More than 700 clubs have already exited this season’s FA Cup with just 32 remaining to battle it out to lift the Trophy held by Manchester City.
The lowest ranked club still standing is EFL Two side Northampton Town.
The Cobblers are just one round away from equalling the club’s best ever FA Cup run, and they kick off the 4th Round ties on Friday evening against Derby County, one of the teams to have defeated them on one of the three occasions they did reach the 5th Round.
A Cupset for Northampton Town would take the club into the 5th Round for the first time in 50 years.
Derby County are one of 18 former FA Cup winners still vying for FA Cup glory again. Another is Sheffield Wednesday who also play on Friday night at fellow EFL Championship club Queens Park Rangers.
Wednesday won 3-0 in the only other FA Cup meeting between the two sides, way back in the 1966-67 season. But 53 years isn’t the longest two teams in this season’s 4th Round have had to wait to meet up in the competition again.
The longest gap is 113 years, that’s how long Portsmouth have had to wait to try into avenge the 1-0 defeat to Barnsley in the 1906-07 2nd Round.
It’s apt that the score then was only one-nil, as Portsmouth and Barnsley both have unwanted low scoring FA Cup records.
Portsmouth hold the record for fewest goals scored en route to lifting the Trophy since the current format was put in place 94 years ago, netting just seven times to go on to lift the Cup in 2008.
Barnsley actually managed to be the only club so far to score fewer goals than actual games played when they won the Cup in 1912, needing a dozen games in total during the campaign, but scoring just 11 times.
Barnsley and Portsmouth have only met once before in the FA Cup, but at the other end of the familiarity scale is Hull City and Chelsea, who have been drawn together for the eighth time.
However, of the two sides Chelsea will be the far happier to be meeting Hull City again than the Tigers will be. In all their previous seven FA Cup ties it is the Blues who have progressed every time, making this the joint most mismatched pair up in FA Cup ‘Proper’ Round history.
At the other end of the past meetings scale it will be the first FA Cup meeting between Tranmere Rovers and Manchester United.
Surprisingly, the other tie involving clubs who’ve never met in the FA Cup before is the all Premier League meeting between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal. Bournemouth will be Arsenal’s 99th different opponent in the competition, whilst Arsenal will be the 154th different club the Cherries have faced in what is their 100th FA Cup campaign.
Also competing in the FA Cup for the 100th time is Cardiff City who travel to fellow EFL Championship side Reading on Saturday. Whilst the Royals have a three to two win ratio over their Welsh rivals in the competition, Bluebirds fans will know that their club defeated Reading in the 1927 Semi-Final en route to taking the Trophy out of England for the first, and so far, only time.
Coventry City are also one-time winners of the FA Cup and they have been drawn at home to Birmingham City in what is the quirkiest of this season’s 4th Round ties. Coventry are currently playing their ‘home’ matches at St Andrews, the actual home of Birmingham City, and so the Blues will be playing an FA Cup tie ‘away’ whilst at home.
Birmingham City are one of six clubs in this year’s 4th Round who have played in FA Cup Finals in the past but have yet to lift the Trophy. They have done so twice, uniquely under two different names.
Leicester City have also played in multiple FA Cup Finals without yet winning, with their four defeats in four Finals a competition record. The Foxes are also the only club to have won the top flight in England without yet lifting the FA Cup.
A tricky trip to EFL Championship side Brentford in this year’s 4th Round awaits, but Leicester have knocked out the Bees in all three of their previous FA Cup encounters.
The 4th Round tie pitting two sides together who have a more balanced past history in the competition is Southampton versus Tottenham Hotspur, who are drawn together for the seventh time, having won through three times each at the expense of the other in the past.
In one of those past ties, Southampton knocked out Spurs when the Saints were a non-league side and Spurs were the Cup holders. Whilst Southampton weren’t the first non-league side to knock the holders out of the FA Cup, they were the first to do so in what was the holder’s very next tie, when they won their 1st Round match in the 1901-02 season. Ironically, Spurs were also a non-league club at the time.
Finally, there are two other 4th Round ties that have EFL One clubs taking on Premier League sides. Oxford United travel to Newcastle United knowing that the only previous time the two clubs met in the competition, just three years ago, it was they who triumphed by three goals to nil.
Shrewsbury Town have also met runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool once before in the FA Cup, a game that the Reds won easily by four goals to nil. However, Shrewsbury did famously defeat the other Merseyside giants in the competition back in 2003, so will be keen to create a unique Cupset double.
Tie by Tie Previews (listed in Kick Off time order)
Friday 8.0 pm
Northampton Town v Derby County
Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield Wednesday
Brentford v Leicester City
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur
Millwall v Sheffield United
Reading v Cardiff City
West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion
Burnley v Norwich City
Coventry City v Birmingham City
Newcastle United v Oxford United
Portsmouth v Barnsley
Hull City v Chelsea
Manchester City v Fulham
Tranmere Rovers v Manchester United
Shrewsbury Town v Liverpool
AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal