Premier League side Chelsea and West Ham United cruised into the last-eight of the FA Cup after both teams scored five goals against Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers respectively at the weekend during their fifth-round clashes.
The defending league champions punished a weakened; but young, City squad 5-1 on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, who will now face fellow English top-flight outfit Everton in the quarter-finals – a repeat of the 2009 final.
The Citizens went into the break level after forward David Faupala pinned back Diego Costa’s opener shortly before half-time. But Guus Hiddink’s hosts ran riot in the second period; as strikes from Willian, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and an unorthodox header from Bertrand Traore easily beat a despairing Willy Caballero in the visiting goal.
Elsewhere; West Ham also netted five goals during their trip to Ewood Park earlier on Sunday, thrashing Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers 5-1 in their own backyard.
But it was Paul Lambert’s side who surprisingly took the lead through Ben Marshall’s low drive in the 20th minute, although efforts from Victor Moses and a beautiful free-kick from Dimitri Payet saw the Premier League side establish a slender lead at the interval.
After the break; it was Slaven Bilic’s side who took total control of this FA Cup fifth-round tie, partly thanks to Chris Taylor’s dismissal just ten minutes into the second-half, as January addition Emmanuel Emenike bagged a brace before Payet capped off an individually brilliant performance with a late solo goal.
To add to the entertainment; Hammers midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate was also sent off with 15 minutes remaining, but that didn’t deter his teammates from completing the job in hand and setting up a last-eight meeting against either Shrewsbury Town or Manchester United who play this evening (19:45).
The remaining Sunday fixture saw Crystal Palace knock out Premier League title contenders Tottenham of the FA Cup after an impressive 1-0 win at White Hart Lane.
Defender Martin Kelly was the unlikely goalscoring hero; netting his first goal since November 2011, to send the Eagles through to the cup’s quarter-finals for the first time since 1995, where they will take on Reading at the Madejski Stadium in the next round.
Championship side Reading recorded a wonderful 3-1 victory over Premier League club West Brom on Saturday – although a crowd incident spoiled much of the game’s celebrations in Berkshire.
After a goalless opening 45 minutes; Darren Fletcher fired the Baggies in front just nine minutes into the second-half, only for goals from Paul McShane, Michael Hector and Lucas Piazon to complete a remarkable turnaround inside the Madejski as Brian McDermott’s Royals booked their place in the last-eight.
However; as mentioned, the game was tarnished after the final whistle when West Brom midfielder Chris Brunt was struck by a coin in the face after visiting the club’s supporters in the away end to show his appreciation. The Football Association and the respective two football clubs are set to carry out a full investigation.
Everton will host Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals next month after the Toffees reached the last-eight for the fourth time in five seasons after prevailing 2-0 victors at AFC Bournemouth.
Strikes from star men Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku in the second-half was enough to send Roberto Martinez’s side through, although the game’s outcome could have been very different if Cherries defender Charlie Daniels converted his first-half penalty.
Watford are the final guaranteed Premier League side to reach the last-eight of the competition after the Hornets fought off Championship opposition Leeds United 1-0 at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Manager Quique Sanchez Flores guided the club to their first FA Cup quarter-final appearance since 2007 after Whites defender Scott Wootton’s own goal was enough to send them through.
And finally; back-to-back FA Cup winners Arsenal will have to win at the KC Stadium in a fifth-round replay in order to defend their crown after being held to a goalless encounter by Hull City at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Tigers goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic took home the man of the match accolade after a string of tremendous saves denied the Gunners an easy passage into the last-eight – meaning both teams will have to fight it out again for a place in the quarter-finals during a congested fixture list for both Arsene Wenger and Steve Bruce’s men.