The FA Cup fourth round draw was announced during the Chelsea vs. Ipswich match today, and Chelsea have one of the most challenging opponents available: Everton at Goodison Park. With the Blues full of new confidence after the 7-0 demolition of their hapless opponents at Stamford Bridge this evening, they won't be scared of the Toffees, but it would have been nice to have another cushy lower-league-side-at-home draw. Fourth-round games will be played at the end of the month. The full draw is below, complete with colour coding if you're like me and have no idea what tier of football the likes of Huddersfield Town currently inhabit.
|Torquay||vs.||Crawley Town / Derby|
|/ Leeds||vs.||Huddersfield Town|
|Doncaster /||vs.||Stoke / Cardiff|
|Notts County||vs.||Leicester /|
|West Ham||vs.||Nottingham Forest|
|Sheffield Wednesday||vs.||Wycombe / Hereford|
Premier League / Championship / League One / League Two / Conference
Table 1: FA Cup Fourth Round Draw.
There are a fair amount of Premiership-only fixtures that will clear out a lot of the top-tier sides for the fifth round. Aside from Chelsea vs. Everton, we have the mandatory Villa-Blackburn tie, Bolton-Wigan, and Fulham-Tottenham awaiting our attention. Manchester United will be travelling to League One Southampton, and Arsenal and Manchester City both have relatively easy draws assuming they can survive their replays. The West Ham vs. Nottingham Forest game should be a cracker, and is the obvious pick for an upset, but Coventry could cause Birmingham problems at St. Andrews as well. We're guaranteed at least six teams from the lower leagues in the last sixteen, no matter what happens.
Obviously this isn't the draw that we'd all have wanted, but for the neutrals Everton against Chelsea will be a cracking match. Everton have overcome their shaky start to the season and have done very well against big teams at home, and we haven't taken three points off them in years, having drawn at home against them twice in a row and losing badly as the visiting team last season in a game that featured a nice ankle breaking tackle on Ashley Cole from Landon Donovan. The upcoming match is sandwiched between trips to Bolton and Sunderland, so it'll be plenty tough - but if the Blues can play like they did today they should make it through ok.
What think you?