It is FA Cup weekend and as we enter the latter rounds we get a fairly full league coupon too. This weekend we have picked out a Fifth Round FA Cup tie along with a Championship and League One fixture.
We start off with our FA Cup tie and it is an all Premier League affair where Southampton make the long trip to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland. The home side certainly have their hands full when it comes to competitions; they already have a League Cup Final to look forward to and are in a full on relegation battle at the bottom of the league. Southampton on the other hand have plenty to be happy about as they sit contentedly in the top half of the table and can focus more on this cup run.
It has been well acknowledged that Sunderland are still very much involved in the scrap at the foot of the Premier League and that may well be at the back of their minds this weekend. However being at home you would be confident that the Black Cats can find the net at some stage in front of their own fans. Since Gus Poyet took over from the rather ostentatious Paula Di Canio, performances have infinitely improved and with goal scorers in Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher, I can see them getting a goal but not the result here.
Southampton have had a fantastic season so far under Pocchetino and with an already strong league position they are able to pay a little more attention to this Cup run. The Saints are coming in to the tie on the back of a 1-0 victory away to Hull City in midweek where Jose Fonte fired home in what was the only goal of the game. Southampton have been fantastic home and on their travels where they previous beat Fulham 3-0 only a few weeks ago. Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert are on great form and I can only see them scoring again here.
Two sides under pressure for points meet at The Den, as Bolton who have lost their last four away games travel down South to take on Ian Holloway’s Millwall who need to start picking up points and quickly to avoid the drop for another season.
Millwall can go above Bolton with a win and dont they half need it, they’re just three points ahead of Charlton who occupy third from bottom and the final relegation place and recent performances have not eased supporters concerns. Millwall need to win and consequently I am confident they will score, 19 of their 27 points have been earned at home and bearing in mind the Lions opposition today have conceded in each of their last eight games, a home goal is on the menu.
The pressure really couldn’t be any higher on Bolton manager, Dougie Freedman at present. The majority of fans want him gone and photos escalating twitter of torn up season tickets during the week, tells you all you need to know about the state of Bolton Wanderers Football Club at present. A huge game with biggest rivals Burnley at the Reebok on Tuesday night ended in a 1-0 defeat, courtesy of a Sam Vokes winner on the hour leaving fans suffering a season low. Wanderers have now not won in eight games and it is now or never for Freedman’s side against a Millwall outfit also in the lower echelons of the Championship. A win is vital and they will go all out for it- I cannot see the Trotters failing to score here.
League Two is our final destination in our treble, it is a tie between two sides who cannot dig out a victory for love nor money. This could lead to a very open match as both sides look to end their winless run against similarly dire opposition.
Cheltenham are in a far better position than their opponents as they sit in 15th place in the league table however they have the unenviable record of no wins in seven. The Robins will see this game as three points in the bag to end their dire run without victory and with home advantage on their side you can see them doing so.
Wycombe are in free fall and find themselves struggling for survival in 22nd place and just two points above Torquay United and five points above rock bottom Northampton Town. The bad run of form has reached nine matches without a win. The Blue’s desperately need to turn their fortunes around and they will have no better opportunity but here. Wycombe have scored the majority of their goals this term on their travels and I am expecting the Chairboys to add to their tally here.