The FA Cup returns in an all-Premier League club quarterfinal setting. Of the eight teams, this tournament features a mix of the league’s table-toppers and bottom-feeders. Although the soccer community is preparing for an all-Manchester final, there’s time for things to change.
Will anyone be able to pull off an upset this weekend and continue their quest to lift a trophy?
Norwich City vs. Manchester United | Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET
This should be a complete mismatch for the entire 90 minutes. Perennial league favorites United will be playing Norwich, who won’t even be a premier league club come next season. There isn’t one player for the Canaries that could walk into this Red Devils’ squad. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping his team can make quick work so he can rest players for the next match. Suggesting anything but a blowout would be foolish.
Prediction: United 4, Norwich 0
Sheffield United vs. Arsenal | Sunday at 8:00 a.m. ET
This should be a much more competitive match as these clubs sit eighth and ninth in the premier league table. At this point of the competition, both are certainly able to win . Over the course of the season, Sheffield has proven to be a bit more consistent in their results thanks to a defense that has only conceded 31 goals. That compares to 41 from Arsenal, who counter with 13 more goals scored. In recent weeks, Arsenal has shifted to a more younger lineup as manager Mikel Arteta attempts to figure out exactly what he has before a very important summer transfer window. Lifting a trophy could be huge for these young players’ development.
Prediction: Sheffield 2, Arsenal 1
Leicester City vs. Chelsea | Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET
Another fantastic matchup between two of the league’s heavyweights takes place on Sunday morning. Both of these clubs are currently occupying Champions League positions as they continue to boast another great season. However, Chelsea is barely holding onto fourth place as Manchester United trail by only two points (at the time of writing). Because of that, don’t be surprised if Chelsea play to not win this matchup. That doesn’t mean they won’t try, but a more defensive approach could be used by manager Frank Lampard. He, too, is beginning a rebuild, so securing Champions League football next season is of top priority. Losing admirably against another top club won’t cause negative headlines in the following day’s papers.
Prediction: Leicester 2, Chelsea 1
Newcastle United vs. Manchester City | Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET
Two clubs with different ambitions meet in the last quarterfinal match. Newcastle are going through the motions of ending another season as a mid-table team. With no real threat of relegation, they are assessing what improvements will be needed over the summer. Meanwhile, Manchester City is seeking another trophy. Having already won the 2020 Carabao Cup, this group believes the FA Cup and Champions League are both within reach. Winning the FA Cup would also put them into next season’s Community Shield, where they will get to prove to Liverpool who still owns English football.
Prediction: Manchester City 3, Newcastle 0