England’s Premier Cup competition- the FA Cup is back in the spotlight this weekend with plenty of drama and excitement expected. The prize on offer is a spot in the semi-finals at the prestigious Wembley Stadium.
While the representation at this stage is Premier League heavy, Bournemouth will look to push its luck as the only team outside the English top division.
Manchester City will come into this fixture still nursing the possibility of winning a quadruple this season.
Bournemouth vs Southampton (Deans Court)
Bournemouth and Southampton will face off in a South Coast derby. The Cherries qualified for this stage having defeated Burnley 2-0 in the previous round.
New manager, Jonathan Woodgate has a chance to show his bosses that he can manage the team in the long-term with a win over a terribly out-of-form Southampton.
Woodgate’s men sit in seventh position on the Championship table, 12 points adrift of Premier League automatic promotion. However, they are beginning to pick form with three wins in the last five games.
Bournemouth’s highest goalscorer, Dominic Solanke will fancy his chances against the Saints’ leaky defence.
Ralph Hasenhuttl will hope to build some league momentum with a win over the second division side.
Danny Ings, who helped the Saints qualify for this stage with a 2-0 win over Wolves is absent from this game. Hence, the Premier League side will be relying on Liverpool loanee, Takumi Minamino for the goals.
Prediction: Under 3.5 goals
Everton vs Manchester City (Goodison Park)
Everton advanced to the last eight following an exhilarating 4-3 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
The Toffees’ form has been topsy turvy in the past month after a sublime start to the season. Carlo Ancelotti’s men are currently in seventh place, 10 points adrift of Champions League places.
The hosts were beaten by the Premier League leaders 3-1 last month. Hence, they will need to play a perfect match to get one over the Cityzens. By that, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert Lewin will have to be clinical in front of goal; taking the chances that fall to them.
Manchester City will be eager to improve on last season’s FA Cup campaign where it lost to eventual winners, Arsenal in the semi-finals.
The former champions eased past Swansea 3-1 to qualify for this stage.
Pep Guardiola’s men have won their last six matches against Everton. Apart from the loss to rivals, Manchester United, the leaders have defeated every opponent in 2021.
The fixture promises plenty of goals and excitement.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals
Chelsea vs Sheffield United (Stamford Bridge)
Chelsea will look to extend their unbeaten streak under Thomas Tuchel to 14 matches. Tammy Abraham scored the solitary goal that confirmed qualification for the quarterfinals.
The Blues are brimming with confidence coming into this fixture after booking their place in the final eight of the UEFA Champions League.
Tuchel will also fancy this competition as a chance to win his first title in England.
Struggling Sheffield United face a difficult test against Tuchel’s men. The Blades qualified for the final eight courtesy of a 1-0 win against Bristol City.
However, Chris Wilder’s men will need to put last weekend’s 5-0 league defeat to Leicester City behind them when they travel to London.
It is difficult to see anything other than a Chelsea win in this tie.
Prediction: Chelsea win
Leicester City vs Manchester United (King Power Stadium)
This is arguably the biggest fixture of this stage based on the league status of both teams. This match is expected to produce goals and fireworks with both teams desperate for silverware this season.
Nigeria international, Kelechi Iheanacho scored a last-gasp winner to qualify the Foxes for the last eight of this competition.
Brendan Rodgers’ men will be eager to get one past Manchester United for the first time in six seasons. Rodgers will also be banking on another fruitful partnership between Jamie Vardy and Iheanacho.
The Red Devils advanced to the quarterfinals following Scot McTominay’s extra-time goal.
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s team will need to recover quickly from the week’s continental engagement ahead of the trip to the King Power.
The visitors will be without Edinson Cavani for this fixture. Therefore, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial will be key for the team on the break.
Solksjaer has not lost to Leicester City in four games as a coach. The Norwegian will be eager to continue that streak.
Prediction: Over 2.5 goals