Why is the FA Cup fifth round being played in midweek?

City are back in cup action this week
City are back in cup action this week / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Synonymous with magic, upsets, and 'The Big Match', the FA Cup has long been etched in British culture.

However, the competition doesn't quite boast the prestige of yesteryear. With the financial significance of alternate competitions seeing them take precedence, the FA Cup has been somewhat thrust to the periphery from the perspective of football's elite.

It would've been blasphemous back in the day for a full round of FA Cup action to be scheduled in midweek, but here we are. The upcoming FA Cup fifth round ties will be played over Tuesday and Wednesday with none of the games kicking off simultaneously.

This concept isn't entirely new, however. We've enjoyed midweek FA Cup rounds for the past couple of years. So, why the change?

Why is the FA Cup fifth round being played in midweek?

Hectic scheduling is a feature of modern football, and sacrifices were made ahead of the 2019/20 campaign to alleviate some of the struggle.

While FA Cup replays have been scrapped from the quarter-final stage onwards since 2015, the FA then decided to scrap fifth-round replays.

Thus, a midweek round was introduced to ease fixture congestion and ensure these ties were decided on the night either through extra time or penalties (should the contest end in a draw after 90 minutes).

Will the FA Cup fifth round clash with Premier League games?

The 2022/23 season has already had an enormous amount of football crammed into the calendar - not least with a winter World Cup in Qatar to accommodate - and there will also be Premier League games being played this midweek.

Arsenal and Everton will face off at the Emirates while Wolves visit Liverpool, with both matches taking place on Wednesday evening. That night has four FA Cup fixtures slated, with Manchester United and Tottenham both in action.

FA Cup fifth round fixtures

Here are the eight FA Cup fifth round ties:

  • 28/02/23 - Stoke vs Brighton & Hove Albion (19:15)
  • 28/02/23 - Leicester vs Blackburn Rovers (19:30)
  • 28/02/23 - Fulham vs Leeds Utd (19:45)
  • 28/02/23 - Bristol City vs Man City (20:00)
  • 01/02/23 - Southampton vs Grimsby Town (19:15)
  • 01/02/23 - Burnley vs Fleetwood Town (19:30)
  • 01/02/23 - Man Utd vs West Ham Utd (19:45)
  • 01/02/23 - Sheffield Utd vs Tottenham (19:55)

2022/23 FA Cup remaining round dates

The may only be 16 teams left in the competition but there were a fair few more eyeing famous cup runs when the preliminary rounds got underway back in August last year.

The first round proper began in November before Premier League teams joined in the third round at the start of 2023. Teams now need to navigate the fifth round and the quarter finals to play at Wembley in this season's FA Cup.



Fifth round

March 1 2023

Quarter finals

March 18 2023

Semi finals

April 22 2023


June 3 2023