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#BestBets with Patrick Kinghorn: FA Cup Fourth Round

Sixteen FA Cup Fourth Round ties to look forward to this weekend and I’m going to focus on three to try to point you in the right direction by finding this year’s Aston Villa (up until they got destroyed by Arsenal in the Final) and avoiding any Premier League team who would select a bench full of 17 year olds who only the most hardened of Football Manager addicts on the PC have ever heard of.

As always when trying to pick a team to win on a Cup weekend but this round in particular, do NOT be lazy, check the team news an hour before kick-off. The EPL has a full match program next midweek and plenty of the Championship sides involved in the Cup are in action as well just days later in the league. I’m writing these predictions on Thursday morning but I’ll be checking the team news an hour before the kick-offs of the three games below and if any alarm bells ring, I will share them with you on twitter @Fou4thOfficial.

Here are my picks for the weekend!

Photo Credit: thisisanfield.com
Photo Credit: thisisanfield.com


 Liverpool have been shockingly bad recently but have still won at Norwich and made the League Cup Final. Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure were the worst centre-back pairing in the entire EPL last weekend and that was in the face of stiff competition in the same game they played in as the Norwich defence contrived to ship 5 goals against a team who didn’t start with a recognized striker. In short they are a total liability but there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Reds fans as Dejan Lovren made his comeback off the bench in the League Cup Semi Final and will surely replace presumably Toure on Saturday.
Even so West Ham have already mastered the Lovren/Sakho partnership this season when beating Liverpool convincingly 2-0 at Upton Park at the start of the year and they demolished Liverpool with the first choice pairing of Skrtel/Lovren at Anfield early in the season. West Ham won both league games with an aggregate score of 5-0. It’s still only January but if he continues his rich vein of form, Dimitri Payet looks assured of a place in the PFA’s team of the season and he can be the catalyst for a West Ham win and Liverpool’s first Cup exit of the season.
Photo Credit: Telegraph
Photo Credit: Telegraph


 Watford have done exceptionally well this season and with 11 points and 8 teams between themselves and the drop zone with just 15 games to go are the kind of team that can afford to have a real go at making a run to the Final. The way they are set up to play means they are always able to keep themselves in matches (the have only lost three times all season by more than one goal). While they fielded a very much weakened team for their league cup exit at Preston at the start of the season, it appears from a strong league position they will be happier than some to have a full tilt at the FA Cup this season as evidenced by the strong line-up that started in the win against Newcastle in round 3.
Quique Sanchez Flores is clearly a shrewd tactician and has form for getting teams to Cup Finals having lead Atletico Madrid to both the Europa League and Copa Del Rey finals in 2010. Forest are on an unbeaten run of 13 but that unbeaten run that stretches back to November has included 7 draws as well as 5 wins. I fancy Watford to go through here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they find themselves at Wembley in May just as they did in 1984 when Elton John was reduced to tears as they lost to Everton 2-0.
Photo Credit: Independent
Photo Credit: Independent


 Shrewsbury pulled off an upset by winning 1-0 at Cardiff against the run of play in the third round but will have their work cut out against a resurgent Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls are one of two Championship clubs (the other being Reading) who are now under Thai ownership. They have been flying up the league in 2016 and currently occupy the final play-off place.
The Thai investment in the club has allowed them to strongly compete in the transfer market and up front they have two strikers in former Norwich and Celtic man Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri who have been scoring for fun. Cardiff made the mistake of making NINE changes in their embarrassing defeat against the Shrews, so bearing in mind The Owls host Burnley in a 3rd v 6th quick turn-around clash in the league on Tuesday, check the team news on Saturday evening and if Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri are playing, Wednesday will win against a side battling the drop straight back down to League Three.

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