FA Cup

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the four FA Cup quarter-final matches as well as the one Premier League fixture. Last time out we got nine out of ten predictions right and two correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Bradford vs Reading (12:45)
The Bantams are entering this match as favourites given their recent cup history in both the FA Cup and the League Cup and particularly considering their home form in cup competitions. Reading may be a division above them but pundits have largely written them off, however, I’m not sure that they will roll over so easily. The Royals will be fully aware of the dangers that Bradford will pose in this tie so they shouldn’t underestimate them. In addition to this, there are question marks over whether the Bantams will be able to be motivate themselves to perform at the levels they have in previous rounds because Reading aren’t such a big name. For those reasons, I think the tie might go back to the Madjeski Stadium.
Prediction: Bradford 1-1 Reading

QPR vs Spurs (15:00)
The weekend’s only Premier League fixture features two sides facing very different battles. The R’s are back in the relegation zone following their defeat to Arsenal in midweek, whereas Spurs put themselves firmly in contention for a top-four spot with their 3-2 victory over Swansea. Mauricio Pochettino will be expecting his side to use their game in hand wisely and put real pressure on the sides above them and they should do that.
Prediction: QPR 1-2 Spurs

Aston Villa vs West Brom (17:30)
This is a very interesting cup-tie. It’s a local derby and the same fixture was played on Tuesday night where Villa came out on top 2-1 through a late Christian Benteke penalty. The atmosphere should be electric and both sets of players will be up for it, especially because a trip to Wembley awaits the winner. The Villans were the stronger side when the sides last met but Baggies’ boss Tony Pulis will get a reaction out of his players. It could go either way and neither side will want a replay but I’ll sit on the fence and say that’s what they’ll get.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 West Brom

Sunday

Liverpool vs Blackburn (16:00)
Brendan Rodgers’ side are the form team of 2015 and Rovers couldn’t have picked a worse time to play them. Having said that, Liverpool must guard against complacency as Blackburn have knocked out Premier League opposition in the form of Stoke and Swansea already this competition but this is a real opportunity for The Reds to lift a trophy and it’s hard to see Rovers stopping them.
Prediction: Liverpool 3-0 Blackburn

Man United vs Arsenal (20:00)
This should be a fascinating tie. Louis van Gaal’s team are yet to convince anyone of their powers but United always seem to have a hold over The Gunners. Arsenal, meanwhile, have been in good league form but are still susceptible to conceding silly goals and gifting opportunities to the opposition. United have the firepower to capitalise on those sort of chances and I think this will end up as a high-scoring draw.
Prediction: Man United 2-2 Arsenal

Midweek Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 28th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got three out of eight predictions right and two correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Tuesday

Aston Villa vs West Brom (19:45)
Tim Sherwood has had a terrible introduction to life managing Aston Villa and The Villans have now lost their last seven league matches. The Baggies, meanwhile, earned another win against Southampton and Tony Pulis looks set to guide them to safety. These two clubs face each other twice this week as they have their FA Cup quarter-final to look forward to on Saturday but Villa simply cannot afford to lose this and Pulis is unlikely to allow Villa to close the gap on his side so a draw would be the logical outcome.
Prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 West Brom

Hull vs Sunderland (19:45)
Last time out Hull were defeated away at Stoke while Sunderland lost away at Man United – neither of which were disastrous results. Hull have shown good form against the sides around them recently, beating both Villa and QPR, but Sunderland have demonstrated time and time again that they are very difficult to break down. This could be a cagey affair and don’t be surprised to see it finish goalless.
Prediction: Hull 0-0 Sunderland

Southampton vs Crystal Palace (19:45)
The Saints’ top-four challenge has drifted away in recent weeks and there are few people who will be genuinely surprised by that. Palace have reached 30 points, convincingly beat West Ham at the weekend and look like they will be comfortably safe. Southampton have shown throughout the season that they can bounce back from a setback and they will need to again here to keep their slim Champions League hopes alive.
Prediction: Southampton 2-1 Crystal Palace

Wednesday

Man City vs Leicester (19:45)
City wasted a golden opportunity to put Chelsea under pressure whilst they weren’t in league action but were very poor and now need a minor miracle if they’re going to bag a trophy this season. Manuel Pellegrini’s job will now be under serious scrutiny from their demanding owners. Leicester enjoyed the comfort of a break at the weekend but it is unlikely to do them many favours at the Etihad.
Prediction: Man City 3-0 Leicester

Newcastle vs Man United (19:45)
The Magpies bounced back from their crushing defeat at the hands of Man City to beat Aston Villa and virtually confirmed Premier League safety. United returned to winning ways but will know that they can’t drop points in this game as they prepare to face Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool in their three fixtures following this match. They may still not be at their fluent best but they should still be able to beat Newcastle.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Man United

QPR vs Arsenal (19:45)
The R’s benefitted from a rest this weekend but the arrival of The Gunners represents a tough fixture for a side that generally rely on their home results. Arsenal may as well have had the weekend off as Everton put up little resistance but this is not an easy fixture for Arsene Wenger’s men. The pitch will suit QPR more than it will Arsenal and Chris Ramsey’s side will hope to get in their face and cause them problems. Having said that, Arsenal should have enough quality to edge this.
Prediction: QPR 1-2 Arsenal

Stoke vs Everton (19:45)
Mark Hughes’ side did what they traditionally do best and won at home this weekend while Everton faltered once more. Roberto Martinez must surely want them to focus all their attention on winning the Europa League to try to earn qualification to the Champions League through that route. Their league form is less important providing they steer clear of relegation and I can’t see Stoke giving them an easy ride here.
Prediction: Stoke 2-1 Everton

Spurs vs Swansea (19:45)
Tottenham may have been disappointed to lose the Capital One Cup final but it’s important that they put that behind them quickly and focus on their push for a Champions League place. Swansea have suddenly returned to superb form and will not make this easy for Mauricio Pochettino’s team but they have enough in the tank to get a win.
Prediction: Spurs 2-1 Swansea

West Ham vs Chelsea (19:45)
The Hammers lost the plot at the weekend and it was surprising to watch them concede such a high number of goals again. Chelsea, on the other hand, enjoyed an excellent win over Spurs to lift the Capital One Cup trophy. They will have to guard against complacency but they could be catching Sam Allardyce’s team at just the right time and can keep their five-point gap at the top intact.
Prediction: West Ham 0-2 Chelsea

Liverpool vs Burnley (20:00)
The Reds’ great form continued with a win over Man City and they are breathing down the necks of Arsenal and Man United to earn Champions League football. Burnley, meanwhile, lost to Swansea at home and I am struggling to see an escape from relegation for them now. This is the last team Sean Dyche would want his side to be facing at the moment and they won’t be able to get a result at Anfield.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Burnley

Weekend Preview and Predictions

@0riginalfooty takes a look at the weekend fixtures for the 26th round of Premier League football. Last time out we got four out of ten predictions right and no correct scores. Will we do better this week?

Saturday

Aston Villa vs Stoke (15:00)
A lot has changed at Villa Park since their defeat at Hull where they were utterly appalling. They have sacked Paul Lambert, hired Tim Sherwood and moved into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – a busy week or so. Stoke have conceded eight in their last two games and Mark Hughes will be expecting a reaction from his players. Sadly for Hughes, he might have picked the wrong weekend to play Villa and Sherwood may provide the spark for The Villans to get a much-needed win.
Prediction: Aston Villa 2-1 Stoke

Chelsea vs Burnley (15:00)
Jose Mourinho’s side continued their march towards the title with another victory over Everton and it would take a brave man to bet against them winning it now. It would perhaps take similar bravery for someone to back Burnley to stay up. They have battled hard all season but have had some poor recent results against some of their relegation rivals and it’s hard to see them getting anything at Stamford Bridge.
Prediction: Chelsea 3-0 Burnley

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal (15:00)
Alan Pardew’s team earned another point at home to Newcastle in their bid for safety and now sit five points clear of the relegation zone. Arsenal, meanwhile, are one point off fourth but with Spurs, Liverpool and Southampton playing on Sunday, they have an opportunity to put pressure on their rivals and it’s hard to see them wasting that chance.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal

Hull vs QPR (15:00)
Hull climbed out of the relgation zone with a big win against relegation rivals Villa and Steve Bruce will be desperate for them to follow it up with another three points against fellow strugglers QPR. The R’s also pulled themselves out of trouble with victory over Sunderland, their first away win of the season, to keep the battle to avoid relegation wide open. This could prove a pivotal game in the hunt for survival but I’ll opt for Hull due to their home advantage.
Prediction: Hull 2-1 QPR

Sunderland vs West Brom (15:00)
Had Sunderland beaten QPR at home last time out I would have said they were all but guaranteed to beat the drop but they have allowed their rivals to draw closer to them and Gus Poyet’s position looks under threat, especially after being knocked out of the FA Cup by Bradford. The Baggies, on the other hand, are four points clear of the relegation zone and are through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup. Tony Pulis has solidified West Brom since his arrival and may be happy to return from the Stadium of Light with a point.
Prediction: Sunderland 0-0 West Brom

Swansea vs Man United (15:00)
Swansea have generally struggled going forward without Wilfried Bony and they’ll be pleased that they acquired enough points with him as they may struggle to win matches without him. United have been heavily criticized for their playing style but they keep coming up with the results and they should pick up three more points here.
Prediction: Swansea 0-1 Man United

Man City vs Newcastle (17:30)
City welcome Yaya Toure and new signing Wilfried Bony into their matchday squad and that can only spell trouble for Newcastle. The Magpies have been very hit and miss in recent weeks and will need to be at the top of their game to get a result. City can’t afford to slip up again and need to go on a big winning streak to have a chance of lifting the title but they shouldn’t come up against too much resistance from Newcastle.
Prediction: Man City 3-1 Newcastle

Sunday

Spurs vs West Ham (12:00)
Tottenham will have been disappointed with their Europa League result at home to Fiorentina and the arrival of West Ham will be a daunting prospect as they look to keep up their push for a Champions League spot. However, the Hammers haven’t had a straightforward week either. They signed Nene on a free transfer but a reported boardroom argument has erupted and there is a lot of speculation over the future of Sam Allardyce, whose contract is up at the end of the season. This could be a tight game but Spurs should have enough to get the win.
Prediction: Spurs 2-1 West Ham

Everton vs Leicester (14:05)
The Toffees produced an excellent performance to dismantle BSC Young Boys and Romelu Lukaku’s return to form will offer great encouragement. Leicester, meanwhile, crashed out of the FA Cup last weekend, are still five points clear of safety and Nigel Pearson remains under pressure. The Foxes can hope that Everton will be jaded from their trip to Switzerland but Roberto Martinez’s team should claim victory.
Prediction: Everton 1-0 Leicester

Southampton vs Liverpool (16:15)
This is a very important game in the race for the Champions League spots and one that both teams could do with winning. The Saints are likely to be outside the top four by the time the match kicks off if Arsenal beat Crystal Palace and it remains to see how long their challenge to finish in the coveted Champions League spots can last. Liverpool managed to earn a win against Besiktas in the Europa League and if they lose here that may be their only route back into Europe’s elite competition. It will be interesting to see how much each side goes for this match but I suspect it will be a cagey affair and that neither side will be able to land a knockout blow.
Prediction: Southampton 1-1 Liverpool