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Everton out of FA Cup, but tournament still important

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In order to achieve European qualification, here’s what Everton need to happen.

Eastleigh FC v Swindon Town - The Emirates FA Cup First Round
The FA Cup trophy
Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

This weekend brings the fifth round of the FA Cup, which Everton, of course, are not participating in, thanks to being unceremoniously bounced by Leicester City at Goodison Park earlier in the campaign.

However, there remains some intrigue in the event. If the Blues keep the course to finish 7th in the Premier League, they can qualify for the Europa League if Manchester United win the EFL Cup, and a side above them in the table win the FA Cup. Namely, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, United, or City. The Red Devils take on Southampton in the League Cup final next weekend at Wembley.

Saturday afternoon sees Manchester City host Huddersfield Town and Chelsea play Wolverhampton Wanderers. Sunday brings Fulham at Tottenham Hotspur, while Blackburn Rovers visit Old Trafford.

It may be uncomfortable to find oneself cheering for one of the top six sides, but these are strange times. If Everton have any chance of qualifying for European competition next season, this is how it will come, and it would surely represent a major step forward in the Ronald Koeman era.