Expectations are high; tickets have been bought, and scarves are at the ready for expectant fans up and down the country. FA Cup weekend is upon us, with the Premier League’s leading teams vying for a bid to snaffle the prized silverware.
The chance of a visit to Wembley for one of football’s showpiece occasions awaits for the two successful teams who make the final — but first there are some tricky ties to be negotiated for those with high hopes of ascending the stairs to hold the old pot aloft come May.
First to do battle are last season’s top flight champions Leicester City, who travel to near neighbours Derby County for an eagerly anticipated cup clash at Pride Park tonight.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool kick off proceedings tomorrow with the lunchtime game against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield; with a resurgent Wolves very capable of pulling off a shock under the tutelage of manager Paul Lambert.
League leaders Chelsea host London neighbours Brentford at Stamford Bridge and, still in London, Tottenham Hotspur host Wycombe Wanderers — no odds to be upset here — while Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace face an intriguing tie against Pepe Guardiola’s Manchester City. A game of grit versus guile if ever there was one.
The tea-time kick-off sees Southampton, who have just knocked out Liverpool to reach the EFL Cup final against Manchester United at the end of February, take on Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium.
There are four games taking place on Sunday, with those who believe in the magic of the cup eagerly tuning in to see non-league minnows Sutton United take on Leeds United at Gander Green Lane.
Later on in the afternoon, Manchester United host Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford to conclude the fourth round fixtures — then it is a case of the replays.