It’s been a busy nine days in the football world with FA Cup giant killings, European football and substitute goalkeepers eating pies. Tonight brings Europa League action and the weekend has eight Premier League games and the EFL Cup final to offer. So where shall we start?
Manchester United, Krasnodar and Schalke booked their places in the last 16 yesterday. Here are my picks to join them tonight:
Bilbao, Ajax, Anderlecht, Genk, Roma, Copenhagen, Shaktar, Olympiacos, Tottenham, Rostov, Fiorentina, Lyon and Besiktas.
Most of those pick themselves due to away goals or significant first leg damage.
Chelsea v Swansea
Clement is doing a great job at Swansea but his former club are likely to win here. Costa scoring in the FA Cup is the last thing they will have wanted to see but they won’t make it easy. 2-1.
Crystal Palace v Middlesborough
Poor home form meets poor away form. This could go either way. Palace have lost all seven of their league games in 2017 while Boro scraped past Oxford in the cup. The away side would be happier with the point. 1-1.
Everton v Sunderland
Everton are both wildly inconsistent and rather entertaining to watch. In saying that Sunderland’s last two games show the same. If Lukaku has a good day Sunderland don’t stand a chance but the same applies with Defoe. I wonder if Koeman is watching Deu0lofeu’s progress at Milan? 3-1.
Hull v Burnley
Since their cup win over Swansea Hull have had a terrible run of games. They will hope Burnley’s miserable away record continues but I can see Burnley avenging their loss against Lincoln here, especially if they play like they did against Chelsea. 0-1.
West Brom v Bournemouth
West Brom have the oldest (average age) starting XI in the league but that experience seems to be proving worthwhile. This young Bournemouth however are yet to win a competitive game this year. 1-0.
Watford v West Ham
West Ham are going to miss Andy Carroll this week if he’s not fit and with no other proven striker in their squad I fancy Watford, and Niang in particular, to take advantage. 2-1.
Tottenham v Stoke
Spurs have a big game against Gent tonight and it will be interesting to see what team Pochettino fields but regardless of rest time I think they have enough quality to see off Stoke at home. 2-0.
Leicester v Liverpool
The games at the KCOM and Selhurst Park could have huge implications for Leicester as I see them losing here. Liverpool haven’t played a game in 12 days… Twelve. Days. Maybe being knocked out of both cups was clever after all. They’ll believe after their win against Tottenham too. 0-2.
Manchester United v Southampton
United. Jose hates to lose big games and usually has a very solid plan. I can’t see past that and they should win. 2-1.