No fewer than eight FA Cup fourth round ties have been selected for live broadcast on UK television this weekend, providing a feast of football for armchair fans.
16 ties will take place between Friday 24th to Monday 27th January with half of those being broadcast on television as the BBC and BT Sport share the coverage between them.
And it’s not just the big boys who will be featured with the likes of Shrewsbury, Northampton Town, Brentford and Hull City making the line-up as they battle it out for a place in round five with the draw taking place on Monday.
But it’s not just nationwide television coverage these clubs can look forward to, it will also be a bumper pay-day for some of those further down the footballing ladder with each club involved in a televised UK tie receiving a £150,000, while winning clubs will also receive £180,000.
FA Cup weekend starts on Friday night with two ties kicking-off simultaneously, so those watching at home will have to decide just which game they would prefer to watch, or whether they are happy to flick between the two.
Saturday sees another double-header, while Saturday brings us a trio of fixtures before the final televised game of the weekend takes place on Monday night.
So just what can viewers expect from this epic weekend of televised matches?
FRIDAY JANUARY 24th
Northampton Town v Derby County (8pm) – Live on BT Sport 1 & Ultimate
QPR v Sheffield Wednesday (8pm) – Live on BT Sport Extra 1
A double-header of live action on Friday night begins this television extravaganza as three teams from the Championship and a side from League One enjoy their moment in the limelight.
Wayne Rooney, who won this competition with Manchester United in 2016, will take his Deby County side to Northampton Town with both teams in pretty good form having won four and drawn two of their last six matches in all competitions.
Meanwhile, QPR have been knocked out in the third round an incredible 49 times in their history, so have the novelty of what could be an interesting fourth round tie against Sheffield Wednesday who sit four points and four places above Rangers in the Championship table.
SATURDAY JANUARY 24th
Brentford v Leicester City (12.45pm) – Live on BBC One & BBC iPlayer
Hull City v Chelsea (5.30pm) – Live on BT Sport 1 & BT Sport Ultimate
The first Premier League sides feature during Saturday’s pair of live matches with both facing tricky looking ties away at Championship sides eager to make a name for themselves in front of a huge audience.
Both Brentford and Leicester City have had their eyes on bigger prizes this season with Brendon Rodgers’ side involved in a two-way battle with Manchester City to see who can finish closest to Liverpool in the Premier League, while The Bees are embroiled in a gripping promotion race as they try to join the Foxes in the top-flight next season.
The last time Chelsea lifted the FA Cup was under Antonio Conte in 2018 when they beat Manchester United while Hull have never won the competition and form is not on their side going into this one with The Tigers last beating the Blues in the old Division Two back in 1988, with Chelsea winning 13 of their 15 meetings since.
SUNDAY JANUARY 26th
Manchester City v Fulham (1pm) – Live on BBC One & BBC iPlayer
Watford or Tranmere v Manchester United (3pm) – Live on BT Sport 1 & BT Sport Ultimate
Shrewsbury Town v Liverpool (5pm) – Live on BBC One & BBC iPlayer
A trio of ties awaits those who are still hungry for more cup action on Sunday as some of the biggest names in the game make their fourth round bow with all three looking to avoid an early exit to lower league sides.
Manchester City‘s hopes of a third successive Premier League title are as good as over, though Pep Guardiola’s side will be keen to add to their recent haul of silverware with a win at Wembley in May, but will have to overcome an impressive Fulham side who are looking to return to the Premier League, though recent form favours the Blues who have won eight and drawn three of their last 11 against the Cottagers.
The prize for Tranmere or Watford, who replay on Thursday night, is a home tie against a Manchester United side who have endured a miserable campaign so far, though having won the FA Cup 12 times the Red Devils know more than most about getting to Wembley, even when their league form leaves a lot to be desired.
A classic David against Goliath tie will see lowly Shrewsbury, who defeated Bristol City in round three take on European Champions Liverpool on Sunday and with Jurgen Klopp’s side chasing silverware on a number of fronts might look to cause one of the biggest shocks in years if the Reds decide to play the youngsters again as they did in the last round.
MONDAY JANUARY 27th
Bournemouth v Arsenal (8pm) – Live on BT Sport 1 & Ultimate
One of this competition’s most successful sides features in the weekend’s finalé as Mikel Arteta returns to the scene of his first game in charge of Arsenal back on Boxing Day.
The Gunners have something of a love affair with the FA Cup, having won the oldest football knockout tournament in the world no fewer than 13 times, but with have their work cut out when they head to the Vitality Stadium on Monday night.
Arsenal last won the Cup back in 2017 under Arsene Wenger and the club has been somewhat starved of success since and though Bournemouth have endured a terrible run of late in the Premier League, having won just once in their last six games.
As a result, the Cherries might just be more worried about avoiding a drop back to the Championship than a tiring cup run and could well make some changes for this clash, but Arsenal won’t be taking anything for granted under the lights in what is likely to be a cauldron of an atmosphere on the South Coast.
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