The FA Cup 4th Round takes centre stage this weekend. Here’s my take on the major ties exclusively for BetVictor, including the remaining 3rd Round replay still to be decided at Prenton Park.
Watford to win
Tranmere v Watford (3rd round replay)
The winners of Thursday’s 3rd Round replay at Prenton Park will travel to Manchester United on Sunday and Watford must still be kicking themselves for squandering a three-goal lead in the original tie at Vicarage Road.
Watford lost their first game in eight at Villa Park on Tuesday in the Premier League, a defeat which saw them drop back into the relegation places. Premier League survival is the sole objective of the Hornets this season, but you could say the same thing about Tranmere who are currently in the drop zone in League One.
I think last season’s beaten finalists will edge another entertaining tie and set up a trip to Old Trafford on Sunday.
Leicester to win
Brentford v Leicester City
Leicester hadn’t won in any competition since beating Wigan in the 3rd Round, until their victory over West Ham this week at the King Power.
Brentford are unbeaten in their last four games and currently sit fourth in the Championship table, just five points outside the automatic promotion places.
The Bees have won their last seven home games in all competitions, but they have not played a side of the quality of the Foxes, although Brendan Rodgers’ side do face a League Cup semi-final second leg game at Villa Park on Tuesday with the tie hanging in the balance.
There is unlikely to be much between the sides, but I just think the visitors will edge it.
Burnley to win
Burnley v Norwich City
Burnley bounced back to something like their best form when they beat Leicester at Turf Moor on Sunday and Manchester United on Wednesday. I feel they will have too much for a Norwich side who also picked up a win at the weekend, beating Bournemouth at Carrow Road.
Both sides faced difficult-looking away games in the league on Wednesday – Burnley at United and Norwich at Spurs – and maintaining their elite status this season is the Canaries’ end-of-season objective.
I felt the Clarets played with more energy and passion in the second half of their win over the Foxes, and at Old Trafford. A repeat is likely to be good enough to see them through to the last sixteen.
Game to finish in a draw
Millwall v Sheffield United
Millwall are unbeaten in six games in all competitions and they sit just two points outside a play-off place in the Championship. They travel to Elland Road midweek in another huge league game, but I would be surprised if they didn’t give Sheffield United a tough test on home soil at the weekend.
Millwall reached the quarter-finals last season and should have reached the last four. They were two-nil up against Brighton at the New Den in the last eight before conceding two late goals and eventually lost out on penalties.
The Blades have been excellent on the road so far this season, however, and I expect them to get a draw and a replay back in south Yorkshire.
Newcastle to win to nil
Newcastle United v Oxford United
Two goals deep into injury time gave Newcastle an unlikely point at Goodison Park midweek, and that came on the back of their last-gasp winner at home to Chelsea at the weekend. That says much about the resilience and attitude of Steve Bruce’s squad.
Oxford currently sit in the play-off places in League One and promotion to the Championship is their goal, but they will take over 3,500 supporters to St James’ Park in search of an upset, but I expect the Magpies to make it through to the next round.
Game to finish in a draw
Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur
One of the ties of the round and Southampton bounced back from surrendering a two-goal lead at home to Wolves at the weekend when they were comfortable winners at Selhurst Park midweek.
The Saints are, arguably, a better side on the road at present and I don’t think either side would be too unhappy if the game finished in a draw.
Spurs picked up a win against Norwich in the Premier League midweek. The only other game they have won so far in 2020 was the 3rd Round replay at home to Boro after a 1-1 draw in the original tie at the Riverside.
The Saints won the league game between the sides on New Year’s Day 1-0, but I think Spurs will get a replay in what promises to be a terrific game.
West Ham to win
West Ham United v West Brom
Former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic returns to the London Stadium on the back of a home loss to Stoke earlier in the week and the only game the Baggies have won in their last seven was their 3rd Round success at Charlton earlier in the month.
Albion are still top the Championship table, but they face a massive league game at Cardiff on Tuesday.
West Ham were well-beaten at Leicester in the Premier League midweek but, irrespective of the result, I expect them to make it through to the next round in a tight, close game.
Chelsea to win
Hull City v Chelsea
Frank Lampard and his Chelsea team will be kicking themselves for not taking all three points against 10-man Arsenal at the Bridge midweek, and they are likely to be without Tammy Abraham for the trip to Hull after the striker limped off the field at the end of a pulsating derby.
The Tigers have lost their last couple and failed to score in those league defeats, and I expect the Blues to make serene progress at a sold-out KCOM Stadium.
City to win and both teams to score
Manchester City v Fulham
City had to battle hard to pick up all three points at Bramall Lane midweek and I would be surprised if the holders were made to scrap as hard back on home soil against Fulham.
City have won their last eight games in all competitions against the Cottagers and have won the last four by an aggregate of 12-0.
Fulham have won three of their last four games, including a 2-1 home win against Aston Villa in the last round.
They moved within three points of the automatic promotion places midweek, and a return to the Premier League must be their primary objective this term.
Liverpool to win to nil
Shrewsbury Town v Liverpool
After their 3rd round win in the Merseyside derby, Liverpool are again likely to field a young and inexperienced side at New Meadow, but I would be surprised if the League One outfit were able to stop the Reds.
The Shrews currently sit 16th in the league and are unbeaten in three, but Liverpool continue to break records this season and I expect them to win this tie at the first time of asking.