If you didn’t catch Wrexham’s action-packed 3-3 draw with Sheffield United on Sunday, you really missed out. The word ‘thriller’, ‘epic’, or in this case – ‘cracker’ – can sometimes get thrown around to sell a match report but it’s hard to summarise how good this cup tie was in just a dozen words, with the Welsh underdogs going toe-to-toe with their Premier League-bound opponents.
It had a bit of everything: a talismanic scouser (in the form of Paul Mullin) tearing about the joint like a young Wayne Rooney, a last-minute equaliser, a crumbling ground full of character, full-bloodied tackles flying in, Jonathan Pearce going bananas on BBC commentary, Wrexham FA Cup legend Micky Thomas doing similar things in the stands (goodness knows where the Bootlegger is right now), a controversial red card, five second-half goals, and even a sprinkling of Hollywood dust in the form of Ryan Reynolds. Woof.
Naturally the pick of the post-match reaction belonged to the unlikely pairing of Blake Lively – who admitted to her 37 million followers that the “crippling anxiety” of the cup is very much alive – and Mullin, Wrexham’s No 10, who was a little heartbroken at his side’s result but seems ready to go again for the replay at Bramall Lane.
And so we arrive at the fifth-round draw. Some of the Premier League’s finest are out (Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle), and while Wrexham are the only non-league side left, they still have League Two’s Grimsby Town and a smattering of League One sides for company further down the English footballing pyramid.
Here are the teams (and corresponding numbers) for the draw, which will take place at 7pm GMT.
1 Tottenham Hotspur
3 Wrexham or Sheffield United
4 Ipswich Town or Burnley
5 Manchester United
6 Luton Town or Grimsby Town
7 Derby County or West Ham United
8 Stoke City
9 Blackburn Rovers or Birmingham City
10 Leicester City
11 Sheffield Wednesday or Fleetwood Town
12 Manchester City
13 Bristol City
14 Brighton & Hove Albion
15 Fulham or Sunderland
16 Leeds United
Just nine Premier League teams remain. Lower-league sides will be hoping for a plum draw at Old Trafford or the Etihad, but there is also a real opportunity to go even further in his competition, if one of the bigger sides don’t come their way.