FA Cup Fourth Round Predictions
The FA Cup returns this weekend with a cracker of a game on Friday night as Arsenal welcome a resurgent Man Utd to the Emirates.
Elsewhere, inconsistent Everton face a potential banana skin away to Millwall while the only non-league side left in the competition, Barnet, will take on struggling Championship side Brentford as they bid to reach the fifth round.
Which sides will move one step closer to Wembley?
Here are our FA Cup fourth round predictions ahead of a huge weekend of football…
Bristol City vs Bolton. 19:45
The form team of the Championship in Bristol City come up against a side currently experiencing problems both on and off the field. Bolton will be pleased with the distraction, but nothing points to them picking up a morale-boosting victory.
Verdict: The Robins to continue their good momentum. 2-0.
Arsenal vs Man Utd, 19:55
The pick of the round as Ole Gunnar Solksjaer puts his unbeaten record on the line against an Arsenal side with renewed confidence after beating Chelsea 2-0. The Gunners look a much stronger proposition at the Emirates – can they continue their impressive FA Cup pedigree with a win here?
Verdict: Arsenal to advance with a hard-fought win. 2-1.
Saturday’s games – 15:00 kick-off unless stated
Accrington Stanley vs Derby County, 12:30
Stanley’s reward for seeing off Ipswich is another home tie against Championship opposition – albeit Frank Lampard’s energetic Derby side is likely to offer John Coleman’s side a much stiffer test than Ipswich after masterminding a giant-killing of their own over Southampton in the last round.
Accy will be up for the battle as always and will hope Lampard’s focus will be elsewhere with the Rams aiming to seal a Championship play-off spot.
Verdict: The journey ends here for Accy. 1-2.
Brighton vs West Brom
With the Seagulls currently seven points above the Premier League drop zone, will Chris Hughton be relaxed about embarking on a potential cup run?
Brighton reached the quarter-finals last year and a repeat could be on the cards if they can overcome a West Brom side locked in a tense Championship promotion battle. Expect plenty of changes in this one – but home advantage should see the Seagulls through.
Verdict: Seagulls to sneak it. 2-1.
Doncaster Rovers vs Oldham Athletic
In truth, not the fixture either of these two sides would have wished for after battling through the early rounds, but it’s nevertheless a massive opportunity for one of these sides to enjoy a moment in the spotlight later on in this competition.
With Donny going well in League One, this is likely to be a tough test for managerless Oldham, but having already beaten Premier League opposition, they will go into this one with confidence.
Verdict: Back Donny to deliver. 3-1.
Man City vs Burnley
It’s been a busy few weeks for Man City domestically but they look to be building the momentum needed for a potential clean sweep of trophies this season.
This weekend’s opponents are steadily improving after a poor first half of the season and will aim to make life difficult at the Etihad Stadium, but City currently look relentless.
Verdict: City to carry the day. 2-0.
Middlesbrough vs Newport County
After their giant-killing exploits in the last round, Newport have been handed something of a nightmare draw away to Tony Pulis’ organised Boro side.
However the home side already has form for slipping up against lower league opposition in the cups this season, bowing out of the EFL Cup to Burton Albion. Can Michael Flynn’s side capitalise if Pulis shuffles the pack too much?
Verdict: A bridge too far for Newport this time. 2-0.
Newcastle Utd vs Watford
The second all-Premier league match-up of the weekend sees Rafa Benítez’s struggling Magpies take on a Watford team currently flying under Javi Gracia.
With safety all but a formality for the Hornets, can Gracia push his side up another gear by securing a day out at Wembley later this season? With Benítez’s worries elsewhere, this could be a golden opportunity for Gracia.
Portsmouth vs QPR
League One high-flyers Pompey will be hoping the FA Cup acts as a nice distraction with a small blip in league form in recent weeks stalling their march back towards Championship football. They come up against a QPR side enjoying a solid season under Steve McClaren.
With the play-offs not completely out of reach, the former England boss faces a decision to stick or twist with his team selection this weekend.
Verdict: Play up Pompey. 2-1
Shrewsbury Town vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Each FA Cup draw has a wonderful habit of throwing up interesting stories, and the plot line in this is over whether rookie boss Sam Ricketts can pull off a giant-killing over the club for whom he made over 50 appearances between 2013 and 2015.
That looks unlikely against a slick Wolves side that can afford to switch their focus towards a potential cup run.
Verdict: A comfortable day for Nuno. 1-3.
Swansea City vs Gillingham
Gills’ reward for seeing off Cardiff is a trip across the Severn Bridge to take on the Bluebirds’ fierce rivals, Swansea City.
Swans boss Graham Potter has won plenty of plaudits for getting the most out of his young side, and with a play-off tilt looking somewhat unlikely, a decent run in this year’s competition would be an impressive feather in his cap during his first year coaching in English football.
Verdict: Swans to glide into the next round. 2-0
Millwall vs Everton, 17:30
No struggling Premier League manager relishes a trip to South London, and Everton’s continuing inconsistency could be exploited against a Millwall side with plenty of cup pedigree in recent seasons.
Will Everton’s underperforming stars wilt in the pressure cooker atmosphere of The Den? Neil Harris’ side needs a lift in their battle for survival and this could provide it.
Verdict: The Toffees could be downed at The Den. 1-0.
AFC Wimbledon vs West Ham Utd, 19:45
Saturday’s action is rounded off at Kingsmeadow with an intriguing all-London clash between League One basement side AFC Wimbledon and an unpredictable West Ham Utd side.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side should have too much for a Dons side leaking goals for fun in recent weeks.
Verdict: The Hammers to pass a potential tricky test. 1-3
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur, 16:00
Could this game have come at just the right time for Crystal Palace? The Eagles have shown they have enough about them to mix it with the ‘Big Six’ sides this season and find themselves taking on a Spurs side badly lacking in options in key areas of the pitch.
Will Mauricio Pochettino’s long wait for silverware continue here against an erratic but dangerous Eagles side?
Verdict: Under-strength Spurs to stutter. 2-1.
Chelsea vs Sheffield Wednesday, 18:00
Blues fans will be hoping the arrival of Gonzalo Higuain will help draw a line under Maurizio Sarri’s first major sticky patch at the club.
Fortunately for the Italian, he’s been handed the ideal fixture to help get things back on track against a Wednesday side hardly pulling up any trees in the lower reaches of the Championship.
Verdict: Some relief at last for Sarri. 3-0.
Barnet vs Brentford, 19:45
Finally, an entertaining weekend of FA Cup football is rounded off at The Hive as the smallest side left in the competition face Championship opposition in their quest to keep their fairytale run alive.
It could be a case of unfortunate timing for the National League side, however, with Brentford finally moving in the right direction in recent weeks under Thomas Frank.
Verdict: The away side to win the Battle of the Bees. 1-2.
All image sources from PA Images
Follow us and tweet @Marathonbet