Saturday/ Saturday: FA Cup Fever
Roll-up, Roll-up!! The magnificent fervor and glory that is the FA Cup is back in town!!! Sadly without my beloved Leeds; but that’s because we are concentrating on the League, honest! That’s what the press release will read anyway. Enough of this half baked mumbling, lets get down to business; predictions.
Chelsea V Cardiff
The dynamic defensive duo of Terry and Cole (the Ashley variety) are both out; Terry to take care of his personal life after accusations of him playing away from home in the bedroom and Cole, thanks to Landon Donovan, has a broken ankle which sees him out of action for up to three months. Chelsea’s home form is nothing to be sniffed at to say the least, which is only going to make it more difficult for the Welsh lads. Cardiff are focused on the League and are pushing for a play-off place, I always like a bet on an outsider and this would certainly be an upset. Food for thought: Cardiff have a 100% record against Chelsea in the FA Cup, last time they beat 2-1 in 1986, let history repeat itself.
Prediction: Chelsea 1 – 2 Cardiff
Derby V Birmingham
Derby have been on a role of late, taking the recent scalps of both Forrest and Newcastle, they have great support at home and it will be difficult for the Blues. McLeish does have the positive news that striker, Benitez is fit and healthy again, but it still won’t be easy. I think the Championship side might edge it.
Prediction: Derby 2 -1 Birmingham
Man City V Stoke City
Manchester looked good at home during the week, unfortunately new signing Adam Johnson, who had a blinding game, is cup tied; the likes of Adebayor and Tevez will ease that pain though. Stoke are undefeated in their last seven games, but Eastlands is a fortress.
Prediction: Man City 3 -1 Stoke City
Reading V West Brom
This all Championship tie at least guarantees a Championship side will make it into the quarter finals; but the gulf between them is pronounced. West Brom won the game in the league with ease and are currently unbeaten in seven games. Reading on the other hand are struggling in the league, sinking into the relegation zone. They were, however, the giant killers of the previous round, beating Liverpool. West Brom look to strong though, it could well be a draw, with the Brummie club winning the reply.
Prediction: Reading 1 – 1 West Brom
Southampton V Portsmouth
The big south coast showdown! Portsmouth are in disarray financially and you never quite know how that will translate on the field; will it take its toll on the players or will they just be more motivated to let the football do the talking? The Saints have a five match home winning run over the bitter rivals, but I think Pompey will come up with the goods. Whatever the outcome, it will be fierce.
Prediction: Southampton 0 – 2 Portsmouth
Bolton V Tottenham
Spurs have been confusing lately. Just when they seem to be getting it right they go and lose to Wolves? They did beat my team in the previous round, and it has to be said; deservedly so. They can and do play exciting football and Jermaine Defoe has taken a shining to scoring in the FA Cup. Bolton have some injury troubles, plus recent signings Weiss and Wilshere are cup tied. The North London club will come out on top, much to the delight of my friend Pat, who loves them dearly.
Prediction: Bolton 0 – 2 Tottenham
Crystal Palace V Aston Villa
Villa’s current form is impressive; they haven’t been beaten in 2010, but draws have been the drug of choice of late. Martin O’Neills style of football is very appealing on the eye, although he does have injury worries in both Petrov and Agbonlahor. The team still has great depth, Milner, Delph and Heskey can fill in the gaps, no worries. Palace haven’t won against Villa in their last two FA Cup encounters, granted that was back in 1913 and 1962, but still. They lost mid week to Swansea and I just can’t see them overpowering the Premiership outfit.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 0 – 3 Aston Villa
Fulham V Notts County
Last but not least, these fellas. It true FA Cup fashion, County have absolutely nothing to lose, other than the game. Fulham are back to winning ways and the kind of form that could secure them a top eight place finish in the League. But this is the magic of the cup: my head tells me Fulham won, no doubt; but my heart says, cup upset. It is Valentines day after all.
Prediction: Fulham 1 – 2 Notts County