Saturday marks the return of the FA Cup as the road to Wembley continues for the 32 teams still battling for glory in this season’s competition.
Manchester United host Liverpool in the pick of the ties but there are a number of intriguing contests in this week’s Super 6 fixtures. Relegation-threatened Premier League pair Brighton and Sheffield United host Blackpool and Plymouth respectively, while in-from Crawley Town head to Bournemouth after cruising past Leeds in the last round.
Five of the Super 6 fixtures kick off at 3pm on Saturday, but the Cherries will host Crawley on Tuesday evening to round off five days of mouth-watering action.
Here, we pick through Sky Sports’ chosen matches and offer you tips and predictions based on the latest Opta data and Sky Bet odds.
Barnsley 1-3 Norwich
Barnsley are without a clean sheet in 13 Championship matches and the win-or-bust nature of cup football is only likely to increase their chances of conceding. Consider too that Norwich have had the most shots and shots on target of any side in the second tier this season and visit a Barnsley side who have won just two of 12 fixtures against teams above them in the league. The Tykes average more than one goal per 90 at home this season but Norwich are the Championship’s form side with 19 points from their last eight.
Sky Bet odds: Norwich to win and both teams to score 10/3
Brighton 2-1 Blackpool
Brighton have just two home wins across all competitions since the start of 2020 and would be forgiven for focusing on the Premier League with survival by no means certain this season. The Seagulls have also been knocked out of the FA Cup by sides at least one tier below them twice in the last four seasons, and needed penalties to get past League Two Newport County in the Third Round. That said, Graham Potter’s men welcome a Blackpool side with one of the worst attacking record’s in League One, and will see this as a perfect opportunity to bank a rare victory at the Amex Stadium.
Sheffield United 2-0 Plymouth
The Blades are back. No, you’re getting carried away. OK, the situation still isn’t perfect but Sheffield United have now won two of their last three matches. They host a Plymouth side with League One’s worst away record on Saturday and will be buoyed by the fact Argyle have also failed to keep a clean sheet on the road all season. The Blades have scored the second-fewest goals in the Premier League this term but are 12th in the league in terms of big chances created – and it’s hard to look past a straightforward win for Chris Wilder’s side.
Swansea 1-0 Nottingham Forest
Swansea won 0-1 away at Nottingham Forest earlier this season and are favourites heading into Saturday’s FA Cup tie. Forest have scored just 20 all season and have one of the bluntest attacks in the Championship, while Swansea boast the league’s tightest defence. It means Steve Cooper’s side don’t need to score many to pick up wins and that’s reflected by the fact 83 per cent of their league matches have produced two goals or fewer. In fact, they’ve only needed a middling 29 goals this term to pick up 46 points, so expect another narrow win.
Sky Bet odds: Swansea to win 1-0 11/2
West Ham 3-1 Doncaster
West Ham are in marvellous form, losing just once in their last nine and keeping four clean sheets in five. They have only lost one home game against the teams currently below them in the table and welcome a Doncaster team some 41 places beneath them in the football pyramid. Donny are top of the League One form table and have the third-best attack in the division, but have only kept four clean sheets in the league all season. As a result, they’ve been involved in their fair share of goal-festsw, with their matches averaging nearly three goals a game this term.
Sky Bet odds: Over 3.5 Goals in the match 2/1
Bournemouth 3-2 Crawley
Giantkillers Crawley Town beat Leeds United in the last round by a comprehensive 3-0 scoreline and will fancy their chances of staging an upset at the Vitality Stadium. They are unbeaten in 10 and have scored at least once in each of those games. Championship high-flyers Bournemouth are going through something of a wobble having picked up just four points from a possible 15. However, they have one of the most freescoring attacks in the Championship and will see lower-league opposition as a good opportunity to rediscover a winning a habit.
Sky Bet odds: Bournemouth to win 3-2 before extra-time 28/1
Odds correct at the time of writing. 18+ Only. UK only. Terms and Conditions Apply. BeGambleAware.