The draw for the quarter-final of the FA Cup took place last night after Manchester United dumped Chelsea out of the competition. Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba scored to give United a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, where there was clear discontent towards Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri. The pressure is really on him now as the Blues continue to perform well below the level they should. Personally, I don’t believe he should be sacked and he needs time, but he needs to turn things around before he is shown the door.
The quarter-final draw is:
Millwall vs Brighton
Swansea vs Manchester City
Watford vs Crystal Palace
Wolves vs Manchester United
Obviously, Manchester City are favourites to win the competition. They’ll be followed by Manchester United. And a victory for anybody else would be a surprise. But you just never know. Brighton, Watford, Crystal Palace and Wolves can all smell Wembley at this stage and will be hopeful of getting through their ties. But how will they approach them?
Brighton and Palace – the story of their rivalry is here – aren’t safe in the Premier League and going down is a real possibility. Will Chris Hughton and Roy Hodgson put out their strongest teams and really go for the cup? Or will they decide that their chances of winning it are extremely slim and focus on Premier League survival? It may be a bit of a mix. They may opt to go for strong teams but rest one or two of their most important players. But we’re just guessing really.
Wolves and Watford should go for it. They’re seventh and eighth in the Premier League table respectively. A potential Europa League qualification place is on the line, but there’s no reason they can’t go for that and the FA Cup. They can’t be written off either: they’ve both shown they have enough quality to trouble any opposition.
It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. It would be great to see somebody other than the Manchester clubs winning the cup. There’s a good chance one of those will win it, but you never know.
In the Champions League tonight, Liverpool host Bayern Munich at Anfield. It’s obviously a massive game and one that should be extremely entertaining. Predicting which way it’ll go is very difficult, but Liverpool really could do with winning tonight. A loss or draw would make things very difficult when they travel to Bavaria in three weeks’ time, as you don’t want to be heading there needing to win.
Liverpool have some fitness concerns ahead of the game. Xherdan Shaqiri and Gini Wijnaldum should be OK, but Dejan Lovren is a doubt. That could mean Fabinho will be drafted into defence to play alongside Joel Matip. Virgil van Dijk misses out due to suspension, which is a massive loss for the Reds. He’s their leader and the man that holds it all together. They’ll certainly miss him tonight. It’ll be interesting to see how their defence gets on without him.
Reports said the Bayern would be without Jerome Boateng as he has a stomach flu. But it now seems there’s a chance that he could play. Manager Nico Kovac is optimistic that Kingsley Coman will be fit. Franck Ribery has joined up with the squad after his wife had a baby. Arjen Robben is set to miss out, as he’s injured, but they’re hopeful he’ll return for the second leg.
It’s a game that could go either way, in truth. Bayern have turned their season around and are now hunting Borussia Dortmund down in the race for the Bundesliga title. They’re just three points behind Jurgen Klopp’s former club. In their last 13 games in all competitions, Bayern have won 11, with just one defeat and one draw. They’ll be a stern test for Liverpool tonight.
It’s a very interesting game and one that I’m looking forward to. It really could go either way, but Liverpool will be confident that they’ll have enough quality to get them through this one and win the game.
That’s that from me for today. I hope you enjoy the football tonight. It’s set to be a really good game.