Goal.com Predicts: Everton to eliminate Chelsea, Manchester United 3-1 Crawley Town, and this weekend's big FA Cup & Premier League fixtures

Welcome to the second edition of our new weekly series, where we introduce you to the Goal.com UK reporters who will be travelling the length and breadth of the country to bring you the action from the FA Cup and Premier League grounds, giving you an insight into the upcoming matches, and reflecting on last week’s antics.

From Crawley Town's momentous trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday afternoon all the way through to the London derby where Arsene Wenger's Barcelona-beaters take on League One side Leyton Orient at Brisbane Road, Goal.com UK will be there, and this is what our reporters are eagerly anticipating...



Everton to go through on penalties

Wayne Veysey says....

I’m looking forward most of all to seeing how Didier Drogba reacts to being axed against Fulham on Monday. Assuming he is picked. Although, with Fernando Torres cup-tied, the hissy fit from the Ivorian if Salomon Kalou was preferred to him in the FA Cup replay would make Gennaro Gattuso’s dust-up with Joe Jordan and Tottenham seem like a gentle exchange of views.

There are strong rumours that this is Drogba’s final season at Chelsea and that he will move back to the Continent in the summer for one final swansong. Drogba being Drogba, he will want to go out in a blaze of glory. The absence of Torres gives him a great opportunity to show Carlo Ancelotti that he should be preferred to the Spaniard as the focal point of the attack (assuming the manager has abandoned his twin-spearhead strategy) ahead of the Champions League trip to Copenhagen next Tuesday.

 Manchester United
Crawley Town

Matt Monaghan says...

For ties such as this, the real interest isn't the fate of the underdog but the chance to see the big guns' youth stars.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is sure to shuffle his pack for the visit of non-league challengers Crawley Town on Saturday. Such is the disparity between the sides, the Scot is likely to delve into his reserve ranks to give several a taste of the Old Trafford action.

Fresh from a recent goalscoring spree in the reserves, Norwegian striker Joshua King is certainly one to watch. Controversial - but extremely gifted - attacking free spirit Ravel Morrison could light up Old Trafford for years to come if he can stay away from trouble off the pitch.

French defensive midfielder Paul Pogba came to United in a blaze of publicity due to the complaints about his move from Le Havre and could begin to show whether he was worth the bother.

United fans have all seen what the likes of Darron Gibson, Gabriel Obertan and Bebe can (or can't) do. The mystery of seeing their young understudies is where the excitement lies this weekend.

 Manchester City
Notts County

Alex Fisher says...

This week I’m making my way to Eastlands to watch Manchester City take on Notts County in their FA Cup fourth round replay.

After a rather dull first game at Meadow Lane, I’m hoping that this replay will be full of goals and excitement. City should dominate the proceedings and win comfortably but you can’t rule out the ‘magic’ of the FA Cup.

City fans will have been devastated by the loss in the Manchester derby and probably disappointed by the draw in Greece (0-0 against Aris) earlier this week, and they are bound to want goals to lift their mood. But Notts County have nothing to lose, all the pressure is on City so maybe the Magpies will come flying out of the traps which could catch the Premier League side off guard.

So let's see whether there is still ‘magic’ left in the FA Cup, and failing that just a hatful of goals will do me.


Alex Stamp says...

I am most looking forward to watching two of the brightest young British managers around locking horns. Both Mark Hughes and Owen Coyle have impressed many during their relatively short managerial careers, yet the one thing both could use is a piece of silverware to embellish their claims for a big job, and the FA Cup could well offer both that opportunity.
Certainly Hughes has started rebuilding his reputation at Craven Cottage after his hasty and messy exit from Manchester City. His side are slowly picking up momentum and boast an impressive home record this season. Plus, as they proved in the Europa League last year, Fulham are capable of excelling in cup competitions.
But Coyle and Bolton are not to be underestimated, especially after a season which has seen them impress plenty of neutrals. Coyle’s enthusiasm and nous have played a pivotal role in the club’s success and won him plenty of admirers thus far. A cup victory this year could send his stock skyrocketing.

 Leyton Orient

Oliver Yew says...

Another day and yet another different competition to play for Arsenal.

This time they head to Brisbane Road for the FA Cup fifth round London derby against Leyton Orient on the back of their fantastic win over Barcelona, the so-called best club side in the world. It will be intriguing to see how the Gunners react to their magnificent win over the Spanish giants and whether there is any Champions League hangovers amongst the players.

Wenger is sure to rotate his squad after their efforts in midweek and if they take their eye off the ball for a split second Russell Slade's Orient will fancy their chances of causing an upset. The League One side are unbeaten in 11 games and are three points off the play-offs, so they should not be taken lightly.

But even with some back-up players in action I expect the Arsenal momentum to continue heading into yet another important week with a Premier League fixture against Stoke and a trip to Wembley for the League Cup final against Birmingham.


 West Brom

Ian Murphy says...

New Albion manager Roy Hodgson faces perhaps the trickiest possible start to his task of keeping the Baggies in the Premier League as fierce rivals Wolves come to the Hawthorns.

The former Liverpool and Fulham boss undoubtedly has the experience for the job and Albion fans will be hoping the 63-year-old keeps them in the Premier League in a similar fashion to when he took over at Fulham.

Away from the dugouts, the first ever Black Country derby in the Premier League could hardly have more riding on it with both teams embroiled in a relegation battle. After Albion's remarkable collapse against West Ham last weekend, when they drew 3-3 after leading 3-0 at half-time, I feel the game will be decided by the character and spirit of the two sides.

Whilst Albion have shipped in goals for fun recently, Wolves have recorded impressive victories against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City this season, but have then struggled to pick up crucial points against the teams around them.

Both Albion and Wolves have players who can hurt the opposition and both look capable of conceding goals, so I expect the team with the most bottle and commitment to come out on top this Sunday.

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