This weekend is all about the FA Cup, with just four Premier League games, only one involving a rival of Chelsea, in the form of Newcastle, who face a home game against a competitive Norwich side on Sunday afternoon.
Two FA Cup quarter-finals are played on Saturday, and the other two on Sunday, the latter being Chelseas match-up with Leicester City at The Bridge.
First, we have a look at that match-up on Sunday, where both sides are looking to build on midweek wins, and book a place at Wembley in the semi-finals.
Chelsea vs. Leicester (Sunday 1405 GMT)
Chelsea have won their last 8 games against Championship opposition in the FA Cup, since Barnsley knocked them out at this stage in 2008. In fact, the home side are on an amazing run of just two losses in 31 FA Cup games, one of which was on penalties.
Roberto Di Matteo is looking for 4 wins out of 4 in charge, and few would bet against them doing so again in this competition, which is realistically their primary aim now for the season.
Leicester are newcomers at this stage, it is their first time in the quarter-finals for seven years, and hold the flag for the Football League, as the only side left in the competition from outside the top flight.
My bets for the Napoli games went fantastically, 19.5 points up from the 4 bets, 3 of them coming in, following a 9 point gain for the Stoke game. 1 point is translated as £1, but can be as much or as little as you like, if you choose to follow the picks.
This weekend I fancy Chelsea to keep it tight at the back, and will be having the following bets.
Chelsea to win to nil – 1/1 – 10 points
Under 2.5 goals – 13/10 – 5 points
Prediction – Chelsea 2 – 0 Leicester
Everton vs. Sunderland (Saturday 1245 GMT)
Two teams that are middle of the pack, and have the ability to focus on cup competitions entirely go head-to-head this weekend, as Goodison Park will fill up for the fourth time running in this cup, but have it hanging over their heads that they have been knocked out here in four of the last five seasons.
Sunderland are on a great run of form since Martin O’Neill took charge, 11 wins in 18 games, steering them well away from the relegation battle then were in when Steve Bruce was in charge.
Everton reached the final just three years ago, whilst this is the away sides first appearance at this stage since 2004.
I fancy Everton to sneak through, and the following bets take my fancy.
Jelavic to score at any time – 8/5 – 5 points
Everton to win by 1 – 13/5 – 5 points
Score Draw – 15/4 – 4 points
Prediction – Everton 2 – 1 Sunderland
Tottenham vs. Bolton Wanderers (Saturday 1730 GMT)
After their remarkable league run, and being touted for outsiders for the league title, Spurs have lost 3 games in a row, and struggling to hold on to the 2 remaining Champions League spots.
The FA Cup is a welcome distraction for Harry Redknapp and his team, a domestic cup they have a very good chance of winning, starting with a home draw against lowly Bolton.
They went behind to Stevenage in the last round, but comfortably turned it around to progress to this stage. Bolton on the other hand are looking for back-to-back semi-final appearances, after being spanked by Stoke at Wembley last season.
The home team have injury problems, in the shape of Dawson and Lennon, whilst Adebayor looks likely to be out, defenders Ledley King and Gallas are also touch and go for the tie.
Bolton, battling for Premier League survival, won’t want to risk any injuries for this game, but would welcome the chance to get to Wembley again, while stranger things have happened in the cup this season.
Spurs should come through comfortably, which might help kick start their run-in for the season aswell.
Spurs to win to nil – 21/20 – 10 points
No goal before 24mins – 5/6 – 6 points
Prediction – Tottenham 2 – 0 Bolton
Liverpool vs. Stoke City (Sunday 1600GMT)
Carling Cup winners, play last years FA Cup finalists in a game that many would have trouble predicting.
Despite a Carling Cup victory, and a 3-0 midweek derby win, their league form has been less than impressive, but a domestic cup double could be just the thing that Dalglish needs.
Along with Chelsea and Spurs, Liverpool will be one of the favourites out of the last eight, and form is on their side, having only lost at this stage once in the last 40 years.
Stoke will be all up for repeating last years performance, and might fancy going one step further and winning it, as they have safely secured their Premier League status for another year.
Don’t expect goals galore though, with Stoke keeping a clean sheet in six of their last 8 FA Cup appearances.
I think the bookies have well over-priced a decent Stoke side, and the following bets look good to me.
Stoke or Draw – 7/4 – 4 points
Under 2.5 Goals – 4/5 – 5 points
Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Stoke
Chelsea fans will be more than happy to take a break from League action, with a tough fixture ahead of them on Wednesday night against the blue half of Manchester.
With recent form on their side, Chelsea will be looking to push on, and hopefully book a place at Wembley after this weekend.
By Brad Smith.
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