FA Cup fifth round predictions: Nottingham Forest the dark horses for the quarter-finals

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Unusually for a round of FA Cup fixtures, this year’s fifth round ties will all take place on a Wednesday night, under the floodlights.

That always seems to add something to any game, but the winner-takes-all scenario for this season gives the oldest cup competition in the world an extra edge.

So who is likely to make it into the last eight…

Crystal Palace v Stoke

Patrick Vieira has worked wonders with a stale and tired Crystal Palace side.

The Frenchman has got just the right mix of tough, physical players, alongside creative stars and those, such as Conor Gallagher, with a real eye for goal.

A packed Selhurst Park is bound to see another entertaining game, and the chance for the Eagles to go the furthest they’ve been in the competition since losing to Manchester United in the 1990 final.

Prediction: Crystal Palace

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Peterborough v Man City

Sandwiched in between Man City’s Champions League ties, this fixture affords Pep Guardiola the opportunity of resting a number of his senior stars.

Not that he will necessarily take advantage.

Kidderminster were incredibly unlucky to lose to West Ham, Plymouth gave Chelsea a scare, Nottingham Forest were much the better side against Leicester, and at the time of writing, Boreham Wood are beating Bournemouth.

Whomever City put out, they will have far too much for a stubborn but limited Peterborough side.

Prediction: Man City

Middlesbrough v Tottenham

What a game in prospect on Teeside.

Antonio Conte’s only real hope of silverware in his first season at White Hart Lane comes in the FA Cup, but the North Londoners aren’t going to enjoy heading north.

Middlesbrough showed what they were made of at Old Trafford when dumping out Manchester United.

Playing at home with a partisan crowd behind them will tip the balance in a game where a single goal will win it.

Prediction: Middlesbrough

Nottm. Forest v Huddersfield

The way in which Forest dismantled both Arsenal and Leicester at the City Ground should have Huddersfield quaking in their boots.

It is the FA Cup and anything can happen, but if there’s one thing about the Midlanders this season, it’s the belief that Steve Cooper has instilled into his young side.

Always on the front foot, and solid at the back, they are the dark horses of this competition thus far.

Prediction: Nottm. Forest

Luton Town v Chelsea

In their last six games in all competitions, the Hatters have only let in one goal, so Chelsea will know the size of their task when they arrive at Kenilworth Road.

However, the Championship side won’t have faced a front line like the one Chelsea possess and it’s that superior fire power that will see the blues home in a repeat of their 1994 semi-final.

Prediction: Chelsea

Liverpool v Norwich City

If there’s one side that Norwich would’ve want to have avoided, especially at Anfield, it’s Liverpool.

The Reds are the Canaries bogey side, and Norwich have only beaten them twice on Merseyside since 1988, per 11 v 11.

With Premier League salvation a much higher priority, expect Liverpool to triumph at a canter.

Prediction: Liverpool

Everton v Bournemouth/Boreham Wood

Although the game between Bournemouth and Boreham Wood hasn’t concluded at the time of writing, Everton under Frank Lampard will have far too much about them for either side.

In the short space of time that Lampard has been in charge at Goodison Park, the mood has lifted, and that spirit was seen in their play during the former England international’s first game in charge, a brilliant 4-1 win over Brentford to put them into the fifth round.

Expect more of the same.

Prediction: Everton

Southampton v West Ham

This could be a low key tie of the round.

Both teams love to play football on the deck, with the Hammers having a bit more physicality than the Saints.

St. Mary’s isn’t the happiest of hunting grounds for the East Londoners, but after squeezing past Kidderminster, David Moyes will surely fancy his side’s chances of making their passage into the quarters much easier than that.

Particularly if Southampton have one of their off days.

Prediction: West Ham

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