Although the FA Cup 3rd round is still being completed, with replay matches taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, we now know the fixtures for the 4th round following the draw. Here is the lineup for the 16 matches:
Watford or Tranmere v Wolverhampton Wanderers or Manchester United
Hull City v Chelsea
Southampton v Middlesbrough or Tottenham Hotspur
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield Wednesday
Bournemouth v Arsenal
Northampton Town v Derby County
Brentford v Leicester City
Millwall v Sheffield United
Reading or Blackpool v Cardiff City or Carlisle United
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion
Burnley v Norwich City
Bristol Rovers or Coventry City v Birmingham City
Manchester City v Fulham
Rochdale or Newcastle United v Oxford United
Portsmouth v Barnsley
Bristol City or Shrewsbury v Liverpool
The matches will be played between Friday 24 and Monday 27 January.
There are only two teams left from League Two – Northampton Town and Carlisle United – and the lesser teams are likely to fare poorly as the tournament progresses. Certainly, the bookmakers are favouring Premier League clubs to win the FA Cup Final on Saturday, 23 May.
Manchester City and Liverpool will be pleased with the 4th round draw, as neither club is facing top flight opposition. Manchester City are favourites to lift the FA Cup with bookmaker William Hill offering odds of 5/2. But Liverpool – currently heading the Premier League table with a stunning 58 points – are not far behind at all with odds of 11/2 available from Unibet.
Chelsea play Championship side Hull City in the 4th round and are third favourites to be FA Cup winner this year, with Skybet offering odds of 9/1. Leicester, currently second in the Premier League, are enjoying a great season and bookmaker Paddy Power offers odds of 11/1 to be FA Cup champions.
Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United will not be too thrilled with the 4th round draw as both teams will face Premier League opposition. Assuming Tottenham Hotspur wins the 3rd round replay against Middlesbrough, the London team will then face Southampton, only 5 points behind them in the Premier League table just now. Paddy Power has odds of 12/1 that Spurs will lift the FA Cup trophy.
Manchester United, who recently suffered a humiliating 3-1 defeat by Manchester City at home in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup, are struggling for form just now and manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s position remains under threat. United will take on either Watford or Tranmere. Bookmakers are not optimistic about the chances of Manchester United winning the FA Cup with bookie Paddy Power offering odds of 16/1.
Arsenal are marginally more fancied with odds of 12/1 from Sportingbet. The London side’s 4th round opponent is Bournemouth, a team currently languishing in the relegation zone of the Premier League.