After the drama of the opening games in this round, Tottenham face a tough test by the Thames as they face Fulham in a local derby. Manchester United then head to Blackburn hoping to avoid a cupset.
Fulham vs Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham will be looking to get back to winning ways after losing their last two games in all competitions. One bad omen is that they lost to Crystal Palace in a London derby at the same stage, last season.
Spurs are expected to rest players, which could prove costly given that a few Premier League teams have been punished for a changed squad so far this weekend. Fulham are expecting to put out a strong first team with only Tottenham loanee, Ryan Fredericks missing, due to the last of a three match ban.
The visitors have only won twice on the road since September and defeat here will only add to Mauricio Pochettino’s headaches. Fulham’s defence at Craven Cottage recently has been dodgy with five leaked goals in their last home wins.
Slavisa Jokanovic’s men comfortably thrashed Hull in the last round, whilst Spurs nearly crashed and burnt against Wycombe Wanderers. With this being a local derby, hopefully Pochettino won’t repeat his mistake from the last round and put out the fittest side that he possibly can.
The match should be competitive but with the Europa League second leg on Thursday, it won’t be a surprise if Fulham sneaked a win here. Spurs however have won 12 of their last 13 cup clashes with lower league opposition making this tough to call.
Prediction: Fulham 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Result: Fulham 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Blackburn Rovers vs Manchester United
Defending champions, Manchester United will be hoping to sail through this tie with ease. Blackburn however have caused problems before for the major teams. Arsenal won’t forget their shock home defeat in the 2012-13 FA Cup at this stage by the Rovers.
Both sides will be missing several players through injury or suspension. Blackburn’s star striker, Sam Gallagher is ruled out with a knee injury whilst Man U have to cope without Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick. Both are struggling with muscle problems.
Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he will be putting out his strongest team at Ewood Park, despite having a midweek trip to Saint Etienne on the horizon. This makes the task for Own Coyle’s side the more tougher, given that United have already beaten two Championship sides in the Cup.
Blackburn are struggling to stay in the Championship and will see this as a potential to further their cup run. There is however one bad omen in that this tie was last played 32 years ago in the 1984-85 FA Cup at this stage. Manchester United emerged victorious on that occasion and went on to lift the cup.
With the Europa League tie against Saint Etienne now just dead rubber, Mourinho will be able to make changes for the second leg instead of this tie. He however has to bare in mind that they got the EFL Cup final next Sunday meaning that can’t afford to risk key players between now and then. United should however have enough here.
Prediction: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Manchester United
Result: Blackburn Rovers 1-2 Manchester United