FA Cup respite for minnows, chance for Jonathan Woodgate to make history with Bournemouth

Bournemouth, Southampton and Sheffield United – three teams which have been struggling this season – have a shot at glory in the English FA Cup quarterfinals.

Championship side Bournemouth, now managed by former England international Jonathan Woodgate, plays Southampton at home tomorrow (8.15pm).

Sheffield United, which looks certain to be relegated from the Premier League, faces Chelsea on Sunday (1.30am).

The other two ties see Everton hosting Manchester City on Sunday (1.30am) while the match of the round is Leicester against Manchester United on Monday (1am).

All eyes will be on Woodgate who was appointed The Cherries’ boss until the end of the season on Feb 21. He was the caretaker manager following the sacking of Jason Tindall on Feb 3.

In its 122-year history, Bournemouth has never gone past the quarterfinals of the world’s oldest football tournament.

Its previous best run was also the sixth round in 1957 where it lost 2-1 to Manchester United.

Seventh in the Championship standing, Bournemouth has a realistic chance of reaching the playoffs to earn promotion back to the Premier League, a year after its relegation.

For now though, a struggling Southampton which has only won one of its last six matches, will be firmly in its sights.

The Saints hope to use the FA Cup to kickstart their season which sees them 14th in the Premier League and not yet certain of escaping relegation despite having 33 points.

Sheffield United, rooted at the foot of the Premier League table with 14 points from 29 matches, looks doomed and will be hoping for some cup cheer against Chelsea.

The Blades have been rusty in front of goal this season, scoring a mere 16 times in the league. Such horrible stats saw manager Chris Wilder leave the club last weekend.

His replacement, Under-23s boss Paul Heckingbottom (what an appropriate name), then lost his first game 5-0 to Leicester.

Can he and his team pull off an upset against Chelsea?

The Blues, however, have been transformed since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard as boss.

The German has been at the helm for two months and Chelsea is unbeaten in 13 matches – nine wins and four draws.

More impressively, Chelsea has only conceded two goals in that run. As such, you can bet on the Londoners going through.

The two Manchester clubs are favourites to reach the semifinals as well.

They have the potential to set up the first Manchester derby FA Cup final.

Everton and Leicester will surely have something to say about that.

FIXTURES (Malaysian time)

FA Cup quarterfinals

SATURDAY
Bournemouth vs Southampton (8.15pm)

SUNDAY
Everton vs Manchester City (1.30am)
Chelsea vs Sheffield United (9.30pm)

MONDAY
Leicester vs Manchester United (1am)

Premier League

SATURDAY
Fulham vs Leeds (4am)

SUNDAY
Brighton vs Newcastle (4am)
West Ham vs Arsenal (11pm)

MONDAY
Aston Villa vs Tottenham (3.30pm)