Martin Laurence’s La Liga/FA Cup Pick 8 Preview
La Liga/FA Cup Weekend Pick 8
We have another £10,000 Pick 8 starting as we enter the weekend, with La Liga/FA Cup fourth round fixtures being the focus of the weekend. Martin Laurence has previewed his syndicate for us, which you can get involved in here.
Athletic Club vs Eibar – 1/X
More teams (3) separate these two sides in the table in La Liga than points (2), highlighting just how competitive things are in Spain outside of the top six.
Athletic have overcome a rough patch and are now on a nine-game unbeaten streak, while over the same period only Barcelona have a better record than perennial overachievers Eibar. These are certainly two sides in form then, and they may cancel each other out, with the visitors more likely to settle for a point.
Peterborough vs Leicester – 2
After an impressive result at Aston Villa in the last round, Peterborough will hope to cause another upset but while they are at home in round four, they host an in-form Leicester side.
The Foxes have been rejuvenated under Claude Puel and while a top six finish may be beyond them, a run into the latter stages of the cup certainly isn’t. With no threat of relegation either, the visitors can afford to name a strong side this weekend.
Southampton vs Watford – 1/X
Going toe to toe for the second time in as many weeks, Mauricio Pellegrino will face a new rival on the sidelines when his Saints side host Watford this weekend. It will be new Watford boss Javi Gracia’s first game at the helm and he’ll be keen to make a positive impact.
These two sides have been in terrible form in the league by way of results but the hosts have at least put some improved performances together, drawing with both Manchester United and Tottenham over the past month. Home advantage should make them slight favourites.
Wigan vs West Ham – 1/X/2
League One leaders Wigan have a real shot at pulling off another shock result in round four, though given the shape of the two teams ahead of Saturday’s game perhaps it wouldn’t be too surprising.
The Hammers will be without Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic, whose absences saw the side struggle through round three against Shrewsbury. The Latics, meanwhile, showcased their strength in depth to rotate their side in a replay against Bournemouth and still run out 3-0 winners. A home win is a real possibility in a game that could go either way.
Middlesbrough vs Brighton – 1/X
With Tony Pulis and Chris Hughton in the respective dugouts, it’s fair to say Boro’s meeting with Brighton might not set the world alight. Both will look to keep things tight first and foremost, though the Championship outfit are starting to put some form together under their new boss.
The Seagulls, meanwhile, are struggling right now and will prioritise Premier League survival so may make more changes than their hosts and pay the price.
Huddersfield vs Birmingham – 1
Like Brighton, Huddersfield have bigger things to worry about at present then a fourth round cup tie, but the same can certainly be said of Birmingham.
Steve Cotterill is finally starting to get a tune out of the Blues and will want to continue their progress in the league without any distractions. The Terriers arguably need a morale boost more right now and should get it with a narrow win this weekend.
Notts County vs Swansea – 2
While they still foot the Premier League table there’s no question Swansea are building some momentum under Carlos Carvalhal. In six matches, in which his side would have perhaps been considered underdogs in each, the Spaniard has overseen just one defeat thus far and he’ll be keen to ensure that their confidence continues to rise.
Avoiding an upset at Notts County will be important then, fielding a relatively strong side as a result.
Newport vs Tottenham – 2
While League Two Newport come into what is a massive game for the club in strong form, their chances of dumping out Spurs are still incredibly slim.
Mauricio Pochettino is known to consider domestic cup competitions as relatively low priority but with no hope of a title push this season, the opportunity to win silverware should see the Argentine take the FA Cup seriously. He’ll rest players, of that there is no doubt, but the strength in depth in the squad should be far too much for their hosts.