Tranmere 1-3 Spurs
It’s funny how for decades managers were judged on what they won, yet media darling Poche says the cups are not important ( because he hasn’t won any!) and everyone is going along with it. Let’s see how he changes his tune if he ever takes Spurs to a Final? I think he will rest key men for the League Cup Semi Final, which will give
the hosts a chance before quality prevails.
Bournemouth 2-0 Brighton
Eddie Howe over the years has been questioned for not giving the cup a go. Hes not going to do that during a poor run. Chris Hughton will feel the same. It’s sad when two Premiership sides play their reserves in front of a half empty stadium.
Blackpool 1-2 Arsenal
I hope all involved have learnt from 12 months ago when arrogance on/off the pitch cost us at Forest, our darkest day of 2018. Arsene Wenger didn’t even name a strong bench as our youngsters assumed, we simply had to show up. So, Unai Emery has to find the balance between giving key players a rest after a mentally tiring Christmas and not gambling with the most likely competition we can win. Would it be that much a shock if our attitudes were poor or our defenders were physically bullied?
Burnley 0-2 Barnsley
Sean Dyche is a pragmatist, so I can see him making whole sale changes and not apologising for it. With Barnsley going well in League 1 that might even itself out
West Ham 2-1 Birmingham
It’s hard to second guess managers when it comes to the FA Cup but as a side who are not going to get relegated or get into Europe, the Hammers should give this a go. I don’t think they are comfortable ever being the favourites and the Championship side might try to bully them, but the home side have match winners.
Chelsea 2-1 Forrest
I think Chelsea will rest players for their League cup semi-final but they have plenty of players desperate for a game who will want to use this tie to make an impression. It’s funny their manager asks for a striker at a time when they have agreed for Pulisic to join in the summer. Clearly Sarri was not aware of that purchase and would have preferred fire power for the here and now. By way how come not being in the Champions League hasn’t affected the Blue’s transfer policy?
Derby 3-1 Southampton
The Saints are having to do the equivalent of pre-season training at Xmas, so I think they will treat this as two weeks off to get the first team up to fitness. Derby meanwhile have several promising youngsters who will see this as another chance to make a statement.
Everton 3-2 Lincoln
Lincoln are probably the lower League side you don’t want to face, in terms of a banana skin. Top of their League they can have a go at Goodison with the pressure off. Everton have struggled in games when they are expected to win and Silva might feel pressured to play a strong side.
Gillingham 0-0 Cardiff
Neil Warnock isn’t hiding his surprise that his team are out of the relegation zone going into the New Year. He might look at this as his last opportunity to succeed in the top flight and won’t sacrifice that for a cup run. I can see this being Cardiff’s reserves against a team struggling in League One.
Bristol City 3 0 Huddersfield
A rare example where the lower league side are favourites despite the visitors being from the Premiership. David Wagner needs to find a goal scorer for this not to be a fixture next season. I wonder what he thinks about Defoe going to Rangers?
Crystal Palace 3-0 Grimsby
Another team who prefer to be the underdog, not comfortable with being favourites. The quicker they can buy a striker the better.
Newcastle 1-2 Blackburn
From a PR perspective Newcastle should try and have a cup run. The Toon army are no nearer seeing transfer activity while news of new owners have gone quiet. The fans need some hope, but Rafa is the type though who will think a defeat is worth the reward of giving his first team a weekend to rest
Man United 3-0 Reading
The benefit of being an interim manager is you can afford to say what everyone wants to hear. Solskjaer of course wants to do whatever it takes to have an outside chance of getting the job full time. He’s saying all the right things like Man United being a big club while smiling more in a month then Jose did in 3 years. I think he will prioritise winning the Cup with United as his best chance to getting the position full time.
Man City 4-0 Rotherham
City will probably play a strong team in midweek. Of course, they have 2 world class players for each position so will still win comfortably.
Fulham 1-0 Oldham
Big enough gap for Fulham to win with fringe players.
Woking 0-4 Watford
Watford have plenty of options in attack to avoid what would be biggest upset of round. Not quite a cricket score like their manager predicts but comfortable for the Hornets.
Newport 1-1 Leicester
Newport put together an atmosphere which scared Spurs to death last year so will hope to do the same when the Foxes come to town. Puel got heat for playing a weak side in the League Cup so his line up will be interesting.
Wolves 2-1 Liverpool
Having lost for the first time in the League it’s good for Liverpool to have a break from the Premiership, denying City a chance to gain quick momentum. Klopp may well disregard the cup to concentrate on defending his 4 point lead at the top of the table.