The fifth round of the FA Cup takes centre stage in English football this weekend with matches on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There are just 16 teams left in the competition and, as ever, we’ve tried to work out which teams will be focusing on the FA Cup as a priority and which teams may have more important targets.
Check out our analysis and free tips for QPR vs Watford, Newport County vs Manchester City, and Bristol City vs Wolves.
QPR vs Watford (Friday 7.45)
The fifth round of the FA Cup kicks off with QPR vs Watford on Friday 15 February at 7.45pm. QPR have got to this stage with a 2-1 home win over Leeds, after which they needed a replay to get past Portsmouth in the fourth round.
QPR again enjoy home advantage against Watford in round five, but the problem for The Hoops is they come into this match on the back of a poor run of form in The Championship. They’ve now lost their last five league games against Bristol City, Birmingham, Wigan, Preston, and Sheffield United. They’ve also conceded 13 goals in those five matches, with both Birmingham and Preston scoring four times.
QPR’s dodgy defence should be there for the taking for a Watford side that has scored in 12 of its last 14 games. More importantly, Watford’s defence has kept four clean sheets in their last six matches against Premier League opposition and that should allow them to outscore QPR here.
As Watford already have 37 points in the Premier League this season, they also have no relegation worries and should see this year’s FA Cup as a real opportunity to put the icing on the cake on what has already been an excellent season for them.
QPR vs Watford Free Tip:
Watford @ 1.85 Bet365 and Blacktype
Newport County vs Manchester City (Saturday 5.30)
Whatever happens on Saturday 16 February, the 2018/19 FA Cup will have produced one of Newport County’s most historic highlights. Their run started with a 2-0 win against Metropolitan Police, which was quickly followed by a 4-0 replay win against Wrexham. Their reward for that was a home draw against Leicester and their 2-1 victory was the giant-killing of the competition so far. However, they didn’t stop there as, after drawing away against Middlesbrough, they also dumped the Championship side out with a 2-0 home win.
Newport’s reward for that is a home draw against Manchester City but, whilst their fans will be dreaming of killing one of the biggest giants of English football, surely, they can’t.
The big problem for Newport is Man City manager Pep Guardiola still has the fabled quadruple in his sights. City may have been easy on Burton Albion in the second-leg of their Carabao Cup match, but it didn’t really matter after City had taken a 9-0 lead in the first leg. City have been ruthless in the FA Cup so far, with a 7-0 third-round win over Rotherham followed by a 5-0 fourth-round win against Burnley. So, after City’s 6-0 Premier League win against Chelsea last weekend, Newport should probably prepare to be camped in their own half for much of this match.
The only hope Newport probably have is that City have an important Champion League match next week, but City still have enough quality players to stamp their authority quickly and clinically on this game. It’s odds against for there to be more than 4.5 goals and that looks well within City’s capabilities.
Newport County vs Manchester City Free Tip:
More Than 4.5 Goals @ 2.3 William Hill, 2.25 Ladbrokes, Betvictor, Coral, Sportingbet
Bristol City vs Wolves (Sunday 1.00)
Wolves can maybe count themselves lucky to be in the fifth round of the FA Cup after twice falling 2-0 behind to Shrewsbury in the fourth round. But the fact they fought back twice also suggests they are taking the competition seriously after beating a weakened Liverpool side in the third round.
Wolves should be taking it seriously, too. They’re the bookies’ fourth favourites to win the FA Cup with the bookies and, with either Chelsea or Manchester United guaranteed to exit the competition at this stage, they have a great chance of making the final if the draw is kind to them. Recent away wins against Tottenham and Everton also highlight just how good Wolves can be on their travels.
Bristol City are certainly no mugs though and, after nine straight wins in all competitions, they’ve hauled themselves in to a play-off place in The Championship. Having got to that position, you do have to wonder if Bristol City may decide to concentrate their efforts on the prospect of a lucrative promotion rather than FA Cup glory, which makes the case for a Wolves win even more compelling.
Bristol City vs Wolves Free Tip:
Wolves @ 1.91 Blacktype, 1.88 Marathon, 1.87 Royal Panda