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Before we get into this weeks football review I just wanted to let you know that the Coral Football Jackpot is sitting at £950,000 and may well hit the million pound mark this weekend.

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Weekend Football Preview

Unusually for top club football in England this weekend we see a combination of both FA Cup and Premier League football.

With only eight clubs left in the FA Cup we’re very firmly getting into the business end of the competition and if results fall a certain way then it could well turn out to be another year of the underdog.

Last season we witnessed Wigan managed by the likeable Spaniard Roberto Martinez walk away victorious after a 1-0 win over Manchester City. Funnily enough both sides are lining up against each other once more – this time in the quarter finals.

Wigan are now a Championship side but they will still fancy their chances in a one off encounter and can point to last years final as a motivation to progress in the Cup. Of course the smart money will all be on City but you just never know.

Martinez and Wigan parted company after their historic win last season but his love for the Cup remains strong and his new side Everton are in the last eight. They face a tricky away tie at this seasons surprise side Arsenal. Arsene Wenger will be only too aware that it has been far too many years since his side picked up any silverware and this could turn out to be his best chance at achieving that this season.

I expect him to field a strong team and instruct his gunners to go out onto the pitch with all guns blazing. If the Toffeemen can withstand the assault in the first half then they may hold out for a draw or even sneak a win in the latter parts of the game.

But for me I think the determination and desire of not only the Arsenal players but also all their fans cheering them on will spur them onto a place in the semi finals. I expect the gunners to win by 2 clear goals.

The remaining ties pit some of the lesser fancied sides left in the competition and they will be delighted to see that their chances of reaching a Wembley final have been improved enormously after watching the demise of top sides such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool in previous rounds. It’s League 1 plays Championship in the Sheffield United and Charlton match up.

After an horrendous start to the season the Blades have finally woken up and have in the past eight matches put all to the sword with eight straight wins. This has not only propelled them up their table but also seen them march into the quarter finals of the Cup. It’s a fair bet that none of their current fans were around to witness their last victory in the FA Cup when they defeated Cardiff 1-0 in the Final of 1925.

With so few clubs left in the hat there is now a very real chance of emulating that – they can but dream. Charlton have also struggled with their league campaign this season and will like United view this as a great chance to make their mark on World football. Wouldn’t it be great to see one of these two play in Europe next season?

The last tie sees Premier League teams who may be more focussed on retaining their status in the top division than concentrating on the romance of the Cup, Hull and Sunderland. As Wigan showed last year it is possible to progress in the Cup whilst struggling at the foot of the Premier League but as history shows they ultimately succumbed to relegation.

It could be that their Chairmen are secretly harbouring thoughts that it may not be a bad thing to exit the competition at this stage. After all sadly for history the money is all in retaining your place in the top league and not chasing glory. Sunderland are fresh from their valiant loss last weekend against Manchester City in the Capital 1 Cup Final at Wembley and now they have a taste for the high life they may be more inspired to repeat that excellent experience.

However, with Steve Bruce at the helm of Hull a man who has enjoyed huge success with the FA Cup in his time with Manchester United working his magic on his Tigers they could take advantage of playing at home and claw their way into the last four. Personally I hope that the Tigers along with ex Stevenage winger the “White Pele” George Boyd make it through.

Away from the FA Cup and back in the Premier League current leaders Chelsea will be hoping to take full advantage of being the only top four side to play this weekend for points. They play Tottenham in what could prove to be a tricky game.

Tottenham’s form is very much hit and miss at the moment but they could spring a surprise and hold the blues to a draw, I just can’t see them taking all three points away from Stamford Bridge. With this seasons title chase being so very tight that could be two very important points dropped for Chelsea. Elsewhere, Manchester United simply must beat West Bromwich Albion if they are to stand any chance of finishing in the top four and getting into the Champions League.

They are now 12 points adrift of that fourth spot and if they drop many more points at this stage of the season they will surely leave themselves with far too much to do as qualification draws to a close.

To not qualify for the Champions League will be a total disaster for the Red Devils and could lead to a huge overhaul of the club in the summer. If the players realise this now then it may inspire them to play like we all know they can but at the moment they seem just a tad lack lustre in their approach. I can see the Baggies bagging all three points tomorrow.

It’s a real relegation six pointer in deepest Wales as Cardiff play Fulham. Both clubs are playing poorly and prop up the league as they start to fall away from the other clubs around them.

This is a must win game but who will come away with the points? The loser could well be sealing their own fate this weekend. I know there’s still a long way to go but if you fall six or seven points away from safety with only nine games to go then it would take a herculean effort to drag yourself away from the bottom three.

The last two games feature sides that could easily be facing relegation woes come the end of the season and will be mightily relived if they pick up three points tomorrow. Crystal Palace take on a Southampton side who have done enough in the early part of the season to retain their status for another year. With this in mind I think that the Eagles will have more desire about them and emerge with a win.

Norwich and Stoke are in a similar position in the nether regions of the table. Both will view this game as one they can and should win. Thirty seven points was enough to see a side safe last season and if Stoke win tomorrow then they will be on thirty three points.

With nine matches left they may well view a win against a fellow struggler as job done for the season. Both managers will be keen to impress upon their players the importance of wins against sides that are viewed as their contemporaries.

Top Tips

My double tip for this week features an obvious win for Manchester City (best odds of 1/6) and a more risky victory for a Sheffield United side playing a team one division higher in Charlton Athletic (at 13/10).

City are a side that just don’t know how to lose at the moment and United’s eight wins on the bounce means their confidence will be sky high.

Racing Selection

Sandown 3.40 Spencer Lea – win bet – 3/1 Bet 365

Premier League Football Tips

Today we have a preview of the weekends football action and Premier League football tips from Tipster Warehouse…

Premier League Preview

This Sunday the first silverware of the season is decided as Sunderland take on the might of Manchester City in the Capital One Cup Final at New Wembley. Of course all the smart money will be on a convincing win for City but you have to keep in mind that Gus Poyet has really got his team fired up for the cup competitions this season and perhaps just maybe there might be a surprise on the cards.

Either way it is a one off match and as a neutral it’s always fun to watch a major match at the home of football.

Back in the Premier League the other clubs in the top four Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all face tricky away ties.

Chelsea travel the short distance to local rivals Fulham. Although they may be poles apart in terms of their respective spending power these matches always have an extra spicy flavour to them and new Fulham boss Felix Magath will be hoping to call on all his experience and outfox Jose Mourinho.

In their last outing against West Brom the Cottagers looked good value for a narrow win before the Baggies equalised and Magath will be expecting his side to at least put up a good fight even if they do succumb to an expected loss.

With his side languishing at the foot of the table he really does need to get points on the board as soon as possible but I fear it will be too much to ask of his side this weekend. I expect a clear Chelsea win by 2 or more goals.

Arsene Wenger takes his gunners up to the Potteries in what has proved in previous years to be a very difficult place for him to get any points. But with Tony Pulis no longer in charge of Stoke it could just be that he has put that hoodoo to bed now and they will face an easier task.

As for Stoke they are very much in the middle of the relegation dogfight and sit just three points clear of safety. Another loss with good results for the clubs around them could see them fall inexorably into the Championship with a whimper in the coming months.

The Stoke of old would fall back onto their strengths – the long throws, combative midfield dominance and sheer guts but I’m not so sure that this Stoke side possess that. Just one win in their last ten league games tells a story. I expect the Gunners to continue their fine form against the lower sides in the league and dispatch them quietly and efficiently by the odd goal in 3.

Liverpool have the advantage of playing in the early evening match on Saturday and will know how their main rivals have fared. They face a tricky but manageable trip to the south coast as they take on Southampton. Following on from their superb start to the season the Saints have faltered as they settled comfortably into mid table. With the dual strike partnership of Suarez and Sturridge on fire at the moment I would expect the Reds to march on once more and snatch all three points.

At the other end of the table just 7 points separates nine clubs from a place in the relegation zone.

This weekend we see a couple of big six point matches as Aston Villa play Norwich and Swansea play Crystal Palace.

With Villa and Norwich both on 28 points and just four points from 18th spot this should be a really keenly fought game. Both clubs will know that they have the opportunity to propel themselves into mid table with one good result.

They will only need to glance up and take a look at West Ham to see how a short run of good form can transform their season for a little motivation. If they are unable to inspire a little enthusiasm into their game then they could be dragged down at a rate of knots into the bottom three. I suspect that this match has a draw written all over it or perhaps a narrow win but to be honest it’s just too close to call.

Swansea will play a rejuvenated Crystal Palace side led by the experienced Tony Pulis. This is a man who has held the reins at Stoke City for a long time and faced many a relegation struggle. He knows how to get his sides scrapping for every point on offer and I wouldn’t bet against him firing his side up so much that they sneak a win in deepest Wales this weekend.

Palace have won three of their last five games with two losses coming against Arsenal and Manchester United. On a playing field which is reasonably even, Palace have proven time and again that they can do the business. I expect them to snatch all three points and continue their fight for Premier League survival.

Double Tip this weekend

It’s an obvious one I know but why not cash in as the two top clubs continue their march on to the Champions League. Both Chelsea and Arsenal are odds on favourites to win at 4/9 and 4/6 respectively for a reason and should cruise to victory this Saturday. If you fancy a cheeky punt on a longer shot I’d consider Crystal Palace to win at Swansea at 4/1.

To find out more about Tipster Warehouse and to get more free tips Click Here.

Today's Selections

6.05 Wolverhampton Great Demeanour – eachway bet – 33/1 Bet Victor
8.35 Wolverhampton Acting Talent – Win Bet – 5/2 Will Hill

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