FA Cup minnows eye Premier League scalps in fourth round fixtures

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Magic of the cup: potential banana skins await Premier League big guns in this weekend's FA Cup fourth round
Magic of the cup: potential banana skins await Premier League big guns in this weekend's FA Cup fourth round

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Premier League high flyers travel to lower league opposition in the pick of the FA Cup’s fourth round ties this weekend.

Yeovil Town v Manchester United – FA Cup Fourth Round football – Friday 26 January – BBC One 7.30pm (kick-off 7.55pm)

The lowest ranked team remaining in the FA Cup takes on 12-time winners Manchester United, who are unbeaten in the past eight Premier League games and could give new marquee signing Alexis Sanchez his debut at Yeovil’s Huish Park on Friday night.

Sanchez’s gargantuan £600,000-a-week salary makes him the highest paid player in the UK. With the average weekly wage bill for a League Two side around the £25,000 mark, it takes Sanchez less than half a day to earn what the entire Yeovil squad makes in a week.

Yeovil go into Friday night’s tie in poor form – their third round triumph over Bradford City on 6 January was their only win this year.

The two sides have only met once in the history of the competition, a 2-0 victory for Manchester United in the FA Cup third round in 2015 with Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria on target.

Newport County v Tottenham Hotspur – FA Cup Fourth Round football – Saturday 27 January – BT Sport 2 and BT Sport 4KUHD 5pm (kick-off 5.30pm)

Another top Premier League side visits a side in the fourth tier of English football. Newport County’s reward for toppling former FA Cup winners Leeds United in January was a glamour tie against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Exiles’ cup run represents a major upturn in fortunes after they only secured this season’s Football League status on the final day of last season.

Neither side has lost in 2018, however, Newport’s biggest chance of pulling off what would be a major upset is if Mauricio Pochettino’s side get complacent – and that's unlikely given the FA cup represents Spurs’ best chance of silverware this season in light of Manchester City’s relentless pace at the Premier League and a tough Champions League knockout tie against Juventus.

Cardiff City v Manchester City – FA Cup Fourth Round football – Sunday 28 January – BBC One 3.35pm (kick-off 4pm)

Manchester City will be hoping that their next encounter with Championship opposition will prove smoother sailing than their recent two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final against Bristol City. However, if the last two meetings between the sides are anything to go by they may have to scrap for a place in the fifth round.

During Cardiff’s debut season in the Premier League, they managed to bloody Manchester City’s nose in encounters both home and away – winning 3-2 in Cardiff before being on the wrong end of a closely fought 4-2 reverse in the return fixture. What’s more, the last time these two met in cup competition, Cardiff snatched a 1-0 win almost to the day in 1994.

Though just outside of the Championship’s automatic promotion spots, Cardiff go into this weekend’s tie in indifferent form, having lost four on the spin in December, Cardiff have a win, draw and loss from their three games this year. City on the other hand have bounced back from their solitary league loss against Liverpool and are heavy favourites to jump into the hat for the fifth round draw.

Australia v England – ODI cricket – Sunday 28 January – BT Sport 1 3am – Highlights follow immediately at 11.15am on BT Sport 1

In a reversal of fortunes since their Ashes drubbing, England have amassed an unassailable lead in their one-day series in Australia. Having sealed the series in Sydney a week before the final one-day international gets under way this Sunday, England will look to end the series emphatically before a short hop across the Tasman sea to embark on an ODI tour of New Zealand.

Again, publicans can either opt for an early start on Sunday to catch the tail end of the live action, or plump for the 90-minute highlights show getting under way at 11.15am.

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