Friday, March 11, 2011

INFTH FA Cup Predictions

Birmingham vs Bolton- Birmingham have been very much on form in both the cup competitions this year, and Alex Mcleish will fancy his chances of progressing to another Wembley final.

Bolton meanwhile, are coasting in the Premier League, well off relegation, but not high enough to entertain any dreams of European football, however, Owen Coyle will see some of his fellow FA Cup Quarter Finalists as very beatable indeed. Coyle has already come out and told his men to "win the Cup for Lofthouse" but the inspiration of a match at Wembley should be more then enough to inspire Bolton to a good performance.

Birmingham must realize that this cup competition still remains a second priority behind survival in the Premier League, but with the taste of Wembley still fresh, they will be hungry for more.

Prediction: 2-1

Manchester United vs Arsenal- This game is very difficult to predict, as it remains unclear what kind of side both managers will put out. Cesc Fabregas has already been ruled out of the game and that is a massive disappointment for Arsenal, despite his midweek farce.

On the other hand, Manchester United will have to play this and two other games without Portuguese winger Nani, arguably their best player this season.

At Old Trafford Manchester United will always be favored to come away with victory, but with a Champions League second leg tie coming up on Tuesday, United will have to make sure to keep their focus. Arsenal, are coming into this game off an absolute hiding in Spain, and it'll be interesting to see whether that effects them psychologically.

Prediction: 3-1

Stoke vs West Ham- If Avram Grant's West Ham side maintain their current form, then their fans can look forward to another year of top flight football. With a fluid midfield of Mark Noble, Scotty Parker and Thomas Hitzelsperger, and Demba Ba leading the line inspirationally, West Ham look very difficult to beat.

However, they can take nothing for granted against a Stoke side that have enjoyed yet another solid year in the Premiership. As well all know, Stoke are very good on home turf, and even this rejuvenated West Ham United team will have to fight hard for a place in the semis.

Once again, West Ham must realize that the FA Cup has to be second priority behind Premiership survival, but with injured players returning, West Ham have the strength in depth to juggle both competitions.

Given West Ham's good form, I'm going to go for an away win in this match, but don't be surprised if The Hammers are forced to work harder than they have worked all season to come away with victory.

Prediction: 2-3

Manchester City vs Reading- Brian Mcdermott's Reading side did fantastically well to beat Everton and advance to this stage, but you have to imagine that City away may well be a bridge too far. It was only a few years ago that Reading were competing with Manchester City in England's top flight but, unfortunately, those days are long gone.

City come into this game off a galling away loss to Dynamo Kiev, making it likely that the FA Cup will be their only chance to end that long trophy drought this season. Once again, Roberto Mancini will see this match as an ideal opportunity to give big money signing Edin Dzeko a chance at more goals and renewed confidence, but Reading will certainly plan to make it difficult for Dzeko, and every other member of the City team.

Predicton: 2-0

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