Tales Top Tips: The pitch will be a great leveller at Spotland and can Wigan repeat history? Er, no

Tales Top Tips

The Premier League has chosen to have a weekend off. Let’s be honest, it could take the rest of the season off – we know who has won it. Having said that, everything from tenth downwards is pretty interesting so hopefully it will be back next week.

Anyway, FA Cup! Romance! Giant killings! Premier League reserve teams!

Leicester City vs Sheffield United

Claude Puel’s men will be hurting from their 5-1 defeat to Manchester City. Actually, scrub that. Claude Puel’s men will have just about stopped blaming Kasper Schmeichel for their 5-1 defeat to Manchester City last weekend. But as the pundits are telling us, the Foxes could be the outside bet for the FA Cup this season. I mean, really. It could never happen. A small club like Leicester defeating the odds and winning the FA Cup? Never.

Leicester City 3 – 1 Sheffield United

Chelsea vs Hull City

Whatever you do, don’t suggest this was a “gift” of a draw to Antonio Conte. He will not be impressed. The great thing about FA Cup draws like this is that it tells me things I didn’t know. Somehow I had missed the fact that Nigel Adkins was back in football, as manager of Hull City. See, every day is a school day. Chelsea might need to focus on winning this competition if they are to do anything of note this season and, unless they pick Bakayoko, should stroll past Hull with ease.

Chelsea 4 – 1 Hull City

Sheffield Wednesday vs Swansea City

It’s funny how the draw always throws up “narrative”. It is almost as if the TV companies have some kind of say in it. Carlos Carvalhal “left” Sheffield Wednesday and then turned up at Swansea City days later. Strange, seeing that Paul Clement hadn’t been sacked when Carlos left Hillsborough. Since arriving in Wales Carvalhal has turned Swansea City around, displaying the kind of managerial brilliance that will have Owls wondering (a) why they let him go in the first place and (b) why he couldn’t do that for them.

Sheffield Wednesday 1  – 2 Swansea City

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Coventry City

Coventry City are still in the Cup? I did not know that. Fair play to the 1987 winners and, you never know, this could be the upset. Brighton surely have their eyes on somehow staying in the Premier League and this cup stuff iscarva getting in the way. Coventry need something to cheer about as it has been a miserable few years. Stop Glenn Murray, stop Brighton I say.

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 – 1 Coventry City

West Bromwich Albion vs Southampton

Alan Pardew playing a former club yet again. Having beaten Liverpool’s first team in the previous round, WBA must be confident of beating their ‘B’ team. Yet, it would be very Pardew to lose this won as his ego will have gone through the roof beating Klopp at Anfield. Southampton though, they are not very good despite having some very good players.

West Bromwich Albion 1 – 1 Southampton

Huddersfield Town vs Manchester United

Manchester United in the FA Cup used to feel like a magical thing. You would almost guarantee that they would go hell for leather, try and get the game done early because they’d have a big Champions League game on the horizon. Well, the latter is still true but you can almost guarantee that Jose wants to bounce back from the 1-0 loss at Newcastle with a tight 1-0 win in Yorkshire. This will be dull.

Huddersfield Town 0 – 1 Manchester United

Rochdale vs Tottenham Hotspur

Juventus on Tuesday, Rochdale on Sunday. Don’t you just love it? The draw in Turin counts for nothing as Spurs go to play on that pitch at Spotland. I presume “spot” is in the name to signify the amount of grass on the land? Watch out for the bingo phrases “the pitch is a great leveller,” and “Spurs won’t be used to playing on pitches like this” and “this is what the FA Cup is all about”.

Rochdale 0 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester City

Just in case they don’t mention it on Monday night, Wigan once beat Manchester City in an FA Cup Final. It was quite a shock. People will be asking, with completely straight faces, whether they can do it again. That is the desperation of punditry in the current age. No. The answer is no.

Wigan Athletic 0 – 3 Manchester City