FA Cup Preview and Prediction: MK Dons vs Chelsea

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round – MK Dons vs. Chelsea 

Venue: Stadium MK – Sunday, January 31 – 16:00 GMT (11:00 ET) 

Match Odds: MK Dons 8/1 – Draw 4/1 – Chelsea 1/3

Match Preview

Championship side MK Dons welcome Premier League champions Chelsea to Stadium MK on Sunday afternoon in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

MK Dons are sitting dangerously close to the relegation zone in the Championship but have only lost twice in their last six outings.

They come into the tie off the back of a 3-1 away defeat to Bolton but will fancy their chances of causing Chelsea some problems this weekend.

Karl Robinson’s side overcame Northampton Town 3-0 in the last round but needed a replay to do so.

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Chelsea are now unbeaten in their last eight outings and come into this tie off the back of their 1-0 away win over Arsenal.

Interim boss Guus Hiddink seems to have steadied the ship at Chelsea and will be expecting nothing less than progression after this tie.

Chelsea overcame Scunthrope in the last round and will be looking to give a few first choice names a rest this weekend. Eden Hazard could start after he made an appearance off the bench last time out following his injury troubles.

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Score Prediction

MK Dons 1-3 Chelsea – Chelsea to advance in a game they really should win. The game should be straightforward enough but you never know with the magic of the cup.

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FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Rochdale vs. Stoke City

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round

Venue: Spotland Stadium – Monday, January 26 – 20:00

Match odds: Rochdale 4/1 – Draw 14/5 – Stoke 4/6

Stoke City make a short trip to Rochdale in the FA Cup on Monday night in what promises to be an absolute cracker as Rochdale look to add to what has already been a weekend of shocks in the competition.

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The League One side are chasing promotion and sit in fifth place in the third tier of English football going into the game, and have won their last three in all competitions, including a 1-0 win against Nottingham Forest in the last round of the FA Cup.

Rochdale’s home record in all competitions: Played 18 – Won 7 – Drawn 3 – Lost 8

Stoke are 39 places higher than Rochdale in English football and sit in tenth place in the Premier League. The Potters come into the game in good form having won four of their last six and saw off Wrexham in the third round earlier this month.

Both sides will face strong lineups, with Mark Hughes likely to give Jack Butland and Steve Sidwell a chance to impress. Ryan Shawcross and Jon Walters are doubtful but could make the trip.

Predicted lineups for Rochdale vs. Stoke (via Lineupbuilder.com)

Predicted lineups for Rochdale vs. Stoke (via Lineupbuilder.com)

Stoke have only lost one of their last four away games and that was at Arsenal so they will be confident of progressing to the next round, but will have to take the game seriously to ensure they don’t join the list of Premier League clubs who fell to lower opposition this weekend.

Stoke’s away record in all competitions: Played 13 – Won 5 – Drawn 3 – Lost 5

This will be the 10th meeting between the two sides, and the first in the FA Cup. Stoke have won five of the previous nine meetings with Rochdale winning two and there have been two draws.

The most recent meeting was in the League Cup eight years ago as Rochdale knocked the Potters out of the competition in the first round on penalties, after drawing 2-2 in extra-time.

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Rochdale fans will be hoping for success this time around too and will take confidence from the performances of the Cambridge United, Bradford City, Middlesbrough, Bolton and Blackburn as they all held or beat top half Premier League sides this weekend.

Rochdale’s last five in all competitions: L/L/W/W/W

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

Key Stat: Rochdale have only beaten a top flight team in the cup once from 13 attempts (Coventry in 1971)

Key Player: Bojan Krkic – The Stoke playmaker has been excellent since joining in the summer. He’s scored four goals and picked up one assist in 17 games. He will be a key factor is he plays.

Rochdale vs Stoke Prediction: Rochdale 1–2 Stoke City – The Potters to edge what should be a thrilling game.

Gallery: The best pictures from Saturday’s incredible FA Cup fourth round

The magic of the cup lives on. Some have questioned whether the FA Cup still had a sparkle to it, but the fourth round of the competition this weekend has proved that it is still the most incredible competition in English football.

Friday night’s shock set the tone as League 2 side Cambridge United held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw, forcing a replay at Old Trafford.

But Saturday’s round of fixtures went one better as Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham and Southampton were all eliminated from the FA Cup at home.

Here are some of the best pictures from a thrilling days action:

Chelsea 2–4 Bradford City

Premier League leaders Chelsea lost their first home game of the season to League One outfit Bradford City, despite going ahead 2-0 in front of their own fans. Bradford are 49 places lower than Chelsea in the English football pyramid but you wouldn’t have known as they produced what was arguably the biggest shock in FA Cup history by coming from two goals down away from home to win 4-2.

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Manchester City 0–2 Middlesbrough

An shock of equal proportions was seen in Manchester as the reigning Premier League champions lost at home to Championship side Middlesbrough. City dominated the first half but some incredible defending kept Boro in the game, before they went on to win it with two second-half strikes, leaving the home fans in disbelief.

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Blackburn Rovers 3–1 Swansea City

Another Championship side that overcame Premier League opposition were Blackburn Rovers, who progressed to the fifth round with a 3-1 win against a Swansea team that ended the game with nine men. The Swans poor run continues but Blackburn will be delighted with the result.

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Tottenham Hotspur 1–2 Leicester City

Leicester City gained revenge for their home defeat against Spurs on Boxing Day by knocking the eight-time winners out at White Hart Lane. An early Andros Townsend penalty looked set to send Tottenham through but two goals in seven minutes at the death ensured Leicester remained in the hat for the fifth round draw.

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Southampton 2–3 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace’s jaw dropping revival under Alan Pardew continued at Southampton as they came from behind twice to win the game 3-2. The Saints currently sit in third in the Premier League but their hopes of an FA Cup run are gone as the high flying Eagles soared on.

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Liverpool 0–0 Bolton Wanderers

Liverpool were held at home by Championship outfit Bolton and will face a tricky replay at the Macron Stadium now. The Reds produced several chances but an inspired defensive display from Bolton keeps them in the competition for now.

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Aston Villa vs. AFC Bournemouth: FA Cup Preview and Prediction

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round

Venue: Villa Park – Sunday, January 25 – 15:00

Odds: Aston Villa 13/10 – Draw 23/10 – Bournemouth 21/10

Aston Villa welcome AFC Bournemouth to Villa Park in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon in what should be a thriller, with a high chance of a cup upset.

Villa are struggling in the Premier League once again and are the division’s lowest scorers with just 11 in 22 this season. They sit in 15th place and are without a league win in seven.

Aston Villa home record in all competitions: Played 13 – Won 4 – Drawn 2 – Lost 7

On the other hand, Bournemouth are flying high in the Championship and sit top of the pile after 27 games. They have lost two of their last three however and failed to score for just the third time in the league this season in Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss at Leeds.

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The Cherries are the Championship’s top scoring side (57) and have been incredible away from home, winning eight of their 14 in the league – also the best record in the division.

Bournemouth’s away record in all competitions: Played 17 – Won 11 – Drawn 3 – Lost 3

Eddie Howe’s side beat Rotherham United 5-1 away from home in the third round of the FA Cup earlier this month and will be confident of progressing against the Villains on Sunday.

Aston Villa beat Blackpool 1-0 in the last round but that is the only goal Paul Lambert’s side have scored in six.

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He will hope that they can their turn their fortunes around against Championship opposition again but this will be a real test for the seven-time FA Cup winners.

This will be just the fifth meeting between the two sides, and the first in 27 years. Villa have won two of the previous four games, while Bournemouth have only beaten Villa once in their history – a 3-0 win back in 1971.

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

Bournemouth’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: To goal or not to goal – Aston Villa are the lowest scoring side (11) in the top four tiers of English football, while Bournemouth are the top scorers (57) of all the Football League and Premier League clubs in England.

Key Player: Matt Ritchie – The Bournemouth playmaker has been in fine form this season, scoring seven goals and picking up 11 assists in 27 appearances. Expect him to be at the heart of the Cherries’ attacking play.

Aston Villa vs. Bournemouth Prediction: Aston Villa 0 – 2 AFC Bournemouth

Bristol City vs West Ham United: FA Cup Preview and Prediction

Competition – FA Cup Fourth Round

Venue: Ashton Gate Stadium – Sunday, January 25 – 14:00

Match Odds: Bristol City 3/1 – Draw 13/5 – West Ham 19/20

Bristol City play host to the Premier League’s surprise package of the season, West Ham United, on Sunday afternoon in what should be a classic FA Cup tie.

Both sides had the trouble of playing a replay in the third round this month and could do without another one as both are chasing high finishes in the league.

Bristol City’s home record in all competitions: Played 17 – Won 13 – Drawn 2 – Lost 2

Bristol City lie second in League 1 and are looking good for a promotion this season. They come into the game in fine form off the back of an unbeaten run of seven and they have won six of those.

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However, Steve Cotterill’s men should see this game as a pleasant distraction from the league and a chance to cause a great cup upset in front of their own fans will be the target this weekend.

West Ham’s away record in all competitions: Played 11 – Won 3 – Drawn 5 – Lost 3

West Ham have had a slight lapse in form of late but did well to overcome Everton in round four. The Hammers are unbeaten in five but have had to settle for draws in four of those matches.

They had Carlton Cole to thank in the replay against Everton as he scored within a minute of coming on, and then converted his spot kick in the shootout, and Cole could get a start at Bristol this weekend.

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Sam Allardyce’s side are bringing defensive problems into this game, as James Tomkins and James Collins are both doubtful, and the Hammers have not kept a clean sheet away from home all season.

These two sides last met three years ago when both sides were in the Championship and played out a 1-1 draw at Ashton Gate on that day. The Hammers have not lost in any of the last ten meetings between the two, winning five.

Bristol City’s last five in all competitions: D/W/W/W/W

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

Key Stat: West Ham has failed to win in their last seven FA Cup ties.

Key Player: Alex Song – Since returning to the Premier League he has settled into this West Ham midfield superbly and has provided stability, as well as a lot more freedom for Mark Noble. He should be the difference in winning the midfield battle if he starts.

Bristol City vs. West Ham United Prediction: Bristol City 1 – 2 West Ham United – The Hammers to edge it and seal their place in the next round.

Blackburn Rovers vs Swansea City: FA Cup Preview and Prediction

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round

Venue: Ewood Park – Saturday January 24 – 12:45

Match odds: Blackburn Rovers 2/1 – Draw 23/10 – Swansea City 11/8

The early kick off on Saturday’s FA Cup weekend should be a really hard fought tie as Championship side Blackburn Rovers entertain Premier League opponents Swansea City at Ewood Park.

Blackburn overcame fellow Championship side Charlton Athletic 2-1 in the third round, while Gary Monk’s Swansea thumped League Two side Tranmere Rovers 6-2.

Blackburn Rovers’ home record in all competitions: Played 14 – Won 6 – Drawn 4 – Lost 4

Blackburn are currently sitting 10th in the Championship and have been in steady form this season but are without a win in their last four games.

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This will be the first time the sides have met since 2012 before Blackburn’s relegation from the Premier League. Swansea came out on top in that tie, winning 3-0 at the Liberty Stadium.

Both Nathan Dyer and Gylfi Sigurdsson were on the score sheet that day and there is every chance that will happen again in tomorrow’s fixture, as they are the joint top scorers in the side now Wilfried Bony has left.

Swansea City’s away record in all competitions: Played 12 – Won 3 – Drawn 3 – Lost 6

Swansea have been inconsistent on the road this season winning only three times, and they will be looking to bounce back from that 5-0 thumping at the hands of Chelsea last Saturday. Gary Monk will be expecting a tough tie as we all know about home advantage in the cup.

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The Swans have scored 11 goals in their last six away games, while Blackburn have failed to find the net in their last two home games. But they put four past Swansea the last time the Welsh club visited Ewood Park in 2011 and will hope for a repeat performance.

Blackburn Rovers last five in all competitions: L/D/W/L/D

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

Key Stat: Defensive frailties – The Swans have only kept three clean sheets away from home all season while Blackburn have only kept four at home.

Key Player: Jordan Rhodes – The Blackburn goal machine only has nine this campaign so far but is always one to watch and will relish the chance to impress against the Premier League side.

Blackburn vs. Swansea Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Swansea City – a hard battle for both sides but the Premier League outfit to edge it.

Liverpool vs. Bolton Wanderers: FA Cup Preview and Prediction

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round

Venue: Anfield Stadium – Saturday January 24th – 17:30

Match Odds: Liverpool 2/7 – Draw 9/2 – Bolton Wanderers 9/1

Bolton Wanderers travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool on Saturday evening in search of a great cup upset in the FA Cup fourth round.

However, Liverpool are expected to progress following a recent run that has put their season back on course as they are now unbeaten in nine in all competitions and haven’t lost at home since early November.

Liverpool’s home record in all competitions: Played 17 – Won 6 – Drawn 8 – Lost 3

The Reds are chasing a top four spot in the Premier League but remain off the pace at the moment and are relying on slip ups from teams like Tottenham, Southampton and Arsenal above them.

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But the FA Cup brings a fresh challenge and another possibility of silverware, and following a near upset at AFC Wimbledon in the last round, Brendan Rodgers will want to field a strong side so they have best chance to avoid an upset in front of their own fans.

The Reds are one game away from a cup final at Wembley in the League Cup, and the home fans will expect to see them progress in the FA Cup too against a Bolton side that has lost nine of 15 games away from home this season.

Bolton Wanderers away record in all competitions: Played 15 – Won 4 – Drawn 2 – Lost 9

Bolton will come into this game in full confidence though as they are currently on a three game unbeaten streak in all competitions.

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Emile Heskey returned to English football with Bolton last month and so they have the experience needed to cause an upset.

Heskey is of course returning to his old stomping ground at Liverpool where he was part of the side that won the FA Cup in 2001.

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This will be the first meeting between the two sides in three years, and Bolton won that game 3-1 in front of their own fans on that day.

Though that victory was one of very few in recent times as Liverpool had won ten on the bounce against the Trotters before then.

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

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

Key Stat: Liverpool have not lost a game in all competitions since the December 14, against Manchester United – an unbeaten run of nine has followed.

Key Player: Emile Heskey – Providing Heskey plays, he will be a huge threat in the box and has the experience to cause the Liverpool defence problems.

Liverpool vs. Bolton Prediction: Liverpool 2 – 0 Bolton Wanderers – Liverpool should cruise through to the last 16.