Here we go with part two of the choicest ties this FA Cup weekend.
Arsenal V Huddersfield Town
12.00 Kick Off
Live on ESPN. A huge upset on the cards?
You would expect this one to be an easy win for Arsenal; the gulf in class is 45 positions in the league going in to this weekend’s games. But Huddersfield are having a good season, currently third in League 1. They have some good young players with some experienced heads, which gives them the ingredients to give this tie a good go. Arsenal’s form is exceptional, flying in the league, coming off the back of a big midweek cup win against Ipswich which saw them reach Wembley. Even with an under strength team, Arsenal should be odds on to win this one – let’s check the team news:
Arsenal Team News: Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia will return to the Arsenal squad after recovering from elbow and then ankle injuries. Bacary Sagna will be rested after the midweek Carling Cup semi-final, defender Sebastien Squillaci (hamstring), midfielders Abou Diaby (ankle) and Tomas Rosicky (virus) all return. Fabianski (shoulder) and Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) are also out.
Huddersfield Town Team News: Striker Benik Afobe, 17, on loan from Arsenal, is not eligible to play. Leading goalscorer, Jordan Rhodes, will miss the game through injury, so Alan Lee and Lee Novak are set to lead the attack. The Huddersfield injury list grows with loan defender Tamas Kadar, Gary Naysmith, and Damien Johnson all on the sidelines.
Betto’s Brief: Injuries for both teams, but to stand any chance the boys from Huddersfield need to be at full capacity. It is going to take something special to beat this Arsenal side, have Huddlesfield got it in them away from home?
Betto’s Banker: Arsenal win. No messing.
West Ham v Nottingham Forest
2.00pm Kick Off
Upton Park or Upton Lark?
Another Giant killing alert here. Billy Davies’ Forest currently sit 5th in The Championship and with West Ham still at the bottom of The Premier League, this should be an interesting one. West Ham have improved of late, but with speculation still rife about the future of some key players, Forest may see this as an opportunity to take a Premier League Scalp. West Ham will be desperate to win this one for the fans following their failure to reach the final of The Carling Cup. Let’s check the team news:
West Ham Team News: It’s good news for Hammers fans.F rederic Piquionne and Victor Obinna were both suspended in midweek, but are now available again. Da Costa and Hitzlsperger are still injured and new signing Gary O’Neil is cup-tied.
Forest Team News: On the plus side McKenna and McGoldrick could start, but potent Strikers Tudgay and Blackstock are both out.
Betto’s View: Toughie for sure. Out of all the ties you think this is the most ripe for a ‘giant killing’. But Forest are missing a few key players. If I was Avram I would demand a response & if he does, he just may get it.
Betto’s Bottom Line: Me heart says Forest, my head says West Ham. So may as well go for a hard fought draw.
Fulham v Tottenham Hotspur
4.30pm Kick Off
Live coverage ESPN. Let’s hope it’s better than last season
These two sides met in last year’s quarter final and played out a dull 0-0 draw. The tie went back to White Hart Lane where Spurs took a convincing 3-1 victory, reaching the semi-finals. Let’s hope for better this time. Fulham have been enjoying a change in fortune of late, but their form is still a little erratic. Spurs have been going great guns this year, but still haven’t kicked in to top gear, and this could be a great game for them to push on. A London derby and a Premier League match up, this one could be a goal fest.
Fulham Team News: on the injury front, Bobby Zamora, Philippe Senderos and Matthew Briggs are out and Mark Schwarzer is unavailable as he is away on Asian Cup duty with Australia. New signing Gael Kakuta is cup tied, but Steve Sidwell can feature in this tie.
Spurs Team News: The big blow for Spurs is that they will be missing Gareth Bale who joins long term absentees Ledley King and Tom Huddlestone on the injury list. Defensive midfielders Palacios and Sandro are doubts. On the plus side for the lilywhites is that Assou-Ekotto, Roman Pavlyuchenko, and Gomes should all be available. Pienaar should start in place of Bale.
Betto’s Lo-down: Spurs fans may be a bit nervy that their top boy Bale is not going to be available. Fulham have a squad returning to fitness. Spurs’ strikers have been a little goal shy themselves so this one could easily go to a draw after a 1-0 win in the League fixture a few weeks ago.
Betto’s Bottom Line: Spurs can’t be doing with a replay. Spurs win.