The FA Cup 5th round draw provided the neutral football fan with some tantalising February fixtures as the current top four of the Premiership were paired against each other.
League leaders Arsenal will face former transfer target Luis Suarez’s Liverpool at the Emirates, whereas the arguably more enticing game sees Jose Mourinho and his Chelsea team travel to face Manchester City at the Etihad.
All four teams eventually secured comfortable passages through from the fourth round, although City had to rely on an inspired second half performance from Sergio Aguero to see off Championship side Watford, who had taken a 2-0 lead before half time. The Argentine’s hat-trick, plus a long range effort from Aleksandar Kolarov, turned the game in City’s favour. Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool seemingly had no such trouble, and none of the three had their goal breached as they beat Coventry City, Stoke City and Bournemouth respectively.
The draw produced two other all Premiership ties to give even further hope to teams outside the top flight of progressing through to the quarter finals. Sunderland will play host to Southampton whilst Roberto Martinez will face former club Swansea when they travel to Everton. Costa Rican international Bryan Oviedo suffered a double leg break in the victory over Stevenage on Saturday evening, and the Toffees will now want to progress as far as they can in the competition for him as well as their own interests. Bookmakers shortened their odds of winning the competition to around 5/1 after the draw, shorter than their Merseyside rivals in red.
The rest of the draw sees two confirmed Premiership versus Championship affairs. Holders Wigan Athletic travel to Cardiff City whereas Hull City face a long trip to the south coast to play Brighton and Hove Albion. There is one all Championship fixture as Sheffield Wednesday host Charlton Athletic, and the two undecided fixtures from the fourth round were put together; Sheffield United or Fulham gaining home advantage with the winner facing either Nottingham Forest or Preston North End.