Previews and Predictions for the F.A Cup third round fixtures
Let’s be honest. In soccer, we all like to think that we can predict what the scores will be and take unrivaled joy in correctly guessing the outcomes of the biggest games. That sentiment is echoed by the soccer writers here at SQ, so we have decided to put our claims to the test with a weekly competition in which we will try and predict the scores for all of the Premier League games.
The outcome of each week’s predictions will be decided in a points format with a subsequent rankings table that will run until the end of the season to see who is the best predictor. The scoring system is as follows:
No points - for failing to guess the correct result. (Example, you pick Chelsea to win against Aston Villa, but the match ends in a win or draw for Aston Villa. Likewise, if you pick a draw and one of the sides win)
One Point - for correctly guessing the result without the score line. (Example, you pick Chelsea to win 3-0 but they win 4-0 instead, or you pick a 2-2 draw but it finishes 1-1 etc.)
Three Points - for correctly guessing the result and score line. (Example, you pick Chelsea to win 3-0, and they win 3-0)
Banker - Doubles any points scored in the chosen match. (Each participant gets to use one per week)
F.A Cup Special
In honor of the much loved F.A Cup’s return, our predictors will be delving into their knowledge of English football’s lower leagues to predict the outcome of all this weekend’s matches involving Premier League sides. This special predictor will also count as a bonus round, and that means DOUBLE points for each of this weekend’s participants. So would you play for big points and go for the underdogs? Or would you play it safe and choose the big boys?
Game of the Round
Stadium: White Hart Lane, Tottenham.
Kick-Off: Sunday 4pm (GMT), 10am (CDT), 11am (EDT), 8am (PDT)
Recent F.A Cup Meetings: Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Leicester City (Jan. 24, 2015)
Leicester City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Jan. 8, 2006)
Head-To-Head Record (FA Cup): Tottenham - 7 wins, Leicester - 3 wins, Draws - 1.
Top Scorers & Assisters:
Prediction: The two Premi
er League sides with the fewest defeats this season take a break from their excellent league campaigns to do battle in the F.A Cup. A lot will depend on rotation, as the two sides meet again on Wednesday in a huge Premier League clash. Mauricio Pochettino usually sticks with the core of his first team which has been exhibited in the Europa League and Capital One Cup this season. He rarely makes more than five or six changes and that is a good indicator to a strong-ish side on Sunday. Claudio Ranieri, on the other hand, is nicknamed ‘the tinkerman’ from his original spell in the Premier League with Chelsea and is likely to ring the changes. The Italian has already been forced into one switch with the news that key player Jamie Vardy is undergoing minor groin surgery. The absence of the Premier League’s top scorer could have a massive impact on the counter-attacking style that Ranieri employs and will reduce Leicester’s threat in front of goal. One thing is for sure; expect Spurs to enjoy the majority of possession and control the tempo from the start. If Leicester can replicate their usual ruthlessness on the break then they could easily snatch a win, but Spurs’ expected strong line-up and current form would suggest a narrow home win.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Leicester City
Stadium: Kassam Stadium, Oxford.
Kick-Off: Sunday 12pm (GMT), 6am (CDT), 7am (EDT), 4am (PDT)
Recent Meetings: Oxford United 0-1 Swansea City (League Two. Dec. 8, 2004)
Swansea City 1-0 Oxford United (League Two. Apr. 15, 2005)
Head-To-Head Record: Oxford - 10 wins, Swansea - 10 wins, Draws - 6
Prediction: This a huge match for Swansea. Their season has slowly unravelled after a bright start and an exit at the hands of Oxford here would only add to the pressures of a relegation battle. Caretaker boss Alan Curtis remains in charge despite Garry Monk’s sacking a month ago, and it is unsure whether or not he will field a weakened team. But the Welshman will be all too aware of the threat that Oxford can pose as the League Two side sit third in the league and harbour a realistic challenge for promotion. Michael Appleton’s men have lost just three times in 25 league matches and have scored in all but the same amount this season. Midfielders Kemar Roofe and Liam Sercombe are the two key men for the U’s with 25 goals between them this season and they will need to be at their best if Oxford are to pull off a major shock. But if fans are searching for an upset then Swansea’s lack of firepower, poor recent performances in this competition (they’ve only gone past the fourth round once in the last seven seasons) and Oxford’s great home record can all add weight to one.
Oxford United 1-0 Swansea City
Stadium: Adams Park, Wycombe.
Kick-Off: Saturday 12.45pm (GMT), 6.45am (CDT), 7.45am (EDT), 4.45am (PDT)
Recent Meetings: Wycombe 0-5 Aston Villa (League Cup. Sep. 23, 2003)
Wycombe 3-8 Aston Villa (League Cup. Sep. 20, 2005)
Head-To-Head Record: Aston Villa - 2 wins, Wycombe - 0 wins, Draws - 0.
Prediction: When the draw is initially formulated in early December, every football fan will scoure the list for the likeliest giant-killing. So when high-flying Wycombe were pulled out against the Premier League’s bottom side Aston Villa with home advantage, neutrals needn’t have looked any further. Remi Garde’s men are in utter turmoil as they prop up English football’s top tier with a measly eight points, eleven points from safety, and winless since the opening day. Unrest from the fans over their club’s plight and disciplinary issues for favourites Gabriel Agbonlahor and Jack Grealish have only compounded the misery that surrounds Villa right now. It is vitally important that they kick-start their campaign with a victory and perhaps the F.A Cup can provide it once again after last year’s run to the final coincided with a late surge to safety in the league. But Wycombe have all the tools to heap more misery on Villa. They have lost just once in 10 games, are second to Portsmouth with the most clean sheets and have already dumped out opposition from a higher division in League One’s Millwall. Striker Garry Thompson is the club’s top scorer with seven, although defender Michael Harriman also poses a threat as he is one goal behind with six. If Wycombe can strike first then the Premier League side will be in trouble with their already low confidence and it will be interesting to see if the Villa players are up for the fight.
Wycombe Wanderers 2-1 Aston Villa
Mark moves back to the top after three impressive scoring rounds while Luke slips eleven points back into second. Orion Johnson was the biggest mover over the festive period although Lucas Morel is within touching distance. This week’s double points special is a good chance for Noah, Max and Sam to close the gap on those above them and put themselves back in with a shout.
Think you can do better?
We here at SQ want to know what you think. Send us your predictions for all 10 Premier League games in the comments section below, and we will add your name to the rankings table and weekly scores. Go head-to-head with our writers to earn the title of “SQ Predictor Champion.”
The overall winner at the end of the season will win a Premier League jersey of their choice! Send us your predictions each week to be in with a shout!
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