Sutton’s FA Cup predictions v Kaiser Chiefs bassist Simon Rix

26 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Sutton's Predictions

Maidstone United play Coventry City on Monday, hoping to become only the second non-league side to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals since 1914.

BBC Sport’s football expert Chris Sutton has made his prediction for that game and the rest of the fifth-round ties, to be played on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

For all eight games he is up against Kaiser Chiefs bassist and Leeds fan Simon Rix.

Kaiser Chiefs’ Easy Eighth Album is released on 1 March.

The Kaiser Chiefs bandLeeds band Kaiser Chiefs have had seven UK top 10 albums since 2005, including two that reached number one. They are touring the UK in April

Leeds take on Chelsea on Wednesday – the first time the two clubs have met in the FA Cup since their bruising encounter in the 1970 final, when the Blues won a legendarily brutal replay.

Chelsea are looking to respond after losing the Carabao Cup final to Liverpool on Sunday, while Leeds are in brilliant form in the Championship – their win over leaders Leicester on Friday was their ninth league win in a row, equalling a club record from the 1931-32 season.

“We are actually smashing it for a change, which is really, really rare,” Rix told BBC Sport. “Even in other successful seasons in recent years, we haven’t done as well as this.

“So, it’s uncharted territory. Every game is a big one for us at the moment and, traditionally, I would be quite worried about it but this season, and particularly in 2024, we seem to be coping really well.

“Even so, with my promotion head on, the Chelsea game is just a distraction. I kind of wanted us to throw the game versus Plymouth [in round four] but I know that’s not how footballers or football works.

“I guess it is almost like a reward for their great form for our players to get a chance to take on a big team… but then after that we have got Huddersfield at home on Saturday, then we play Stoke on Tuesday and Sheffield Wednesday the following Friday.

“That’s four games in the space of 10 days, all of which are important, and the Chelsea game is probably the least important, but also the one that some people – including the players, I guess, will want to win the most.”

Kaiser Chiefs bassist Simon RixSimon presents a Leeds United podcast, Don’t Go To Bed Just Yet, with Jonathan Buchan and Adam Pope from BBC Radio Leeds

Leeds have been starved of FA Cup success in recent years and, if they do win at Stamford Bridge, their prize is a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2003.

“It is a sort of standing joke with Leeds fans that we always get two cup ties a season – one in the League Cup, and one in the FA Cup – before we get knocked out,” Rix explained.

“We did actually get to the fifth round last season too, where we lost to Fulham, and we counted that as cup run.

“Last year, we were not getting results in the Premier League – we ended up getting relegated in the end – and the FA Cup felt like a chance for us to use some different players, try some new ideas and maybe get a bit of confidence and form, but that obviously did not work in the long term.

“Now we’re at the same stage and it’s funny to compare the way we are feeling this time, with us playing so well. Our manager Daniel Farke has been quite committed so far in cup ties, and has always put out a pretty strong team, probably slightly stronger than we’d want as fans, really.

“Because it is about injuries, isn’t it? One of the things that was pinned on Jesse Marsch when he was in charge last year was that in the fourth round of the FA Cup, he brought on our top scorer Rodrigo with 20 minutes to go, when we were 3-0 up against Accrington.

“Rodrigo got injured in that game and was out for weeks and weeks, and basically never got fully fit for the rest of the season. It was totally unnecessary to bring him on, and that decision was one of the many reasons we went down.

“So, we are all worried about a repeat of that, and if either Crysencio Summerville, Ethan Ampadu, Joe Rodon or Georginio Rutter got injured then it would be terrible.

“But, if something like that happens again then part of me feels like Farke could find the solution, because he has already dealt with a lot of issues – for example, he put Ampadu back into defence when we were short of centre-backs, and his partnership with Rodon has been superb.

“Even so, I would rather not find out, so hopefully this game won’t be as violent as the 1970 final, and there won’t be as many injuries.”

Chris Sutton and Simon Rix were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

You can listen to the Don’t Go To Bed Just Yet podcast, here.

MONDAY, 26 FEBRUARY
Coventry City v Maidstone Utd95x-x3-10-0 HP
TUESDAY, 27 FEBRUARY
Bournemouth v Leicester City7x-x2-11-2
Blackburn v Newcastle27x-x1-30-2
Luton v Man City16x-x1-21-3
WEDNESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY
Chelsea v Leeds Utd11x-x2-01-2
Nott’m Forest v Man Utd10x-x1-1 AP1-1 AP
Wolves v Brighton1x-x0-11-0
Liverpool v Southampton23x-x3-12-1

Gap = league places between the two teams.

There are no replays. HP or AP = home or away team win on penalties after extra-time.

SUTTON’S FA CUP FIFTH-ROUND PREDICTIONS

PL = Premier LeagueC = Championship
L1 = League OneL2 = League Two
NL = non-leaguer = won after replay
H = HomeA = Away

MONDAY, 26 FEBRUARY

Coventry City v Maidstone Utd

Coventry City v Maidstone United (19:45 GMT)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Who did they beat?
4R: Sheff Wed (C) Hr4R: Ipswich (C) A
3R: Oxford Utd (L1) H3R: Stevenage (L1) H
2R: Barrow (L2) H
1R: Chesham (NL) A
4QR: Torquay (NL) A
3QR: Winchester City (NL) A
2QR: Steyning Town (NL) A

My old club, Lincoln City are the only non-league side to have reached the last eight of the FA Cup since 1914 – they reached the quarter-finals in 2017, where they lost 5-0 to Arsenal.

Can Maidstone emulate them? They looked disappointed with the draw, and they will probably be disappointed with the result.

Coventry got walloped at home by Preston on Friday night but they have been in decent form under my old Norwich team-mate Mark Robins, and I am going with them to bounce back.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Simon’s prediction: It’s a shame Maidstone did not get one of the bigger boys but they should still have a nice time. Hopefully it will be a close game but I just cannot see them doing over another Championship team away from home. 0-0 and Coventry to win after extra-time and penalties.

TUESDAY, 27 FEBRUARY

Bournemouth v Leicester City

Bournemouth v Leicester City (19:30 GMT)

Watch live on the BBCiPlayer and the BBC Sport website.

Who did they beat?
4R: Swansea (C) H4R: Birmingham (C) H
3R: QPR (C) A3R: Millwall (C) A

Bournemouth have gone seven games without a win in the Premier League but they were unlucky to be beaten by Manchester City on Saturday.

Despite that run of results, the Cherries have still got a bit of breathing space above the bottom three, and have only reached the quarter-finals twice before in their entire history, so why wouldn’t they go strong for this one?

I fancy Andoni Iraola’s side here. Leicester have had a brilliant season in the Championship but they have lost their past two games and still have some work to do to secure automatic promotion.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Simon’s prediction: I am going for heart over head here. For starters, Leeds fans dislike Bournemouth at the moment because they have been nicking our players – Tyler Adams and Luis Sinisterra have both gone there recently. It used to be Norwich who did that but now it’s Bournemouth – it’s fine if it’s Manchester City or Liverpool taking your players but it’s not so good when it’s teams you think you should be beating. And I’d also like Leicester to stay in the FA Cup as long as possible, to keep them distracted from their promotion bid. 1-2

Blackburn v Newcastle

Blackburn v Newcastle (19:45 GMT)

Watch live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website. Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Who did they beat?
4R: Wrexham (L2) H4R: Fulham (PL) A
3R: Cambridge (L1) H3R: Sunderland (C) A

I scored in an FA Cup tie for Blackburn against Newcastle a few years ago – it was a wonderful finish, but we ended up losing in a replay, and I can see the Magpies getting through this time too.

Blackburn drew at the weekend in the ‘Chris Sutton derby’ against my first club, Norwich, but they are yet to win in four games under new manager John Eustace, and I don’t see him getting a first victory here.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe really needs the FA Cup now, to recover a bit of faith with the fans after some disappointing results, including their heavy defeat by Arsenal on Saturday.

Howe’s side should win, because they have got the superior players and I actually feel as if they will run away with this one a little bit.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-3

Simon’s prediction: Newcastle really need to do something in the FA Cup this season – they are out of Europe as well as losing in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, and they are not doing so well in the league. So, I can see them putting out a strong side and I don’t see Blackburn coping with it. 0-2

Luton v Man City

Luton v Man City (20:00 GMT)

Who did they beat?
4R: Everton (PL) A4R: Tottenham (PL) A
3R: Bolton (L1) Ar3R: Huddersfield (C) H

I didn’t expect Manchester City to start reminding me of George Graham’s Arsenal side of the 1990s, but they are winning ugly at the moment, with back-to-back 1-0 wins.

Luton gave City a good game at Kenilworth Road before Christmas, when they led 1-0 at half-time before losing 2-1, and I think Hatters boss Rob Edwards will go for it again here, despite having Premier League survival to think about.

I am expecting City to edge it again this time, although I am not quite sure what team their manager Pep Guardiola will put out.

He killed my Fantasy team at the weekend because I had picked Kyle Walker, Julian Alvarez and Jeremy Doku, and all three started the game on the bench.

One of City’s strengths is the way they can rotate and still be so strong. Luton have got a goal in them, but it won’t be enough.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Simon’s prediction: Luton have been doing well recently but how does Guardiola feel about the FA Cup? He probably wants to win it again, so he is going to pick a strong side. Luton might get a goal because it’s a cup-tie, but City will win. 1-3

WEDNESDAY, 28 FEBRUARY

Chelsea v Leeds United

Chelsea v Leeds United (19:30)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Who did they beat?
4R: Aston Villa (PL) Ar4R: Plymouth (C) Ar
3R: Preston (C) H3R: Peterborough (L1) A

Chelsea really need to win this, after the way they lost the Carabao Cup final on Sunday. It was their display in extra-time that let them down against Liverpool’s kids, when they had the chance to really have a go at them.

Leeds are going very well under Farke but he might prioritise their promotion bid over this tie.

I hope he doesn’t, but this is one of the rare occasions where I would understand if he makes some changes, because of how tight it is at the top of the Championship – they have got Ipswich and Southampton breathing down their necks, but will also feel like they can catch Leicester.

It is really unfortunate, because otherwise Leeds could have a real go at this. The pressure is all on Chelsea and, if they don’t win, it is really going to mount on their manager Mauricio Pochettino.

I remember being part of a Chelsea team that lost 2-0 to Leeds at Stamford Bridge in the year I was there – thinking back, it was probably largely down to me. I’m going with the same scoreline again, but a home win this time.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Simon’s prediction: I really don’t know what to go with here. As well as thinking I’d quite like Leeds to get knocked out, I also feel that Chelsea had picked up quite a lot recently before the Carabao Cup final, and seemed to be just starting to click. They might be dispirited after losing at Wembley, but maybe that defeat means they think they have got to win the FA Cup now.

So, it’s whether to be realistic here, or do I just go for it? You sometimes see mascots being asked what the score will be before games and they say ‘1-1’ and I am thinking well, you’re eight-years-old, you should be going for a 4-0 win or something – it’s different for me but I suppose if the question is ‘do I think Leeds can beat Chelsea?’ then, yes, I think we can beat them, we are on such a brilliant run. Go on then, I am going to go for it and say we will win. 1-2

Nottingham Forest v Man Utd

Nottingham Forest v Man Utd (19:45 GMT)

Watch live on BBC One and the BBC Sport website.

Who did they beat?
4R: Bristol City (C) Hr4R: Newport County (L2) A
3R: Blackpool (C) Ar3R: Wigan (L1) A

When it comes to predictions, Manchester United are my new Chelsea – I get all their results wrong.

I honestly don’t know what to expect from Erik ten Hag’s side. Even when they were on a winning run, they were not controlling games.

I backed United to win at the weekend too, but the worst thing about their home defeat was that Fulham fully deserved the three points.

Nottingham Forest beat United at the City Ground at the end of December, and they have still got a goal or two in them although their league form since then has not been great.

In contrast, United offered little against Fulham without the injured Rasmus Hojlund to lead their line. I put Marcus Rashford in my Fantasy team, and he barely had a kick.

United are good on the counter, but they need someone to finish their chances, and Hojlund is such a big miss.

This tie feels like it going to be very close, and it could go the distance, but I think United will find a way to edge it.

I don’t know why, because there is more pointing towards it going the other way – I guess this is probably why I get so many United scores wrong.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1 and United to win after extra-time and penalties

Simon’s prediction: This is roughly the time when Premier League teams start taking the FA Cup seriously, right? That’s definitely going to be the case with United because, once you get to the quarter-finals, you feel like it is something you can win – and they are not going to win anything else. Forest are pretty unpredictable anyway, but I think this one will go all the way to penalties. 1-1 and United to win after extra-time and penalties

Wolves v Brighton

Wolves v Brighton (19:45 GMT)

Watch live on the BBCiPlayer and the BBC Sport website.

Who did they beat?
4R: West Brom (C) A4R: Sheff Utd (PL) A
3R: Brentford (PL) Hr3R: Stoke (C) A

Wolves were not too pretty against Sheffield United but they got the win anyway. Brighton, meanwhile, scored very late to stop me being right about Everton winning that game.

Both teams are in a situation in the league where you would hope they will go for it in the FA Cup, but I can see this game being quite cagey. I am backing Brighton, but it is going to be close.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-1

Simon’s prediction: This is a very tough one to call. I haven’t watched either of these teams very much this season, unsurprisingly, but I like the fact Wolves boss Gary O’Neil is sort of sticking it to Bournemouth for ditching him. I haven’t gone for many home wins so far, so let’s go for one here. 1-0

Liverpool v Southampton

Liverpool v Southampton (20:00 GMT)

Who did they beat?
4R: Norwich (C) H4R: Watford (C) Hr
3R: Arsenal (PL) A3R: Walsall (L2) H

Southampton have hit a bit of a sticky patch but they are still going to play the same way, and be open and expansive.

They will give Liverpool room to play and the fact the game is at Anfield should help Jurgen Klopp’s side too, whether he goes with the kids again, like he did at Wembley, or not.

We don’t know if any of the big guns will be back for Liverpool after missing the Carabao Cup final, but we know that, as a team, they are hungry for trophies.

In fact, Klopp will be gluttonous, and want to win everything in his final season in charge of the Reds.

Saints will be brave but Liverpool just love to press teams and are so good at it. That will probably be the difference.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Simon’s prediction: Similarly with Leicester, I would love Southampton to have a long and fruitful FA Cup run so they are not thinking about promotion, but I really can’t see it happening for them. You’ve got the ‘Jurgen Klopp farewell’ factor because I definitely think everyone is doing it for him at Liverpool at the moment, but also Saints have now lost three of their past four games in the Championship after being on that long unbeaten run, so they are not in particularly good form. 2-1

How did Sutton do in round four?

Sutton correctly picked the winner in 12 of the 16 ties in round four, a success rate of 75%.

He was up against Justin and Arni from indie band The Vaccines and, while he fared better than Arni (10/16 = 63%), he was beaten by Justin (14/16) who managed an impressive 88%.

Sutton also correctly picked the winner in 22 of the 32 third-round ties, meaning he has an overall record of 34/48 or 71%, compared to his guests’ combined score of 85%.

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