The FA Cup returns this weekend with some tasty-looking affairs taking place on both Saturday and Sunday. ComeOn! Andy takes us through all the action, applying his own ‘expert’ predictions and betting tips for these games in the process.
Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace
On Saturday, high-flying Tottenham Hotspur play host to a Crystal Palace side who haven’t won at White Hart Lane since 1997. Spurs, fresh from their 2-1 win over Man City last weekend are fighting on multiple fronts this season with the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie against Fiorentina set to take place this evening. Despite their atypically strong start to the domestic campaign, their opponents Palace are struggling to find joy in any competition except the FA Cup in recent times, with Alan Pardew’s men still on the lookout for their first win in the league since December the 19th.
In Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham have a manager who will be desperate to win any piece of silverware he can get his hands on this season and as a result will likely field his strongest possible 11 for this match despite Spurs’ congested fixture list. With home advantage to boot, we fancy the Lilywhites to run out comfortable winners in this one.
Prediction: Spurs 2-0 Crystal Palace
Chelsea v Man City
There have been green shoots of recovery evident ever since Russian manager Gus Hiddink took charge of the Blues in December for his second managerial stint with the club. Their opponents City meanwhile, have fallen on severe hard times ever since it was announced that their manager Manuel Pellegrini would be leaving at the end of the season.
The Citizens lost out in both crucial title run-ins against Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur respectively in the last week and face a Chelsea side likely buoyed from their 5-1 demolishing of Newcastle United last week and a battling display against PSG in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Man City
Bournemouth v Everton
Despite home advantage, Bournemouth go into their FA Cup 5th round clash against Everton as 21/10 underdogs on Saturday afternoon. In an attempt to play down their visit to the Vitality stadium this weekend, Toffees manager Roberto Martinez insisted in the press that finishing the season in a European Qualifying spot in the Premier League is more important than winning the FA Cup. What the Everton boss indeed failed to acknowledge was the fact that winning the FA Cup itself was also a viable route into European football next season.
Taking into account the Spaniard’s ill-thought-out mind games during week, we’d hazard a guess that Martinez’s men will actually be rather up for their trip to the South Coast this weekend and fancy them to run out winners against a Bournemouth side who have won at home just three times all season.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-2 Everton
Author – Andrew MacFarlane