FA Cup 3rd Round Preview: Solskjaer’s Side To Fire9 min read
The 3rd Round of the FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend and I’ve again looked ahead to all the big ties exclusively for BetVictor. Note there will be no replays in the competition from the 5th Round onwards in 2019.
Tranmere Rovers v Tottenham
Spurs bounced back from their home defeat at the hands of Wolves over the Festive period to win at Cardiff on New Year’s Day and I feel they will be the first side into the 4th Round when they travel to Prenton Park on Friday night.
Spurs are unbeaten in eight previous games against Rovers and have progressed from 17 of their last 18 FA Cup ties against lower league opposition – losing to Leeds in 2013 – although they needed a replay to beat both Rochdale and Newport County last year.
I can’t see past a comfortable win for the Premier League outfit.
Tip: Spurs to win to nil
Bournemouth v Brighton
The last time Bournemouth beat a top-flight side in the FA Cup was back in 1984 when Harry Redknapp’s Cherries knocked Manchester United out 2-0 at this same stage of the competition.
The Seagulls got a good draw at the City Of London Stadium midweek, but the Cherries had 12 shots on goal – the most they have had in the Premier League – in coming back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to get a point against Watford on Wednesday evening and I fancy the Cherries to edge an open and competitive tie.
Tip: Bournemouth to win
Burnley v Barnsley
Burnley picked up an excellent three points at the John Smith’s Stadium midweek and Sean Dyche’s side are taken to win this battle of the Roses at Turf Moor.
The Tykes are 11 points behind Portsmouth in League One and promotion back to the Championship must be Barnsley’s priority although they will take an army of travelling spectators across the Pennines to East Lancashire.
Tip: Burnley to win
Derby County v Southampton
Southampton picked up a cracking point at Stamford Bridge midweek, but I fancy Frank Lampard’s Championship side to beat the Saints at Pride Park.
This is the fourth time these clubs have met in the competition and the Rams have qualified on the three previous occasions. Saints reached the semi-final of the
competition last season, but I feel they will make a quick exit in the east Midlands at the weekend.
Tip: Derby to win 2-1 at
Manchester United v Reading
United have lost just one of their 14 FA Cup ties against Reading and that was back in 1927!
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer became just the second United manager after the legendary Sir Matt Busby (1946) to win his first four league games in charge of the Red Devils when his side won at St James’s Park midweek.
United look full of goals and confidence at present and I would expect to see an emphatic home win at Old Trafford against the Royals.
Tip: United halftime/fulltime
Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers
United have lost eight of their 11 PL home games this season and it is sure to be a nervy St James’s Park if the Magpies can’t get an early goal against their Championship opposition.
Rovers have won six of their last eight visits to St James’s Park in all competitions, but I saw enough against Manchester United earlier in the week to believe the hosts can get a welcome home win.
Tip: Newcastle to win to nil
West Ham v Birmingham City
West Ham have only scored once in their last four FA Cup ties, but I think they will have enough to reach the 4th Round against a Birmingham City side who are unbeaten in their last five and have been one of the surprise packages in the Championship this term.
City currently sit four points off a play-off spot and a promotion challenge must be Garry Monk’s priority in the second half of the season. That said the Blues have sold their full allocation and it promises to be a full-blooded Cup tie at the London Stadium.
Tip: West Ham -1 on the handicap
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest
Chelsea face Spurs in the first-leg of their League Cup semi-final midweek and disappointed at Stamford Bridge over the Festive period, losing to Leicester and taking just a point from a goalless draw with Saints midweek.
Forest knocked out the holders (Arsenal) at this corresponding stage last season, but that was at the City Ground and Chelsea have not exited the competition at the 3rd Round stage since 1998. Chelsea to qualify at the first time of asking.
Tip: Chelsea to win and both teams to score
Blackpool v Arsenal
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last nine games against Blackpool and they knocked the Tangerines out of the League Cup at the Emirates earlier in the season.
The PL side won’t have things their own way at Bloomfield Road, but Arsenal have played well on the road so far this season, other than their recent Anfield nightmare, and no shock for me on the Lancashire coast.
Tip: Arsenal to win to nil at
Bristol City v Huddersfield Town
Huddersfield are six points from safety after their home defeat to Burnley earlier in the week and I feel they will exit the FA Cup at Ashton Gate against an inform Robins side who have not lost since mid-November.
City have won their last two home games against the Terriers 4-0 (April 2016 & March 2017) but I expect Saturday’s tie to be much closer – although the result the same.
Tip: Bristol City to win
Manchester City v Rotherham United
Somewhat surprisingly, City have won just three of their last seven FA Cup ties against sides from a lower division, but the Millers have lost their last five FA Cup games and have conceded at least twice on each occasion.
I am writing this before City’s home Premier League game with Liverpool but, whatever the outcome of Thursday’s fixture, I expect City to make serene progress against a Millers side whose main objective is to maintain their Championship status at the end of the season.
Tip: City -3 at
Wolves v Liverpool
Wolves have lost five of their last seven PL games at Molineux – including a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool last month – and I expect the Reds to get their revenge for losing to Wolves in the competition 2-1 at Anfield a couple of seasons ago.
The Premier League title is Liverpool’s main objective, but they have such strength in depth that I feel the Reds are well equipped to make a bold bid for Cup glory this term.
Tip: Liverpool to win and under 2.5 goals
FA Cup treble: Burnley, West Ham and Newcastle United to win