Leading Premier League hopes all handed home games in Cup sixth round
Monday 20 February 2012
With many of the Premier League's top clubs already out of the Cup in previous rounds, the FA Cup sixth-round draw has been kind to the remaining leading clubs, with Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea all receiving home draws – although the two London sides have replays to negotiate first. Liverpool and Spurs have been named as the bookies' favourites, followed by Chelsea, who have yet to guarantee their place in the sixth round.
Eight-time Cup winners Tottenham, held to a goalless draw at Stevenage, will have a home match against Bolton if they win the replay at White Hart Lane. League One Stevenage performed valiantly to hold Tottenham and their manager, Gary Smith, has every belief that his side can cause an upset in the replay: "We'll go there with a lot of energy and belief. They've got a tough schedule coming up – Arsenal and Manchester United, with us plugged in somewhere in the middle."
In such poor league form, Chelsea will be keen to continue their success in the FA Cup – winners of the competition three times in the last five years – and Andre Villas-Boas is expected to field a strong side in their fifth-round replay with Birmingham, following their 1-1 draw on Saturday, to guarantee Chelsea's place in the sixth round, where they would play Leicester City. Leicester are the only non-Premier League side with a definite place in the last eight and will be hoping Birmingham can continue their good form to overturn Chelsea in their replay on the 6 March at St Andrew's, to set up an all-Championship quarter-final.
Both Liverpool and Stoke overcame lower league opposition over the weekend, with Liverpool dispatching Brighton 6-1, and Stoke beating League Two Crawley 2-0. The two Premier League sides drew 0-0 in the league in January but will be keen to avoid the same, as the season's match tally starts to take its toll, but Stoke's manager, Tony Pulis, has expressed his delight at being "just one win away from Wembley again".
Everton last won the competition in 1995, while Sunderland's best season since reaching the final 20 years ago came in 2004, when they were beaten semi-finalists. Bolton, meanwhile, eased past a plucky Millwall side 2-0 on Saturday.
SIXTH ROUND DRAW
Liverpool v Stoke
Chelsea/Birmingham v Leicester
Stevenage/Tottenham v Bolton
Everton v Sunderland
Ties to be played 16-19 March
6 March Birmingham v Chelsea
7 March Tottenham v Stevenage
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