With the Premier League’s top two gone and the side sat in third yet to secure their place in the fifth round, the FA Cup would appear to be opening up.

There has been plenty of such talk since Chelsea and Manchester City had their respective noses bloodied by Bradford City and Middlesbrough.

Manchester United have also been making the headlines, having been held away at Cambridge United, while Liverpool and Sunderland must take in replays with Championship sides Bolton Wanderers and Fulham.

The best case scenario for Premier League clubs is that they will have 10 representatives in the last-16; the worst case is seven.

Whatever the outcome, with the next round of fixtures set to be staged on 14/15 February, there will be a few top-flight sides starting to place greater emphasis on their cup run.

It is, however, one thing to start dreaming of Wembley, and quite another to actually get there.

Is it even possible to prioritise cup success?

Of the top-flight outfits left in the competition - including those that made the draw despite being assured of progress – most, if not all, still have something to play for in the league.

United, Liverpool and Arsenal are all in the hunt for Champions League places, with West Ham United on the fringes of that pack but still very much in the European mix.

At the opposite end of the standings, Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Sunderland all have work to do to cement their standing among the elite.

They cannot afford any distractions, so the cup may actually be less of a priority to them.

The only team that could start to put more of their eggs in a cup-shaped basket is Stoke City, given that they find themselves comfortably positioned in the top half with little chance of pushing upwards or slipping backwards.

Mark Hughes’ men have also been drawn against second-tier opposition in the form of Blackburn Rovers at the next stage, which may go some to way to explaining why their odds have started to come in.

Those planning a visit to FA Cup betting website or a possible flutter on the Potters can now get them at 12/1, with only four sides ahead of them in that particular market.

You get the feeling that a few Stokies will be snapping up that price, but anticipation will bring with it added pressure.

If the ‘magic’ of the cup has taught us anything down the years, it is to expect the unexpected.

Silverware is not in sight yet, it is merely a mirage on the horizon that is drawing in hopeful/desperate football followers.

It is difficult not to dream, though, and nigh on impossible to tell those who believe 2015 could be their year that they need to rein in their ambition – after all, it is not every year that the big-hitters find the going so tough.

The FA Cup door has been knocked ajar, of that there is no doubt, but whether one of those starved of success in recent times can carve their name on the famous trophy, with plenty of other factors to take into consideration, remains to be seen.