Lage’s in-form Wolves welcome Norwich to Molineux.

The hosts will be beginning to dream of continental qualification after a fine first half of the campaign and victory will see them reach round five in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1995.

While most had already condemned Norwich to inevitable relegation, Dean Smith’s troops clearly have other ideas and back-to-back top-flight wins over Everton and Watford have seen them climb out of the bottom three.

The Canaries’ only run beyond this stage in the last nine years saw them make the quarter-finals in 2020, suffering a heartbreaking extra-time defeat to Manchester United.

Tottenham vs Brighton (8pm, ITV4)

Tottenham can make round five for the sixth time in seven seasons if they maintain their fine home record against Brighton.

Spurs have won their last seven home meetings with the Seagulls in a run that stretches back to 1982 — including a 2-1 FA Cup win in 2005 thanks to goals from Ledley King and Robbie Keane.

Graham Potter’s visitors are no soft touch and travel to North London unbeaten in seven across all competitions, though their record against fellow top-tier sides in this competition is unimpressive.

Since being promoted in 2017, Brighton have only won two of nine FA Cup clashes against Premier League outfits, exiting to eventual winners Leicester last term.

Saturday’s other FA Cup ties

Huddersfield vs Barnsley (3pm)

Peterborough vs QPR (3pm)

Stoke vs Wigan (3pm)

Cambridge vs Luton (5.30pm, BBC Red Button)

Tags

FA CupKidderminsterWest Ham UnitedChelseaPlymouthCrystal PalaceHartlepoolEvertonBrentfordManchester CityFulhamSouthamptonCoventryWolverhampton WanderersNorwich CityTottenham HotspurBrighton & Hove Albion
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