Manchester City will be out to continue their dominance in the FA Cup tomorrow after demolishing Blackburn Rovers 5-0 in the previous round. Manuel Pellegini’s side are within touching distance to already claim the Capital One Cup with only Sunderland in their way. The Etihad side could still go on and claim three cups this season.
English Championship side, Bolton Wanderers, have had a horrendous season thus far, most notably their 7-1 routing at the hands of Reading in their league encounter. The Trotters currently occupy 18th position on the championship standings and will hope that the FA Cup can help them redeem themselves to carry the form over to the league. Dougie Freedman’s team will welcome Welsh side, Cardiff City, at the Reebok Stadium this weekend and are keen to progress to the next round of the oldest association football competition in the world.
Jose Mourinho and his team are up against Stoke City on Sunday afternoon in the fourth round fixture of the FA Cup, and will hope for nothing less than a win. The ‘Special One’ is back for his second stint at Stamford Bridge, and a success in the FA Cup will no doubt be a warning for his rivals after he revealed that he would like to see out his club coaching career at Chelsea.
Barcelona will be switching their attention back to the Spanish La Liga this Sunday after a convincing 4-1 win over Levante in the Spanish Copa Del Rey in midweek. The Catalans are currently tied on 51 points with Athletico De Madrid and lead Real by only a single point.
Atletico De Madrid will no doubt be hoping that Barca lose ground for them to capitalize and move top of the La Liga standings this weekend. Diego Simeone’s side have played some attractive football this season and could be the surprise package if they were to clinch the La Liga title, although either Barca and Real are favourites to come out tops at the end of this campaign.
Another top side hoping to revive their bad run in the league thus far is AC Milan who to many’s surprise, have dropped down the pecking order in the Serie A, and are a staggering 30 points adrift of leaders Juventus. The San Siro side who have roped in former player, Clarence Seedorf as coach, will have a tough task at hand if they are to come away with all the three points against Cagliari at the Stadio Is Arenas.
If you are a betting person, here are tips ahead of the fixtures brought to you by Soccer 6 and Soccer-Laduma's Editorial Director, Peter Du Toit.
MANCHESTER CITY V WATFORD
League position: City 2nd and Watford 15th
Useful facts: City is scoring goals for fun at the Etihad and if you’re a supporter at the stadium, you’re likely to be delighted on most match days. Yaya Toure is immense, David Silva is marvellous and the strikers they have upfront are simply lethal. Minnows Watford may need to say their prayers, don bulletproof vests and hope to the high heavens they don’t lose by a cricket score. Expect a City win in this FA Cup clash.
Peter du Toit: City win. Guaranteed.
BOLTON WANDERERS V CARDIFF CITY
League position: Bolton 18th (Championship) and City 20th (Premiership)
Useful facts: Bolton is having a largely poor season in the English Championship and struggling to score goals as well. It’s a gloomy time for a club who, not too long ago, were in the Premiership. Cardiff is also struggling in the Premiership meaning this could be a cagey affair in the FA Cup.
Peter du Toit: Cardiff away win.
CHELSEA V STOKE CITY
League position: Chelsea 3rd and City 14th
Useful facts: In this FA Cup encounter, in-form Chelsea welcome Mark Hughes’ fairly decent Stoke outfit to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea will be buoyed after giving crumbling English champions, Manchester United, a thoroughly good hiding in the league recently. This means Stoke will be underdogs in this clash in London.
Peter du Toit: Chelsea win. No discussion.
BARCELONA V MALAGA
League position: Barcelona 1st and Malaga 14th
Useful facts: Barcelona is in dominant form as usual which makes watching Spain’s La Liga dull to watch at times. Watching one team control the ball while the other meekly chases around after it hoping forthe best isn’t always entertaining. This suggests minnows Malaga could be up against it when they visit the Nou Camp in this league clash.
Peter du Toit: Barcelona will win for sure.
RAYO VALLECANO V ATLETICO MADRID
League position: Vallecano 19th and Madrid 2nd
Useful facts: In this Spanish League clash featuring two teams at different ends of the table, relegation contenders Rayo Vallecano welcome the high-flying Atletico Madrid to the Estadio del Rayo Vallecano. Madrid is a real contender for the title this season and is giving the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona a run for their money. Expect Vallecano to be the underdogs in this one.
Peter du Toit: Madrid away win.
CAGLIARI V AC MILAN
League position: Cagliari 14th and AC Milan 11th
Useful facts: In this mid-table Serie A encounter in Italy, struggling Cagliari host floundering giants, AC Milan, to the Stadio Is Arenas. The Islanders haven’t won in their last five matches played and may fancy their chances against the Screwdrivers. This could be a hard fought affair with few clear cut chances and plenty of tough tackling.
Peter du Toit: Milan victory.