FA Women's Cup: A Closer look at Fifth round fixtures
The FA Women's Cup returns on Sunday with mouth-watering clashes across the country. Over 260 teams began the grinding trip to Wembley. Just 16 survive to tell 5th Round tales. Eight will have happy endings. Eight will be tragedies. The question is which will be which?
Arsenal vs Millwall
Record 14-time winners Arsenal host Women's Super League 2 top shot Millwall Lionesses at Meadow Park. To reach this stage, the Gunners thrashed Yeovil Town 3-0. Millwall recorded an emphatic 4-1 victory over Coventry United.
Inspired by their recent five-game unbeaten streak, Joe Montemurro's ladies are clear favourites to advance. The Lionesses, however, are unbeaten in all competitions this term. The Gunners will have to put in a solid shift.
Verdict: Arsenal's class will finally put Millwall in the loss column.
Cardiff vs Charlton
The Premier League, which comprises the third and fourth tiers (below WSLs 1 and 2) in the women's pyramid, is guaranteed a quarter-final berth when Cardiff clash with Charlton in Ystrad Mynach. While the visitors managed to scale through at Blackburn Rovers after extra time, Cardiff survived a major upset, beating Oxford United on penalties.
There isn't much in the way of a gulf between the sides. One place separates them in the PL standings.
Verdict: Experience will out. Charlton's 2005 victory and three final appearances will see them through.
Lewes vs Everton
It's been an unbelievable campaign for Lewes. The Sussex club thrashed Keynsham Town 4-0 on the road to reach this stage. They were rewarded with stiff top-flight opposition in Everton. The Merseysiders, meanwhile, eliminated fellow WSL1 side Bristol City.
Lewes will definitely fancy their chances. Everton isn't in the best domestic form. The Toffees won't be too bothered, though. Especially with Courtney Sweetman-Kirk firing on all cylinders.
Verdict: No FA Cup upset here. Everton win
Sunderland vs Aston Villa
Another last-eight spot up for grabs for a Premier League side. Villa defeated Middlesbrough 4-0 to reach this stage. The Black Cats, on the other hand, shredded Brighouse Town, hitting 13 goals. Playing at home, Sunderland is the clear favourite. The Mackems top the PL with 45 points, 21 more than Villa on sixth.
Verdict: In what promises to be a goal-fest, Sunderland win
Chichester City vs Liverpool
In a second Sussex/Merseyside clash, Chichester host the Reds. The Lillywhites dug deep on penalties to eliminate the New Saints. Liverpool was commanding in thrashing Watford 5-0. The Scousers are perennial FA Cup underachievers who will be aiming to end their hoodoo this term. First, they must negotiate their way past a tough third-tier side.
Verdict: Liverpool will get it done.
Birmingham vs Manchester City
In a rematch of last season's final, Birmingham welcome Manchester City to Autotech Stadium. The Blues knocked off Reading while the holders dismissed Brighton to get to this point. Revenge will be on the thoughts of the 2012 champions. City, however, remain unbeaten in all competitions. The Sky Blues don't look like slowing down anytime soon.
Verdict: Men or women, it doesn't matter this season. City will move on.
Chelsea vs Doncaster Rovers
Rovers stunned Tottenham Hotspur to book a date with Chelsea. For their part, the Blues annihilated London Bees 10-0. Only a stroke of ill luck will stop the 2015 winners from repeating that feat when the Rovers come to town. It won't be as easy, though. Doncaster is undefeated. Then again, so is Chelsea. Something has to give.
Verdict: It won't be Chelsea. The Blues will advance to the quarters.
Durham vs Leicester City
The final fixture pits WLS2 side Durham alongside third-tier strugglers Leicester. Both came out unscathed against Sheffield and Plymouth Argyle respectively. Due to the huge disparity in quality, as well as the enthusiastic home support, the Wildcats should be able to ease past their visitors.
Verdict: Durham all day long.