FA Cup Fourth Round 2009 Preview
A year ago, I previewed this round believing that shocks or 'cupsets' were to take place and it first came close in the tie involving Liverpool who were surprised by minnows Havant and Waterlooville by being 2-0 down. However the favourites won 5-2 damping the giant killing hopefuls. Chelsea had their work cut out like I predicted against Wigan but came away with a narrow 2-1 win.
The only real shock I witnessed was the 2-1 defeat of Manchester City by Sheffield United which saw the opening goal scored via a deflection from a stray balloon. But will the big teams be inflated or deflated in this seasons ties....
The undisputed tie of the round is the pairing of Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton, the rivals are due to meet each other earlier in the week in the Premiership in a match that many dare not predict because of past meetings.
So could we see a warm-up for the this cup tie or will we see yet another full-blooded derby tie. Scorewise I think the Reds will topple their rivals 3-1 and also win the league game by the same score line.
There is however potential for a shock here and there and the most intriguing of these sees Premiership side Fulham travelling to Blue Square Premier side Kettering Town who both hope the occasion will be as exciting as past Premiership v Non-League ties.
The occasion may be dampened by the recent news that unlike past ties of Liverpool v Havant and Manchester United v Burton Albion, the tie will sadly not be televised. I think that the Premiership side will come through but after a replay, so I see a 1-1 draw in this game.
After shocking us all last season by reaching the final, Cardiff City will hope to cause yet another shock by upsetting Arsenal. The Gunners are in mixed form this season and hard as it is to believe this may be their best chance of silverware having been humbled by Burnley in the League cup, drawn in a hard tie against Roma in Europe and not shining to well in the League. I see Cardiff to give a good fight but overall for Arsenal to win 2-1.
Cheltenham and Doncaster have to replay their third round tie but do so with the added incentive of a home tie against Aston Villa. Villa have a affinity with this competition but have failed to reach the final rounds after falling to Manchester United in recent seasons. Villa will also have to be cautious of either opponent with the potential for a 'cupset' appearing even so I believe they will go through by two or three goals.
After being dumped out by Havant in last season's third round and missing out on the glamour tie with Liverpool, Swansea have their chance in the shape of holders Portsmouth and will have hopes of causing a shock which counterparts Cardiff nearly staged in May's Final. Portsmouth to come out on top after a replay I think with a 2-2 draw in this match.
Non-leaguers Torquay United take on Coventry City with Championship side Coventry wary of an upset having caused a few of their own in the past most notably to me the 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in 1999. I see a shock here and predict a single goal win for Torquay.
Sheffield United take on Charlton Athletic in an all Championship tie which Charlton may see as a confidence boost to aid their ailing season. Alternatively, they may see it as game too much and prefer to focus on league survival. Sheffield United to win 3-1.
Big guns Chelsea found it hard at first n the third round when Southend United took them to a replay after drawing 1-1 at Stamford Bridge. However, when the Blues dispatched United 4-1 in the replay, they knew they were set for another tough tie when Championship side Ipswich Town came out of the hat. Chelsea to win 3-1.
Hartlepool United's shocking win at home to Stoke in Round 3 handed them a massive home tie against West Ham United. The Hammers will have to be cautious of 'Pool causing a shock with the knowledge that they themselves famously dumped out Manchester United a few seasons ago. I see a 1-1 draw in this match but the Hammers winning the replay.
Wolverhampton host Middlesbrough in a tie that sees the chance for Boro to be on the back of a surprise that might eclipse the shock that they handed to Manchester United a few seasons ago. For me, Boro to win by one or two goals.
Hull City's mixed season may pick up after being drawn to face Millwall. The Tigers will fancy their chances as favourites in this tie and I see a three goal victory and some sad Lions at the final whistle.
The second All-Premiership tie pits Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers together in a tie that I hope will be as exciting as the two league meetings they've had this season which saw a 2-1 victory for Sunderland followed by a 0-0 draw which despite providing no goals was an intense game. For this tie I predict a home win for Sunderland possibly 2-1.
West Brom face Burnley with Burnley hoping to create another cup run while currently being in the League Cup Semi-Final and West Brom hoping to add some joy to their season to take them away from their struggling league form. Burnley to come away from the Hawthorns with a slim 1 goal win.
The final two ties out of the hat see Watford hosting Crystal Palace and Derby hosting Nottingham Forest. The latter being the most intriguing after Forest thrashed moneybags Manchester City 3-0 in Round Three. I see another win for Forest this time with a slimmer margin on 1 goal and a 2-2 draw in the Watford - Palace game with Palace winning the replay.
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