Football: Chelsea have home comforts against Liverpool

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The Independent Online
All any team can ask for in the FA Cup is a home draw, so they say, but Manchester United and Chelsea will be viewing their good fortune with a degree of scepticism following yesterday's largely convoluted fourth round draw.

The Londoners were given another home tie but Ruud Gullit's joy may be have been tempered by the fact that they must face the Premiership pacesetters and last season's finalists Liverpool, who are still smarting from a recent league defeat at the Bridge. United's opponents have yet to be confirmed but Alex Ferguson's holders will already be preparing for the worst - a visit by Wimbledon, providing they can overcome Crewe Alexandra in their delayed third round tie at Gresty Road.

The Chelsea tie was one of the few uncluttered ones in a draw made somewhat farcical by the amount of third round ties still to go ahead because of the havoc wreaked by the weather this weekend. Chelsea were beaten 4-0 by double champions Manchester United on their last visit to the Twin Towers three years ago, and will believe they can return there and put matters to right if they can beat five-times winners Liverpool in front of another capacity crowd in west London.

Wimbledon can be relied upon to offer considerably greater resistance against the champions than did a depleted Tottenham side in yesterday's 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford. There is nothing that Wimbledon like more, of course, than to have the odds stacked against them - which when a team has gone 19 games unbeaten before losing does not happen very often these days.

Ferguson was not putting too much trust in Dario Gradi's Second Division side saving them from the fate of playing the Dons. "Wimbledon should be favourites to play us because they are having a great season," he said. "Joe Kinnear has really got them going and they are playing absolutely brilliantly at the moment. But we are at home so that's alright."

The draw, made by the former England goalkeeper, Peter Shilton, and the hero of Sunderland's 1973 FA Cup win, Jim Montgomery, also saw Newcastle given a fourth round home fixture against the Premiership basement club, Nottingham Forest, providing they can account for First Division Charlton Athletic in the replay at St James' Park following yesterday's 1-1 draw at The Valley.

Arsenal were another top club favoured by a home draw but first there is the small matter of overcoming Sunderland in a replay on Wearside. The winners will play either Crystal Palace or Sunderland.

The minnows, in the main, did not fair particularly well but for the winners of the Hednesford v York tie there is a plum home draw with Bryan Robson's expensive misfits, Middlesbrough.

FA Cup fourth-round draw

Peterborough v Wrexham or West Ham

Charlton or Newcastle Utd v Nottingham Forest

Blackburn v Coventry or Woking

Luton or Bolton v Chesterfield or Bristol City

Birmingham v Stoke or Stockport

Queen's Park Rangers or Huddersfield v Barnsley or Oldham

Portsmouth v Reading Carlisle or Tranmere v Sheffield Wednesday

Everton v Bradford City

Hednesford or York v Middlesbrough

Chelsea v Liverpool

Gillingham or Derby v Notts County or Aston Villa

Leicester or Southend v Norwich

Arsenal or Sunderland v Crystal Palace or Leeds

Brentford or Manchester City v Watford or Oxford Utd

Manchester Utd v Crewe or Wimbledon

Ties to be played weekend of 25/26 January