Football Features

FA Cup fifth-round stats, upsets and exciting players to watch

By James Amey

Published: 17:10, 26 February 2024

The FA Cup takes centre stage this week as we enter the fifth round. 

After Virgil van Dijk’s extra-time winner handed Liverpool their record breaking 10th League Cup trophy at the weekend, there is just one domestic cup left for players to get their hands on this season and we are starting to get to the business end of the competition.

A host of Premier League sides including Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle must avoid potential banana skins against lower league opposition, while National League South side Maidstone United will be hoping for another Championship scalp after already knocking out  Ipswich when they travel to face Coventry. 

There are so many possible stories from the world’s most famous cup competition this week, so we’ve taken a look at some of the potential upsets, the players you should be looking out for and all the stats you need for the FA Cup fifth round.


BetMGM sign-up offer: Get £40 in free bets when you bet £10

Not signed up to BetMGM yet? Here's how eligible readers* can take advantage of their welcome offer:

  1. Open an account at BetMGM using this link.
  2. Select the Sports Welcome Offer.
  3. Get the offer from the ‘My Offers’ page.
  4. Deposit and place a £10 bet at odds of 1/1 (2.0) or greater.
  5. When it settles, unlock £40 in Free Bets

*New customer only. 3 days to claim & 7 days to place a qualifying bet to receive 4x Free Bets: 1 x £10 Horse racing, 1 x £10 Free Bet Builder, 1 x £10 Acca and 1 x £10 Football. 7 day expiry. Exclusions apply. Stake not returned. T&Cs apply. For more information, visit begambleaware.org


Which sides can provide a potential upset?

Southampton

Just three days after playing 120 minutes in the League Cup final, Liverpool welcome high-flying Championship side Southampton to Anfield as their quest for the quadruple in Jürgen Klopp’s final season continues. The Reds have been near perfect at home across all competitions so far this term, winning 18 and drawing two of their 20 matches at Anfield, but with a host of injuries and limited time to recover after their EFL Cup success, this may be the perfect time for Southampton to strike, especially if they can take the game to extra-time or penalties.

Jürgen Klopp is extremely unhappy about his side having to play another game so close to their League Cup final success and he made his feelings known after the game.

“Wednesday, we play against Southampton. I have no clue right now who is able to play so we will see that. “But now we all know neither the FA nor the Premier League give a f*** about that, but that’s how it is. We will try. He said.

“There’s only one thing that’s not great about this wonderful competition is that you don’t have any time [to celebrate].”Now we fly home and try to recover… which is really tricky. It’s obviously a super special night but the game was super intense.

“We had problems before the game that became bigger during the game.”I have no clue who we can line up on Wednesday, I have no clue who we can line up on Saturday.”The few people who are obviously not really thinking about football players thought, ‘Give them a game on Wednesday, good idea, give them a game on Saturday.”

Southampton themselves have struggled since their 25-game unbeaten run finally came to an end two weeks ago, with three defeats from their last four, but they won’t have a better chance to knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup than Wednesday’s game.

Leeds United

Just like Liverpool, Chelsea are also in FA Cup action just three days after playing 120 minutes in the League Cup final, but they also have the tough job of picking themselves up after their defeat late into extra-time. They welcome a Leeds side to Stamford Bridge that are unbeaten in 2024, having won 11 of their 12 games across all competitions (D1) and are hoping to return to the English top-flight at the first time of asking.

Now under Daniel Farke, the Whites currently sit second in the Championship, six points behind leaders Leicester, who they defeated 3-1 on Friday evening as they made it six straight victories. They have already won twice away from home in the FA Cup this season having dumped out both Peterborough and Plymouth and will looking to make it a hat-trick against a Chelsea side they beat 3-0 just last season.

The Blues meanwhile, reastically know that this is their best chance of securing European football for next season after struggling in the league, but having already suffered four defeats at Stamford Bridge this season to Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Brentford and most recently Wolves, Leeds will be confident of causing an upset and make it past the fifth round in the competition for the first time since 2003.

Leicester City

Despite suffering back-to-back defeats to Middlesbrough and Leeds, Leicester’s quest for promotion back to the Premier League is still a strong one as they sit six points clear at the top of the table. Pep Guardiola desciple Enzo Maresca is doing an incredible job in his first year at the club and will be wanting to continue his cup run when they travel to face Bournemouth on Tuesday.

The Foxes are no strangers to FA Cup success having lifted the famous trophy in 2020/21 when they beat Chelsea in the final thanks to Youri Tielemans’ fantastic long-range effort. Having already knocked out fellow Championship sides Millwall and Birmingham, they now must step up and face Premier League opposition in Bournemouth, a side they have failed to beat in each of the last three meetings between the two sides.

However, after an impressive run that saw Andoni Iraola’s side win six of their seven games up until Boxing Day, the Cherries are now without a win in their last seven Premier League games (D3 L4) and are there for the taking, especially if the Leicester side we have seen for the majority of the season shows up in midweek.

The players to watch

Lucas Covolan (Maidstone United)

After sharing the Player of the Match award in Maidstone’s 2-1 victory over Ipswich in the last round of the FA Cup, Lucas Covolan is set to be busy once again when the National League South side travel to face Coventry. 

The Brazilian shot-stopper made 12 saves in the previous round, including nine from inside the box and received plaudits from fans and pundits a like as he put in a fantastic goalkeeping display to help the non-league side through to the next round. The 32-year-old has signed a deal to keep himself at the club until the end of the season, with the former Brazil U20 international now starring for his seventh different side in English football after spells at Whitehawk, Lewes, Worthing, Torquay, Port Vale, Chesterfield and now Maidstone United, with manager George Elokobi calling him “the best in the league”.

“Lucas is a great goalkeeper. He’s the best goalkeeper in this league and of course he’s going to have suitors, but the most important thing in football, it’s about looking at your environment, looking at the people you work with.” he said.

“I think he’s had a terrific first half of the season and a fantastic FA Cup run. He deserves every accolade he’s getting.He’s been ever-present, he’s a fantastic leader behind the scenes and on the pitch, making brilliant, big saves, so he’s got all the attributes to attract interest from elsewhere.

“We aren’t foolish, I know that as a manager, but it’s my job and the club’s responsibility to try to tempt him to stay with us and I’m delighted he’s chosen us. That shows we’re doing something right at Maidstone United Football Club to get his signature and extend his stay with us to the end of the season and we’ll go again from there.”

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester)

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is having a season to remember for Leicester. The 25-year-old has lit up the Championship with some incredibly impressive displays and is one of the first names on Enzo Maresca’s teamsheet as he dominates in midfeld. No player has provided more assists than KDH in the Championship so far this season (12), while he is one of just two players alongside Southampton’s Adam Armstrong to score 10+ goals and provide 10+ assists in the competition so far this term.

His 84 chances created is the most for Leicester and the fifth most in the division, while he also ranks in the top three for big chances created (16) and has a higher xA than any other Championship player so far in 2023/24 (10.31).

Jayden Danns (Liverpool)

What a week it has been for 18-year-old Jayden Danns.

First, he came on against Luton to make his Premier League debut in Liverpool’s 4-1 victory, before playing 33 minutes in the League Cup final as he helped his side win the competition for a record 10th time. He played incredibly well during the final and was unlucky not to be on the scoresheet after two fantastic saves from Djordje Petrovic denied him a famous goal, with manager Jürgen Klopp singing his praises after the game.

“Jayden Danns only recently joined us in first-team training and I loved him from first second, really special. He comes on today and could have scored two goals in a Carabao Cup final. It’s absolutely insane.”

Not only did he receive plaudits from his manager, but former Arsenal striker Ian Wright was also impressed with the teenager.

“He was just in and ready to go.” he said on his podcast.

“He came on in that final like an experienced pro the way he played, the way he held the ball, he didn’t look like he was in awe of anything.And that is something to do with the aura of Liverpool and what they expect from a player that can come on and ‘this is fine, this is what we’re about’. I envy them for that.”

Interesting Stats

  • Manchester United have made it past the fifth round of the FA Cup in eight of the last nine seasons
  • Phil Foden is the only player to score in the FA Cup proper in each of the last six seasons
  • Sheffield United (2022/23) and Reading (2015/16) are the only two sides outside of the Premier League to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup in the last nine seasons
  • Leeds haven’t made it past the fifth round of the FA Cup since 2003.
  • Sammie Szmodics is the top scorer in the FA Cup and the Championship this season.
  • No Premier League side has been knocked out by a lower league side in this season’s FA Cup

READ MORE: