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Big boys dream of no more upsets

Regular contributor James Hopper previews the weekends soccer fixtures including the FA fifth round…

FA Cup holders Chelsea must negotiate their way past League One side Brentford at Stamford Bridge this Sunday as they attempt to defend their title. The Blues were set to be dumped out in embarrassing fashion at Griffin Park, only for Fernando Torres to score a late equaliser to spare the west London club’s blushes. Whoever wins will go on to face a tricky tie away to Middlesbrough in the fifth round.

Arsenal will hope to avoid any possible banana skins at home to Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round. With Arsène Wenger’s side going eight years without a trophy, players and fans alike will be hoping for a victory that will send them into this year’s quarter-finals and a step closer to Wembley.

Giant killers Oldham will hope history repeats itself as they look to overcome another Premier League opponent in the form of Everton. The Latics defeated Liverpool 3-2 in the previous round, but since then manager Paul Dickov has left the club. The impressive David Moyes will be hoping his side can earn a trophy this year along with the usual end of season plaudits.

Manchester City face Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium in the midst of Roberto Mancini’s mens’ season falling apart. Twelve points behind city rivals Manchester United in the Premier League, this famous domestic trophy represents the Citizens’ only realistic chance of silverware. However, Leeds United knocked out high flying Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth round and will be confident they can do the same again.

On Sunday, Liverpool and Swansea face off at Anfield in the weekends’ only Premier League encounter. The Reds suffered a painful defeat at the hands of West Brom last Monday night and will be well aware of the threat Michael Laudrup’s side pose. Swans fans and players will likely have next weekend’s Capital One Cup final in their thoughts but victory would only leave them two points off the European places.

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