With the Sixth Round of the FA Cup kicking off this weekend we’re in for a shortened Premier League schedule of only five matches to play, all on Saturday.
But the lightened workload doesn’t stop the picks from coming, no matter how crap they are. And typically they’re really, really crap. So without further ado let’s dig in and figure out what Premier League clubs will be taking advantage of the short schedule.
West Bromwich Albion v. Manchester United (The Hawthorns; 7:45am ET on NBCSN)
Massive match for those ill-looking Baggies, who have gone eight straight Premier League matches without a win and sit just one point above the drop. So… welcome to England, Pepe Mel!
It was a questionable call by Albion when they hired the former Real Betis boss and if they fail to stay up this year, chairman Jeremy Peace will have no one to blame but himself.
Fortunately West Brom is playing Manchester United, who have proven themselves capable of dropping the ball against the most measly of opponents. Will The Hawthorns serve as a pressure-cooker for United to screw this up? Or do David Moyes’ men have the Europa League on their minds?
West Bromwich Albion 1 Manchester United 2
Cardiff City v. Fulham (Cardiff City Stadium; 10:00am ET on NBCSN)
Relegation 6 pointer! Relegation 6 pointer!
Sing it to the hillsides, my friends, because now is the time of year these contests become blockbusters. Even with Cardiff sitting 19th and Fulham 20th, the light at the end of the tunnel is still there for both of these sides. Expect this one to be a barnstormer.
Cardiff City 1 Fulham 2
Crystal Palace v. Southampton (Selhurst Park; 10:00am ET on Live Extra)
If I were Premier League fan without a squad, Southampton would be on the top of the list of clubs to choose. They’re style of play is mesmerizing, Adam Lallana is so good he deserves a starting spot in England’s National Team, Jay Rodriguez is electric and Manuel Pochettino is the most underrated manager in the entire league. That being said, I’m scared to see what happens this summer without Nicola Cortese at the helm.
Palace have more to play for in this match but the Saints ooze quality. Sorry Selhurst.
Crystal Palace 0 Southampton 2
Norwich City v. Stoke City (Carrow Road; 10:00am ET on Live Extra)
With a final four matches of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, this fixture is about as close to a ‘must win’ as there is for Norwich. How on earth they’re going to make that happen without Robert Snodgrass, Joseph Yobo, Ricky van Wolfsfinkel, Martin Olsson and Leroy Fer – all of whom are out injured – I have no clue.
But strange things happen at Carrow Road.
Norwich City 2 Stoke City 1
Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur (Stamford Bridge; 12:30pm ET on NBC)
Tim Sherwood claims that Spurs didn’t score goals against Cardiff last week because everyone expected them to do so and that, this weekend they might just score a bunch of goals against Chelsea because no one thinks they will.
Ah yes the old “opposite-expectations belief”, an age-old theory held by many a manager who abides by the less-is-more philosophy knowing full well that in just a few short months he’ll be replaced by a big named manager.
Chelsea 3 Tottenham 1