FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Shrewsbury vs Manchester United

Competition: FA Cup: Fifth Round – Shrewsbury Town vs. Manchester United

Venue: Greenhous Meadow Stadium – Monday, February 22 – 19:45 GMT (14:45)

Match Odds: Shrewsbury 7/1 – Draw 18/5 – Man Utd 2/5

Match Preview

Shrewsbury host Manchester United in a proper FA Cup tie on Monday night, with both sides looking to book their place in the quarterfinals of the competitions with a win here.

Shrewsbury are struggling near the bottom of League One, sitting just three points above the relegation zone, but will undoubtedly be fired up for the visit of Manchester United on Monday night.

The Blues have enjoyed their FA Cup run so far, making it from the first round to the fourth with victories over Gainsborough Trinity, Grimsby Town, Cardiff City and most recently Sheffield Wednesday. But Manchester United are the biggest side they have faced this season and a big performance will be needed.

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The prospect of facing United has been made slightly better by the fact that the Red Devils have lost back-to-back games to Sunderland and FC Midtjylland, piling pressure back onto Louis Van Gaal and his players.

United travelled to Denmark to play Midtjylland on Thursday night and will need to hope they are not fatigued from that trip. Defeat to Shrewsbury here would probably go down as the worst result of their season and could see Van Gaal axed, with reports still suggesting Jose Mourinho is being lined up to come in before the end of the season.

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This will be the first-ever meeting between Shrewsbury and Manchester United. There are 56 places between the two clubs and so this will be a proper FA Cup clash.

Key Points

Shrewsbury’s last five in all competitions: L/W/L/D/W

Manchester United’s last five in all competitions: W/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: Shrewsbury have the second-worst home record in League One, having picked up just 11 points from 15 league games at Greenhous Meadow.

Key Player: Larnell Cole – The Shrewsbury striker will look to be a thorn in the side of his former employers here, should he start, and has a real point to prove.

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Score Prediction

Shrewsbury 1-1 Manchester United – This should be a foregone conclusion but United have been awful of late and are really struggling to pick up wins. Shrewsbury will be fired up for this clash and have had an extra week’s rest. A home win looks unlikely but the League One side could do enough to earn a replay at Old Trafford.

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FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur vs Crystal Palace

Competition: FA Cup: Fifth Round – Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace

Venue: White Hart Lane – Sunday, February 21 – 15:00 GMT (10:00 ET)

Match Odds: Tottenham Hotspur 8/13 – Draw 14/5 – Crystal Palace 19/4

Match Preview

Tottenham welcome London rivals Crystal Palace to White Hart Lane in an FA Cup clash to savour on Sunday, with a place in the quarter-finals of the competition at stake.

Spurs are enjoying an incredible season and are genuine title contenders at this stage. They have the chance to strengthen their chase for three major trophies with a win here, but there will be question marks over their consistency as a trip to Fiorentina on Thursday may play a factor in Sunday’s performance.

This is a crucial part of the season for Spurs. They are already further in the FA Cup than they managed last year and fans would be forgiven for dreaming of an incredible domestic double.

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A few first team players were benched on Thursday and so we’re expecting changes from Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham’s 2016 FA Cup run: 3rd Round: Leicester (H) 2-2 – Leicester (A) 2-0 (replay) – 4th Round: Colchester (A) 4-1

Former Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor will return to White Hart Lane for the first time since leaving with Crystal Palace here. Make what you will of what that means, but we’re expecting emotions to run high.

Palace are struggling for form. They haven’t won in the Premier League since December and have only won once in their last seven. That’s simply not good enough for a side that was threatening the top four earlier in the season.

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They have, however, seemingly been good in the cup and could still qualify for European football if they can reach the final of this year’s FA Cup. They won’t need any more incentive to win on Sunday, though, with a trip to London rivals Spurs enough motivation for the Eagles.

Crystal Palace’s 2016 FA Cup run: 3rd Round: Southampton (A) 2-1 – 4th Round: Stoke City (H) 1-0

Tottenham have already completed a league double over their London rivals this season, with the most recent meeting coming just a month ago. Spurs came from behind to win 3-1 at Selhurst Park, with Dele Alli’s wonder-goal making the difference.

Team News

Tottenham Hotspur are expected to rotate the side that played in Florence on Thursday night, with the highlight changes likely to come at full back as Danny Rose and Kyle Walker are both expected to return. Tom Carroll, Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N’Jie are all out and Hugo Lloris is unlikely to feature as he is battling a minor shoulder injury.

Crystal Palace could see Yannick Bolasie, Joe Ledley and Dwight Gayle all return following minor leg injuries. James McArthur and Jason Puncheon are yet to be given return dates.

Key Points

Tottenham Hotspur’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/W/D

Crystal Palace’s last five in all competitions: L/W/L/D/L

Key Stat: Spurs have only lost once in their last 14 matches in all competitions.

Key Player: Emmanuel Adebayor – Say what you will about the big Palace striker but he has a habit of proving to be a match-winner in big-game situations and it wouldn’t surprise us if he produces some magic against his former club here. If Palace are to win, he will be the catalyst on Sunday.

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Score Prediction

Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Crystal Palace – Although Palace have already dispatched of Premier League opposition twice in this year’s FA Cup, we’re not expecting the third outing to be as fortunate. This is a well drilled and talented Tottenham team and it would take something special to beat them on Sunday in the form they’re in.

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Chelsea vs Manchester City

Competition: FA Cup: Fifth Round – Chelsea vs. Manchester City

Venue: Stamford Bridge – Sunday, February 21 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: Chelsea 17/20 – Draw 13/5 – Manchester City 3/1

Match Preview

Chelsea welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon in the standout fixture in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The Blues suffered a midweek setback in the Champions League, losing 2-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in what was their first loss since Guus Hiddink stepped in as interim boss.

Chelsea have been building steadily but this is going to be a tough task for Hiddink’s side. They do have a good chance of progressing, given the fact Manchester City will have one eye on their upcoming Champions League tie and are struggling with injuries.

The current Premier League champions will want to avoid a draw at all costs as they have struggled away to City and so progressing on Sunday will be essential if they are to reach the quarterfinals.

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Manchester City, as mentioned, will have an eye on their upcoming fixtures. They are still in the title race despite consecutive league losses and will also expect to progress deep into the Champions League.

They come into this one off the back of a 2-1 home loss against Spurs, one which would have been hard to stomach given that it has further dented their title ambitions.

Manuel Pellegrini will be taking this tie seriously but has already hinted that he will be resting some of his superstars.

Chelsea and Manchester City have played out some entertaining games in recent times and this could be an FA Cup classic, with both sides showing defensive frailties.

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Match Facts

Chelsea’s last five in all competitions: W/D/D/W/L

Manchester City’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/L/L

Key Stat: Chelsea have lost their last four FA Cup clashes with Manchester City and have only once beaten them in the competition. That sole win came 101 years ago, almost to the day (February 20, 1915).

Key Player: Oscar – The Brazilian playmaker has been in good form of late and will hope to heap more misery on a Manchester City side in poor form with his attacking play here.

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Score Prediction

Chelsea 1-0 Manchester City – This is going to be a tight tie. Chelsea have been far more consistent since Hiddink’s arrival and despite their midweek loss against Paris they attacked well in stages. The FA Cup is Chelsea’s best chance of silverware this season, though it will be a tough task for them to go all the way. Manchester City’s confidence has been rocked after losing to their title rivals two weeks on the bounce at home – this is a good chance for them to pick back up and restore some confidence ahead of their upcoming fixtures. If Pellegrini does rest some of his key faces it will be a chance for the fringe players to show what they’re made of and attempt to heap more misery on Chelsea.

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Preston vs Manchester United

Preston vs Manchester United: FA Cup Fifth Round

Venue: Deepdale – Monday 16th February – 19:45

Match Odds: Preston 6/1 – Draw 100/30 – Manchester United 4/9

Manchester United continue their FA Cup run on Monday night with a visit down the M61 to Deepdale to take on Simon Grayson’s Preston North End side.

Louis Van Gaal’s men will be hoping for an easy ride and go into the game as clear favourites but the League One side are more than capable of an upset.

Preston’s home record in all competitions this season: Played 20 – Won 11 – Drawn 7 – Lost 2

Preston come into the fifth round off the back of two league wins on the bounce and will hope the FA Cup provides a good distraction from their push for promotion. Preston currently lay in fourth in League One and have the joint best defensive record in the league.

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Grayson has the advantage of having the Cup’s leading goalscorer in Paul Gallagher (5) and also has veteran striker Kevin Davies at his disposal, who has a total of 19 all-time FA Cup goals to his name.

Preston will provide a stern test for United and will hope to cause an upset in their first meeting with the Red Devils in 43 years.

Manchester United’s away record in all competitions: Played 15 – Won 4 – Drawn 8 – Lost 3

United have struggled at times to adapt to Van Gaal’s way of thinking with the 3-5-2 formation and that has now been dropped so we expect United to continue with the 4-3-1-2 system that has worked well recently.

The decision to deploy his captain, Wayne Rooney in a central midfield role has been a stroke of brilliance and United will benefit from the Englishman’s presence in the middle of the park once again on Monday as midfield general Michael Carrick is out. Luke Shaw returns from suspension and so Marcos Rojo could move back into the heart of United’s defence.

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Manchester United are unbeaten in their last six in all competitions and will be aiming to continue their run in the FA Cup with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

These two sides last locked horns in a competitive fixture back in 1972 in an FA Cup fourth round match at Deepdale. United ran out 2-0 winners on that day thanks to two late Alan Gowling goals.

Preston’s last five in all competitions: D/L/W/W/W

Manchester United’s last five in all competitions: D/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Manchester United are yet to concede in this season’s FA Cup. Will that record end on Monday night?

Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The Manchester United captain is fully aware of what the FA Cup means to the Red Devil’s faithful and he will be key on Monday night.

Score Prediction: Preston 1 – 1 Manchester United – A tricky tie for United that will result in another replay at Old Trafford.

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Aston Villa vs Leicester City

Aston Villa vs. Leicester City – FA Cup Fifth Round

Venue: Villa Park – Sunday, February 15th – 12:30PM

Match Odds: Aston Villa 7/5 – Draw 9/4 – Leicester City 19/10

Seven-time FA Cup winners Aston Villa entertain Leicester City at Villa Park in the early kick off on Sunday in what could be a fiercely contested game in the fifth round of the competition.

It will be Aston Villa’s first game since they parted company with manager Paul Lambert and they need to get back to winning ways, but most importantly start scoring goals.

Both sides are at difficult points in their season as both Villa and Leicester sit in the relegation zone in the Premier League and will definitely want to avoid a replay from this game as a result. Though a run in the cup will be good for lifting spirits.

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Aston Villa have scored just three times in their last ten games in all competitions, while the Foxes have scored ten in the same time.

This is the first Premier League side Aston Villa have faced in this year’s FA Cup after beating Championship outfits Blackpool and AFC Bournemouth at Villa Park in the third and fourth rounds respectively.

Aston Villa’s home record in all competitions: Played 15 – Won 4 – Drawn 5 – Lost – 6

Villa have really struggled this season, scoring just 12 league goals, but as we know, the FA Cup is a completely different competition and they could begin a strong finish to the season with a good result in this tie.

Leicester City’s away record in all competitions: Played 14 – Won 3 – Drawn 1 – Lost – 10 

Leicester have really struggled away from home this season, but can take positives from their 2-1 fourth round win against Tottenham and third round victory against Newcastle.

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The Foxes come into the game off the back of two defeats and managerial problems of their own after widespread reports suggested that Nigel Pearson had been sacked on Sunday night, though they ultimately proved to be incorrect.

 

Leicester can get themselves back on track with a win in this game and need to remove some of the media pressure they have been under.

A place in the quarter-final will be a major boost for either side and will help to improve what has been a tough season.

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It will be the fifth time these rivals have met in the FA Cup, with both sides having won two each in the previous four encounters. The most recent FA Cup meeting saw the Foxes win 2-1 at Villa Park in 2001.

Aston Villa’s last five in all competitions: L/W/L/L/L

Leicester City’s last five in all competitions: L/W/L/L/L

Key Stat: Aston Villa and Leicester have already faced each other twice in the league this season, with both games ending in victory for the home side by a single goal (2-1 to Villa and 1-0 to Leicester). Expect this to be just as close.

Key Player: Brad Guzan – The USMNT International goalkeeper has been consistently good for Aston Villa this season and if he is on song Villa will likely only need the one goal to progress.

Score Prediction: Aston Villa 1–0 Leicester City – Both sides are struggling and will want to avoid the replay. With Leicester so poor on the road Villa could just edge it.

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Liverpool

Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool – FA Cup Fifth Round

Venue: Selhurst Park – Saturday, February 14th – 17:30

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 5/2 – Draw 12/5 – Liverpool 21/20

Crystal Palace host seven-time FA Cup winners Liverpool in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Selhurst Park on Saturday evening.

Crystal Palace are still looking to win their first ever FA Cup after coming closest when they were runners-up in 1990 when current Palace manager Alan Pardew was in the team for the final and the replay.

While Liverpool are aiming to win their eighth and their first FA Cup since 2006 where they beat Alan Pardew’s former side West Ham in Cardiff.

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Crystal Palace are a side that have been rejuvenated since Pardew’s appointment and their strong run saw them win 3-2 at Southampton in the fourth round and 4-0 at Dover in the third round.

They look to be heading for safety in the Premier League and a cup run would be a huge bonus for the South London side. Palace are coming off a midweek draw with Newcastle United as they came from behind again to earn another valuable point.

Crystal Palace’s home record in all competitions: Played 13 – Won 3 – Drawn 3 – Lost 7

Liverpool are heading to Selhurst Park for the second time this season. Their trip down south in the Premier League saw them lose 3-1. But now the Reds are thriving on confidence having lost one game in all competitions since the 3-0 loss at Old Trafford in December.

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Liverpool were forced into a replay by Championship side Bolton Wanderers in the last round and demonstrated their own comeback mentality by scoring two goals in the last few minutes, while they saw off AFC Wimbledon 2-1 in the third round.

Liverpool’s away record in all competitions: Played 18 – Won 8 – Drawn 2 – Lost 8

The bad news for Liverpool is that captain Steven Gerrard is a doubt for the game after picking up a hamstring injury against Tottenham in the 3-2 win at Anfield on Tuesday.

The FA Cup final will take place on the same day as Steven Gerrard’s 35th birthday and if the Reds reach that stage it would probably be the Englishman’s final game in a Liverpool shirt. But they need to see of Palace before they can even think about that.

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Liverpool do not have fond memories of Selhurst Park in recent times as the game late in the season last year resulted in a 3-3 draw in which Palace fought back from 3-0 down with 11 minutes to go. And there could be plenty of goals again on Saturday.

Crystal Palace’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/W/D

Liverpool’s last five in all competitions: L/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Liverpool have not won at Selhurst Park since December 1997, when they won 3-0.

Key Player: Dwight Gayle – The forward has scored 4 goals in 3 appearances against Liverpool and comes into the game in good form.

Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-0 Liverpool – Selhurst Park will be roaring. The players will be energised from the support and Liverpool will struggle to break the mean Palace defence. Upset on the cards.

FA Cup Preview and Prediction: West Brom vs West Ham

West Brom vs. West Ham – FA Cup Fifth Round

Venue: The HawthornsSaturday, February 14th12:45

Match Odds: West Brom 7/5 – Draw 23/10 West Ham 19/10

West Brom and West Ham clash in the first FA Cup fifth round tie of the weekend at The Hawthorns on Saturday in one of the three all-Premier League ties in the competition this weekend.

Both sides will be buoyed from their midweek Premier League performances as the Baggies beat Swansea 2-0 at home while West Ham picked up a valuable point away at Southampton, despite only having ten men for the last 30 minutes after goalkeeper Adrian saw red.

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West Brom have only lost one of their last eight games in all competitions, which includes their 2-1 win in the fourth round at Birmingham, and a comprehensive 7-0 victory over non-league Gateshead in round three.

West Brom’s home record in all competitions: Played 16 – Won 6 – Drawn 4 – Lost 6

By contrast, West Ham’s recent form has left a lot to desire as they’ve only recorded two wins in their last nine games – one of which came in the 1-0 fourth round success away at Bristol City. They edged through their third round replay via a fascinating 9-8 penalty shootout win against Everton.

West Ham’s away record in all competitions: Played 14 – Won 4 – Drawn 6 – Lost 4

These two sides have previously met on eight occasions in FA Cup history with West Ham coming out on top four times to West Brom’s one, with three draws along the way. The last FA Cup clash between them was a third round tie back in January 1993 and the Hammers sealed a 2-0 victory on the same ground that day.

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West Brom will be without Yusef Mulumbu (hamstring) and Jonas Olsson (leg), while Victor Anichebe will face a late fitness test after suffering a groin strain.

West Ham defenders Guy Demel, Winston Reid and James Collins are all unlikely to feature due to injury and Andy Carroll will face a fitness test after picking up an ankle injury at Southampton. Adrian will miss out through suspension.

We’re now reaching the business end of this year’s FA Cup competition and a place in the quarter-final awaits the winners of this one.

West Brom’s last five in all competitions: D/W/L/D/W

West Ham’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/D/D

Key Stat: West Ham haven’t lost to a team from the bottom eight in the Premier League table this season. However, this is the FA Cup and anything can happen.

Key Player: Saido Berahino – An obvious choice, but the young Englishman has been a revelation this season and his goals are crucial to this West Brom side.

Score Prediction: West Bromwich Albion 1–1 West Ham United – It should be a tight game that is likely to go to a replay.