Arsenal 3 – Burnley 0
With all the drama surrounding Aaron Ramsay’s horror injury it would be easy to forget the Gunners claimed a valuable three points at the Britannia Stadium to keep themselves in the title race. Even though the Premier League betting odds make them third favourites, Arsenal have the easiest run-in of the three contenders. That includes this weekend’s clash with Burnley. Brian Laws’ side have collected just one point on their travels this season and lost to bottom club Portsmouth last time out. There’s only one winner for me.
West Ham 2 – Bolton 0
Both sides picked up vital wins in recent weeks to aid their survival bids – Bolton defeated Wolves 1-0 last weekend, while the Hammers have beaten Hull and Birmingham in successive home games. However, Owen Coyle’s Trotters don’t travel well and I fancy Gianfranco Zola’s improving team to make it three home wins out of three.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 – Manchester United 2
Man United recovered from the defeat at Everton in fine style, first beating West Ham 3-0 at Old Trafford and then lifting the Carling Cup at Wembley. Wolves are only out of the drop zone on goal difference and have lost their last two since beating Spurs on February 10th. They defeated United on their last trip to Molineux six years ago but I can’t see history repeating itself on this occasion.
Everton 2 – Hull City 0
After the highs of beating United and Chelsea in successive home games, Everton were brought back to earth with a bump last week. They lost to Spurs in the Premier League and Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League. For their part, Hull have lost their past two league games to tumble back into the relegation zone and I can see them losing a third here.
Wigan 0 – Liverpool 3
Wigan’s problem earlier in the season was their inconsistency – they would win one week and lose the next. Now their form has dipped and they’re struggling to win at all. The sticky pitch at the DW Stadium doesn’t help, although it has now been re-laid. Ironically, the new pitch might help their opponents, Liverpool, who are seeking another three points to nudge them back into fourth place. With Fernando Torres and Steven Gerard back into the starting line up there will only be winner in this one.
FA Cup Quarterfinals:
Fulham 1 – Tottenham 0
Fulham ended a hectic February with victories both in the league and in Europe, with Bobby Zamora and Damien Duff in superb form. Spurs are currently front-runners in the race for fourth but will see this as a great chance to make it to
Wembley. However, Fulham are tough to beat at home and I fancy them to sneak the win here.
Portsmouth 1 – Birmingham 2
Few would begrudge Pompey a trip to Wembley after all their troubles this season – except Birmingham fans that is. Alex McLeish’s side have had a fantastic season so far, having spent much of it in the top ten and I think they will have too much for Portsmouth on Saturday.
Chelsea 2 – Stoke City 1
Carlo Ancelotti’s men were stunned by Man City last week, the 4-2 defeat put a real dent in the Premier League title ambitions. Stoke meanwhile were embroiled in controversy after Ryan Shawcross’ late tackle broke Aaron Ramsay’s leg. Shawcross is suspended for this game, so he won’t have chance to stake his claim for a place in England’s Football World Cup squad. However, the controversy of last weekend shouldn’t be allowed to disguise a brave performance from Tony Pulis’ men, who were unlucky to lose late on. They will make life difficult for Chelsea as well, but I fancy the Londoners to sneak through.
Reading 2 – Aston Villa 2
Reading endured a difficult start to the season but their remarkable cup run, which has seen them beat Liverpool and Burnley en route to the quarter-finals, has helped them improve their league form as well. Villa meanwhile will be looking to bounce back after their disappointing result at Wembley, and what better way than by booking a return date in April? I think they will make it to the semi-finals, but they’ll need a replay first.