The Premier League makes way for the FA Cup fourth round this weekend, and we bring you a comprehensive look at the upcoming matches.
It promises to be an entertaining few days of FA Cup action, and Liverpool host West Ham United following their penalty shootout triumph over Stoke City in the League Cup semi-final on Tuesday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will have to improve greatly against an increasingly impressive Hammers outfit, though, and Slaven Bilic will fancy his team’s chances of leaving Anfield with a victory.
There are intriguing match-ups everywhere you look in the coming three days, with a place in the last 16 up for grabs.
Top Sides Will Be Tested
Liverpool have found out firsthand what a threat West Ham can be this season, with Bilic’s men twice defeating the Reds in the Premier League.
In truth, it is probably a 50/50 game judging by current form, and if West Ham were to knock Liverpool out, it wouldn’t be considered an almighty shock.
Man United’s trip to Derby County gets the ball rolling on Friday evening, and defeat to the Championship outfit could well mean the end for Louis van Gaal.
The Rams are in a slump of their own, however, failing to win in their last five Championship games. United should edge it, but it is a tough one to predict.
Arsenal will have had a long week ruing their 1-0 home loss to Chelsea last Sunday, but attention now turns to the visit of Championship high-flyers Burnley.
Sean Dyche’s team have been in scintillating form of late, and although odds are still heavily stacked in the Gunners’ favour, Burnley getting something from the game would not be seen as unprecedented.
Man City face an away trip to Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon, which on paper should see the five-time FA Cup winners progress.
Remi Garde is likely to rest players, with Villa’s Premier League survival priority No. 1, and while City may also be weakened, the depth in their squad means they are strong favourites to progress.
League One side Colchester United host in-form Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday lunchtime, while on Sunday afternoon, Chelsea travel to MK Dons in one of many potential banana skins.
Everton should overcome League Two team Carlisle United on Sunday, and the same applies to Bournemouth when they head to Fratton Park to face Portsmouth in a south-coast derby.
Crystal Palace’s clash with Stoke is one of only three all-Premier League ties, while last round’s giant slayers, Oxford United, host Blackburn Rovers, fresh from a 3-2 win at home to Swansea City.
This is just a taste of the action, with 16 games in total this weekend. Let battle commence.
Full Fixtures & TV> Info
Derby vs. Man United – Friday 7:55pm, BBC 1
Colchester vs. Tottenham – Saturday 12:45pm, BT Sport 2
Arsenal vs. Burnley – Saturday 3pm
Aston Villa vs. Man City – Saturday 3pm
Bolton vs. Leeds – Saturday 3pm
Bury vs. Hull – Saturday 3pm
Crystal Palace vs. Stoke – Saturday 3pm
Nottingham Forest vs. Watford – Saturday 3pm
Oxford United vs. Blackburn – Saturday 3pm
Portsmouth vs. Bournemouth – Saturday 3pm
Reading vs. Walsall – Saturday 3pm
Shrewsbury vs. Sheffield Wednesday – Saturday 3pm
West Brom vs. Peterborough – Saturday 3pm
Liverpool vs. West Ham – Saturday 5:30pm, BT Sport 2
Carlisle vs. Everton – Sunday 1:30pm, BT Sport 2
MK Dons vs. Chelsea, Sunday 4pm, BBC One
Players to Watch
Sheffield Wednesday are having an impressive season in the Championship, and are threatening to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2000.
The strike pairing of Fernando Forestieri and Gary Hooper has been a big reason for their success in 2015/16, and they may well play a starring role when the Owls visit Shrewsbury Town.
Burnley’s Andre Gray has been one of the stars of the season in the Football League, scoring 15 goals in 23 appearances.
The 24-year-old will provide a potentially weakened Arsenal defence with a stern test on Saturday, and if the Clarets are to spring a shock, it may well be Gray who proves pivotal.
Conor Chaplin is one of Portsmouth’s most exciting young players, and at 18 years of age, many feel he has a bright future in the game.
Eight goals this season is an impressive return, considering Chaplin has often appeared from the bench, but his ability to nick important goals means Bournemouth should be wary come Saturday.
Dimitri Payet has been one of the outstanding players in the Premier League in 2015/16, and his return from injury has injected new life into West Ham’s season.
The Frenchman is the one player Liverpool really have to watch on Saturday, and Klopp will do well to prevent him from playing a very key role in proceedings.
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