Tag: Stoke City

FA Cup Preview: Can the Premier League Dominate the Third Round of the FA Cup? (January 7th, 2016)

FA Cup Preview: Can the Premier League Dominate the Third Round of the FA Cup? (January 7th, 2016)

It’s the third round of the FA Cup, and all eyes will be on the Premier League sides involved to see if they can all avoid an early exit. Some of these sides are heavily favored to progress while other have the unfortunate task of facing another EPL side very early on, but all of these teams will want to make it on to the next round regardless of how low they sit in the EPL table. West Ham became the first top-tier team eliminated as they lost to Manchester City by a scoreline of 5-0; who will join them?

Leicester City v Manchester United - The FA Community Shield

Manchester United vs. Reading

When? 6:30 AM CT

Where? Old Trafford

Manchester United play first on Saturday, and will face Championship side Reading at Old Trafford. Mourinho’s men have had their inconsistencies in the first half of the EPL season, but they are currently on a 5-game winning streak on the back of Ibrahimovic’s hot scoring form (5 goals in his last 5 games). Reading, to their credit, sit in third place in the Championship and have improved greatly as the season has progressed. With Manchester United’s recent history of falling short of expectations, Reading could provide a shock. But I’ll place my money on Ibrahimovic scoring again, and Manchester United comfortably progressing to the 4th round.

Prediction: Manchester United 3-0 Reading

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Crystal Palace vs. Bolton 

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? Macron Stadium

Crystal Palace have played abysmally this season, and their loss to the equally abysmal Swansea City last match proved that Sam Allardyce has a lot to fix. Last season, Crystal Palace reached the finals of this presitigious tournament, and they’ll be hoping to find similar joy this year to help cure their Premier League woes. This first match against Bolton is very winnable and Allardyce will want a convincing victory under his belt to progress into the next round and prepare them for next week’s match against West Ham.

Prediction: Crystal Palace 3-0 Bolton Wanderers

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Everton vs. Leicester City

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? Goodison Park

The reigning Premier League champions have had a dismal title defense run this season, and with only one victory in their last five EPL matches it doesn’t look they are going to bounce back to their 2015-2016 form any time soon. Even worse, Leicester has only managed to score 3 goals in their last 5 matches, even against the likes of Middlesbrough, West Ham, and Stoke City. Everton, meanwhile, sit in 7th place coming into this match fresh off of a 3-0 thrashing of Southampton. They defeated Leicester two weeks prior to this FA Cup clash, and I expect them to win again and punch their ticket to the next round.

Prediction: Everton 2-1 Leicester City

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Swansea City vs. Hull City

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? KCOM Stadium

This one is indeed the battle of the EPL bottomdwellers, as Hull City will face Swansea City at home with these two teams heading up the bottom of the Premier League. Neither has more than 16 points in their first 20 EPL games, and both have a goal difference into the negative 20s. So who will win this one? It’s hard to say, and, frankly, hard to care. Both have only one win in their last 5 games, but I’ll go with Swansea whose victory came more recently in their clash against Crystal Palace. Hull City loses at home in front of fans who can’t wait for their return to the Championship

Prediction: Swansea City 2-0 Hull City

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Bournemouth vs. Millwall

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? The New Den

Bournemouth’s kickoff match to this year’s FA Cup comes against Millwall away from home. In 9th place at this point in the EPL, Bournemouth are riding into this game on the back off an astonishing 3-3 draw with Arsenal. It’s astonishing not because they played Arsenal, but because they at one point had a 3-goal lead! This match should be a lot easier for them, however, and I fully expect Callum Wilson and company to grab a comfortable victory (and hold on to a lead for a change!)

Prediction: Bournemouth 3-1 Millwall

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Southampton vs. Norwich City

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? Carrow Road

Southampton will travel to face Championship side Norwich City in their first FA Cup match this season, a team that they know very well as former Premier League adversaries.Southampton have seen better days, as they sit at mid-table having won one of their last five matches and scored only thrice in that span. They’ll have to call on inspiration that has been lacking as of late to progress in this one, but Norwich City haven’t looked stellar this season either–9th in the Championship currently–and I expect Puel’s men to get the job done.

Prediction: Southampton 2-0 Norwich City 

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Stoke City vs. Wolves

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? bet365 Stadium

Stoke City head into their first FA Cup match having just put an end to their 5-game winless streak with a 2-0 defeat of Watford. They played pretty well in that match, and if they can keep up this composure that they’ve lacked so dearly in either games then I think they’ll grab the home victory pretty handily against a Wolves side that lives at the bottom of the Championship.

Prediction: Stoke City 3-1 Wolves

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Sunderland vs. Burnley

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? Stadium of Light

Yet another all-EPL FA Cup 3rd round clash pits a struggling Sunderland side against a surprisingly average Burnley. I have my doubts about this being a straight-forward victory for Burnley, with Sunderland’s recent heroics against Liverpool and having to play away from home. Jermaine Defoe is a game-changer, and he does tend to shine when Sunderland are the underdogs. Nevertheless, Burnley embarrassed Sunderland 4-1 a week prior to this match, and I expect Andre Gray to grab a couple goals in a victory for Sean Dyche’s side.

Prediction: Burnley 3-2 Sunderland

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Watford vs. Burton Albion

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? Vicarage Road

Watford have just not been the same since Quique Flores left, and it’s been almost a month since they grabbed a Premier League victory. The problem seems to be that they can’t score, and with only 2 goals in their last five matches one wonders whether they have the attacking threat to put games to bed. Luckily, the have an easy matchup against Championship basement occupants Burton Albion, and this game may just be the kickstart their attacking game desperately needs.

Prediction: Watford 4-0 Burton Albion

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West Brom vs. Derby County

When? 9:00 AM CT

Where? The Hawthorns

West Brom have surprised many this season, and with 3 victories in their last 5 matches sit in 8th place in the Premier League coming into this FA Cup clash with Derby County. A lot of this success has come from the attacking efforts of Salomon Rondon and Matt Phillips, and I think this duo could do major damage against Steve McClaren’s men, who are coming off of a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Norwich City.

Prediction: West Brom 3-1 Derby County

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Arsenal vs. Preston

When? 11:30 AM CT

Where? Deepdale

A top-tier Premier League side against a mid-table Championship side? This one isn’t up for debate. Yes, Arsenal’s defense looked weak against Bournemouth and a 3-3 draw doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, but they don’t need to be in sterling form to thrash Preston at Deepdale.

Prediction: Arsenal 6-1 Preston

 

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