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There’s been a sharp upturn in form from Sheffield United over the last month as having lost 18 of 21 winless matches across all competitions dating back to mid-July, they’ve now won five of their last eight, with all three exceptions coming to ‘Big Six’ sides Man City, Spurs and Chelsea, so they’ll still have confidence despite their defeat to the Blues at the weekend.
Bristol City did well to see off Championship opposition in Millwall in the fourth round with a convincing 3-0 victory, though they’ve lost three of their four matches since then and have loosened their grip on a charge for the playoffs.
The Robins haven’t progressed past this round since their 1973-74 quarter-final run, while this is only their second fifth-round appearance in the last 19 years and while they’ve come through a couple of tough matches to get here, this is their first taste of Premier League opposition this season.
Bristol don’t have the best recent record against top-flight opposition in recent years, going W1-D1-L5 since the beginning of the 2014/15 season, failing to score in any of those defeats to Wolves, West Brom, Watford, West Ham and Burnley, though they may take some hope from the fact that their one victory in this period came against a rock-bottom Huddersfield outfit, and Sheffield United are struggling in quite a similar fashion.
Sheffield United -1 Handicap Draw
The Blades have a strong recent record in this competition, winning five of their last six matches when including extra time, while their only defeat came narrowly last year to eventual winners Arsenal.
In fact, when up against non-Premier League opponents, Sheffield United have an incredibly strong record of W24-D4-L4 since the beginning of 2008/09, so the Robins have some work to do here.
Hard-fought and tight encounters have been a staple of Chris Wilder’s side’s games over the last couple of seasons, and the cup has been no exception.
Indeed, 10 of their last 11 FA Cup meetings have been decided by just a single strike one way or the other, and similar could be said of their recent form with nine of their most recent 11 in all competitions seeing that exact outcome, including each of their last five.
Bristol City are no walk in the park, though all things considered Sheffield United should just have enough to reach the quarterfinals for the second successive season, and the one goal winning margin provides the best value here.