FA Cup: What to look out for in the quarter-finals this weekend
FA Cup: What to look out for in the quarter-finals this weekend
|FA Cup quarter-finals on the BBC|
|Date: 16-17 March|
|Coverage of all matches, including highlights, across the BBC Sport website and app; Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United and Millwall v Brighton & Hove Albion live on BBC One; extensive coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live and local radio; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website|
It’s FA Cup quarter-final weekend, with all four ties played to a finish on the day and teams allowed to make a fourth substitution if games go to extra time.
Millwall, 19th in the Championship, are the lowest ranked of the remaining eight clubs, while Manchester United are seeking to win the competition for a joint-record 13th time.
Three of the four games are on Saturday, the other on Sunday.
United’s tie at four-time winners Wolverhampton Wanderers is live on BBC One on Saturday (19:55 GMT) – as is Sunday’s match between Millwall and Brighton & Hove Albion (14:00).
BBC Sport takes a look at this weekend’s ties.
Watford v Crystal Palace: Will Roy get a finger on the cup?
Saturday, 16 March (12:15 GMT)
Picture the scene: It’s 18 May and 71-year-old Roy Hodgson is leading Crystal Palace out at a sun-drenched Wembley. It’s a scenario Hodgson admits has crossed his mind.
“It would be a fantastic situation to find myself in, and I would love to do it, even if I only got a finger on the trophy,” said the Palace boss, whose managerial career started 43 years ago in Sweden.
With Palace not out of relegation trouble, staying in the Premier League remains Hodgson’s priority.
However, the Eagles are two wins from a second FA Cup final in four seasons – who could forget Alan Pardew’s touchline dance when Jason Puncheon put them ahead against Manchester United in 2016?
Key to Palace’s hopes of progress against Premier League rivals Watford could be Michy Batshuayi.
The on-loan Chelsea forward has scored in all three of his previous appearances against the Hornets, claiming four goals, all in Premier League games while at the Stamford Bridge club.
Watford are flying under Javi Gracia, eighth in the table and three points away from a club-record Premier League points tally with eight games remaining.
Midfielder Will Hughes told BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Monday Night Club: “We’ve gone under the radar.
“The way we are playing, it couldn’t be going much better in terms of our position in the league.
“We’ve not got past 45 points in the Premier League so we are in a fantastic position to achieve that.”
Did you know? Neither Watford nor Crystal Palace have conceded a goal in this season’s FA Cup.
Swansea City v Manchester City: Will Pep win his first FA Cup?
Saturday, 16 March (17:20 GMT)
It’s not that long ago Swansea City beat Premier League leaders Manchester City, substitute Luke Moore’s header knocking Roberto Mancini’s men off the summit in March 2012.
An awful lot has happened in the seven years since.
Swansea have gone from the Europa League in 2014 to a mid-table Championship side, while City, who recovered from defeat at the Liberty Stadium to win the league seven years ago, have gone from strength to strength.
The Welsh club’s preparations were not helped by a league game at West Brom on Wednesday – a match they lost 3-0.
Graham Potter’s side arrived back in south Wales in the early hours of Thursday, leaving them little time to prepare for Pep Guardiola’s visit.
But Swansea’s Kosovo midfielder Bersant Celina believes his side can give a good account of themselves against his former club.
Celina, 22, made four first-team appearances during Manuel Pellegrini’s time at Etihad Stadium.
“There’s no shame at all in not being able to make it at Manchester City,” Celina, who joined the Swans last summer, told the Mirror. “I’m very happy at Swansea. We have an ambitious manager in Graham Potter, good young players and a feeling at the club that we can climb higher.”
Since their last FA Cup appearance, a 4-1 win at Newport County, Manchester City have won the Carabao Cup and remain on course for an astonishing quadruple.
They, too, were in midweek action – sticking seven past Schalke in the Champions League. That took their tally for the season in league and cups games to an incredible 137 goals.
Do not expect Guardiola to take this tie lightly. The Spaniard has yet to win the FA Cup and is likely to name a strong side.
Did you know? Swansea City have been eliminated in six of their past seven FA Cup ties against Premier League opponents.
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Manchester United: Ole fed to the Wolves?
Saturday, 16 March (19:55 GMT) live on BBC One
What a season Wolves are having.
They’ve already marked their Premier League return by beating Tottenham and Chelsea – as well as knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup.
Will Nuno Espirito Santo’s side end Manchester United’s hopes of winning the trophy this season at a sold-out Molineux?
“We’re going to try to do something great,” Wolves’ Morocco international Romain Saiss told the Express & Star.
“It’s an important game for us to get the semi-final at Wembley. We play at home and we have to be ready for this game.”
United have had a full week to recover from their first domestic blip under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a two-time FA Cup winner with the Red Devils.
Solskjaer is demanding an immediate response after seeing his players drop to fifth in the table after a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.
United have beaten Reading, Arsenal and Chelsea to get to this stage.
They will have to bounce back without Ashley Young. The full-back serves a suspension, with 19-year-old Diogo Dalot favourite to take his place at right-back.
Juan Mata, who scored in the 2016 final, has not played since 24 February but is making progress after suffering an injury in the goalless draw against Liverpool.
“We have already had to play some tricky fixtures in the FA Cup and the trip to Wolves on Saturday will be no different,” said the Spaniard.
“We want to be in the semi-finals of a tournament that is very special for everyone, and to do so we will have to put in a good performance against opponents who are having a great season.”
Did you know? This is the 100th meeting between Wolves and United in all competitions. Their last Molineux encounter came in March 2012 in the Premier League, a 5-0 victory for United.
Millwall v Brighton & Hove Albion: Another top-flight scalp?
Sunday, 17 March (14:00 GMT) live on BBC One
In the past two years, Bournemouth, Watford, Leicester City and Everton have lost in the FA Cup at Millwall.
Will Brighton become the latest Premier League team to fall in the Lions’ den?
Seagulls striker Glenn Murray is determined that does not happen and will make sure Albion’s foreign contingent know what to expect in Bermondsey on Sunday.
“We will sit them down and give them the heads-up,” said Murray. “They’ve probably never been anywhere like that before.
“But there’s nowhere more difficult than this.”
Like Swansea, a midweek Championship programme before quarter-final weekend has done Millwall no favours, although they at least have an extra day to prepare.
The Lions are in a relegation fight but Millwall boss Neil Harris is confident of another upset.
“The Den will be rocking. We saw what it was like against Everton – it will be exactly the same for Brighton,” said Harris.
“I’m really pleased with being at home – first and foremost for the fans. It’s not been the most straightforward of seasons so far.
“But to be at home in the quarter-finals, against a Premier League side, is a good draw.”
Did you know? This is Millwall’s 11th FA Cup quarter-final – all as a non-top-flight team. Only Southampton (13) have reached more FA Cup quarter-finals while outside the top flight.
via BBC Sport – Football https://ift.tt/OHg7x6
March 14, 2019 at 04:45PM