We’re getting close to the business end now where fans will be starting to dream of a trip to Wembley.
The likes of West Ham for example just 2 games away and will fancy their chances, playing well and a favourable draw today away at Blackburn.
The tournament so far has avoided big exciting draws until now, and the tie of the round is undoubtedly Chelsea vs Manchester City, a few weeks ago an easy one to call but now with Chelsea’s form picking up and Manchester City having another wobble. Vincent Kompany returned against Tottenham and that is Key for City today, as Costa has started to look the part again following the removal of Jose Mourinho, and the other Centre halves I’m City’s squad would not be able to cope.
I fancy City to win this today, or at very the least take it to a replay, Kompany back is huge and city should dominate in midfield, Toure pushing further forward suits City that when he plays in one one of the two and Silva is looking sharp again.
Against Tottenham despite the defeat there were still enough chances created to win the game and I wouldn’t expect Aguero to miss twice again. Chelsea’s midfield is poor for me and defensively they won’t be able to contain City’s attacking 3, and that’s before we even get to Aguero. Matic and Mikel are mid-table footballers for me, and there will be a make-shift centre half pairing due to injuries of Terry and Zouma. In a one off game I can’t look beyond City being in the hat for the Quarter Finals.
My pre-tournament tips Arsenal are still in and looking forward to their customary home draw against Hull, who are no mugs in fact but should still allow Arsenal to rotate a couple and have plenty in hand as they press for the hat-trick of cup wins.
My other pre tournament each way shout, Everton, are still there too and have a tougher game away at Bournemouth. It’s still one I expect them to come through today. They will be prioritising this cup and the added hunger should make the difference.
Normally I look for an FA Cup shock, but this round its a struggle to find one.
Shrewsbury will lose to Manchester United despite what the romantics will want you to believe.
Reading – West Brom will be decided by the odd goal probably but Reading have failed to score in their last 2 at home so may struggle to break down a Pulis side who wouldn’t mind a replay.
I can’t see Leeds beating Watford either. The Leeds away support will be as well travelled and buoyant as ever I just think Watford will be too good for them on the pitch. I’d love Watford to get a Wembley day out in the FA Cup, they way they’ve played at times this season they deserve some reward and a favourable draw in the next round could see them with a Semi final to show for their hard work.
So, maybe it’s Palace who can cause the upset at the Lane.
Who knows where Tottenham’s head will be at? Going for the title, played a stronger team than you might have expected Thursday in the Europa League, what will they do today? I think Pochettino will go full strength today, he has a history of doing so especially with a week between games. Even with a full strength side tough Palace still could cause them trouble and Spurs have only mustered narrow wins against palace this season. It’s hard to imagine Spurs going full strength in all competitions being the right move with not the largest squad and maybe focus might not be at 100% for this cup game. I’d be disappointed as a Spurs fan to go out of the FA Cup and would much prefer this was prioritised over the Europa League this season, but it’s not an easy tie here and upset hunters might fancy Palace to upset the apple cart.
So a reminder of the fixtures
Arsenal vs Hull
Watford vs Leeds
Reading vs West Brom
Bournemouth vs Everton
Blackburn vs West Ham
Chelsea Vs Manchester City
Tottenham Vs Crystal Palace
Shrewsbury vs Manchester United
Try these on your betting slip:
Accumulator Pays 35/1
(7/2 on Manchester City is a ridiculously good price and you may want to put them in draw no bet)
Nice price: Adebayor to score anytime @ 3/1