LONDON: Chelsea handed manager Jose Mourinho the 51st birthday present of a 1-0 win over Stoke City but then found themselves having earned a fifth round tie at Manchester City.
The two meet next week in the Premier League. Even so, the game’s status as tie of the round will be run hard by the meeting-up of Premier leaders Arsenal and Liverpool who face each other a week earlier in the league at Anfield.
Chelsea beat Stoke with a superb free kick from Brazil midfielder Oscar. Mourinho, asked about the prospect of facing City next time in the Cup, said: “No problem. If you want to be the best then you have to play the best. One team [City] is the end product while one team [Chelsea] needs to improve and has a long way to go . . . but we are playing well.”
One complication in the Cup for both Manchester City and Arsenal is the fact that they play only days before facing Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively in the Champions League.
The bonus for Cup fans is that the progression of giants felling each other opens up the way for someone else to hope of emulating Wigan’s Cup-winning giant-killing last season. The holders are still there and go away to Premier strugglers Cardiff City.
Arsenal v Liverpool
Brighton & Hove Albion v Hull City
Cardiff City v Wigan Athletic
Everton v Swansea City
Manchester City v Chelsea
Sheffield United or Fulhjam v Nottingham Forest or Preston
Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Athletic
Sunderland v Southampton