A roundup of the four mid-week FA Cup 5th round replays.
The Quarter Finals have already been drawn for the FA Cup but there are still a few fifth round games that need to be settled with replays. These four games will be played on Wednesday.
Aston Villa v Crystal Palace
These two were involved in a thrilling 2-2 match when they met at Selhurst Park but now Villa invite Championship Palace to their own patch and will be looking for an easy passage into the Quarters. Crystal Palace are stuck in the relegation zone and have been having a hard time of it lately, both on the pitch and off it. They did beat Wolves to get this far but Aston Villa will be another story.
Villa have already made it to the League Cup Final and will be looking to go all the way in the FA Cup as well. The top Premiership side are involved in a heated battle for fourth spot and have recorded some great victories in the League, winning 5-2 last time out against Burnley, and holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw before that.
Palace have a lot of fighting spirit which they proved with a great win at Wolves and an amazing performance in the 2-2 tie with Villa. They will look to star man Ambrose to create and possibly score from midfield, but in-from Villa will surely prove too strong for them.
Expect the pace of Young and Agbonlahor, the power of Carew and Heskey and the finesse of Downing to overcome Crystal Palace. Villa should win this by a couple of goals at least.
Stoke City v Manchester City
Man City surprised everyone when they struggled to beat an injury hit Stoke side. They did take the lead but Stoke played well to peg them back and force this game into a replay. Stoke are solid in the league and managed an away win last time out to Portsmouth, whilst Manchester City were involved in a dull 0-0 at home to Liverpool.
Manchester City are hoping Tevez will return from compassionate leave for the game and will probably look to rest a few players ahead of their big Premiership game with Chelsea on the weekend.
This one could go all the way with Extra-time possibly on the cards. Stoke are no push overs and even though Man City will be the clear favorites and have the money, the stars and the skill, they could be overturned in a second by the aerial might, and set-piece prowess of Stoke. A difficult one to call but I think Man City will struggle here.
Tottenham v Bolton
Last time out this was literally a game of two halves as Bolton dominated the first before Tottenham controlled the second. Spurs really should have won the game at The Reebok but Goalkeeper Jaaskelainen was in top form and even saved a penalty (albeit a poor one) from Huddlestone.
In the league Tottenham seem to have found a small glimmer of form after a deserved 3-0 win away to Wigan last time out, whilst Bolton were thumped 3-0 by rivals Blackburn. But everything changes in the cup.
Tottenham have sometimes failed in the final third but rarely used substitute Pavlyuchenko has proved himself worthy on a couple of occasions now and could be the key to unlocking this game. Expect a tough match but one that will surely fall the way of Tottenham. Pavlyuchenko may not start, but if he does he should be a good bet to be the first goalscorer or to score at any time in the game.
West Brom v Reading
This all Championship tie is one of the most interesting ones. Reading are not doing as well as West Brom in the league and are struggling somewhat, but they have knocked out two Premiership teams in this competition, with Liverpool and Burnley both falling before them. They came very close to winning this game at their home ground but for a late equalizer from West Brom.
West Brom’s form has been up and down in the league lately and their most recent game was a 2-1 defeat away to Bristol City. Despite this they are still third in the table and are still a very good team when they are at their best.
Reading may have turned over a few big teams in this competition but I think they will fail to beat their Championship rivals here. It will certainly be a close game and one that could very well go to into Extra-time, but my money would be on West Brom nicking it in the allotted ninety minutes.
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