The quarter-finals of the FA Cup take centre stage this weekend and once again Brand Ambassador Michael Owen shared his thoughts on all four ties exclusively with BetVictor.
Manchester United to win to nil
Norwich City v Manchester United
The hosts booked their place in the quarter-final after an enthralling penalty shootout against Tottenham, while Manchester United coasted to a 3-0 win over Derby County at Pride Park.
Manchester United have won both meetings between the sides in the Premier League this season by an aggregate score of 7-1 but Norwich do have the advantage in FA Cup meetings with three wins to Manchester United’s two.
Norwich look vulnerable at the back and with so much pace in the Manchester United side, I can only see a comfortable win for Manchester United which will see them progress to the semi-finals.
Match to end in a draw
Sheffield United v Arsenal
In many ways, this could be a bigger game for Arsenal than for Sheffield United. The blades have had a terrific season so far and any further progress will be the icing on the cake, but with Arsenal hovering around mid-table, it’s been a poor season for them. They are a club used to challenging for silverware and with Arteta being an FA Cup winner himself, it would be a major boost for Arsenal if they could collect a trophy this early in the Arteta era.
The last two meetings in the FA Cup between the sides ended in a draw after 90 mins, with the most recent being a 5th round replay which Arsenal eventually won 4-2 on penalties. With both sides failing to replicate their form in the league since the restart, I think this could be heading for another draw and based on the current goalkeeper situation – with Henderson being in good form and Leno being out injured – I fancy the Blades to sneak through on penalties.
Over 2.5 goals - 90 mins
Leicester City v Chelsea
Leicester City were given a stern test by Championship side Birmingham City at the King Power Stadium before eventually running out 1-0 winners, while Chelsea were comfortable 2-0 winners over Liverpool in their 5th round tie.
I have been impressed with both of these teams so far this season. Brendan Rogers has got Leicester playing really well and he is getting absolutely everything out of the team. The Foxes are enjoying their best season since winning the title in 2015-16 and they already look to have secured their spot in next year’s Champions League, while Chelsea look favourites in their battle for fourth.
Chelsea’s ambitions were surely restricted with the transfer embargo in place so, if they could secure Champions League qualification and a Wembley appearance, it would definitely be seen as a decent season for them.
Chelsea have only recorded one win against Leicester in the last six meetings and that victory came in the FA Cup. The sides met at the King Power Stadium at the same stage of the competition in 2018 and Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners after extra time. I’m predicting the same result this weekend; a 2-1 away win for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Anytime goalscorer - Raheem Sterling
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Both teams had tough games in the previous round. A dramatic 3-2 win over West Brom meant Newcastle United are in the last eight for the first time since 2006, while a solitary goal from Sergio Aguero proved to be the difference as Manchester City emerged 1-0 winners over a stubborn Sheffield Wednesday side at Hillsborough.
The sides have only met once this season in the Premier League and that ended in a draw but the most recent meeting between them in the FA Cup was back in 2002 where Newcastle United won 1-0.
The last “major” domestic trophy won by Newcastle United was the FA Cup, back in 1955, when they actually beat Manchester City 3-1. Steve Bruce has already admitted this season that he wants the club competing for silverware again but unfortunately for him, there are no easy games at this stage and I think this might be the end of the road for them.
A lot has changed at both clubs since that final in 1955 and Manchester City fans have now become accustomed to winning trophies. Having already won the League Cup this season, I think City will be the ones moving one step closer to the final with a win at St James’ Park.