Man City v Arsenal
Today, 8pm, ITV1
It is hard to argue that a clash of the top two in the country right now isn’t the tie of the round, even if we may get a sign of how the features on the priority list compared to the Premier League. With the first of two potentially title-deciding meetings at the Emirates in mid-February, will both and Mikel Arteta want to show their full hand at the Etihad? The Gunners go into the game on a high after Eddie Nketiah’s goal secured a 3-2 home win over Manchester United.
5 successive wins in the fixture for City since Arsenal won the 2020 semi-final
Walsall v Leicester
Saturday, 12.30pm, BBC red button
You can understand why Michael Flynn is upset the action from the Bescot will be hidden behind the red button when his League Two side host the 2021 winners. ‘All the ingredients are there,’ said Flynn, who knocked out the Foxes when Newport manager. It may not be his top priority with Leicester just above the relegation zone but boss Brendan Rodgers will be desperate to avoid a repeat of last season’s fourth round, when his side were humiliated 4-1 at Nottingham Forest.
1-0 Walsall won the sides’ only previous FA Cup meeting in 1978
Accrington v Leeds
Saturday, 12.30pm, BBC One
Stanley knew the prize on offer when they hosted Boreham Wood in a delayed third-round replay on Tuesday although it took an extra-time penalty to book a place in round four for only the fourth time in their history. Leeds are eight without a win in the league but a 5-2 replay victory over Cardiff in the last round provided a ray of light after manager Jesse Marsch laid into his players before they fought back from 2-0 down at Cardiff in the original tie.
6 seasons since Leeds were last in the fourth round, losing 1-0 to Sutton
Southampton v Blackpool
There may be a dilemma here for Saints boss Nathan Jones. His side are bottom of the Premier League and they go into next Tuesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg at Newcastle a goal behind. While this may not be top priority, they have a poor record at St Mary’s this season and can ill-afford more home misery against a Blackpool side who thrashed Forest in the last round. Since then the Seasiders have brought in Mick McCarthy as boss and this is something of a free hit in his first game.
4 losses for Saints in their last five home games but can they beat Man City
Preston v Tottenham
Saturday, 6pm, BBC One
There has been plenty of talk this week about whether Harry Kane will sign a new contract and the conversation always turns to the striker’s lack of silverware. This represents one route to putting that right this season but Antonio Conte’s side will need to be on their guard at Deepdale. Ryan Lowe’s Preston have put a string of early season nil-nils behind them and are in the thick of the play-off race in the Championship, but loanee Troy Parrott is unable to play against his parent club.
18 games Preston have gone without a draw – winning ten of them
Man United v Reading
Saturday, 8pm, ITV4
The fourth-round draw is full of interesting storylines and possible upsets. You can only assume ITV4 is desperate for viewing figures because, outside of supporters of these two clubs, this really isn’t one – even if Reading boss Paul Ince is returning to his former club. Having kept Reading up last season, Ince has continued the good work by getting them up to mid-table. However, last Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Stoke, when he labelled their defending as ‘diabolical’, was far from ideal preparation.
11th time the sides have been drawn against each other in the FA Cup
Brighton v Liverpool
Sunday, 1.30pm, ITV1
Holders Liverpool are lucky to be in round four after a VAR malfunction at Anfield gave them a second chance against Wolves, Harvey Elliott’s fine strike seeing them through the replay. Jurgen Klopp’s side were also far from convincing in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea and go into this game just a fortnight after a 3-0 league defeat at Brighton that in no way flattered Robert De Zerbi’s side. Klopp surely won’t stand for a repeat.
32 goals scored by Brighton in their last 12 league and cup games
Wrexham v Sheff Utd
Sunday, 4.30pm, BBC One
It’s not often a match not featuring a Premier League side would take the prime 4.30pm Sunday slot but who could turn down the Hollywood script being written at Wrexham right now? Their manager Phil Parkinson may be an unlikely candidate for the leading role but his side sit at the summit of the National League, as well as being in the fourth round. The Blades are surely heading back to the Premier League so there’s no reason for manager Paul Heckingbottom not to pick a strong side.
26 goals for Paul Mullins this term, including six in three FA Cup ties
Derby v West Ham
Monday, 8pm, ITV4
Jarrod Bowen’s double in West Ham’s 2-0 win over Everton last week took a heap of pressure off boss David Moyes and that’s probably just as well ahead of this banana-skin. Derby have gone 19 games unbeaten, with last season’s crisis club having been given a new lease of life since Paul Warne became manager. That run looked like ending at Port Vale on Tuesday until goals in the last three minutes from David McGoldrick and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing overturned a 1-0 deficit to win 2-1.
5-2 West Ham won their only other FA Cup meeting, a 1923 semi-final
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