Stage set for more FA Cup upsets

LONDON - Despite all the talk of the Premier League being vastly superior to the divisions beneath it, just three of England's elite clubs could be left standing in the FA Cup after this weekend's fourth round ties.

With nine of the 20 Premier League sides already eliminated in the third round earlier this month, the stage is set for lower division clubs to cause some more upsets.

Only three top-flight clubs are guaranteed to survive as they are playing in all-Premier League ties.

Arsenal meet Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium, Wigan Athletic host FA Cup holders Chelsea while record 11-time FA Cup winners Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur will also represent the top flight in the last 16.

Five others face lower division opposition although Havant & Waterlooville, from the sixth tier of the English league pyramid, would have to produce the greatest shock in the history of the competition if they were to knock out Liverpool at Anfield.

Derby County, the bottom side in the top flight, could struggle at home to Championship side Preston North End, while Middlesbrough could be embarrassed at lowly League Two (fourth division) Mansfield Town.

Portsmouth should beat Championship side Plymouth Argyle at home, but Sheffield United could claim their second Premier League victim after Bolton, if they beat Manchester City at Bramall Lane. - Reuters