The FA Cup is one of the oldest knockout competitions in world football and is renown across the world.
This weekend sees the last 16 teams left in the competition battle it out for a place in the quarterfinal and as always, there are some intriguing match ups in prospect.
Outlined below is our preview of this weekend’s big cup clashes!
FA Cup Fifth Round Fixtures
Saturday 15th February
Sunderland v Southampton
Sunderland are one of the most inconsistent teams in the Premier League and its hard to know which team will turn up.
Southampton in contrast, are far more consistent and have plenty of strong attacking talent. The Saints were convincing winners at the Stadium of Light recently and I’m backing them to do the same again here.
- Match Result: Take Southampton for the win at 11/8 with Bet365.
- Other Bet: Southampton’s powerful striker Rickie Lambert is due a goal and I fancy him to do well against a Sunderland defence missing Wes Brown. Take Lambert to score the opener at 6/1 with SkyBet.
Cardiff City v Wigan Athletic
Cardiff take on the holders in what will be a closely fought game. Home advantage will be crucial here as Wigan take on a team from the league above.
Cardiff’s form has been erratic though at times and they go into this game on the back of a 3-0 defeat at local rivals Swansea. However with a quarter final place up for grabs, I expect the home side to just sneak through.
- Match Result: It’s hard to see many goals here between two well matched teams, but I am backing Cardiff to sneak through here, take the Bluebirds to win at 21/20 with Bet365.
- Other Bet: Wilfred Zaha isn’t cup tied, so he should feature for Cardiff and at 7/1 with SkyBet for the opening goal, he looks a very good price.
Sheffield Wednesday v Charlton Athletic
Two Championship strugglers clash at Hillsborough in what could be a closely fought game.
There’s nine points that separate the teams in the table and in earlier in the season the teams shared a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough in the league. I fancy another close battle here with perhaps a replay needed to decide the winner.
- Match Result: I fancy a similar game to the league encounter here and I’m backing the draw at 23/10 with Bet365.
- Other Bet: You can get good value odds of 6/1 against a 1-1 draw with BetVictor.
Manchester City v Chelsea
A rematch of the game a couple of weeks ago, which Chelsea won 1-0. City will want revenge but Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is a master at getting the result when he needs it.
This will be a battle between the two richest and best squads in the Premier League. It will be close, very close and may require a replay to settle.
- Match Result: Expect a bruising encounter between the two and a replay, so I’m backing this match to end in a draw at 5/2 with Bet365.
- Other Bet: Chelsea are 5/4 to qualify from the match with Bet365, this is a good bet, especially if they can get City back to Stamford Bridge for a replay.
Sunday 16th February
Everton v Swansea City
Everton have a strong cup pedigree and though Swansea are Premier League opposition, the home side are strong favourites here.
Roberto Martinez men do seem to have hit a wall at the moment though after defeats to Liverpool and Spurs damaged their European hopes.
Swansea though are still without a permanent manager following Michael Laudrup’s dismissal though a 3-0 win over Cardiff last weekend will have improved the mood. Goodison Park though is a tough place to get a result.
- Match Result: Everton have been very strong at home this season and it’s hard to back against the home side here. Take the Toffees to win this comfortably at 4/7 with SkyBet.
- Other Bet: Everton to win this game 2-0 are 6-1 with SkyBet, but I am more tempted by Everton to win 3-0, which is 11/1 with both SkyBet and Bet365.
Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest
The lowest ranked team left in the competition, Sheffield United did well to defeat Fulham in the last round, but face an improving Nottingham Forest team riding high in the Championship.
Billy Davies will have his team meticulously prepared for this one and while the Blades have home advantage, it is hard to see how they will cope with a talented Forest team here.
- Match Result: I expect a close one, but take Nottingham Forest for the win here at 13/10 with Bet365.
- Other Bet: I like the look of a scorecast here taking Jamie Mackie to score first and Nottingham Forest to win 2-1 at odds of 40/1 with BetVictor.
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Arsenal v Liverpool
The Gunners have a lot to prove after being thumped 5-1 at Anfield last weekend by Liverpool and this immediate rematch offers them a perfect opportunity to do that.
The Gunners won 2-0 in the league earlier in the season so will be confident that home advantage will be enough to turn things around. Liverpool though are in great form and have arguably the most in form strikeforce in the Premier League, but can they end their Emirates jinx in the FA Cup?
- Match Result: Arsenal will want revenge and it is hard to back against the Gunners at home. Take Arsenal for the win here at 11/8 with Bet365.
- Other Bet: Will Arsene Wenger rest players for this game? It seems unlikely, so in that case back Frenchman Olivier Giroud to grab the opener at 5/1 with SkyBet.
Monday 17th February
Brighton v Hull City
Hull will come into this game as the strongly fancied favourites.
Steve Bruce strengthened his team wisely in the January transfer window with the signing of Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic, although both are cup-tied for this game. Brighton though are no pushovers and this will be a tough game for the visitors, especially seeing as Brighton boast a strong home record.
It may take a replay, but in the end though, I think Hull’s greater quality, especially in midfield and attack, will eventually see them through.
- Match Result: This could be a close one and I fancy a draw in the first game before Hull snatch the win in a replay. You can get 23/10 on the draw with SkyBet.
- Other Bet: If you are looking for a decent anytime goalscorer bet then Brighton’s Craig Mackail-Smith is a tempting prospect at 7/4 with SkyBet.
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