Our super six add up to Cup acca cracker!
IT’S FA Cup Third Round day, or should I say weekend, as this once important day now spreads over four days and excitement and anticipation has dwindled since the Premier League and became ever more important to fans and clubs alike.
One of the sides who are likely to be looking for a good win today is BURNLEY who take on Barnsley from League One. Despite a poor start to the season they won last weekend against West Ham at Turf Moor and will be looking to win again in front of their own fans, especially in a War of the Roses battle.
Barnsley are riding high in fourth place in League One and have automatic promotion in their sights, but they will not be resting anyone as they look to take a Premier League scalp.
The Tykes are unbeaten in five games but will find that, despite not providing any vintage displays, the Clarets are a resolute team and will stick together through thick and thin and that battling ability added to their Premier League quality should see the Lancastrians through. WEST BROM are a Championship team chasing the dream of a quick return to the Premier League and currently lie in fourth just five points from leaders Leeds.
It’s doubtful that Darren Moore will play a weakened side but will rather be looking to return to winning ways after an unexpected league defeat to Blackburn put the skids under his team’s challenge for the Championship title.
The Baggies have recorded seven of their 13 championship wins at The Hawthorns and they definitely reserve their best performances for home matches.
West Brom have scored 35 goals in their 16 home appearances in all competitions, including a 2-0 win over today’s opponents Wigan on Boxing Day.
Although the Latics will provide a stern test the Baggies’ firepower should see them home. They have definite Premier League quality in Jay Rodriguez who notched both goals on Boxing Day.
We stay with the Championship for the third selection in our Cup acca and head north to
MIDDLESBROUGH who play host to League One side Peterborough.
Posh have a danger forward in ex-Newcastle man Ivan Toney and he could be one that gets a move in the Summer if they don’t push for promotion.
Boro are fifth in the table and have their eyes on promotion back to the Premier League but they draw far too many games to be able to get an automatic spot.
There is no-one I’d rather have in charge than Tony Pulis as his experience could make all the difference, especially if they start converting those wins to draws which they should do today with the help of a goal or two from Jordan Hugill.
The fourth side in our multiple lie second in the Championship and have been shock leaders until just overtaken by Leeds.
NORWICH are surprise contenders for some but for those familiar with Huddersfield it won’t be as much of a shock as boss Daniel Farke comes from the same stock as Jurgen Klopp and David Wagner and was hired by the same person that brought Wagner to Huddersfield.
Farke’s team are young and energetic which makes them hungry and, although containing more German players than Bayern Munich, they will hold the FA Cup in much more of a high regard than some of their English colleagues.
In Teemu Pukki they have an experienced forward who has exploded onto the scene with 15 goals in 23 games.
Pompey are flying high and top League One having only lost three and won two previous rounds to get here. But, despite the odd scare, the Canaries should be singing along with us at full-time.
With so many games to choose from and many seemingly mismatched opponents you could choose a couple of more sides to add and either replace or perm the selections.
For those prepared to wait until Sunday for their returns you could look at
FULHAM who play host to League Two Oldham.
Despite winning two on the bounce the Latics should be swept aside by Ranieri’s new side who can take a break from their relegation battle and see themselves through to the fourth round.
Another contest that looks completely mismatched is the one between SHEFFIELD
UNITED and Barnet at Bramall Lane.
Chris Wilder’s team, who lie in third in the Championship, should prove far too powerful for their National League opposition.
The Underhill outfit are midtable in the fifth tier and had they been at home may have given the Blades more of a game but with Billy Sharp in fine form United can look to the fourth round with confidence and add some cheer to our New Year.
Premier class: Jay Rodriguez for West Bromwich