6 Players to Watch During This Weekend's FA Cup 5th Round Ties

After an absolute slew of supposed giant killings in the previous round, the FA Cup's last 16 has thrown some intriguing fixtures out for this weekend. 


For the first time since the 1880's, there are two non-league teams in the fifth round, whilst only eight of the sixteen are from the top division of English football. There are no Premier League teams facing off against each other, and many of these teams have their eyes firmly fixed on surviving relegation, or are pursuing the title. 


There are headlines to be written this weekend, and these are five players that could be the subject of them. 

6. Michy Batshuayi - Chelsea

If there is anyone in west London that is not happy about Chelsea's current state of dominance, it is surely Michy Batshuayi. 


Many would've expected the Belgian striker to be a marquee signing, having brought him in from Marseille in the summer for £30m, yet Batshuayi has barely featured given the form of Diego Costa. Eyebrows were raised when Chelsea boss Antonio Conte chose to play Eden Hazard centrally instead of Batshuayi when Costa was suspended against Bournemouth. 


The striker is still young, so has time on his side, and has also reliably scored in cup competitions when called upon, including a goal and an assist in Chelsea's demolition of Brentford in the last round. 


With Chelsea facing an inconsistent Wolves side, and the consistent threat of Chelsea's playing style - assuming the Belgian starts, he should certainly find opportunities. 

5. Matt Rhead - Lincoln City

Only in the FA Cup would you get a man like Matt Rhead facing off against Premier League opposition. Standing 6'4", and weighing nearly 17 stone, Rhead will be the dictionary definition of nuisance value, when his Lincoln City side travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley.

 

Lincoln are currently top of the National League with a game in hand over their nearest competitors, and their victory over Brighton in the last round brought a lot of praise for both their players, and their PE-teacher-turned-manager Danny Cowley.


However, Burnley's home form has been nigh on impeccable this season, and in all likelihood, this will see them keep their place in the Premier League. This leaves the door open for a potential cup run for the Clarets, who will be able to transfer their tremendous work ethic to other competitions. 


Lincoln faced Brighton without a shred of fear last round, and having won that fixture, will approach the fixture with Burnley with even more confidence. Rhead will play a critical role in any successes that they may find on Saturday.

4. Cameron Carter-Vickers - Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs endured a stunning match against Wycombe in the fourth round, barely scraping through after going 2-0, and then 3-2 down to Gareth Ainsworth's Wanderers. Against the human wrecking ball that is Adebayo Akinfenwa, 18-year-old Cameron Carter-Vickers certainly had his hands full. 


Akinfenwa didn't manage to score however, even in the chaos of the game's first half. Carter-Vickers may have struggled against him physically at times, but the young American had a cool enough head on his shoulders to successfully marshal and frustrate the striker. 


Carter-Vickers has made the most of cup starts this season, looking promising in early rounds of the EFL Cup too, and will hope to keep his place when Spurs face Fulham this weekend. The American is incredibly strong for his age, and shows a composure on the ball that makes him a worthy understudy to the likes of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. 

3. Helder Costa - Wolves

At night, Liverpool's back line may still find themselves waking in fright, haunted by the image of a young Portuguese man haring towards them, clad in orange and black. 


He may not have scored, but Wolves' Helder Costa won their fourth round tie against Liverpool almost single-handedly. His wicked free kick after only a minute allowed Richard Stearman to give Wolves the lead, before leading the charge in a storming counter attack, to slip Andi Weimann through to score the second. 


This performance alone prompted Wolves to shell out £13m to make the winger's loan move from Benfica a permanent one. That's a huge amount to spend on such a young player, particularly for a Championship club that won't be challenging for a playoff spot this season. 


Clearly the club thinks the world of him, and provided he keeps performing like he did at Anfield, many others may soon replicate that opinion of him. 

2. Ryan Sessegnon - Fulham

Here's a player so young that it'll make you feel a bit sick. Born May 18 2000, Ryan Sessegnon has lit up the last two rounds for the Cottagers, seizing his opportunity with both of his obscenely youthful hands. 


Starting the match against Hull as a left back, Sessegnon spent most of the game in such an advanced position that Lucas Piazon (the actual left winger on the day) was basically invisible.


His mazy dribbling and almost subconscious ability to bomb on tore the Tigers to pieces that day, as he bagged himself a goal, an assist, and the attention of Football Manager players around the world.  

1. Demarai Gray - Leicester City

Possibly the only bright spot of Leicester's miserable title defence has been the opportunities presented through Demarai Gray, through the desperate rotation of Claudio Ranieri. Gray tore Derby County apart consistently in the fourth round replay, polishing a great performance off with a stunning solo goal. 


The calls for him to start have grown louder and louder since then, and although he couldn't turn the Foxes fortunes around against Swansea last weekend, he still carries enough form and threat to start in Leicester's visit to the New Den on Saturday. 


Unlike many other entries on this list, Gray has experience of the direct and robust style of the lower leagues, having played for Championship side Birmingham City before the move to Leicester last January. His experience against teams like Millwall, coupled with his own individual quality, could prove pivotal for Leicester, and could give Gray himself a large say in whether or not he holds down a role in Ranieri's team. 

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