FA Cup giant-killers Bradford City were given the home sixth-round draw their manager, Phil Parkinson, wanted last night and, in being paired with Reading, the next lowest-ranked side after them, have been handed an excellent chance of reaching the last four for the first time since 1911.
After knocking out Chelsea and Sunderland, Bradford will be confident of beating Steve Clarke’s Championship side, but following the row caused by the BBC snubbing their fifth-round win for live coverage, it is not certain if they will feature on Match of the Day Live. All four of the matches will be shown live but with the games split between the BBC and BT Sport.
The BBC conceded today that it wanted to improve the way live games are chosen after it passed over Bradford’s tie because Sunderland were not confirmed as their opponents before a replay. “Clubs understandably want to get plans for ticketing, policing and fans in place without waiting for 10 days for TV companies to confirm their selections,” said BBC football lead executive Mark Cole. “But we hope there’s a middle ground where we can get a little more flexibility.”
Arsenal 2 Leicester 1 player ratings
Arsenal 2 Leicester 1 player ratings
1/22 David Ospina 6
He didn’t enjoy the runs of Schlupp or Mahrez but when he was tested by either of them he was good enough to prevent any sort of danger. He got very used to tame shots from outside the area that he collected every time.
2/22 Hector Bellerin 6
Attempted to get forward whenever he could and unlike against Tottenham he didn’t harm his defence because of it. He was guilty for not tracking Konchesky when the left-back burst forward down the left, though that was the only glaring error he made.
3/22 Laurent Koscielny 6
Opened the scoring for Arsenal and looked alert throughout the first half. He let the ball get away for him for Kramaric’s goal - similar to the way the ball got away from him when Kane scored the winner against Tottenham - but was untroubled other than that.
4/22 Per Mertesacker 6
Left his central defensive Koscielny with trouble to deal with on a couple of seasons but did brilliantly to get back and clear when it looked as though Schlupp would equalise for Leicester City. Cleared
5/22 Nacho Monreal 5
Saw more of the play in the second half as Arsenal chose to alternate the wings more often than in the first half. For some reason he does seem rather cautious when going forward; rarely going as far as the byline.
6/22 Tomas Rosicky 6
Did what he usually does: consistently linking up the attack, while occasionally looking to spread the ball out to the flanks. Never under much pressure from Cambiasso who was meant to have been marked by.
7/22 Francis Coquelin 7
Quickly becoming a revelation for Arsenal. Since the FA Cup game against Brighton and Hove Albion he has played in every match and is almost a permanent fixture in the Arsenal midfield. Very effective when faced with James.
8/22 Santi Cazorla 6
Surprisingly he found it particularly difficult against James and Cambiasso, who it appeared had been selected to monitor and close down the Spanish midfielder at any given moment. Unable to play with as much freedom as usual, he went a little missing in the second half.
9/22 Alexis Sanchez 6
A constant pest to the Leicester City defence on his first game back after a hamstring injury. Upson, before he went off due to injury, was having to endure a torrid time marking the Chile international. He wasn’t match sharp but that was to be expected. Replaced by Giroud with over 20 minutes to go.
10/22 Mesut Ozil 6
It was his shot that forced Schwarzer to the ground and allowed Walcott to smash home. And although he provided the corner that was finished off by Koscielny, he did appear a little casual at times and seemed to be playing within himself.
11/22 Theo Walcott 7
Brilliant initiative to follow up Ozil’s shot which was pushed into his path by Schwarzer who was ground when the winger smashed past him. He is definitely now back to full match fitness and Konchesky certainly wasn’t impressed to be the one with the job of marking him.
12/22 Mark Schwarzer 5
Difficult to blame him for the first goal but could have done a little better to stop the ball falling to Walcott who smashed past him for Arsenal’s second.
13/22 Danny Simpson 5
He was a little guilty of going inside to cover too often which allowed Ozil or Monreal a clear path to goal. He was lucky neither of them took advantage on several occasions.
14/22 Wes Morgan 4
Failed to mark Koscielny for Ozil’s corner and the France international subsequently sent Arsenal into the lead.
15/22 Robert Huth 6
In the centre of Leicester City’s five-man defence. He organised his back five well and when Giroud came on he didn’t give the France international enough space to create a nuisance of himself.
16/22 Matthew Upson 6
Replaced by Wasilewski in the second half after going off due to an injury. He had endured a tough time trying to keep Sanchez in his sights.
17/22 Paul Konchesky 6
Tried to get forward as much as possible. His brilliant pass in the first half required a full stretch clearance from Mertesacker to deny Schlupp the chance at scoring the equaliser. Unfortunately he didn’t have a quiet night with Walcott coming at him with pace.
18/22 Riyad Mahrez 6
Dangerous against Monreal but didn’t do enough to threaten Ospina in the Arsenal goal.
19/22 Matty James 7
His prime objective was to stop Cazorla being as creative and offensive as possible. He did that to great effect and was one of Leicester City’s best players on the night.
20/22 Esteban Cambiasso 6
Allowed to push forward a little more than James, the midfielder helped to win back possession whenever Rosicky was a bit clumsy. He helped to provide Kramaric with support but sometimes found himself bypassed in midfield.
21/22 Jeff Schlupp 6
Should have done better to get to Konchesky’s pass in the first half. Against strong opposition you have to take your chances and Schlupp failed to do so.
22/22 Andrej Kramaric 6
Too his goal brilliantly but should have equalised in the last ten minutes. His tame lob was swiftly plucked out of the air by Ospina. To his credit he never stopped working.
In the rest of the draw, the holders Arsenal face a tough trip to Manchester United, a repeat of their sixth-round tie four years ago, which United won 2-0.
There is a West Midlands derby, with the new Aston Villa manager, Tim Sherwood, welcoming West Bromwich Albion, the club he nearly took charge of last month, to Villa Park.
Finally, Liverpool entertain Championship side Blackburn Rovers at Anfield and will fancy their chances of keeping alive Steven Gerrard’s hopes of ending his career with the Merseyside club in the final on 30 May – his birthday.
The draw in full
Liverpool vs Blackburn Rovers
Bradford City vs Reading
Preston North End/ Manchester United vs Arsenal
Aston Villa vs West Brom
Ties to played on the 7/8 March
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