FA Cup quarter-finals/ Premier League predictions

Posted: 16th March 2012 by admin

This week’s set of predictions is poignant for me given the increased importance of        Everton’s fixture. Though a 12:45 kick-off is not the ideal time, Goodison Park is just the location to restore what had been a great run of form.

David Moyes’ apparent ‘a fall comes before pride’ philosophy will forever be a black mark against in my book but he is of course the sort of manager who can channel negativity.

Moving on to a less subjective, more wide-reaching approach, victory for Manchester United at vulnerable Wolves would open up a four-point gap over Manchester City with Mancini’s men facing an arguably-rejuvenated Chelsea in their next fixture.

With the Europa League done and dusted, things are just about to get fascinating and you can bet your bottom dollar that Alex Ferguson is delighted to have the chance to apply the pressure first.

Remember to play along if you can be arsed: one point for a correct result, two for a correct score.

Last week’s score: 4 (Worst so far)


Saturday March 17, 2012

The FA Cup quarter-finals

Everton 3-1 Sunderland (12:45)

Well if anyone read my David Moyes article from earlier this week, you will know my feelings on this on already, but just to recap: Everton absolutely must win.

The performance has to be impressive also, and with Nikica Jelavic, Royston Drenthe but most importantly, Leon Osman, returned to the line-up, I expect plenty of chances for the Blues.

Sunderland will fight because of course there is an evident spirit there but Sessegnon’s absence through suspension will be key. I think he’s a fantastic player and without his ability to link the play, I see Sunderland being penned back as Everton try to right the wrong of midweek.

Jelavic is just the sort of striker a player with Osman’s vision requires to win a game. Fingers crossed.

Tottenham 3-0 Bolton Wanderers (17:30)

Despite Harry Redknapp’s lack of post-match dignity last week, I’ll admit that Tottenham deserved to beat Everton. And though their form has been really poor of late for a team that were talked about as title candidates earlier this season, if Spurs finish third and win the FA Cup, that would constitute a brilliant season.

Redknapp is a fantastic motivator and his side have so much quality on the ball and in the box that you can only anticipate goals against an admittedly improved though still decidedly woeful Bolton defence. Pacier, quicker in the mind, and far more clinical, I think 3-0 Spurs may actually be  an underestimate.

The Barclays Premier League

Fulham 2-0 Swansea (15:00)

Martin Jol’s side missed a chance last week. Villa were there for the taking and Fulham should have advantage.

A victory would have meant the Cottagers had taken 19 points from the last 21 available; that momentum would have made the visit of a confident Swansea a lot more straight forward.

The enormity of the gulf in resources between Brendan Rodger’s team and Man City really puts that victory in context so credit where it’s due. That said, Swansea are a pretty poor away side and cannot impose themselves like they do at home.

Fulham, the archetypal home side will build up enough pressure, and with Pogrebnyak and Dempsey up front, I really look forward to watching the highlights.

Wigan 1-2 West Brom (15:00)

I would have backed Wigan for three points here if they’d have got their just desserts from the Norwich game, but that opportunity lost  is indicative of their general wastefulness/ lack of composure in front of goal. I like Martinez of course, I mean everyone likes Martinez, but I take issue with this whole he plays’ the right way’ thing people say.

As far as I see it, he plays ‘the right way’ the wrong way in that any quick-paced, slick combination of ball retention and attacking should supplement a solid defence rather than compensate for the lack of one.

Take West Brom, for example. They are unlikely to lose this game as because Roy Hodgson places so much importance on the need to maintain shape and reduce risk.

Call it safe, call it boring, I say that savvy is probably more apt. Given the bags of attacking talent in Peter Odemwingie, Shane Long and increasingly James Morrison means they have a real chance of nicking any game, so I’ll take a punt on this one.


Sunday February 18, 2012

The FA Cup quarter-finals

Chelsea 2 -0 Leicester City (14:05)

Even though Chelsea beat Napoli convincingly in the end, I wouldn’t say that convinced me. Watching that game, I was struck by a thought that is possibly lacing the dreams of Arsenal fans everywhere: imagine if they drew Barcelona in the quarters. Genuinely, I would expect an aggregate score line of something like 10-2.

The Chelsea of old would have swept the floor with Leicester but I expect the Foxes to compete in this game. Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Birmingham was a decent result and you always have a chance when there is a striker like Beckford up front (let me just stress as an Evertonian, I mean that on a strictly novelty basis given his cup record). Chelsea’s superior ability to defend and convert chances will be the difference.

Liverpool 2-1 Stoke City (16:00)

If I am painfully honest, I’d have to say that Liverpool are probably the best English cup side. For two reasons really: firstly (and obviously), they bloody win loads of them, and secondly, because their games are always fantastic: 5-4 vs Alaves, 3-3 vs AC Milan, 3-3 vs West Ham, and obviously 2-2 vs Cardiff recently.

Liverpool excel in the cup and an away quarter-final at Anfield is as close to a write-off as they come.

I don’t particularly rate this Liverpool side at the moment, but as the general performance and productivity of the squad has improved, I have simply channeled that cynicism into Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson comments. If Stoke can nick a goal and employ those scandalous time-wasting tactics, they have a chance of a result.

My friend Stocky told me a statistic this week that I judge meaningful enough to form the last word, so here’s doing that justice. Liverpool’s record when they have started  Gerrard, Carroll and Suarez: played three, won three, scored 11.

The Barclays Premier League

Wolves 0 -3 Manchester United (13:30)

This is quite simply one the worst possible fixtures for Terry Connor and his side. I really fell sorry for him; the transformation in mentality, belief and momentum that is required is monumental, so his current failure to effect that is hardly a fair indictment. That said, fact is the raw material of the sports journalist and to that end, Wolves are a shaken, weak and beatable team at the moment, and Manchester United, well they want to win the league.

Stung by the lesson they were given for 180 minutes of their Europa League tie with Bilbao, I expect the Old Trafford title machine to find its critical gear. Wayne Rooney’s form has been outstanding but beyond his abundant natural ability, he has shown the sort of relentless desire and clinical efficiency that defines champions. Sub-standard defence vs ruthless attack. No contest.

Newcastle 2-0 Norwich City (16:00)

Newcastle’s unfortunate defeat to Arsenal contained lots of positives, the most important of which for me was the performance of Hatem Ben Arfa. I think he has been impressive all year but of late, has begun to work harder for the team.

He strikes me as the sort of player who can create a chance out of nothing and convert it easily – a godsend of an asset when you consider Newcastle’s two brilliant strikers Ba and Cisse.

Like I said previously, Norwich deserved to be beaten last week against Wigan and as I do not rate Roberto Martinez’s side whatsoever, the Canaries must be out of form as far as I can tell. Newcastle to get back to winning ways with the three said attackers t0 dominate.

By Chris Smith

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  • Great blog and good predictions. Have you thought about the value in the predictions though rather than just predicting? We’ve got predictions up also and you are welcome to check them out.