The fifth round of the 2013/14 FA Cup is all set following the draw Sunday, Jan. 26.
There weren't too many upsets to be had in the fourth round. Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are all still alive in the tournament after victories, and they'll be among the favorites to go all the way.
Lower-division sides like Charlton, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest are all still alive. Forest and Sheffield United still need to win their replays in order to get into the fifth round, but the door is open for them to pull off some major shocks in the coming rounds.
Holders Wigan are also hanging around. The Latics are hovering near the middle of the Championship table, so the FA Cup offers another opportunity to give the supporters something to cheer about.
Here is a look at the full list of fixtures for the fifth round, followed by a closer breakdown of teams to watch.
|FA Cup Fifth-Round Fixtures|
|Feb. 15/16||Manchester City||Chelsea|
|Feb. 15/16||Sheffield United or Fulham||Nottingham Forest or Preston North End|
|Feb. 15/16||Brighton & Hove Albion||Hull City|
|Feb. 15/16||Cardiff City||Wigan|
|Feb. 15/16||Sheffield Wednesday||Charlton|
|Feb. 15/16||Everton||Swansea City|
|FA Cup official website|
Teams to Watch
No English club is playing better than Manchester City at the moment. They've won their last five matches in all competitions and 17 of their last 19. In fact, they haven't lost a match since Nov. 10.
Things didn't look too good early in the fourth round, as City went down 2-0 to Watford at halftime. A Sergio Aguero second-half hat-trick helped City along to a 4-2 win to make all right with the world. It just demonstrated how easy it can be for City when they're at their best.
Manuel Pellegrini said after the match that his players may have taken Watford too lightly in that first half, per Goal's Peter Hanson:
If you don't play with 100 per cent intensity and desire you can lose and go out of the competition and we were jogging in the first half - if you play like that, you can't win.
I didn't underestimate Watford; I didn't think it would be easy and I told the team this. The players must not believe they have an easy game but I feel that they had a very good reaction in the second half.
We changed everything; we played with tempo, with pace. We continued playing in the same way we've played in this whole season at the Etihad. This reaction was very important.
There's little doubt that if Manchester City have their mind to it, they're the FA Cup favorites. Their attack is lethal, and the defense is no longer the liability that it was earlier in the season when Vincent Kompany was out.
Chelsea are a tough draw in the fifth round, but with the match at the Etihad, City get the advantage. And should they make it through, they're unlikely to have a tougher test all tournament.
Some expect the bottom to fall out for Arsenal anytime now, yet the Gunners remain first in the EPL table. They have the best defensive record in the Premier League, and Lukas Podolski's brace against Coventry gives hope that the club isn't in that much trouble following Theo Walcott's injury.
The match also saw the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. It was his first start since Arsenal's season-opener against Aston Villa on Aug. 17.
Injuries may catch up with the Gunners as the season drags on, and they're competing on three different fronts.
But for now, Arsenal have a good chance at lifting their first trophy since 2005. Beating Liverpool would be a great sign that the Gunners are taking the necessary steps forward.
It is a bit funny that Liverpool and Tottenham are on the same number of points, yet the Reds' season is seen as a massive success and they're title contenders, while Spurs were in a shambles.
The Reds have leveled off quite a bit from their hot start to the campaign, and the biggest reason is their shaky defense. Brendan Rodgers doesn't seem to know his best back four, as he often shifts between Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure at centre-back. Simon Mignolet's gaffes haven't helped matters, either.
While Liverpool didn't play great in their win over Bournemouth, they at least won. That's the kind of opponent that has given them plenty of trouble in cup competitions before, such as the 3-2 loss to Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup last year and Northampton Town in the Capital One Cup in 2010.
With Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge at the top of the attack, anything is possible for Liverpool in this tournament, though. Playing Arsenal on the road will be difficult, but it will be a great barometer for how high this club can go for the rest of the season.
If any club lower down in the table is capable of pulling off a Portsmouth or Wigan-like run to the FA Cup title, it's Hull City.
It was expected that Hull would have one season in the sun before heading right back to the Championship; however, Steve Bruce has this side punching way above its weight.
The biggest reason is Hull's defense. The Tigers have conceded 28 goals in their 22 Premier League matches, which is a good enough record to say mid-table.
Not having Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long will be a bit of a disadvantage, as the club's biggest problem has been scoring goals.
But in a one-off fixture, Hull's defense could help spring an upset. They couldn't have hoped for a better draw in the fifth round, with Brighton & Hove Albion.
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