Friday, 6 January 2012

FA Cup Third Round: Ones to watch

This coming weekend sees the third round of the FA Cup take place. There are always mouth watering ties and this years fixtures definitely don't disappoint. Below are the key games that you should look out for this weekend.

#1 Manchester City v Manchester United

The biggest tie of the round. The top two teams in the Premier League at the moment and here another chance to view them battling it out. We all know what happened the last time these two met, City demolishing United at Old Trafford in the league 6-1. A repeat of that memorable day is highly unlikely but expect goals, drama and most probably controversy. With Wednesday's Carling Cup semi final against Liverpool in mind, Roberto Mancini may field a second string team.(if you can call it that) giving the likes of Balotelli and Dzeko a run out. After two successive defeats in the league, United are expected to respond and show why they are current champions of the league. Sir Alex shall field a strong line up and will want to win against their rivals and progress in this historic competition
Prediction: City 2-1 United

#2 MK Dons v QPR
League 1 versus the Premier League, but a game that has upset written all over it. MK Dons currently sit in the play off zone of League 1 in relatively good form and having disposed of Nantwich 6-0 in the last round, the team from Buckinghamshire will want to continue their run in the cup. Striker Charlie McDonald has scored 6 in his last 9 appearances and will be sure to continue his good scoring form. Neil Warnock's QPR are in poor form, with no win in eight, this game couldn't have come at a worse time. Captain Joey Barton will be missing for Rangers through suspension and will be hopeful that misfiring strikers Jay Bothroyd and DJ Campbell will be able to make an impact. 
Prediction: MK Dons 2-2 QPR

#3 Peterborough Utd v Sunderland
Another potential upset on the cards. Championship club Peterborough United currently sit comfortably in mid table and are five games unbeaten. Darren Ferguson's men are a hard team to push over at home and Sunderland will have to play to their best to overcome The Posh. Talisman George Boyd will catch your eye, slick turns and an eye for goal, the midfielder will be the one to watch. Sunderland have been rejuvenated under the new management under Martin O'Neill. A home win against Manchester City and a thumping 4-1 win away at Wigan has seen the Black Cats go four unbeaten in the league. London Road always promises goals and this game won't disappoint. With the TV cameras there on Sunday, Posh will want to impress and show their quality against a decent Premier League side.
Prediction:  Posh 1-2 Sunderland

#4 Arsenal v Leeds Utd
These two teams met at the same stage last season drawing 1-1 at the Emirates with the Gunners winning the replay 3-1 at Elland Road. Arsenal are currently in excellent form in the league with star man Robin Van Persie continually firing in goals. Club legend and idol Thierry Henry is expected to play a part in this fixture as he starts his two month loan at the club. Leeds a club Henry has an excellent record against. He has scored 11 goals in 11 games against United and will want to continue this record. Leeds United currently sit outside the play offs in the championship and will find Monday's game at the Emirates tough. After lengthy injuries  to key players Patrick Kisnorbo and Robert Snodgrass, Leeds will rely on the impressive goalscoring Ross McCormack who has netted 11 league goals this season. 
Prediction : Arsenal 3-1 Leeds Utd

#5 Everton v Tamworth
This game is what the FA Cup is about, a big Premier League team facing a minnow from a lower division. Although the result is fairly obvious, Tamworth will take a big following to Goodison and the team will sure give it a go and show that they are about. With the return of American Landan Donovan, fans will be pleased to see his return and hope that he can help the team's goalscoring alongside the ever present Louis Saha. Tamworth are currently mid table in the Conference and definitely enjoy their big moment in front of 30,000 fans. The club know as 'The Lambs' are taking more than 5,000 fans giving them a memorable day out and whatever the result it will gain a place in the club's history. 
Prediction: Everton 4-0 Tamworth

#6 Swindon Town v Wigan Athletic
Another tie that offers a possible banana skin for a Premier League side. Wigan Athletic currently sit second bottom in the Premier League and an away trip to high flying Swindon will be tough for the Lactics. After disposing of League 1 giants Huddersfield Town 4-1 in the last round, Paolo Di Canio's team will fear no-one and go into the weekend's game with a lot of confidence. Wigan were knocked out of the cup two years ago to Notts County in the fourth round so the Lancashire club will need to be careful of another cup defeat to lower league opposition. The Premier League side haven't won in five league games so Roberto Martinez will want a solid display from his side.
Swindon Town 1-2 Wigan Athletic

#7 Fleetwood Town v Blackpool
Fleetwood Town have been the surprise team in the competition so far. Beating League 1 opposition in both rounds so far, the conference team will go into their third round tie knowing anything is possible. They currently sit second in the conference and are currently 11 games unbeaten in the league with a 6-0 drubbing of Southport there latest victory. Blackpool are sitting just outside the Championship play off positions and after beating high flyers Middlesbrough 3-0 on Monday, Ian Holloway's side will be full of confidence. Blackpool chairman was quoted this week saying that this tie means little to him but for the Fleetwood Town this will be one of their biggest games in their history
Prediction Fleetwood Town 1-3 Blackpool

#8 Birmingham City v Wolves
A tasty Midland derby will give great viewing for football fans. The last time these two met in this competition was three years ago when Wolves won 2-0 at St Andrews. Captain of Wolves Roger Johnson will get an interesting reaction as he returns to his former club where he led the Blues to Carling Cup success last year against Arsenal. The Championship club recently were eliminated from the Europa League and manager Chris Hughton will want to progress in this historic competition. Wolves are in terrible form and haven't won in six league and cup games. The form though of striker Steven Fletcher will give fans hope he can help the midland club get to the fourth round and help the club gather some momentum and form. This game will come with tasty tackles, cards a plenty and goals, not one to miss.
Prediction: Birmingham 2-2 Wolves

...and the rest           
Tottenham v Cheltenham Town   Prediction: 4-0             
Barnsley v Swansea   Prediction: 1-2
Sheffield Wed v West Ham     Prediction 2-3                   
Brighton v Wrexham  Prediction: 3-1
Fulham v Charlton  Prediction 4-2                                    
Gillingham v Stoke   Prediction: 0-2
Doncaster Rovers v Notts County Prediction: 1-1            
Crawley v Bristol City Prediction: 1-1
Chelsea v Portsmouth   Prediction 3-0                              
Dag & Red v Millwall  Prediction: 1-3
Coventry v Southampton   Prediction: 1-3                        
Derby v Crystal Palace  Prediction: 1-1
Bristol Rovers v Aston Villa  Prediction: 1-2                     
Macclesfield v Bolton  Prediction: 1-2
West Brom v Cardiff   Prediction: 2-1                              
Watford v Bradford City  Prediction: 2-0
Reading v Stevenage   Prediction: 2-0
Liverpool v Oldham   Prediction: 3-0
Sheffield United v Salisbury City  Prediction: 4-0
Nottingham Forest v Leicester City  Prediction: 1-1
Norwich v Burnley  Prediction 2-1
Newcastle v Blackburn  Prediction 1-1
Middlesbrough v Shrewsbury  Prediction: 3-0
Hull City v Ipswich Town  Prediction 2-1

No comments:

Post a Comment