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1) The Coventry City Protest

Odds are Coventry City are facing a hiding to nothing when they make the journey to the Emirates on Friday night, but they are using the televised game as an opportunity to air their grievances. Due to a dispute between its owners and local council, the Sky Blues are currently playing home games 35 miles away from their city, in Northampton. At 35 minutes, fans will hold up signs saying ‘why?’, to signify that 35 mile trek. Then at 61 minutes, they’ll hold up a sign saying ‘when?’.  Coventry fans have had it hard over the past decade, and this might get their story seen by a few more eyes.

 

2) Can Sheffield United claim another scalp?

After knocking out Paul ‘We didn’t want it anyway’ Lambert’s Aston Villa out in the 3rd round at Villa Park, Nigel Clough’s side have, if anything, got an easier fixture in this round, a home tie vs a Fulham side that is woeful on the road, and perhaps not terribly fussed about this competition either. Perhaps the Blades would be better focused on the league as they are in danger of heading down to League Two, but I suppose it’s hard to ignore the romance of the FA Cup; isn’t that right, ITV montage team?

 

3) Could more misery be in line for the Swans?

This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. After a glorious first season in which he won Swansea their first major trophy, this season has been nothing short of a disaster for Michael Laudrup and his team. Three points off the relegation zone, and the worst form team in the Premier League over the last eight games, Birmingham may well see this as a potential scalp. Laudrup is rumoured to be off whatever happens at the end of the season, but a cup run on top of the Europa League and a relegation battle is perhaps not what Swansea want.

 

4) Can the Holders pull off another scalp?

Wigan Athletic have a home tie against relegation-threatened -and thus vulnerable to not giving two craps- Crystal Palace, and have to see this as a game they can win. Home advantage, plus the boost they’ve had under new manager Rosler, as well as a few important players coming back to fitness, things are looking up for the Latics after a fairly nightmarish start under Owen Coyle. Pulis’ palace could well be in their sights.

 

5) The worst draw ever

There is only one all-Premier League tie in the entirety of the 4th round, Chelsea’s routine looking home fixture to Stoke, which could well mean most of the lower league teams could get blitzed out of the competition by round 5. An all-Premier League quarter finals looks very possible, as the likes of Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Everton and Southampton all have draws that enable them to graze through round four without any trouble.

 

6) Could Marcos Lopes be the first academy player to break into Manchester City’s first team since Stephen Ireland?

It’s been a long while since someone out of the Manchester City academy broke into regular competition for the first team. As an excellent performance against West Ham on Tuesday night showed, Lopes seems to have all the attributes to do it, so City have to make a choice. Are they true to their word about the academy, or is it just for show and will they just be a Galacticos team forever, a la Chelsea? Time to decide.

 

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