Round 5 FA Cup Preview: Predictions for each of the weekend’s matches on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (February 17, 18, and 19, 2013).
Saturday, February 16, 2013
Luton Town v Millwall: Luton Town is the only non-league side left in the FA Cup, playing their football in the Conference National (Blue Square Bet Premier). Neither teams really looks like being promoted this season meaning they both have just the FA Cup to play for. This should be a scrappy match between two clubs that could be deemed very English. I expect both teams to play hard defense with direct attacking. I’m predicting a draw simply because Luton will be at home and that could give them an edge.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw
Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers: Arsenal will have had a weeklong break to prepare, however, they will also have to think about their midweek clash with Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Blackburn will have the same turnaround timeframe for their next match, but having already played only 4 days prior to Saturday’s match. I don’t think the match times will mean a whole lot. This is one that Arsenal should come away from as winners, particularly playing at home. They have been picking up with their form across all competitions and should be hungry to advance in a cup competition.
Prediction: 2 -0 Arsenal win
Milton Keynes Dons v Barnsley: They may be separated by a division, but the FA Cup is such a competition that this won’t be much of a factor. MK Dons may be in the middle of League One, but Barnsley aren’t too far behind as they are in the midst of a relegation battle. Barnsley will certainly be more focused on staying out of relegation while the Dons have everything to play for in the Cup. I’m predicting a close MK Dons win.
Prediction: 3-2 MK Dons win
Oldham Athletic v Everton: Oldham Athletic have the opportunity to beat both Liverpool clubs in this year’s FA Cup competition. Oldham looked good against Liverpool in the last round, but I would say that Liverpool did themselves no favors with the way they played. Everton are a different team from Liverpool and play a much more direct style that should lead to them winning. Everton have had difficulties allowing goals, so I don’t see it being all that simple and Oldham should get a goal. They could even push so far as to force a replay.
Prediction: 1-2 Everton win
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Chelsea v Brentford: This is actually the Round 4 replay for the two teams with the Round 5 match between the winner facing Middlesbrough away on Wednesday, February 27. When these two met at Griffin Park Chelsea looked tired and did not look up for it. They haven’t exactly looked much better since then, but they will be playing at home and should be able to do enough to advance. I’m picking Chelsea to come through winners, but it might be a tough one for them.
Prediction: 2-1 Chelsea win
Manchester City v Leeds United: This is a match-up that will depend largely on which Manchester City team shows up. Leeds is currently battling to make it into the Championship playoffs while City is attempting to maintain their position in second in the Premier League. Both teams recent form has been less than optimal, but I would give Leeds a slight edge since they are the underdog and the FA Cup loves underdogs. I’m very tempted to give Leeds the edge here, but again, it will depend largely on how Manchester City play. They are a team full of highly paid inconsistent players that Leeds could take advantage of. The good thing for City is that they will have a week break to rest up and prepare. I’m going to predict a Manchester City win, but will not be surprised if Leeds get a result.
Prediction: 2-1 Manchester City win
Huddersfield Town v Wigan Athletic: I’m picking this one for my upset of the round. Wigan are currently locked in a relegation battle and really need to get going, which could mean that they either start their run by winning on Sunday, or they go out of the Cup after realizing they need to focus on the Premier League. I’m picking them for the latter, especially since Huddersfield will be playing at home and they do not have the same worries as Wigan. Huddersfield will be putting it all out there for this match despite having a Championship game coming up two days later. I’m picking Huddersfield to advance to the sixth round, but Wigan could come out strong and get a win as well.
Prediction: 2-1 Huddersfield Town win
Monday, February 18, 2013
Manchester United v Reading: I’m tempted to say that this is a pretty straight forward match between two EPL sides, but it probably won’t be. I could see United making several changes, but still fielding a strong side. Reading will certainly be going for it and will give Manchester United a tough run out. There is every likelihood that Reading could force a replay, or even nab a win, but I’m picking Manchester United for the win.
Prediction: 2-1 Manchester United win