This season’s FA Cup fifth round fixtures are taking place over four days in midweek instead of being held across a single weekend for the first time.
The scheduling decision is a reaction to last season, which saw six Premier League clubs go deep into the latter stages of the Champions League and Europa League.
Fighting on multiple fronts led to fixture congestion, giving the powers that be in English football an unnecessary headache.
Consequently, the FA and Premier League came to an agreement with the EFL to position these games during the week – similar to how domestic cup competitions are built into fixture lists across most of Europe – as well as scrapping replays from this point forward.
That said, with the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham having Champions League games on the horizon, the debate remains regarding the validity of playing these games in midweek and whether it’s simply another step in devaluing the FA Cup as a competition.
It remains to be seen whether replays will be abolished from the competition entirely or just from the fifth round onwards, with lower league clubs still benefiting significantly from the windfall that a surprise FA Cup run can produce.
FA Cup 5th round fixtures
Monday, 2 March
Tuesday, 3 March
Wednesday, 4 March
Leicester City vs Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday vs Manchester City
Tottenham vs Norwich City
Thursday, 5 March
Derby County vs Manchester United