Belfast Telegraph

City will aim to step up FA Cup defence against the Cottagers

Front foot: Arsenal ace Nicolas Pepe on the attack against Leeds
Front foot: Arsenal ace Nicolas Pepe on the attack against Leeds

By Lewis Samuel

Holders Manchester City will face Fulham in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The Cottagers', currently in the Championship, reward for knocking out Aston Villa last Saturday is a daunting trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Liverpool will face lower-division opposition in the form of either Bristol City or Shrewsbury.

Should League One Tranmere get past Watford, having come from 3-0 down to draw at the weekend, they will host either Manchester United or Wolves.

Rochdale, who also secured a replay against a top-flight side, will entertain Oxford if they can finish the job against Newcastle.

Chelsea head to Hull, Leicester travel to Brentford, and Tottenham, should they win their replay against Middlesbrough, will be away at Southampton.

Former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic will take his West Brom side to the London Stadium.

Arsenal, who beat Leeds 1-0 last night, will travel to Bournemouth, while another all-Premier League showdown sees Norwich head to Burnley.

Sheffield will migrate to London for the weekend after United were drawn at Millwall and Wednesday landed QPR.

Northampton, the lowest-ranked side definitely through, host Wayne Rooney and Derby.

The ties will take place over the weekend of January 24-27.

Meanwhile, Premier League sides made seven changes to their teams on average as the FA Cup third round followed a hectic festive programme.

Sheffield United altered all 11 players and Leicester and Southampton 10 apiece as teams averaged 7.0 changes.

There were 140 changes in total, with only Everton, Tottenham, West Ham and Arsenal - who made four alterations for last night's clash with Leeds - naming fewer than five.

Premier League managers have been critical of the fixture schedule across the Christmas and New Year period.

The round of fixtures on December 28 and 29 saw Leicester make nine changes and Brighton and West Ham seven apiece.

One of the strongest critics, Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, made only five changes for his side's trip to Rochdale - though, with 10 players injured including three full-backs, his options were limited.

The Blades, though, gave debuts to goalkeeper Michael Verrips and new signing Jack Rodwell against non-league AFC Fylde and included two players, Kieron Freeman and Kean Bryan, who have yet to play a minute of Premier League football. Ravel Morrison and Leon Clarke have played just 12 and 13 minutes respectively in the league.

An Everton side showing just two changes - Morgan Schneiderlin and Theo Walcott replacing Tom Davies and Fabian Delph - went down 1-0 to Liverpool as Curtis Jones scored a stunning winner for a Reds side with nine players switched.

Belfast Telegraph


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