With the FA Cup quarter-finals taking place this weekend there are only four matches this round, which means there won’t be any slam point on offer for at least five correct results.
Still, there should be quite a bit of movement on the various leaderboards, given the four games being played aren’t exactly “gimmes”.
Having said that, the four favourites to win are: Fulham, Brighton, Arsenal and Tottenham. Personally, I feel that all four games have that feeling where all three results are possible, and it’s not inconceivable that we could even see four draws. Perhaps the “banker” of the round is a Brighton win?
I’ll leave the selections up to you, but to mention that these matches affect the bottom half of the table where the sides sitting in 16th, 17th and 18th are in action. Should Fulham beat Leeds and Brighton beat Newcastle – which is the way the betting has it – then Steve Bruce’s Magpies will slip into the relegation zone.
That in itself would be quite remarkable because almost from day one it has looked as though the three teams doomed to relegation are Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham.
Last week Newcastle picked up a vital point when scoring the equaliser in the 94th minute against Villa. I’d had Villa to win 1-0 and when they netted the opener in the 85th minute I thought I was home and dry. Football and Superbru and those late goals hey!
Fulham 1 Leeds 1: Leeds drew for only the 3rd time in 28 games when holding Chelsea to a goalless draw last time. They were great value for the point as well, but remain an inconsistent side. This reverse fixture produced 7 goals at the beginning of the season with Leeds winning a wild game 4-3. Leeds had actually gone 4-1 ahead. But this Fulham team is full of fight and have only lost 3 of their last 11 games – against Leicester, Tottenham and Man City.
Brighton 2 Newcastle 0: Worrying times for Newcastle. They have slipped into the relegation fight and only Sheffield United and West Brom have lost more games. They’ve also won 3 out of 14 away games. This reverse fixture ended 3-0 to Brighton. But the Seagulls have also struggled, but snapped a run of 3 losses by beating Southampton last time.
West Ham 1 Arsenal 1: Why can’t Hammers fans start believing? They’re 3 points off a Champions League place and 2 points ahead of Liverpool. Yet Arsenal are still favourites to make the short trip to east London and come back with full points. The reverse fixture went Arsenal’s way, 2-1, but the Hammers are a well coached, physical side who won’t have anything to fear from the Gunners visit.
Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 1: Spurs lost in the Europa League on Thursday, going down 3-0 to Dinamo Zagreb which saw them bow out of the competition. They’ve now got to deal with tired legs and the travelling and a flat dressing room. Jose Mourinho is going to need all his powers to turn things around and while Villa have been struggling without Jack Grealish, signs are he could return for this game.