FA Cup Preview: Fourth Round7 min read
The FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend and, after Arsenal’s shock defeat at Nottingham Forest in the third round, will there be another major giant-killing act in round four?
I’m not so sure.
Yeovil Town v Manchester United
You have to go back to 1949 for the last time Yeovil beat a side from the top-flight in the FA Cup (Sunderland) and they have failed to score in seven of the nine ties in the interim period.
It is hard to believe that the Glovers from the lower reaches of League Two can trouble Jose Mourinho’s side who I feel will make serene progress into the next round. The sides have met three times previously in the FA Cup and the current score stands at 13-0 to United.
Tip: United to win to nil at
Peterborough United v Leicester City
Leicester have kept a clean sheet in their last five competitive games and I think they will have too much quality and pace for Posh. Claude Puel’s side will equal a club record going back to 1920 if they fail to concede at the ABAX Stadium although I can see the hosts, who scored three at Villa Park in the previous round, finding the back of the Foxes net in Saturday’s early kick-off.
Foxes striker Kelachi Iheanacho has a good record in the Cup having scored seven times in his eight FA Cup appearances and he is likely to start again on Saturday with Jamie Vardy likely to be held back on the substitute’s bench.
Tip: Leicester to win and both teams to score at
Southampton v Watford
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) January 22, 2018
The last time these sides met in the FA Cup was in the 2003 semi-final, which Southampton won 2-1 at Villa Park and I think there will be goals at St Mary’s in a tough tie to call.
The sides drew 2-2 at Vicarage Road just a fortnight ago with the Hornets coming back from 2-0 down. Watford sacked manager Marco Silva earlier in the week and this will be the first game in charge of the club for Javi Gracia. The Spaniard is the club’s ninth manager in six years and that is surely too many.
Tip: Both teams to score at
Wigan Athletic v West Ham
I am surprised that League One Wigan are favourites against West Ham who are unbeaten in their last seven games in all competitions. The Hammers have a good record against lower-league opposition progressing in 14 of their last 15 ties against lower league opposition – the only defeat coming in January 2014 when Sam Allardyce played a very inexperienced side against Nottingham Forest.
Only City (29) and United (24) have won more competitive games this season than Wigan (23) but I expect the Hammers to get at least a replay at the DW Stadium.
Tip: West Ham draw no bet at
Newport County v Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs scored four in the two previous occasions they played Newport in the FA Cup and the Exiles are looking for their first win against top-flight opposition since January 1964 when they beat Sheffield Wednesday.
Spurs are likely to make changes given they entertain Manchester United back in the Premier League on Wednesday and it would not surprise me if Eric Lamela gets a rare start. He will be desperate to impress Mauricio Pochettino and might be the difference between the sides.
Tip: Eric Lamela to score at anytime at
Liverpool v West Brom
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 19 home games in all competitions and I expect them to bounce back against the Baggies after their disappointing loss to Swansea on Monday.
Albion got a draw at Goodison in the Premier League last weekend, but the Reds are likely to be a different proposition although the sides played out a goalless draw in the league at Anfield last month.
Tip: Liverpool halftime/full time at
Chelsea v Newcastle United
Newcastle have not reached the fifth round since 2006 and I cannot see the Magpies getting a result at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.
The Blues have reached the fifth Round in 17 of the last 19 seasons and I expect Antonio Conte’s side to win a low-scoring affair on Sunday. Newcastle entertain Burnley in the Premier League on Wednesday and it would be no surprise to see Rafa Benitez prioritise three points against the Clarets over the FA Cup.
Tip: Chelsea to win and under 2.5 goals at
Cardiff City v Manchester City
City were made to fight for their place in the Carabao Cup Final at Ashton Gate midweek, but their superior class prevailed and I expect to see Pep Guardiola’s side stay on track as they chase the domestic treble and an unprecedented four-timer including the Champions League.
The Bluebirds have only won one of their last seven home FA Cup ties but they have found their form again of late and promotion back to the Premier League must be their primary objective this season.
Tip: Sergio Aguero to open the scoring at
Michael’s Weekend Treble: Leicester City, Liverpool and Spurs at