The FA Cup has been renowned as one of the most historical pieces of silverware in English football history. As the further in the season it gets, we usually see Premier League teams dominating the final rounds of the famous tournament. However, don't we all just love a bit of the twist of the tale?
As we near the end of the season, we near the end of this incredible cup campaign. Currently, we are in the quarter finals, which means that there are EIGHT teams remaining in the competition, and all the ties are juicier than ever. Lets have a run through all these fascinating fixtures, and I will present to you my own personal result prediction towards the end. Now, let's go!
Goalless vs Goal-bound
Probably the least anticipated game out of all the ties (in my opinion), but nonetheless it'll be a entertaining tie. Struggling scores Middlesbrough will take on high-flyers Manchester City at home. Throughout the whole season, Middlesbrough have only shipped 26 goals into an opposition's net in all competitions. Even for a newly promoted side, that are attempting to avoid relegation, it is an embarrassing statistic. Middlesbrough currently sit in 17th, 3 points outside the relegation side, and it's currently looking highly likely that the club from Teesside will be returning to the championship next season.
Moving away from Premier League form, Middlesbrough have been on a great run in the FA Cup. Manchester City will be their first Premier League opposition in their run in the cup this season, so it can be a great test for them to see if they're worthy contenders to lift the famous trophy. Even though they haven't been shipping goals, they haven't really been conceding any either. They have the joint most amount of draws in the league (10, with Manchester United), which is a reason to as why they have been slipping down the league. However, this drawing mentality that the players seemed to have occupied could benefit them hugely in this round. Now that we've gone passed the point where replays are no longer replays are available, games that are drawing after 90 mins will go to extra time. If Middlesbrough struggle to break the Manchester City back line, they may just hold out to penalties, and then have a huge chance of progressing. Baring in mind, this is a huge ask for them to do. To hold of a dominant Manchester City side for 120 minutes would be extremely challenging. To be honest, I can see Pep putting out a strong Manchester City lineup, and I wouldn't be surprised if Manchester City walked over Middlesbrough and advanced to the semis with ease.
My Prediction: 0-2
Letdowns vs Underdogs
Wow, what an incredible tie! Arsenal of the Premier League take on small little Lincoln City from the National League. It's hands down the most fairy tale story of year, and it's why we all love the FA Cup. People thought it was definitely going to end at Brighton. Nope! It carried on. Surely it must have ended at Burnley? But no! They've ploughed and grabbed the attention of the whole nation. Now, surely this must be the end? I mean, if Lincoln manage to upset Arsenal then surely it'll be one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history.
This game is a must win for Arsenal. If they do somehow lose, then it'll be yet again another embarrassing season under Arsene Wenger, who's surely run out of time in North London. Hence why I've called them letdowns in the subheading, is because they've had a really poor season. Yes, they are still in contention for top 4, but they are not doing well in trying to battle for it. Their recent form is quite shocking, and Lincoln may use that for their own advantage and hope to salvage a stunning victory. Likewise with Middlesbrough, if Lincoln could plough through the whole 120 minutes of in game football, then they have a high chance of progressing into the semis. Wow, just imagining that gives me goosebumps. The image of a non-league side into the semi finals of one the biggest domestic cups in English football. Absolutely incredible! However, I think this is where Lincoln's dream may come to end. Even though Arsenal have been poor in recent times, I still think they'll be too much for them, and the Gunners will progress into the semis
My Prediction: 3-0
Cockerel vs Lion
Nothing like a FA Cup quarter final than a good ol' fashioned London derby. Not just any London derby though, a big one. I don't think I need to explain what Millwall are like when they come up against other London clubs. By the way, I'm talking about the fans, not the team. We just know there's gonna be a lot of brutal scenes between Tottenham and Millwall when their fans collide in the stands; we just better hope there's double security during this game for this one!
Both teams go into the game on good form. Tottenham emphatically knocked out Fulham in the previous round, and Millwall saw out Premier League champions Leicester. Millwall have been unbeaten for over two months! For a club in the mid-table of League One, that is a phenomenal stat. However, Tottenham is surely their toughest opponent that they will have come up against in their cup campaign. Tottenham are currently flying in the Premier League, sitting in second, ten points behind Chelsea. Mauricio Pochettino is yet to win any piece of silverware with the club, and now that they are out of Europa and the title race, he definitely must be up to win this one. Tottenham alone are in need for a piece of silverware, since the club has not picked up a piece since 2008. Now that the club is only fighting for top 4 and this competition, their fixture list is no longer congested with Europa League. Players should not be getting tired, so this is a big chance for Tottenham to advance into the semis and put themselves in positive position to win the tournament. However, it definitely won't be easy, as they are facing as strong Millwall side. Baring in mind, Tottenham are unbeaten at home this season, and this will be the final game at White Hart Lane, and I'm sure the Tottenham players want to get a positive result from it. I personally think Tottenham will. I think Tottenham's squad will be too much for Millwall and they should sail themselves to Wembley quite comfortably.
My Prediction: 3-1
Soon to be Champions vs Reigning Champions
The biggest tie of the round, and it's a juicy one! Soon to be Premier League champions Chelsea vs the current holders of the cup Manchester United. Both teams are on fantastic form, so it's going to interesting seeing these classic heavyweights collide in this epic fixture.
Manchester United's fatigue may be a little affected due to their midweek game in Russia against Rostov. I doubt that should affect the squad, due to the fact the game takes place on Monday night. However, Chelsea will have the upper hand in that department. Chelsea also have the upper hand with ground, as the game is being taken place at Stamford Bridge, which has been a fortress for them all season. Both teams have won silverware already this season (Chelsea have practically won the league), so it will be interesting to see how both managers approach the game. I can see both managers picking a strong lineup, which will make the clash even better. Antonio Conte has stated that Manchester United have one of the best squads in the league; whether this is mind games or not from the Italian, he has a big point; but is Chelsea's squad better? In terms of performance this year, yes they are. Nonetheless, both squads are full of world class talent, and it's going to be an extremely entertaining 90 minutes, or possibly even 120 if we're that lucky. I think Chelsea may edge, but not easily. I think the game will go into extra time, but Chelsea will manage to break through.
My Prediction: 2-1 (after extra time)
Following up from my predictions, I've said that Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea will be the remaining four teams in the competition after this weekend. If my predictions come true, we are set for a very entertaining semi final between four heavyweights of the English division
Agree with my predictions? Tell me yours in the comments below!