English FA Cup Elite 8: Round 6 Previews and Predictions

Thomas Atzenhoffer@socceratzCorrespondent IIMarch 15, 2012

English FA Cup Elite 8: Round 6 Previews and Predictions

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    In the spirit of the NCAA Basketball Tournament that kicks off today in the United States, I have to pay homage to the world's oldest association knockout competition, the English Football Association Cup.

    Having gone through the first five rounds to get to this point, we are left with only eight teams hoping to be this years champions.

    Defending cup holders Manchester City have already been eliminated but runners-up Stoke City have stayed the course and now face another elimination game against Liverpool this season.

    Everton and Sunderland as well as Tottenham vs Bolton are the other two remaining all-English Premier League matches while resurgent Chelsea hope to take the game to Championship side Leicester City in hopes of reaching the final four.

Everton vs Sunderland

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    Everton had their 9-game league winning streak ended by a Steven Gerrard hat-trick for Liverpool in their Merseyside make-up Derby on Tuesday night.

    David Moyes had made wholesale changes to the side that beat Tottenham 1-0 just days before and was stunned by a top drawer Reds performance for the majority of the match.

    Sunderland also faced Liverpool last in the league but managed a 1-0 victory over them at the Stadium of Light, ending a frustrating run of form for several matches.

    The Liverpool effect is likely to play on the mind of both sides as Martin O'Neal's side will be riding high from their victory and the return of Nicklas Bendtner, while David Moyes is left to ponder over 10 years of success that has netted no silverware for the Blue side of Merseyside.

    I expect Everton to be up for it as a defeat to Liverpool is enough to spur anyone forward, and after failing to claim a Derby victory for their boss, it will be time to repay him with a victory and a possible chance to face the Reds once more in the FA Cup.

    Match Prediction: Everton 2 - 1 Sunderland

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bolton Wanderers

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    Gareth Bale has called for Tottenham to rally and give themselves a major ego boost with a victory over Bolton Wanderers this weekend to progress in the FA Cup:

    "It's a massive game for us.

    "We know our league form hasn't been great of late, but the FA Cup is a different competition and, being at home, we've got a great chance to get to the semi-finals.

    "We know it's not going to be an easy game. It's going to be hard work - it's a cup tie. We'll just go out there, give it 100 percent, play our best football and hopefully we can be in the semi-final.''

    After having to go through a fifth-round replay against lower division Stevenage, the north London side is hoping to take the game to EPL bottom feeders Bolton.

    Owen Coyle's side has improved ironically since the departure of Gary Cahill in January; having managed to finally get out of the relegation zone by a point with their recent victory over Queens Park Rangers.

    It should be a match that Tottenham have the upper hand in all night. However, anything can happen in the FA Cup, and Bolton will do all they can to upset their EPL brethren.

    Match Prediction: Tottenham 3 - 0 Bolton

Chelsea vs Leicester City

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    Chelsea's old guard made a statement with their dramatic 4-1 extra time victory over Napoli in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night.

    Frank Lampard, John Terry and Didier Drogba all scored and they will see that as personal victories after the struggle that befell them to stay in the first team under Andre Villas-Boas.

    It should be a major boost to the side as they host Championship mid-table club Leicester City at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

    The Foxes won their first game for three matches against Birmingham City over the weekend, but may have a bigger fish than they can fry with Chelsea.

    I expect the Blues to have a huge game and pound the lower league team as they ride the wave of UCL advancement.

    Match Prediction: Chelsea 4 - 0 Leicester City

Liverpool vs Stoke City

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    Liverpool needed a victory to get them back in the winning mindset for this weekends clash with Stoke City.

    The last time the Reds and the Potters faced off in a cup competition, Luis Suarez scored his best two goals of the season to knock Stoke out of the Carling Cup and end the Reds frustration hoodoo at the Britannia Stadium.

    Stoke this time comes to Anfield where they managed to steal a point back in their January EPL fixture against the Reds.

    Steven Gerrard is sure to be ready to push his side after his midweek hat-trick against Everton, and if he is combined with Suarez and Andy Carroll again, the Reds' triple threat may once again produce results.

    Ricardo Fuller cannot come off the bench for Stoke as he is suspended, and the Potters' last loss in the league to Chelsea was a mental blow after two straight league victories.

    The Potters are however the defending runners-up from last year and they will not go quietly into the night if they have anything to do about it.

    Match Prediction: Liverpool 3 - 2

    Also read; Liverpool V Stoke: 6 Key Battles in FA Cup Quarterfinal

Conclusion

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    This is set to be a great weekend as most ties have underdogs, which is the heart of the FA Cup.

    Anything can happen in a one-off match and there is sure to be some drama before the final whistle of Sunday's last match.

    Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more on Bleacher Report and at the links below. You can follow me on Twitter @thedailyatz and Facebook, or visit my website.

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