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PREVIEW: FA Cup Quarter-finals

The FA Cup quarter-finals will take place this weekend as the road to Wembley continues. Man City host runaway Championship leaders Burnley in the first of the last-eight ties.

EPA/ Nick Potts

The FA Cup quarter-finals will take place this weekend as the road to Wembley continues. Man City host runaway Championship leaders Burnley in the first of the last-eight ties.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Saturday 18 March

Manchester City 1/5 | Draw 58/10 | Burnley 12/1 (14:00)

Man City

Manchester City have reached the semi-final of the FA Cup in five of their six seasons under Pep Guardiola, failing to do so only in 2017-18. They could become the third team to reach the last four of the competition in five consecutive seasons since the creation of the Football League, after Manchester United (1961-62 to 1965-66) and Arsenal (2000-01 to 2004-05).

City have won their last 10 FA Cup home games, scoring 41 goals and conceding just four. Riyad Mahrez has been involved in eight goals in his last seven FA Cup matches, scoring six and assisting two. The Algerian winger has also been involved in eight goals in his last eight games against Burnley in all competitions (7 goals, 1 assist) – a record former Manchester City captain and current Burnley boss Vincent Kompany will be looking to put a stop to.

The Citizens have won each of their last four against the Clarets in the competition, most recently a 5-0 win in the fourth round in 2018-19. City have scored an impressive 11 goals in their last five fixtures in all competitions. Guardiola will expect the Sky Blues to continue their rich vein of form to advance into the semi-finals.

Guardiola’s style of football is second to none, with all the quality they possess, the Sky Blues will look to the likes of Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish and Kevin De Bruyne to put pressure on the Clarets as they seek to add to their tally of six FA Cups.

Burnley

This is Burnley’s first FA Cup quarter-final match since 2002-03 season. Kompany has certainly had a massive impact since joining the club on 14 June 2022. In his first season with the Clarets, he has guided them to the top of the league standings, in contention for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Kompany’s stella work this campaign has certainly not gone unnoticed and the consistency his team have shown is unbelievable, losing just two out of 36 games this season. The confidence within the club will have a massive impact in this quarter-final matchup as they look to take down one of England’s best teams.

Kompany will know how hard it is to play at the Etihad and come away with a win, but he is unlikely to change his coaching philosophy that has got him thus far and will look to play on the front foot and put pressure on Guardiola and his men.

The Clarets have an exciting young team that have believed in Kompany and trusted the process which has taken them to the next level. The Manchester City legend will demand a top performance from his team and will turn to the likes of Nathan Tella, Burnley’s leading goal scorer this season who has 16 goals and three assists in 38 games. Tella has been impressive for the Clarets all season alongside Josh Brownhill and Anass Zaroury who have also been in fine form for Kompany since his appointment.

Verdict: Manchester City (1/5)

This is certainly an exciting clash between Manchester City and runaway Championship leaders Burnley at the Etihad. The Citizens will look to capitalize on home advantage, and relying on their star-studded quality, go all the way and advance to the semi-final of the FA Cup.

Sunday 19 March

Sheffield United 13/20 | Draw 29/10 | Blackburn Rovers 42/10 (14:00)

This is a revenge match for Sheffield United as they lost to Blackburn in their previous meeting. The Blades knocked Tottenham out of the FA Cup in the 5th round and will use that outstanding performance to motivate them to get the win against Blackburn on their home turf.

Blackburn also knocked out a Premier League side in the previous round of the FA Cup, beating Leicester City 2-1 in their own backyard, leaving them motivated and high in confidence. Having also won the previous meeting with Sheffield United 1-0 at Ewood Park will also give Jon Dahl Tomasson a clear path of how to go about doing it again.

However, Sheffield United have won the last four meetings with Blackburn at Bramall Lane, and I’m backing another win for Paul Heckingbottom’s side.

Brighton 1/6 | Draw 7/1 | Grimsby 15/1 (16:15)

Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton are flying high having defeated Liverpool and Stoke respectively in their previous FA Cup ties. The Seagulls will be looking to improve from their draw with Leeds United in the Premier League as they take on Grimsby at the Amex Stadium.

Cinderella side Grimsby Town will need to once again win on the road against Premier League opposition to keep their run alive. After downing Southampton in the last 16, they face Brighton & Hove Albion who have never won the trophy in their club’s history. As for the Two side, it’s been 84 years since they reached this stage.

There isn’t much value on the home win, but it’s the easiest result to call in the last-eight ties.

Manchester United 5/10 | Draw 7/2 | Fulham 52/10 (18:30)

Manchester United have certainly looked a different outfit this season with Erik ten Hag at the helm. The former Ajax boss will be looking to add to his trophy cabinet having won the Carabao Cup recently, but the Red Devils will be without influential midfielder Casemiro after he received a red card against Southampton.

Fulham are winless in their last 15 meetings with Manchester United in all competitions. The Londoners have not looked the same side they were at the beginning of the season. Marco Silva will hope to have all his key players up for selection when they travel to Old Trafford as the Portuguese looks to defy the odds and cause an upset.

However, the Red Devils have been excellent at home and with the quality they possess coupled with Fulham’s poor form this month, I’m backing a comfortable victory for Ten Hag’s side.

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