FA Cup and Premier League: 11 things to look out for this weekend | Premier

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1) Kompany can cause shock on return

Who can forget Vincent Kompany stepping up to power in a 71st-minute winner v Leicester for what was his final Manchester City goal in a game Pep Guardiola’s side had to win to set up the chance to seal the title in their next and final match of 2018-19? They did, City subsequently became champions, and the captain, Kompany, had a dream end to a garlanded 11 years at the club. Now it could be reverse-fortunes time as the Belgian plots Burnley’s elimination of Guardiola’s team from the FA Cup. Can he do so? Why not: Kompany’s Clarets are the 13-point runaway leaders of the Championship and knockout football is all about romantic upsets. Jamie Jackson

2) A battle for history at Bramall Lane

It’s been eight years since a team from outside the Premier League made the semi-finals of the FA Cup (Reading, in 2015). That drought will end this Sunday as one of Sheffield United or Blackburn will progress to the last four. This is the most open and inclusive edition of the tournament for some time – half of the final eight teams play outside the top flight. Sheffield United were third-tier semi-finalists in 2014, and this is their third quarter-final in four seasons. Blackburn have a shoddy record at Bramall Lane, having lost there in all four of their previous visits – and Rovers’ last win here came courtesy of an Alan Shearer double in 1994. A win this weekend and a trip to Wembley would provide a shot in the arm for either team as they both push for promotion. Daniel Gallan

Iliman Ndiaye celebrates a goal
Sheffield United got Bramall Lane rocking as they eliminated Tottenham in the fifth round. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images/Reuters

3) Will Grimsby hook another big fish?

Only five other teams from the fourth tier or lower have come as far as Grimsby have in 151 years. And though this is a dramatic mismatch, with 78 clubs separating the two teams, the underdogs have a genuine chance of becoming the lowest-ranked team to reach the last four of the FA Cup. They’re the first team to in the competition’s history to eliminate five opponents from a higher division in a single season. Plymouth Argyle (5-1), Cambridge United (2-1), Burton (1-0), Luton (3-0 in a replay) were all beaten before Southampton were undone 2-1 on their own patch. The Brighton manager, Roberto De Zerbi, will no doubt want to avoid adding his club to the above list but, with the Seagulls flying in the league and chasing Europe, he might be tempted to rest some key players. Daniel Gallan

4) Absences test Ten Hag’s ambitions

Casemiro, who knows a bit about winning and winning managers, has confessed “surprise” at Erik ten Hag’s obsessive need to do so, this assessment from the Brazilian coming with a subtext of admiration. Fulham’s visit offers the next step in the Dutchman’s attempt to lead Manchester United to a second trophy of the season. Casemiro is suspended (the first of four games), so it should be Fred and one of Marcel Sabitzer and…

Read More: FA Cup and Premier League: 11 things to look out for this weekend | Premier 2023-03-17 17:05:00

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