THE magic of the cup is set to take on a whole new meaning this weekend.
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Check out our predictions for Matchweek 21 below…
- Sunderland 1 – 3 Newcastle
- Chelsea 2 – 0 Preston
- Manchester City 5 – 0 Huddersfield
- Arsenal 2 – 2 Liverpool
- Wigan 1 – 2 Manchester United
The Tyne-Wear derby promises to be a spicy one and while the Magpies have struggled of late, Eddie Howe will know full well what this fixture means to the fans.
We’re backing the Black Cats to score though, probably via the in-form Jack Clarke, who has 12 Championship goals to his name already this season.
Keep an eye out for Jobe Bellingham too, brother of Jude.
We’re not expecting any drama at Stamford Bridge as Preston have lost four of their last five league games and are therefore unlikely to pull off an upset, regardless of the team selections.
Some of the best teams in the world have crumbled at the Etihad against Pep Guardiola’s treble-winning machine so the visit of a relegation-threatened second-tier outfit has to be considered a massive mismatch.
Sure, City will probably play some of the kids but youngsters like Oscar Bobb are actually rather good.
Who knows, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland may even be eased back into action at some point?
Arsenal v Liverpool is the most eye-catching match-up of the third round but this could well end up as a contest between two second-string sides.
Both teams maintain hopes of lifting the Premier League trophy at the end of the season and the two managers will have one eye on the European knockout stages looming on the horizon.
We don’t expect either gaffer to forfeit the FA Cup but this feels like a good opportunity to rest some key players – Bukayo Saka looks in need of a reset, for example.
To be honest, a draw would be a nuisance to both clubs but we’re inclined to sit on the fence on this occasion.
Finally, we’re backing Erik ten Hag’s men to get past the team currently 17th in League One – although it should be noted Wigan would be comfortably in the top half were it not for their points deduction.
However, the Red Devils can’t seem to do anything with much conviction at present so we’re envisaging nervy, narrow win on the road.
Think you know better? You almost certainly do!
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