Saturday, 29 January 2011

FA Cup Round 4 Preview

Article first published as FA Cup Round 4 Preview on Technorati.

FA Cup Matches to Watch during 4th Round Jan 28/29 2011

by Rhydon Atzenhoffer
January 28th, 2011

The transfer window has the folks on Merseyside in a frenzy. Luis Suarez and Charlie Adam occupy the lips and tongues of those that usually stand on the Kop. Ryan Babel has flew the Liverbird coup with possible others on the tips of his wings as Milan Jovanovic and Paul Konchesky both look to possibly be on their way out. "And wishers of a nameless fear," to steal lines from Tolkien himself, would only be appropriate with the recent threat of Fernando Torres being poached away by the Chelsea Blues.

With the players fresh off back to back wins against Wolves and Fulham, Kenny Dalglish will hope the weekend can bear fruit in the transfer market just before the deadline and provide some fresh spice to his reinvigorated pass and move Liverpool offense.

However, the English Premier League and Liverpool take a break this weekend as the FA Cup resumes with round 4 action. There are 32 teams remaining including 15 sides from the Premiership. That being said there will be at the least 4 of these teams eliminated as 4 matches will put these top flight sides to test against one another.

In the spirit of keeping with my admittance to covering things aside from Liverpool, though it is difficult, it does provide me a voice for the weekend as I take the next two days off to relax and take in the cup ties from the outside as with no one to cheer for I can only hope to witness some great games from the eyes of neutrality.

Top Games to Watch

Aston Villa vs Blackburn Rovers

The Arrival of Darren Bent at Villa park has seen the Villains pull of a pair of back to back wins including a surprise 1-0 victory over Manchester City where Bent was the culprit to score on his debut. Manchester City have just loaned Rogue Santa-Cruz back to Blackburn, whom the Citizens purchased him from two seasons ago, and the arrival of on loan American Jermaine Jones has also been sparking the Rovers back to confidence.

Blackburn have been on the rise and are now in 8th place, right behind also climbing Liverpool, since the controversial sacking of Sam Allardyce and the appointment of Steve Kean. The surprise departure of Martin O'Neil from Villa in the summer saw the appointment of former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier. This looks to be a tightly contested battle between two teams searching for their identity. I look to see this game go to a replay 2-2.

Sheffield Wednesday vs Hereford United

Hillsborough was the site of perhaps the worst disaster in Liverpool's history as 96 fans were crushed to death in the 1989 FA Cup Semi-Final against Nottingham Forest. That site will be the host to this weekends FA Cup 4th round clash between nPower League One side Sheffield Wednesday and nPower League Two Side Hereford United.

Sheffield have been on a down turn in their last three matches as they have a loss and two draws from their last run of play. Hereford on the other hand have been on a tare with 3 straight victories. The dip in form from the League One side looks to allow an opening for Hereford to continue their cup run into the 5th round with a 1-2 victory.

Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspur

The Cottagers though having just lost thanks to an own goal have been in fine form, and more than likely feel "Hard done by," in the words of Kenny Dalglish in the post match press conference. Clint Dempsey and Danny Murphy put in masterful performances and the former was denied on several occasions for brilliant strikes.

Harry Redknapp has his Spurs in a bit of a lag in form after two straight draws, but they will still be the favorite side in this FA Cup London Derby. Rafael Van der Vaart and Gareth Bale will hope to continue leading their side to victory. I look for a lively match if Fulham play anything like they did against the Reds on Wednesday night, and I believe they might just catch the Lilly Whites off their guard. Fulham to start brightly and carry through to a 2-1 upset in front of their home fans.

Other Matches of Note

Bolton vs. Wigan Athletic

Fresh off of a crushing defeat at the hands of Chelsea, Bolton will want to reassert themselves with revenge against a weaker opponent. Wanderers stroll to the next round 3-1.

Everton vs. Chelsea

Chelsea will want to continue their cup run, and David Moyes' faltering side will be less of a challenge this season than in the previous years. Blues cruise 0-4 in front of, and to the horror of the Goodison crowd.

Wolverhampton vs. Stoke City

Wolves need something to fight for besides not being relegated and a victory over a strong mid table side like Stoke City will to them good after their 0-3 loss to the Reds last weekend. Wolves take it in a boring drudgery of a game on Molineux's horrid pitch, 1-0.

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