The FA Cup makes a welcome return to our screens this weekend! It's last 16 time, and, with every round of FA Cup clashes, a bit of magic is sprinkled at one or two places and an upset does happen! There've been plenty of high profile cases in previous years and already this season there have been a few which have raised eyebrows, too. In fact, one of those serial cupsetters preview in this blog, as we take a look at a quartet of ties which may go the way you don't expect...
AFC WIMBLEDON VS. LINCOLN CITY
AFC Wimbledon have really struggled for goals this season in League One – in fact no team has scored less that the Dons’ nine strikes this season from 16 games in the third tier this season. A glance away from the league may assist in a turn in their fortunes when they return to domestic action, but a home tie with Lincoln City isn’t an easy tie at all for Neal Ardley’s side. Danny Cowley brings his Imps to Kingston for the clash with his team just outside the League Two play-offs and you may remember their excellent FA Cup run last season where they knocked out the likes of Ipswich Town and Brighton & Hove Albion prior to being eliminated against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, and the fourth tier side will be hoping Saturday afternoon kickstarts another long and memorable run in the historic competition.
CAMBRIDGE UNITED VS. SUTTON UNITED
High-flying National League side Sutton United were another side to enjoy a great cup run in the competition last season, and like Lincoln, were knocked out of the tournament by Arsenal on home turf. In Round One this time around they tackle Cambridge United, who themselves bagged a tie and a replay against Manchester United a few seasons ago and will be hoping for more glory in the competition in 2017/18. This has a cupset potentially written all over it, with the hosts doing solidly but not spectacularly in League Two and Sutton dreaming on success in both league and cup fronts under boss Paul Doswell.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC VS. TRURO CITY
It’s a 600+ mile round trip from Truro to Charlton and that long trip back to Cornwall will feel brilliant for the visiting fans should they progress to round two by turning over high-flying League One side Charlton Athletic. The Addicks have had a strong start to League One life in Karl Robinson’s first full campaign as boss of the south Londoners and will have hopes of going far in the competition. However, at the same time, Robinson may well opt to rotate his troops ahead of this one against the Cornish outfit and look to get the win they need and simply get the job done. If that is the case and fringe players and the kids get a run out, then City could capitalise and earn a huge cup shock. They do have one or two notable players and the experienced Ben Harding in midfield too – the 33-year-old has played the majority of his career in the Football League, representing the likes of MK Dons, Wycombe, Northampton and Torquay United.
LUTON TOWN VS. PORTSMOUTH
One tie that really stood out to us when the draw was made was this one. These two are a pair of the bigger clubs in the two bottom tiers of the Football League and with Luton flying high and scoring goals for fun – particularly at home – in League Two, an upset could certainly on the cards when Portsmouth – who have been pretty solid since promotion to League One in the summer – come to Bedfordshire. Pompey are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with Luton in all competitions, winning all but two of them, however, this season Luton look deadly in front of goal with the likes of James Collins and Danny Hylton being two of the top scorers in League Two this term. It certainly won’t be easy for the visitors – particularly if Kenny Jackett opts to rest a few players for the trip.
NEWPORT COUNTY VS. WALSALL
Newport have been the surprise package in League Two this season and look a revitalised club under the stewardship of rookie Newport-born boss Mike Flynn, who has taken his side to the cusp of the play-offs in the Football League’s bottom tier. However, they are without a win in their last three, which is their worst run in the season so far. The last meeting between these two came in 1987 and the Saddlers have won each of the last five clashes. However, at home, with the crowd behind them, Newport will fancy their chances of knocking their League One visitors out of the cup and progressing themselves into the next round to earn some much needed cash from the FA’s prize pot.
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