By 90Min
February 18, 2019

The fifth round of the FA Cup took over the English football calendar this weekend, with seven of the eight ties played on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Here's a look at five things we learned from the action.

Game of Two Halves

The old cliché was certainly apt in the case of Swansea's 4-1 comeback win over fellow Championship club Brentford on Saturday after initially being heavily outplayed.

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"I thought Brentford were the better team in the first half. We had to respond at half-time because the environment was not so positive," manager Graham Potter told Match of the Day.

"We needed to change the dynamic. We had to respect that we were playing against a good team. We were probably happy to be 1-0 down at half-time and still alive in the game."

Having matched last season's quarter final appearance, Swansea have only been further in the FA Cup twice in their history, reaching the semi finals in 1926 and 1964.

The Magic of the Cup Lives

For more than 45 of minutes of football, lowly Newport County were equals with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City, brought together by the FA Cup.

The all-star visitors to Rodney Parade didn't take the lead until after half-time and weren't comfortable until the final 15 minutes. Even then, Newport pulled a goal back through fourth round hero Padraig Amond to make it 2-1 in the 88th minute.


Only two even later City goals put a 4-1 skew on the eventual score-line.

This is the same Newport who came within eight minutes of knocking out Tottenham last season and have already put out Leicester and Middlesbrough from higher divisions this time around. They won't be going any further in 2019, but for them and others like them, the magic of the cup lives.

Foden Stakes His Claim

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Manchester City prospect Phil Foden hasn't had an easy ride trying to establish himself in the first team following the hype that resulted from his starring role in the 2017 Under-20 World Cup.

Manager Pep Guardiola preached 'patience' when Brahim Diaz quit the club to join Real Madrid in January and Foden has had to have lots of it. The 18-year-old has featured only once in the Premier league since the end of November and has to take opportunities when they come.

A rare start, only his eighth of the season in all competitions and his first in nearly a month, was met with two goals to kill off a plucky Newport. All he can do is perform, in whatever circumstances, when Guardiola does turn to him and hope it leads to more chances further down the line.

Open Competition

With no Liverpool, Arsenal or Tottenham left and one of Chelsea or Manchester United to be knocked out on Monday night, this season's FA Cup is increasingly open for a 'smaller' club to at least reach the semi finals and book one, maybe two dates at Wembley.

Watford, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Wolves all won through in round five. And, should Manchester City be drawn against the winners of the Manchester United/Chelsea tie in the next round, it opens up the competition for the other clubs to get through.


If it comes down to a one-off game in the semi-final or final against one of the remaining two big clubs, anything could happen. Just ask Wigan, last season or 2013, take your pick.

Plenty at Stake

While a handful of mid-table Premier League clubs might fancy their chances of a Wembley final or even a rare trophy, the FA Cup could equally be crucial for Manchester United or Chelsea.

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With only Manchester City posing a major threat for whoever wins Monday night's tie, both clubs will see the competition as winnable this season. That could be key because Maurizio Sarri might need some tangible evidence of success to save his job at Stamford Bridge, while FA Cup glory could strengthen Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's bid for a permanent gig at Old Trafford.

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