FA Cup

You need to go back to 1980 to find the last side from outside the top flight to win the English FA Cup –  a feat which has only been achieved eight times overall in the competition’s 146-year history.

The winning team back then was West Ham for whom a single goal from Trevor Brooking was enough to allow them to overcome Arsenal.

Both West Ham and Arsenal, however, have been eliminated in the early stages of this year’s campaign as eyes now turn to this evening’s fifth round draw. A whopping eleven teams of the remaining sixteen in the competition will hail from outside the top-flight.

Manchester Bound?

Nonetheless, whilst this year’s impressive collection of giant-killing acts have seen fifteen premiership sides eliminated over the course of rounds three and four, few are expecting the two leading favourites for the trophy to feature amongst this year’s list of Goliaths.

At 7/4 City retain their status of outright favourites for the competition with most bookmakers. Pep Guardiola remains on course for what could be a historic quadruple, currently priced at 28/1 by SkyBet. City experienced a couple of hiccups towards the tail end of 2018 but have since regained their momentum, having won all seven of their games in January, scoring thirty goals in the process with only one conceded.

At 7/2, Manchester United have pipped Chelsea to second spot amongst the favourites to lift this year’s trophy. A steam-roller 3-1 win over Arsenal last Friday – Solksjaer’s eighth consecutive victory since taking charge just over over six weeks ago – was arguably the pick of the bunch. And it was one in which the Norwegian demonstrated the kind of tactical nous that could take the Reds all the way in this year’s competition.

The Norwegian made the unusual decision to play Romelu Lukaku down the right-hand channel in the stand-out tie of round four. It was a move that was designed to temper the attacking influence of Arsenal wing-back Sead Kolasinac, and it was one which resulted in the Belgian providing direct assists for two of United’s three goals.

As a result of the Solksjaer revival of the red half of Manchester, United have experienced the biggest drop in odds amongst the five Premiership teams which remain in the competition.

At 4/1, Chelsea rank as third favourites to lift the trophy. Tonight’s fifth round draw will take place from 7.20pm and can be viewed on BBC One.