It was another weekend of shocks and major talking points in the fifth round of the FA Cup. It was big weekend for the non-league sides, and we round up all of the weekend’s key talking points:
Lincoln stun Burnley to advance to the quarter finals
Lincoln City made all the headlines over the weekend, as they became the first non-league side to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals in 103 years when they beat Burnley 1-0. Burnley have now lost five times in the fifth round of the FA Cup, having failed to reach the sixth round every season since 2002-03.
A strong home record of three losses in their past 29 matches at Turf Moor had put Burnley in a strong position. But Lincoln’s tactic of blocking the hosts in numbers led to an engrossing battle between Joey Barton and Lincoln striker Matt Rhead, with the two players outmuscling one another throughout the 90 minutes.
The game seemed to be heading for a replay, when Sean Raggett rose above the Burnley defence to head past Tom Heaton.
The visitors were then forced to defend through five minutes of stoppage time, with Andre Gray’s shot saved by Paul Farman, before back-to-back corners were smashed away by the Lincoln defence. The reward for Lincoln will be a tie with Arsenal at the Emirates stadium.
Huddersfield force Man City replay
Huddersfield earned a deserved replay with the superstars of Manchester City, as the game at John Smith’s Stadium finished 0-0. The League one side didn’t roll over in the face of the Premiership team, and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, restored to the starting line-up for the first time since the 21st January, was forced into making some saves. The Chilean hadn’t made a save since January 2, but he quickly put that right, denying Jack Payne in the opening minutes.
He then made a fine fingertip save to touch away Payne’s free-kick and his confidence grew as the game wore on. At the other end Huddersfield goalkeeper Joel Coleman was also called into action a number of times. Sergio Aguero was given a first start in five matches, but the Argentine could not find a way past Coleman who was dominant in the air, keeping out the top-flight side with a total of four saves.
Coleman did make a rare mistake in the first half when he rushed off his line for the ball and was beaten to it by Aguero, but the City player’s lobbed effort failed to find the target. The 2 sides will meet again in the replay in the 28th February at the Etihad.
Millwall stun the champions
Continuing with the theme of giant killing, Millwall continued to inflict more misery on the Premier League champions as they knocked out Leicester with a last minute goal, this was despite having been reduced to 10 men for much of the 2nd half.
Clearly, with one eye on Wednesday’s tie with Sevilla in the Champions League Claudio Ranieri made 10 changes from the side that lost at the Liberty Stadium, against Swansea last Sunday. However, considering that, Millwall had already beaten Premier League sides Bournemouth and Watford in the last 2 rounds, perhaps Leicester should’ve offered the League 1 side more respect.
The game was finely poised in the 52nd minute, at 0-0, when Millwall defender Jake Cooper was sent off for 2 bookable offences. He picked up his first booking at the end of the first half when he tried to kick the ball out of Leicester goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler’s hands before he was sent off following a needless sliding challenge on Ahmed Musa, who was still in his own half and close to the right touchline.
Despite this Millwall remained the better of the 2 sides, despite their being 33 places between the 2 sides. Their attacking changes, and better play, was rewarded with a goal in the 90th minute. Shaun Cummings grabbed the winning goal when he collected Lee Gregory’s pass, cut in from the right side, went past a Leicester defender in the box and finished low past Zieler.
Millwalll will now face Tottenham in the quarter-finals of the cup.
Harry Kane hits an emphatic hattrick as Spurs cruise to a win over Fulham
Harry Kane took his tally to the season to 19 goals, with a hattrick against Fulham to take Spurs through to the quarter-finals. The England striker prodded home from eight yards out from a quick Christian Eriksen cross to give his a first-half side the lead at Craven Cottage.
He scored his second from a similar range after the break, beating Tim Ream’s offside trap by a matter of inches before tapping home. The treble was complete when he was played through in the 73rd minute, firing past Marcus Bettinelli.
Spurs now move on to a quarterfinal with Millwall.
Jose calls on the big guns to get past Blackburn
Jose Mourinho had to call on Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to secure passage to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, as Manchester United went onto beat Blackburn 2-1. Blackburn had taken the lead through a well taken goal by Danny Graham. However United equalised through Marcus Rashford, after a sublime pass from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Jose Mourinho’s side did not have it all their own way at Ewood Park and were slow and sloppy in possession, while struggling to carve open clear-cut opportunities. Eager to avoid a replay, Mourinho turned to his 2 star players to make sure they would avoid another game in an already congested fixture list.
A trait of their partnership this season has been Pogba’s ability to pick out Ibrahimovic with passes over the top from midfield, and he did it again here with a 30-yard chip beyond the Blackburn defence.
Ibrahimovic had stayed just onside and even had time to spin full circle as he waited for the ball to bounce before steering it first-time past Jason Steele into the far corner.
It was his 24th goal of a magnificent first season in English football and his 18th in the last 20 games. Enough to put United in the quarter-finals again. They will now have to travel to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea in the tie of the round.
Arsenal less than impressive but make the quarter finals
The tie with the most intrigue in the 5th round was Arsenals away trip to non-league Sutton Utd, the neutrals laid in wait hoping for the unimaginable to happen.
Sutton gave their best shot but unfortunately just lacked the quality up front to damage Arsenal.
But Sutton can hold their heads high, who kept to their game plan well in the first half even after going a goal down from a fortuitous low cross that snuck in.
Sutton in fact had better chances, the first major chance came with after an awful mistake from Ospina late on in the first half.
There was a series of headers in the second half that could have perhaps brought Sutton into the game following Theo Walcotts early 2nd half strike.
Sutton United even hit the cross bar with a great strike from Deacon, a player who was a thorn in Arsenal’s side all game, just lacking some quality with his deliveries.
Whilst Arsenal progress to the quarter finals, their fans can’t be happy with the performance which was often sloppy in possession and not particularly committed in tackles. They now face another non-league team as Lincoln meet them in the quarter finals, an easy passage to the Wembley semi-final it would seem. But I’m not sure that would be enough to appease the discontent amongst fans who will be expecting improvements in their league form. Tougher tests still lay ahead for Arsene Wenger.
By Rich Lee @RichLee2202