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FA Cup: A look ahead to the quarter-finals

Friday 10th March 2017
A place at Wembley is at stake for the eight clubs left standing in this season's FA Cup. The quarter-finals take place over the next several days and will witness non-league side, Lincoln City make the journey to the Emirates, as well as the collision between two powerhouses of English football, Chelsea and Manchester United.

FA Cup quarter-final ties

Middlesbrough v Manchester City, 12:15pm Saturday 11th March

A cup tie offers Middlesbrough the opportunity to cast their minds away from problems in the league, but they face a stern test against a Man City side intent on securing silverware in Pep Guardiola's first season in charge. Although the Citizens failed to beat Stoke City, they have improved recently, particularly in defence. While their opponents have fallen into the relegation zone with no win in the last ten games.

Boro made it to this stage of the competition with three victories at the Riverside; narrowly defeating Oxford United along the way. However, scoring has become a major concern; Aitor Karanka must find a way to get his strikers firing. Besides needing a replay to see off Huddersfield Town, Manchester City strolled to the quarter-finals. Sergio Aguero is back among the goals, but with the crucial encounter with Monaco just four days later, Guardiola might decide to rest his most valuable players.

Arsenal v Lincoln City, 5:30pm Saturday 11th March

The dream draw for Lincoln City will see them take on FA Cup giants Arsenal at the Emirates. After damaging defeats against Liverpool and Bayern Munich, Arsene Wenger's side are experiencing difficult times. In contrast, the Imps sit six points clear at the top of the National League table. Although the two sides are separated by 88 places on England's football pyramid, is a gigantic upset possible?
After defeating Sutton United, 2-0, the Gunners face non-league opposition in the second successive round. They need to rediscover their top form, while also solving the Alexis Sanchez dilemma, as this is the last remaining hope of ending the season with a trophy. For Lincoln, their inspired FA Cup campaign began five months ago and has produced a victory over Championship high-flyers Brighton, along with a stunning result in the last round to eliminate Premier League club, Burnley.

This game will be a special occasion for the players and supporters of Lincoln City. The club's manager, Danny Cowley, told Sky Sports.

Our supporters will fit in just fine at the Emirates - they're Premier League. They've been starved of success in recent times and had to come through some tough periods but they've been unbelievable for us. Hopefully, we can have a really good day and do ourselves proud.

Tottenham Hotspur v Millwall, 2pm Sunday 12th March

Tottenham welcome League One opposition to White Hart Lane with a semi-final place the worthwhile reward. Millwall are sixth in England's third tier, unbeaten in 14 games, and they will pose a serious threat. While Spurs are ten points adrift of Chelsea in the league so the FA Cup presents the best chance of lifting a trophy. It's time for Mauricio Pochettino to win silverware with the club.

The Lions defeated three Premier League teams on their path to the last eight in Bournemouth, Watford, and Leicester City - so they can't be underestimated. With Steve Morrison, who's scored 15 times this campaign, they possess a danger up front. On the subject of strikers, Harry Kane is in sensational form with eight goals in his last four games. The England international's sight is set on adding to the hat-trick he hit in the last round against Fulham. Can Neil Harris' side prevent him?

Chelsea v Manchester United, 7:45pm Monday 13th March

The tie of the round brings together English football's two most successful clubs over the past decade. It also means a return to his former club for Jose Mourinho, who will be determined to avenge the 4-0 defeat Manchester United suffered the last time they visited Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are looking safe at the summit of the Premier League, while the Red Devils are three points adrift of the top four.

Antonio Conte's side breezed past their opponents to reach this stage of the FA Cup. Chelsea are aiming to lift multiple trophies this season but face a tough challenge on Monday night; so a strong team should begin the contest - with Diego Costa playing a pivotal role. Man United's focal point, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, misses the game through suspension; the Swede's presence will be sorely missed. However, after recent success in the EFL Cup, Mourinho's men have the taste for further glory.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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