FA Cup talking points ahead of fourth-round ties

PA

The FA Cup returns this weekend as the fourth-round ties are played out across the country.

While lockdown rules mean there will be no fans present for any of the matches, there still promises to be plenty of action.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the main talking points ahead of the weekend games.

United v Liverpool – Act II

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be keen to return to winning ways against Manchester United.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be keen to return to winning ways against Manchester United.

Bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool played out a goalless draw at Anfield in the Premier League last week – a point which would have suited the visitors even if they could have won the game through a late Paul Pogba strike.

They meet again on Sunday, this time at Old Trafford, with both sides expected to make plenty of changes to the teams which lined up for kick-off seven days earlier.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be keen to advance and get his side back to winning ways following a surprise slump in form, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will see the game as another chance to show his team are progressing into one capable of challenging for honours this season.

Lampard looking for Hatters scalp to ward off sacking speculation

Frank Lampard has come under pressure following a string of poor results for Chelsea.
Frank Lampard has come under pressure following a string of poor results for Chelsea.

Frank Lampard’s position as Chelsea boss has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks following a drop-off in both performances and results.

Speculation over his future will no doubt continue beyond Sunday’s visit of Luton but defeat to the Sky Bet Championship side would be a nightmare for the former England midfielder.

He took the Blues all the way to the final last season before losing to Arsenal and will be fully expected to see off the Hatters in the same convincing manner they dispatched Morecambe in round three.

Cheltenham an outside bet against Pep’s thoroughbreds

Cheltenham manager Michael Duff will pit his wits against Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola.
Cheltenham manager Michael Duff will pit his wits against Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola.

League Two side Cheltenham host in-form Manchester City on Saturday knowing they will have to spring a huge shock to make it into the fifth round for the first time since 2002.

The Robins currently sit sixth in the table as they aim to get promoted to the third tier and boss Michael Duff will want his side to take it to their illustrious visitors.

This will be the first-ever competitive meeting between the teams and, while Pep Guardiola will almost certainly shuffle his pack, there is no doubt the team he picks at Whaddon Road will be full of international talent.

Blunt Blades looking for respite

Chris Wilder's Sheffield United side have struggled in the league this season.
Chris Wilder's Sheffield United side have struggled in the league this season.

Sheffield United have won as many games in the FA Cup as they have in the Premier League this season – and they have only played in round three.

Jayden Bogle hit the winner in a 3-2 victory at Bristol Rovers and Chris Wilder’s struggling side now face another League One opponent as Plymouth visit Bramall Lane.

The Pilgrims sit 11th in the table but go into the tie having beaten Sunderland last time out and, with either Bristol City or Millwall at home waiting for the winners in round five, Ryan Lowe will be keen to cause an upset.

Bees looking to put a sting in the tail of Foxes

Thomas Frank's in-form Brentford take on high-flying Leicester in the fourth round.
Thomas Frank's in-form Brentford take on high-flying Leicester in the fourth round.

Brentford are unbeaten in the Championship since October and are third in the table as they look to go one better than last year’s play-off final defeat and make it to the Premier League.

If they do so, facing sides like Leicester will become a normality but this fourth-round clash will be a good barometer as to where Thomas Frank’s side are at right now.

With Leicester very much in the title picture this tie may not be high on the priority list of both sides but could provide some of the best entertainment across the weekend.

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