Charlie Nicholas delivers his predictions for the FA Cup fifth round – and backs Huddersfield to trouble Manchester United again.
Liverpool followed Arsenal in suffering a surprise exit in the last round of action and, after avoiding each other in the fifth-round draw, the remaining members of the top six will be looking to avoid upsets.
Here’s what Charlie is predicting for the eight ties…
Chelsea v Hull (Friday, 8pm)
Are Chelsea back in business? No. It was a result they needed against West Brom but once again they relied on Eden Hazard to do everything.
They’re one bad result away from being back in the focus again and with Barcelona and two trips to Manchester to follow they are still in a volatile position.
They’ll win this but it still won’t mean they are back on track because the tensions between Antonio Conte and the board are only going to resurface as we get closer to the summer.
Hull have picked up a little bit, not before time. I didn’t quite see them being in the position they found themselves in.
They’ll sit in and defend and the good news for them in that Chelsea need to give Hazard a rest ahead of such an important run of fixtures. Alvaro Morata and Willian will come in and they should have enough to record a comfortable win.
Chelsea 3-0 and Willian to score first (18/1 with Sky Bet)
Leicester v Sheffield United (Friday, 7.45pm)
I think Riyad Mahrez will start on Friday and it is a nice opportunity for him to start to get the crowd behind him. I don’t think they’ll turn on him unless he looks lazy.
Leicester are in a situation where they’re not going to make Europe and certainly not go down, so why not go for it? They’ve won a couple of League Cup titles and the Premier League, so why not have a real go for this competition?
Charlie predicts: 3-1 and Mahrez to score first (45/1 with Sky Bet)
Sheffield Wednesday v Swansea (Saturday, 12.30pm)
We always have to take on board the situations the sides are trapped in and Swansea’s position is clearly one which makes this match less important.
However, Carvahal will want to prove a point and say: ‘I actually did really well for two seasons and you turned on me after one bad derby result’.
A replay won’t suit either of these but I think that will be what they end up with after a feisty affair.
Charlie predicts: 1-1 and Lucas Joao to score first (22/1 with Sky Bet)
Brighton v Coventry (Saturday, 3pm)
With Coventry in the shake-up for the play-offs and Brighton still in the relegation mix, neither of these sides really need this game right now.
Brighton are at home and they’ve got a bit of momentum, which is so important at this time of the year, so I’d like to think they’ll look to build on that by going with a strong side.
Charlie predicts: 3-0 and Jose Izquierdo to score first (35/1 with Sky Bet)
West Brom v Southampton (Saturday, 3pm)
Who wants this game less? Which line-up will they play? The win West Brom got at Exeter, when Jay Rodriguez and Salomon Rondon scored, put them on a nice little run which made you think they could get out of the relegation mix.
I think West Brom will be marginally more positive as they’re at home and I’m going for Rodriguez to score against his old club in a tetchy affair.
Charlie predicts: 1-0 and Rodriguez to score first (25/1 with Sky Bet)
Huddersfield v Manchester United (Saturday, 5.30pm)
After last Sunday you’ve got to think Huddersfield must fancy a repeat of their victory back in October. Jose Mourinho won’t want his side embarrassed twice but they’ve a Champions League tie in Seville midweek to think about.
Manchester United are going through this dilemma as to how they fit in Alexis Sanchez. They want to give him the free role but that means Paul Pogba can’t have that freedom.
Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard have gone a bit cold after doing so well, so I can see another dangerous game for United.
Charlie predicts: 2-2 and Sanchez to score first (55/1 with Sky Bet)
Rochdale v Tottenham (Sunday, 4pm)
I thought we were going have a good old gritty cup tie and then Rochdale decided to put down a new pitch.
Mauricio Pochettino will make a good few changes because that show of mental strength in Juventus will have been a really draining experience.
Fernando Llorente and Moussa Sissoko will come in as Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen in particular need a rest. Heung-min Son should start and with the new pitch, I think Spurs will get the job done.
I think this will be another game for Toby Alderweireld to be eased back in again. I don’t think there is anything more to his absence than managing his recovery because Pochettino is a very honest and open man.
Charlie predicts: 0-2 and Son to score first (13/1 with Sky Bet)
Wigan v Manchester City (Monday, 7.55pm)
Wigan will have the great memories to motivate them here from their FA Cup win.
However, I think this will be another canter for Pep Guardiola’s men, with Leroy Sane back in the mix, perhaps resting Sergio Aguero.
With no midweek game it should be a pretty strong City side so I can only see a third successive defeat for Wigan and City to move another step closer to the quadruple.
Charlie predicts: 0-3 and Sane to score first (18/1 with Sky Bet)