So the fairytale romance of the FA Cup returns for another year, and I am sure there will be very many unexpected results as usual, but will Mikel Arteta take it seriously? We will find out on Monday….
Arsenal 1-1 Leeds
What I like about Arteta so far is there is a clear identity about us, something which we never quite had under Emery. This is natural of our fan base although some are in danger of getting a little bit carried away after one win over Man United. It means nothing if we are going to Palace in a week’s time without the same work ethic.
Will we have the same attitude on Monday, especially if we make a few changes? Near the top of the Championship and bringing a big following to the Emirates, Leeds can take advantage if we are complacent.
Rochdale 2-1 Newcastle
Ahh the yearly Toon Army tradition of wondering will this be the year their trophy drought ends, then realising their owner has instructed his manager only to care about the League, hence disappointing your own fans by making changes. I look at some of their flair players and wonder how will they cope in this environment?
Burnley 1-2 Peterborough
I have seen Sean Dyche mess up these occasions before by playing weak line ups, once even when having the chance to advance to the Finals. The visitors are near the top of league one and will give this a go. If Burnley go too weak, they will pay the price.
Brighton 2-2 Sheffield Wednesday
Only 4 points above the relegation zone, Graham Potter has suggested he might rotate his squad which gives the visitors a chance. It could be entertaining.
Fulham 2-0 Villa
Villa have lost their top scorer Wesley till the end of the season. With a League cup semi-final just days away, I can see Dean Smith unofficially sacrificing this tie.
Saints 1-0 Huddersfield
This could be a reserve team at the bottom of the Premiership hosting a reserve team at the bottom of the Championship. If I were a Saint Fans, I would want the winning momentum to carry on, but they might just get away with wholesale changes.
Watford 3-0 Tranmere
Watford have refound their mojo over Xmas, but are not in a position where they can prioritise a cup run. The Hornets have a bigger squad then some might think so may have talent who want to make a point.
Cherries 1-1 Luton
Eddie Howe has upset his fans before by playing a weak team against lower League sides. I think he will make that mistake again; they need the confidence of a win from anywhere not the humiliation of a cup upset.
Preston 2-1 Norwich
Given how Preston are playing in the Championship, would this count as an upset if Norwich make changes?
Leicester 2-1 Wigan
The Foxes are beating Villa over two legs away from a Wembley Final. I think this will impact their team selection, but they will still have enough fire power to get over a minor scare.
Wolves 1-1 Man United
The biggest compliment I can give Wolves is that United will approach this as a really tough tie, having been knocked out at the Molineux last season. Ole will be targeting this competition as a chance to bring happiness to a difficult campaign and I think he would bite your hand off for a replay. Unlike some of their Premiership rivals, I expect both managers to name their strongest line ups.
Man City 5-0 Port Vale
The problem with the Champions being so far behind in the title race is even more so now will they focus on retaining their domestic cups. They have a Manchester Derby in midweek in the League cup semi-final. Even if Pep made wholesale changes what does that mean? Aguero starting instead of a Jesus?
Chelsea 3-1 Notts Forest
Can’t see why Lampard wouldn’t take this cup seriously having won it so many times as a player. His team have been too laid back at home losing to the likes of Bournemouth, West Ham, Southampton, etc. So, there is no excuse for the wrong attitude here.
Middlesbrough 0-2 Spurs
Jose has always taken the cups seriously and you still wouldn’t back against him in knockout football. They have the blow of Kane’s injury but should get away with it here.The home side lack self-belief and ambition
Sheff United 3-0 AFC Fylde
Chris Wilder is old school. You won’t find him making excuses that players can’t play every few days. Even if he did, this would still be a home banker.
C Palace 1-1 Derby
It doesn’t suit the Eagles to be expected to take the initiative in a game and Derby are a tricky side to play when the pressure is off them. I’ll go for the Rooney factor and say the visitors get a result.
Liverpool 2-1 Everton
Since the draw was made this has become more of an interesting tie because of the Carlo Ancelotti factor (only one of two men to have beaten Liverpool this season). The Reds have picked up the knack of winning even when not playing well. That will continue on Sunday.
Gillingham 1-3 West Ham
Anyone’s who listened to David Moyes’ press conferences know he fancies himself more than a manager who can just cement a side in mid-table, and he needs to prove that to certain section of his fan base and even his owners. Winning the cup would do that.