FA Cup Fifth Round Preview: Wenger’s last hurrah?


Will Wenger leave after this campaign?

This weekend’s FA Cup action sees Championship strugglers Blackburn take on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, while non-league Sutton take on Arsenal, who have won this competition in two of the last three seasons.

Blackburn v Man Utd

Ewood Park will always bring back special memories for Manchester United fans as the last away ground on which they secured a Premier League title. That 1-1 draw was equally significant for Blackburn Rovers, who stayed up on the final day. The subsequent six years have seen both clubs hit declines for different reasons, though the Red Devils have shown signs of steady progress under Jose Mourinho with poor finishing their problem. Blackburn fear a drop to the third tier but manager Owen Coyle remains staunchly confident of a turnaround in fortunes. They have failed to score just once since October with Sam Gallagher posing a threat, but two of just four clean sheets this term has come against leaders Newcastle. To have a chance on Sunday, Rovers must once again rise to the big occasion. 1-2

Sutton United v Arsenal

Sutton beat Leeds in the previous round with a 1-0 win which, in some ways did not reflect their dominance. Roarie Deacon was excellent through the game that was won by Jamie Collins’ second half penalty. Since then however, they have struggled against fellow National League strugglers, which suggests they raise their game against teams who are a class above. That is a trait Arsenal could learn from, after their second half capitulation against Bayern which has angered supporters. The team that was mashed in Munich could be very different to the one that starts in Surrey, with forwards Danny Welbeck and Lucas Perez likely to be given a long-awaited opportunity. This is a massive opportunity for Sutton, who have a history of giant-killing in the cup. However, in what looks like Arsene Wenger’s last season, it will be hard for Paul Doswell’s side to stop Arsenal in their quest for sentimental glory. 0-3