The Emirates FA Cup is back with a bang this weekend, and all eight of the Round Five fixtures see a Premier League side up face lower-tier opponents.
That means there’s plenty of scope for an upset – as well as plenty of examples to inspire those sides looking to perform a giant-killing.
So climb into the (sadly metaphorical) Ladbrokes News time machine to relieve three of the best shocks from Fifth Rounds gone by…
Tranmere Rovers 4-3 Southampton (February 20, 2001)
One of the all-time great cup ties, this one had it all. A side coming from 3-0 down to win. Second-tier strugglers away at Prem heavyweights. And a veteran striker netting a hat-trick. What a classic – unless you’re of a Saints persuasion, of course!
Hassan Kachloul and Southampton dominated the first half, with the Moroccan netting the opener, before setting up Jo Tessem for the second. And when Dean Richards bravely bundled home the third before the break, it looked to be job done for the south coast outfit.
But step forward: Paul Rideout. Having netted the winner in the 1995 FA Cup Final, the then-35-year-old made another piece of cup history, chalking up a sensational second-half hat-trick, before another former Evertonian, Stuart Barlow, netted the winner.
Tranmere fell just short in the Quarter-Finals, losing 4-2 at the hands of Liverpool, but this night of cup magic will live forever in the memories of the Prenton Park faithful.
Liverpool 1-2 Barnsley (February 16, 2008)
The Reds may have avoided a banana-skin tie against Tranmere before going on to win the cup in 2001, but they’ve been on the receiving end of some humblings in this competition over the years. And none have been more memorable than the day they were torn apart by the Tykes at Anfield.
Things seemed to be going to plan for Rafael Benitez’s men when Dirk Kuyt netted the opener after 32 minutes, but Barnsley – who went on to beat Chelsea in the Quarter-Finals – hadn’t read the script.
With 56 minutes on the clock, Martin Devaney whipped in an inch-perfect cross for defender Stephen Foster – marauding upfield – to nod home. And following an onslaught from the hosts, the South Yorkshire club won it in the most dramatic fashion, as Bryan Howard netted a 90th-minute solo wondergoal. The stuff that dreams are made of.
Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn Rovers (February 16, 2013)
Rovers may have been the underdogs at the Emirates for this Fifth Round clash, but they certainly weren’t overawed by their hosts, holding firm against an attacking onslaught, before Colin Kazim-Richards’ effort bounced in off the post with 18 minutes left.
Indeed, Arsenal chalked up an incredible 26 shots during the game, with 12 of them ending up on target, but couldn’t find a way past visiting keeper Jake Kean, with the Blackburn stopper producing a string of outstanding saves – while Tomas Rosicky came closest of all, rattling the bar with a thunderous strike.
While there’s been a huge turnover in the Ewood Park squad since then, there’s little doubt that the class of 2017 will be using that against-the-odds victory to inspire them when Manchester United visit for Sunday’s Fifth Round tie.
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