FA Cup quarter finals are upon us. Each tie has something going for them with opportunities for upsets galore. Lincoln City and Millwall are the two non Premier League side left but face tough opposition here, if want a trip to Wembley.
From this season onwards, there are no replays at this stage so prepare for extra time and penalties if scores are level after 90 minutes.
Middlesbrough vs Manchester City
For Aitor Karanka, this home tie could well be his swansong if Middlesbrough fail to see off Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Álvaro Negredo was rested during the 2-0 defeat at Stoke so could start against his former side here. If the midfielders can get the ball to him, they could well find themselves heading to Wembley.
With tension sizzling on Teesside, expect to see the players put in a big effort to try and keep Karanka in his job. This could well play into the visitor’s hands if they open themselves up too much. Either way, it should be tight given that Boro won their last FA Cup meeting in January 2015.
City are on a hectic run since needing a replay to see off Huddersfield in the fifth round. The trip to the Riverside is the fourth match in a heavy six game run till the 19th March. Guardiola’s side is however unbeaten in ten so will something give here?
Prediction: Middlesbrough 1-1 Manchester City AET (Middlesbrough win on penalties)
Result: Middlesbrough 0-2 Manchester City FT in 90 minutes
Arsenal vs Lincoln City
Defeat at home to NON LEAGUE Lincoln is unthinkable!! Lose here then Arsenal players should be ashamed let alone embarrassed to even be in any competition. As for Arsene Wenger, he should just retire at end of season before the Gunners turn into also runs.
Arsenal come into this tie off a completely shambolic 5-1 loss at home to Bayern Munich in midweek. The Imps however ripped apart Braintree away from Sincil Bank in the National League. Could these different results affect the confidence of both sides coming into this meeting?
This game is the North Londoners’ on paper but given how impressive Lincoln have been away from home, anything could happen. The head to head stats between these two sides are useless because they haven’t played each other in 102 years. This is their first FA Cup clash as well.
As far as number of goals so far this season, Arsenal have scored 89 goals to the visitors’ 92 goals this season across their respective competitions. Looking at that stat, Wenger needs a rock solid defence or he could be facing another cup exit in the space of four days because Lincoln will be troublesome, when on the attack.
There will definitely be a marked contrast in the stands as home supporters continue their campaign against Wenger. The Lincoln supporters will just be living the match in the moment and raising the roof when their players get the ball. This could be pivotal, the longer the score stays level as it approaches dreaded extra time or penalties.
Expect to see an upset here if Arsenal’s defence is still shaky because they have already conceded in their last three matches in all competitions. Lincoln have several different goal scorers available who could breach the opposition’s lines, if attack with electrifying pace and are solid at set pieces.
Wenger saw his side lose at this stage last season to Watford, also at home. Could history repeat itself here?
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Lincoln City
Result: Arsenal 5-0 Lincoln City