Sunday’s FA Cup games include a number of potential banana skins, and no doubt the TV producers are hoping the magic of the cup happens in front of their cameras. Non-league Sutton are the lowest ranked side left in the competition, and they welcome Leeds United after beating Wimbledon in the last round.
Millwall pulled off another shock in the third round when they thumped Bournemouth 3-0, and their reward is another home tie against a Premier League club in the shape of Watford. The Lions will be rightfully ambitious of going one step further, especially in light of the Hornets’ recent poor away record. Hull City also suffer from travel sickness, and after being dumped out of the EFL Cup semi final by Manchester United on Thursday evening, it’s a difficult trip to London to face Fulham.
Millwall v Watford
Ninth in League One, Millwall are five points outside the play off positions and in good form. The last seven games have garnered four wins and three draws, including that impressive win against Bournemouth. The Cherries did make sweeping changes to the team, but the Lions were good value for the win nonetheless. The Den has always been a very difficult place to go for visiting teams, and with eight wins in the last eleven at home – including the last four in a row – Millwall will not be overawed by their Premier League opponents.
Retaining that Premier League status is Watford’s priority this season, and they are still far too close to the relegation zone for comfort. 14 place and 24 points may sound comfortable, but the Hornets are just eight points above the bottom three, and are winless in seven top-flight games. Away from home it’s been five defeats in the last six, and injury problems are taking their toll on the squad. News of signings in Zarate, and most excitingly Niang on loan from AC Milan, will boost confidence, but the latter is unlikely to play a part here.
In the likelihood that Walter Mazzarri will play a weakened team, Millwall are a decent bet at a good price.
Sutton v Leeds
Leeds struggled to get past League Two Cambridge in the last round, where the pitch was a classic ‘leveller’. They eventually came from behind to secure a 2-1 win, but it was something of a slog. Garry Monk rested several players for that match in front of the TV cameras, and with his side in third place in the Championship, one suspects he may adopt a similar tactic here.
Sutton fought back to beat Wimbledon 3-1 in the third round replay, after holding them to a 0-0 draw in the first match at Gander Green Lane. They may have been aided by Robinson’s early red card in that 3-1 win, but they were good vale for the draw in front of their own fans – where they have an excellent record. United have suffered just one defeat in the last fifteen home games, winning nine of them.
Leeds are in fine form themselves, and a run of eight wins in the last ten Championship games has seen them elevated to third in the table. The prospect of Leeds returning to the Premier League after such a long absence is an intriguing one, and Garry Monk could be forgiven for focusing all of his efforts on awakening the sleeping giant. His level of interest in this competition was signalled with his team selection at Cambridge in the last round, and with tough away games at Blackburn and Huddersfield to follow next Wednesday and Sunday, one could understand if he rested his better players.
Sutton are decent value to hold Leeds to a draw on home soil and earn a lucrative replay at Elland Road.
Fulham v Hull
It might be a week to forget for Hull fans if they go out of two cup competitions in four days, but Fulham are worthy of support at +115 with Betway.
The Tigers beat Manchester United 2-1 on Thursday night in the EFL Cup, but it was too little to overturn the two-goal deficit from the first leg at Old Trafford. This match comes quickly on the heels of that, and with Premier League games against Manchester United and Liverpool next week, the Hull squad will be stretched to the maximum. While that win against the Red Devils may have brought confidence, the Tigers have lost eight straight away games and won’t be relishing the trip to London.
Fulham are ninth in the Championship and just five points adrift of the top six. They lost 1-0 at Reading during the week, but that was only their second defeat in ten matches. At Craven Cottage only Brighton have come away with a win in Fulham’s last eight games, and they can approach this game knowing that only eleven place separate the sides on the league ladder.
Millwall to beat Watford
Sunday 29th January, 12:00 GMT
Sutton and Leeds to Draw
Sunday 29th January, 14:00 GMT
Fulham to beat Hull
Sunday 29th January, 12:30 GMT