The F.A. Cup fifth round starts Monday with its first midweek proper round.
You may have noticed that the F.A. Cup fifth round is not being played in its usual spot this year.
For 2020, the oldest cup competition in the world (this is the 139th edition dating back to 1871) will be cut down to eight quarterfinalists, after starting last summer with 735 teams.
This year, from the fifth round, there will be a few added wrinkles. Starting Monday, as Portsmouth hosts Arsenal, there will be no replays, to help alleviate fixture congestion that has plagued teams in the past years. This round, the matches have also been moved to midweek for the first time: the match today will kickoff eight games spread over four days.
Manchester City is the defending champion, after the Cityzens routed Watford 6-0 at Wembley last May. They also just won the Carabao Cup for the third straight year, with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa Sunday.
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the new moves the English F.A. made to this round, with many of the old school supporters complaining about midweek travel. But the games will go on, and come Thursday night, we will know the identity of the final eight teams.
The draw for the sixth round (quarterfinals) will be held at Hillsborough Wednesday night, after the Sheffield Wednesday Manchester City match with these ball numbers:
Sheffield Wednesday or Manchester City
Reading or Sheffield United
Chelsea or Liverpool
West Bromwich Albion or Newcastle United
Leicester City or Birmingham City
Derby County or Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur or Norwich City
Portsmouth or Arsenal
FIFTH ROUND MATCHES
Monday, March 2
Portsmouth vs Arsenal (3 p.m.)
Tuesday, March 3
Chelsea vs Liverpool (2:45 p.m.)
Reading vs Sheffield United (3 p.m.)
West Bromwich Albion vs Newcastle United (3 p.m.)
Wednesday, March 4
Leicester vs Birmingham (2:45 p.m.)
Sheffield Wednesday vs Manchester City (2.45 p.m.)
Tottenham vs Norwich City (2:45 p.m.)
Thursday, March 5
Derby County vs Manchester United (2:45 p.m.)
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Manchester City (+175)
Leicester City (+1100)
Manchester United (+1100)
Sheffield United (+2000)