Published on 16 March 2024 at 16:00

The FA Cup returns this weekend sandwiched in between a number of Premier League games including Luton Town v Nottingham Forest. Here we take a look at the most interesting match-ups this weekend from Atletico Madrid and Barcelona's La Liga clash to a fierce rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool in the FA Cup. There are five match previews to explore giving you all the latest team news, form and predictions...

manchester city v newcastle united (fa cup)

Newcastle come into this blockbuster FA Cup Quarter Final tie in disarray, with one win in their last five games and a poor defensive record conceding 48 goals in the league.

They have experienced extreme bad luck in all of their competitions this season, drawing the group of death in the Champions League and facing Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea on their EFL Cup run to the Quarter Finals.

This seismic clash offers no easier challenge, Manchester City are locked in a title race at the precipice of the Premier League table and are unbeaten in 21 consecutive games recently bolstered by the returns of Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland.

Although, De Bruyne will be absent for the Quarter Final after withdrawing from the Belgian squad for March due to a groin injury, but it is expected to be a minor injury. They will be without first-choice goalkeeper Ederson too, after he picked up an injury during the penalty at Anfield last week, meanwhile Jack Grealish who was not selected by Gareth Southgate in the England squad on Thursday could make his return this Saturday, after a month sidelined with a groin injury.

Newcastle's injury woes which have troubled them this season continue, the visitors will have up to eight players unavailable and it is unknown whether they will risk Antony Gordon after he was subbed off in the 31st minute against Chelsea on Monday night with a knee injury. The 23 year old recieved his first England call-up this week for the upcoming friendlies against Belgium and Brazil.

In September, Eddie Howe's team did knock out Man City 1-0 in the EFL Cup Third Round and took a 2-1 lead at St. James Park in January only to concede a 91st minute winning goal for the Sky Blues courtesy of Oscar Bobb. But, it demonstrates that they do have the strength to test this high-flying Pep Guardiola team the only concern is that since those two impressive games against the champions their form has considerably dropped.

For Eddie Howe he will be hoping to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup for the first time for the club since 2004-05, as he looks to ease pressure on his future and it is the last opportunity to claim silverware this season, with the Magpies season over in the league 13 points away from a top four spot.

City are the clear favourites at the Etihad Stadium tonight and will want to win to build momentum for the season-defying title clash at Arsenal next Sunday as well as edge closer to claiming their third FA Cup title in six years.

prediction: 2 - 1  manchester city




dortmund v frankfurt (bundesliga)

Edin Terzic's Borussia Dortmund are buoyant at the moment, despatching PSV in mid-week to reach their first Champions League Quarter Final since 2020-21. Jadon Sancho was man of the match on Tuesday, scoring in back-to-back games for the first time since re-joining Dortmund on loan in January and he appears to have re-discovered his confidence after a difficult period exiled at Manchester United.

Dortmund have the chance with a victory this Sunday, to reach 50 points and move up to 4th where they could apply pressure on Stuttgart in third and this would boost their hopes of securing an eighth successive Champions League qualification.

The visitors Frankfurt have endured a patchy season in the Bundesliga, experiencing wins in streaks and after just two wins in their last 10 in all competitions they appear to have overturned their form with back-to-back wins to put their European hopes back on track.

Currently their is a seven point gap between the two clubs, which puts additional importance on this Bundesliga clash because a win for Dortmund will strengthen their position to finish within the top four but if Frankfurt win then they close the gap to four points.

One of the key updates is Jadon Sancho's injury concern, the 21 year old sustained a hamstring strain against PSV and was substituted after 75 minutes, it is believed to be only minor but its unknown how much he will play a part against Frankfurt.

They will be without Marcel Sabitzer after the midfielder received a red card against Werder Bremen last weekend and long-term absentees Sebastian Haller and Julian Reyerson.

Frankfurt who have no new injury additions know just how difficult it is to get three points at the Signal Iduna Park in front of 80,000 fans and will be the underdogs going into the game having lost here 4-0 and 5-2 retrospectively on the last two occasions. 

prediction: 2 - 0 dortmund



luton town v nottingham forest (premier league)

The Hatters had the wind knocked out of them on Wednesday night, as Bournemouth scored four in the second-half to overturn a 3-0 deficit. This capitulation will have stung Rob Edwards side, but in one of their most important games of the season they need to respond this Saturday if they want to climb back out of the relegation zone.

Nottingham Forest are in a turbulent period, with a potential points deduction over-hanging the club and four successive defeats in all competitions which has left the fans anxious at the increasing possibility of relegation.

The honey-moon period under Nuno Espirito Santos, securing back-to-back wins in his first two games has disappeared and they have gone three games in a row without scoring despite the return of last seasons top scorer Taiwo Awoniyi.

A win for Luton Town would re-ignite the dream of staying up as they would move level on points with Forest and to within two points of 15th placed Brentford, however, if they succumb to a seventh loss in eight games in all competitions then it could signal the realisation they are going down this season.

An influential player for the home side will be Ross Barkley, his performance is often pivotal to a Luton win and he is in good form scoring his fourth goal of the season at the Vitality. If Forest do not nullify his creativity this weekend and allow him to dictate the midfield then they are in serious trouble, because the 30 year old has proven all season his star quality which can heart teams.

Forest desperately need a win to springboard a renaissance this season and ease worries about relegation and they will not get a better opportunity against a Luton team who have overachieved this campaign and continue to defy the odds.

prediction: 2 - 2 



atletico madrid v barcelona (la liga)

Atletico Madrid secured a monumental victory in mid-week, knocking last seasons finalists Inter Milan out of the Champions League on penalties. It was the first time in three seasons that they have reached the last eight of the Champions League and beating high-flying Serie A leader Inter could enact a turning point in their underwhelming season.

In La Liga Simeone's side have stuttered out of form in recent weeks losing 2-0 to 18th place Cadiz last weekend and dropping two points to bottom placed Almeria at the end of February. This has allowed Barcelona to move away from them in the table and command a six point lead in third place with the Catalan giants only one point behind title chasers Girona.

It shows the change in form for Barcelona who experienced a shaky start to 2024 as well as the revelation Xavi will step down at the end of the season. But since this they have responded impressively unbeaten in their last nine games and reaching the Champions League Quarter Finals.

Robert Lewandowski has been a key factor in Barcelona re-discovering their goalscoring form, the Polish international has six goals in eight games. While, for Atletico Madrid Memphis Depay has been the hero in recent weeks with his goal-scoring cameo appearances off the bench and after netting an 87th minute winner on Wednesday night he could start upfront alongside Griezmann on Sunday.

Jose Maria Gimenez and Thomas Lemar are sidelined again for this fixture, in otherwise a strong selection for Simeone meanwhile, Xavi continues to have an injury dilemma with Alejandro Balde, Pedri, Gavi, Ferran Torres and Marcos Alonso all unavailable.

But, it has been the academy graduates who have deputised and performed well in recent weeks; Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi were both called up to the Spain squad for March after starring in midweek for Barcelona.

A loss for Atletico Madrid could allow Athletic Bilbao to leapfrog them in the race for a top four spot, but at home against Barcelona they have a good record and have one of the best tactical managers in the world.

prediction: 1 - 3 barcelona




An FA Cup Quarter Final tie against Liverpool, couldn't have come at a worse time for Manchester United this weekend. The Reds are in rampant form despatching Slavia Prague 11-2 on aggregrate in the Europa League Round of 16 on Thursday as well as currently being on a nine game unbeaten run lifting the EFL Cup during that time.

United have suffered some harrowing defeats against a Jurgen Klopp Liverpool in recent seasons, most notably the 7-0 loss under Ten Hag last year and this current team don't look capable of reversing their luck.

They defended a 1-0 lead for 56 minutes in the Manchester derby before eventually crumbling against the prowess of Manchester City who dominated them in every part of the pitch. They will be facing a similar title chasing Liverpool side on Sunday who are just starting to get their team fully re-assembled after injuries and the outcome only points towards a Liverpool victory at Old Trafford.

The most encouraging news for United fans is the return of Rasmus Hojlund, United were unbeaten in six straight games that Hojlund scored in before he sustained a muscular injury and the February Premier League Player of the month will be a huge addition for Ten Hag.

Meanwhile, Luke Shaw, Mason Mount, Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez are all expected to be sidelined. For Liverpool they will be boosted by news of Ryan Gravenberch's return to the squad but they will still be without Ibrahima Konate after his thigh injury.

It is Ten Hag's last chance to win silverware this season after crashing out the Champions League in the group stage and reaching the Round.16 of the EFL Cup and a famous win against Liverpool could help them find form to make a late push for the top four.

However, even though the FA Cup is all about surprises and giant killing nothing seems to be able to disrupt Liverpool's momentum at the moment and with an in-form Darwin Nunez upfront ,who has six goals in his last seven games, and the return of Mohamed Salah they should ensure a win and keep alive their hopes of winning the treble.

prediction: 1 - 4 liverpool 


Written by Lewis Eadie


Add comment


There are no comments yet.