Club Competitions

Five observations from the FA Cup Fifth Round

Lincoln have a day they’ll never forget

A 1-0 victory over Burnley meant that Lincoln City became the first non-league side in 103 years to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. The Imps played with dogged determination and tenacity against Burnley and were completely unfazed by the Premier League side. It was in the 89th minute that Sean Raggett became a Lincoln legend after heading in at the far post. Burnley were stunned and had barely any time to reply before the final whistle blew and the Lincoln fans went mad. FA Cup upsets don’t get any bigger or better than that. Their reward for such a sensational win is an away tie against Premier League side Arsenal. For the first time in the club’s 133-year history, they have reached the quarter-finals. What a weekend for the Lincoln City supporters and the Cowley brothers!

Millwall make it a hat-trick of victories against Premier League sides

Millwall are in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup after beating Bournemouth, Watford and now Leicester City. They have scored five goals in those three matches and thoroughly deserve to be in the last eight where they will face Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. What a game that will be. The match against Leicester was the toughest so far as Millwall were down to ten men for the majority of the second half after Jake Cooper was sent off in the 52nd minute for two bookable offences. However, this galvanised the team and they played even better with 10 men. Just as it seemed the match was heading for a replay at the King Power Stadium, Shaun Cummings grabbed the dramatic winning goal in the 90th minute. In the last 32 seasons, this is just the third time that Millwall have reached the last eight of the competition. Will Spurs be the fourth Premier League side that Millwall beat? Anything is possible in the FA Cup.

Pedro continues his scoring streak

Many Premier League clubs have been accused of disrespecting the FA Cup by fielding weakened sides. Chelsea certainly do not fall into that category. Antonio Conte named a strong side to face Wolves and even though it wasn’t easy for the Blues, they got the job done. Pedro scored Chelsea’s first goal in the 65th minute and then Diego Costa wrapped the game up with a minute left to play. The Spanish international also scored against Peterborough United and Brentford, Chelsea’s opponents in the previous rounds of the competition. He now has four goals in three FA Cup appearances this season. Chelsea’s next game in the FA Cup is against Manchester United at Stamford where they will welcome back former manager Jose Mourinho. Pedro has already scored against Man United in the Premier League this season so there is every chance he will continue his 100% goalscoring record in the FA Cup when the two sides meet next month.

Zlat’ll do nicely

It doesn’t matter what competition he plays in, Zlatan Ibrahimovic always delivers. Fresh from scoring a hat-trick in the Europa League against Saint-Etienne on Thursday, he scored the winning goal against Blackburn Rovers to get his side through to the next round where they will face Chelsea. Man United were struggling against a resolute Blackburn side but, determined not to have a replay, Mourinho brought on Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba. The two substitutes combined brilliantly for Man United’s winning goal with 15 minutes remaining. That’s 24 goals in his first season in English football. Since turning 30 in 2011, Ibrahimovic has scored 30+ goals every season and at this rate he is sure to continue that impressive record at Man United. Even if he doesn’t score in the next round against Chelsea, he will definitely play a huge part in the game, one way or another.

Lucas starts, Lucas scores

Lucas Perez has had a tough time at Arsenal so far. No matter how well he plays, he is rarely given a regular run in the starting line-up. Lucas has now scored in the EFL Cup, the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Champions League. He has skill, ability, desire and determination. His seventh goal of the season came from him cutting in on the right and whipping a low cross into the far corner. In his last eight starts for Arsenal in all competitions, Lucas has been directly involved in nine goals (six goals, three assists). Arsenal had plenty of possession without creating any chances before Lucas scored but after that they started to grow into the game. Lucas was voted Man of the Match against Sutton United and rightly so. Sutton United didn’t make it easy for Arsenal and had some very good chances to score themselves. Their FA Cup adventure may be over, but they should be very proud of their performances. Arsenal now face Lincoln City at the Emirates in the quarter-finals. I’m sure Sutton United will be one of many teams hoping that Lincoln City can cause a massive upset.



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