The FA Cup Fourth Round is where the action really begins. Here, Bleacher Report looks at all the Fourth Round FA Cup matches and highlights the key moments on one of the most important weekends of the football year.
Only 32 teams remain in the oldest and best club knockout competition in the world, and now is the time to make true statements of intent for the rest of the football year.
While this weekend saw the beginning of the business end of the competition, the FA Cup actually started all the way back on August 11. A whopping 758 clubs started out on the Road to Wembley in August, and some nine rounds later, we had just 32 as the fourth round began.
We've already had the first shock of the round with Championship side Millwall beating the Premier League's Aston Villa to advance to round five. So with 12 FA Cup fixtures slated for Saturday and a further three for Sunday, the prospect of further shocks was high.
The Saturday action kicked off early at the Britannia Stadium with Manchester City and Stoke City going into battle. This would be a game all about momentum, but with City having failed to beat the Potters in Stoke since 1999, it was bound to be a tight game.
Elsewhere, Arsenal travelled to Brighton, Reading welcomed Sheffield United, the Milton Keynes Dons made the short trip to Loftus Road and Queens Park Rangers while Bolton entertained David Moyes' Everton.
The late-kickoff then saw Fulham make the long trip to Old Trafford where they have not won since 1963. With the Premier League title race heating up and an impending visit from Real Madrid on the horizon, Sir Alex Ferguson would be more than keen to avoid a shock defeat to Martin Jol's side.
But the question remained; Who would have the last laugh? Fergie or the returning Dimitar Berbatov?
As ever, there were a number of standout games, ranging from the all-Premier League ties, some veritable giant-killing missions and our non-league heroes crusading for fame, fortune and a place in football folklore history.
Read on to find out what happened...
Pablo Zabaleta's 85th minute winner was just about enough to force Manchester City through to the FA Cup fifth round at the expense of Stoke City.
Both sides made changes for the FA Cup tie with City largely dominating proceedings and keeping Stoke restricted to efforts from set-pieces. In a professional performance that showed their title credentials, City could and really should have won by more.
The on-form David Silva hit the crossbar with Asmir Begovic's stand-in, Thomas Sorenson, well beaten while the likes of Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero forced the Dane to make a number of top class saves.
For their part Stoke rarely threatened and went closest through headers from Robert Huth and Peter Crouch.
The winning goal came, ironically, during the Potters best period of the game when they were forcing City back into their own box. Dzeko mis-controlled a pass and Zabaleta raced onto the loose ball to smash the ball past Sorenson to seal the victory.
The win gives City their fist victory in Stoke since 1999 and stretches their record to seven wins and just one defeat since the beginning of December. While Stoke have now only recorded one win in their last 11 games.
Luton Town are the first non-league side in 24 years to make it to round five of the FA Cup after they beat Norwich City at Carrow Road.
Scott Rendell's late strike proved the difference between the Premier League side and Blue Square side Luton.
Chris Hughton and Norwich took the Hatters challenge completely for granted and rarely got out of second gear amidst a driven Luton side who played like like men possessed. Hughton made six changes from the side who were destroyed by Liverpool last week.
Rendell's near-post strike with just 10 minutes left on the clock kicked the Canaries into life but they survived the impending onslaught without conceding the all-dreaded equalizer.
However, despite the huge gulf between the two teams, the Hatters gave as good as they got and matched their Premier League rivals across every single statistic and actually had the better possession rate across the match.
On paper the result is a huge shock but in playing terms the mighty Hatters are deservedly through to the fifth round.
Norwich: Rudd, Martin, Barnett, Ryan Bennett, Garrido, Elliott Bennett, Johnson, Howson, Surman, Jackson, Kane. Subs: Bunn, Whittaker, Turner, Holt, Pilkington, Hoolahan, Tettey.
Luton: Tyler, Henry, Kovacs, Rowe-Turner, Taylor, Lawless, Mendy, Smith, Howells, Shaw, Gray. Subs: Brill, Rendell, Fleetwood, Watkins, O'Donnell, Dance, Robinson.
Wigan are through to the fifth round of the FA Cup for only the second time in their history after beating non-league Macclesfield Town. However, the Latics were largely second-best to the Blue Square outfit and had to rely upon their on-loan goalkeeper Joel Robles and poor finishing from the Silkmen to reach the last 16.
Jordi Gomez's seventh minute penalty ultimately proved the difference between the two sides who are separated by 83 places in the English football pyramid. Thierry Audel's poorly timed challenge upended Callum McManaman as he broke into the box and the referee Roger East had little option other than to award the spot kick.
Strangely enough both teams were giving debuts to on-loan goalkeeper and unfortunately for Joe Anyon his first action in the match was to pick the ball out of the back of the net.
From there Wigan were expected to settle into the game but if anything it was Macclesfield, roared on by a partisan crowd, who grew into the match.
They forced Robles into action on a number of occasions but the on-loan Atletico Madrid stopper was equal to anything the Silkmen threw at him. As the game neared its climax, Macclesfield laid siege to Wigan's goal and could possibly have been awarded two penalties. But, on each occasion Mr East waved play on and Wigan survived to make it into the fifth round.
Macclesfield: Anyon, Jackson, Nathaniel Brown, Audel, Braham-Barrett, Mackreth, Murtagh, Wedgbury, Kissock, Fairhurst, Barnes-Homer. Subs: Andrew Mills, Morgan-Smith, Winn, Diagne, Henry, McDonald, Martin.
Wigan: Robles, Stam, Figueroa, Golobart, Mustoe, Espinoza, Fyvie, Dicko, Gomez, McManaman, Henriquez. Subs: Al Habsi, Jones, Maloney, McArthur, Lopez, Redmond, Campabadal.
Blackburn Rovers were another side who eased into the fifth round after their merciless defeat of Derby County at Pride Park.
The opening goal came after a long period where both teams respectfully tested each others defences. Rovers' Colin Kazim-Richards was the man on hand and pounced on a defensive mistake to give Blackburn the lead heading into the second half.
The goal had a huge effect on the match and seemed to sap Nigel Clough's men of their confidence while Blackburn seemed to grow into the game. They went on to create the better chances in the second half and Scott Dann virtually killed the game off when he hammered home a volley with just 25 minutes remaining.
Five minutes later and the game was over when Jordan Rhodes dinked the ball over the advancing Adam Legzdins to end the game all together.
It was a thoroughly professional performance by Michael Appleton's side and they will fancy their chances against anyone in the final 16 if they get a coveted home draw.
Derby: Legzdins; Brayford, Keogh, O'Brien, Roberts; Coutts, Hendrick, Hughes, Bryson; Ward, Sammon. Subs: Fielding, O'Connor, Freeman, Bennett, Doyle, Jacobs, Davies.
Blackburn: Kean, Lowe, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, King, Murphy, Pedersen, Markus Olsson, Kazim-Richards, Rhodes. Subs: Usai, Givet, Fabio Nunes, Dunn, Nuno Gomes, Rochina, Goodwillie.
Barnsley are into the FA Cup fifth round at the expense of Hull City after Chris Dagnell's 70th minute strike proved enough to separate the two sides.
Promotion chasing Hull dominated the first half and if it were not for poor finishing from the likes of Seyi Olofinjana, Robbie Brady and Paul McShane they could have been three-up before Barnsley took the lead.
Barnsley were a different prospect after the break as Gary Flitcroft re-shuffled his side and as a result Hull found them much more difficult to break down. Lacking a true creative figure in central midfield, Hull then became reliant upon set-pieces as Barsnley tried to hit them on the break.
In the end it was the relegation-threatened side rather than the promotion-chasing side that created the all important clear-cut chance and Dagnell duly responded.
Hull: Jakupovic, Chester, Bruce, McShane, Rosenior, Olofinjana, Meyler, Quinn, Brady, Koren, Proschwitz. Subs: Cracknell, Dawson, Hobbs, Stewart, Simpson, Cairney, Faye.
Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Cranie, Kennedy, Wiseman, Perkins, Mellis, Etuhu, Golbourne, Dagnall, Harewood. Subs: Alnwick, Foster, O'Brien, Noble-Lazarus, Rose, Stones, Oates.
Lukas Jutkiewicz scored in injury time for Middlesbrough to deny Aldershot the replay their play play deserved.
Jutkiewicz opened the scoring during a frantic final 10 minutes that could have seen the game go wither way. Aldershot's Danny Hylton, the top scorer in the FA Cup, scored his eighth goal in four cup games to pull the scores level and give the Shots a dream replay against the Championship side.
However, fate can be a cruel master and with just seconds remaining, Jutkiewicz ran on to a long ball and slotted in. The winning goal came in the cruelest of fashions and came fully six minutes into injury time.
In truth, Boro should have been home and dry before the frantic finish and missed a large number of chances to take the lead before Jutkiewicz's opener.
Stuart Parnaby, Nicky Bailey and Boro's third round hero Merouane Zemmama went close alongside Jutkiewicz as they failed to break down the Shots resolute defence.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Bikey, Rhys Williams, Hines, Parnaby, Reach, Zemmama, Bailey, Smallwood, Emnes, Jutkiewicz. Subs: Leutwiler, McManus, Leadbitter, Ledesma, Halliday, Main, Haroun.
Aldershot: Young, Herd, Brown, Bradley, Aaron Morris, Cadogan, Hector, Rose, Vincenti, Hylton, Reid. Subs: Glenn Morris, Tonkin, Rankine, Risser, Mekki, Ainsworth, Cooksley.
Arsenal are through to round five with thanks to Theo Walcott's late strike after Brighton had twice come from behind at the Falmer Stadium.
Arsene Wenger made huge changes to the team that hammered West Ham 5-1 in midweek and decided to leave Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla on the bench. Initially the move looked like the right one as the Gunners roared out of the starting blocks and took an early lead through Olivier Giroud after Lukas Podolski had set the Frenchman up.
However, Brighton eventually came into the game and as they got to grips with Arsenal's set-up they began to carve out goal-scoring opportunities. Ashley Barnes restored parity with a close range header after losing his marker in the box and all of a sudden Brighton's fans were sensing a shock.
The influential Will Buckley was forced off at halftime for Kazenga LuaLua as Brighton re-shuffled and once again Arsenal took advantage of their slow starting foes. Giroud bagged his second of the game from inside the six-yard box but the Seagulls hitback almost immediately through debut boy Jose Ulloa.
As the game swung to either end Wenegr chose to introduce Walcott, Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs for the ineffective Andre Santos. The changes shifted the tie completely and when Walcott fired home with just five minutes remaining there was to be no way back for Gus Poyet's brave side.
Brighton: Ankergren, Calderon, El-Abd, Bridge, Greer, David Lopez, Bridcutt, Hammond, Barnes, Ulloa, Buckley. Subs: Kuszczak, Orlandi, Mackail-Smith, Vicente, Dicker, Painter, LuaLua.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Andre Santos, Koscielny, Diaby, Rosicky, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud, Podolski. Subs: Mannone, Sagna, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla, Arshavin, Gibbs.
Reading sailed through to the fifth round without too much trouble after they disposed of Sheffield United at the Madejski Stadium. The Royal's goals came from the boots of Mikele Leigertwood, Gareth McCleary and Noel Hunt who scored his first double in over four years.
The relegation threatened side make six changes with Adam Le Fondre, Noel Hunt, Nicky Shorey, Jem Karacan, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sean Morrison all named in the starting team as Brian McDermott prioritized the clubs Premier League survival.
The changes did little to bridge the gulf between the Premier League and League One team as Reading dominated every aspect of the game. Hunt opened the scoring after seven minutes with a simple close range header before Leigertwood's thunderbolt from outside the box, just five minutes before halftime, ended the game as a contest.
Two goals in the space of five minutes at the start of the second period meant the final 40 minutes became little more than a training session as the Royal's killed the game off.
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Mariappa, Morrison, Shorey, McCleary, Leigertwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu, Hunt, Le Fondre. Subs: Taylor, Pearce, McAnuff, Kebe, Church, Guthrie, Cummings.
Sheffield Utd: Long, Westlake, Higginbotham, Maguire, McMahon, Blackman, McDonald, Doyle, Murphy, Porter, Kitson. Subs: Coyne, Flynn, Collins, Cresswell, Ironside, Whitehouse, De Girolamo.
Leicester City earned a place in the fifth round draw after Chris Wood's late equaliser earned his side an FA Cup fourth-round replay against Huddersfield Town.
The managerless Terriers are currently on a run of 13 games without a win and came within minutes of earning a place in the fifth round. Lee Novak's cooly taken penalty with just 15 minutes remaining gave the home side an unexpected lead after Leicester had enjoyed a period of domination.
Rather than boost their confidence the goal seemed to strike fear into the home team and as the Foxes pushed forward the Terriers dropped deeper and deeper to defend their slender lead.
The equalizing goal came with just seven minutes left on the clock when Foxes substitute Wood latched onto Ritchie De Laet's low cross to send the tie to a replay.
Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Peter Clarke, Gerrard, Woods, Clayton, Norwood, Sinnott, Arfield, Novak, Vaughan. Subs: Bennett, Scannell, Wallace, Lee, Holmes, Dixon, Crooks.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky, Marshall, King, Wellens, Dyer, Waghorn, Vardy. Subs: Logan, Drinkwater, Gallagher, Moore, Futacs, Nugent, Wood.
League One's Milton Keynes Dons pulled off one of the biggest shock of the fourth round when they absolutely hammered Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
The Premier League side dominated possession but made a huge number of schoolboy errors in defence that Karl Robinson's side capitalised upon almost every single time.
The Dons raced into a four goal lead with thanks to an own-goal from Armand Traore and strikes from Ryan Lowe, Ryan Hartley and Darren Potter.
Traore's own-goal came after just four minutes and really provided the foundation for Robinson's injury-hit team to win the match. Lowe scored and then turned provided for Hartley either side of halftime to leave the tie all but over.
Darren Potter then killed the game off as a spectacle when he fired in an emphatic fourth before a final ten minute cameo by Rangers saw them score two goals.
Harry Redknapp will be furious with his team as they made a huge number of mistakes and gifted the Dons all four goals while David Martin enjoyed an inspired game in goal for the visiting side.
QPR: Green, Da Silva, Ben Haim, Ferdinand, Traore, Mackie, Faurlin, Granero, Park, Bothroyd, Campbell. Subs: Murphy, Derry, Hill, Onuoha, Ephraim, Zamora, Mbia.
Milton Keynes Dons: Martin, Otsemobor, MacKenzie, Kay, Lewington, Williams, Potter, Chicksen, Smith, Bowditch, Lowe. Subs: Doumbe, Flanagan, Harley, Ali, Lines, Rasulo, Ismail.
Bolton and Everton played out a superb end-to-end contest that could have gone either way. In the end it was David Moyes' team who prevailed but Bolton will take heart from a superb performance.
Steven Pienaar put the Toffees ahead after the ball rebounded off the South African into the back of Andy Lonergan's net to give Everton an early lead.
Marvin Sordell pulled one back for the struggling Championship side midway through the first half after dood work from Darren Pratley.
Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard then saved from Sordell, Pratley and Marcos Alonso as the Trotters forced their hand. At the other end, Pienaar and Victor Anichebe both forced Lonergan to make top-class saves to keep his team in the game.
With the game swinging from end-to-end and with both 'keepers enjoying virtuoso performances it was alwasy going to take something special to break the deadlock. That came in the form of Johnny Heitinga who smashed home a half-volley after a goal-mouth scramble caused by Marouane Fellaini.
This fantastically entertaining game owes much to the Bolton public who came out in their masses to clear roads and paths around the Reebok after Arctic conditions descended upon the North East.
Bolton: Lonergan, Ricketts, Knight, Ream, Alonso, Spearing, Vela, Lee, Pratley, Eagles, Sordell. Subs: Bogdan, Mears, Ngog, Kevin Davies, Afobe, Holden, Craig Davies.
Everton: Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, Osman, Pienaar, Fellaini, Jelavic, Anichebe. Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Oviedo, Naismith, Gueye, Vellios, Duffy.
Manchester United strolled into the fifth round in the easiest of ways after they brushed Fulham aside at Old Trafford.
Red Devils veteran and legend Ryan Giggs opened the scoring after just three minutes when he converted a penalty following Aaron Hughes' hand-ball when under pressure from Chris Smalling.
In control and one up United then went on the rampage with the superb Wayne Rooney pulling all the strings. Somehow Fulham survived until the break only one goal down despite another penalty appeal and a Nani effort that crashed off the post with Mark Schwarzer well beaten.
Unperturbed by the scoreline, the Red Devils came out in the same mood and doubled their lead on 50 when Wayne Rooney capitalized on Anderson's instinctive pass. Two minutes later and the game was over when Javier Hernandez turned in Rooney's cross to make it three.
Cruising into round five, United refused to take their foot off the Cottagers neck and added a fourth through another instinctive finish from Hernandez.
Fulham pulled one back late-on through Hughes following a Georgios Karagounis corner but it was a real case of too little too late from the visiting side.
Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Jones, Smalling, Evra, Nani, Anderson, Carrick, Giggs, Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Lindegaard, Ferdinand, Valencia, Welbeck, van Persie, Scholes, Kagawa.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Kacaniklic, Sidwell, Baird, Duff, Ruiz, Berbatov. Subs: Etheridge, Senderos, Petric, Karagounis, Briggs, Rodallega, Dejagah.
Uwe Rosler's young side, currently third in League One, took the game to their upper-class rivals and had the temerity to take the lead twice against the 2012 Champions League and FA Cup winners.
Marcello Trotta opened the scoring when he fired in from close range to give Brentford a first-half lead, before Oscar prodded home a fortunate equalizer just 10 minutes into the second period.
Rosler then made a huge tactical decision and introduced Tom Adeyemi into midfield as his team pushed for an unlikely winner. The substitution proved inspired as Adeyemi's athleticism helped the Bees control midfield just as Chelsea were looking to capitalise on good possession.
Adeyemi was then fouled by Ross Turnbull when clear on goal. The Chelsea 'keeper was controversially only shown a yellow card by referee Johnathan Moss.
Unperturbed by the pressure, Harry Forrester stepped up and slotted home the spot-kick to send Griffin Park into raptures.
Chelsea piled forward in search of an equalizer and Demba Ba was sprung from the bench to partner Fernando Torres. It was this combination that eventually pulled the Blues back level with Ba hooking a pass to the Spaniard who controlled the ball before finishing expertly from 20-yards.
The goal proved the final real action of an entertaining game and Brentford enter the fifth round draw even if they have to play at Stamford Bridge before entering it proper.
Teams in bold all through to Fifth Round.
|Stoke City||0-1||Manchester City|||
|Norwich City||0-1||Luton Town|||
|Derby County||0-3||Blackburn Rovers|||
Brighton & Hove Albion
Queens Park Rangers
Milton Keynes Dons