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FA Cup fourth-round predictions: Chris Sutton faces Justin & Arni from The Vaccines


Sutton's Predictions

Wrexham’s FA Cup win over Arsenal in 1992 was one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s 153-year history, but can another Welsh team cause an equally monumental upset this weekend?

League Two side Newport County welcome Manchester United to Rodney Parade on Sunday, hoping to dump out the 12-time winners and end their last realistic hope of winning any silverware this season.

BBC Sport’s football expert Chris Sutton has made his prediction for that game and the rest of the fourth-round ties.

For all 16 of the weekend’s games he is up against Justin and Arni from indie band The Vaccines.

The Vaccines’ sixth album, Pick-up Full Of Pink Carnations, was released last week and entered the UK album charts at number three.

The Vaccines
The Vaccines are (l-r) Arni Arnason, Yoann Intonti, Justin Hayward-Young, and Timothy Lanham. Since their debut in 2010, all six of their studio albums have reached the UK top 10, and they reached number one with Come of Age in 2012

Vaccines’ frontman Justin is a Manchester United fan and bassist Arni supports Tottenham.

While Spurs are still in the Premier League title race, albeit on the fringes in fifth place, United are eight points further back in the table.

Erik ten Hag’s side are already out of Europe and the Carabao Cup, meaning the FA Cup is their only real chance of a trophy in 2023-24.

“I know the FA Cup is not as sexy as it once was for people who support the bigger teams but for everyone else it is still THE cup,” Justin said.

“And, as a United fan, I would love to win it again. It’s not like winning the title or the Champions League, but it is silverware nonetheless, and even if we can get to the final then that is a huge occasion.

“That is a long way off, but there’s an opportunity here for us to go on a cup run and get a bit of confidence, and maybe also find a bit of stability in the team.

“I think what is happening off the field at United is hugely exciting and Omar Berrada’s appointment as chief executive is a massive statement of intent.

“We will have to wait and see what happens when everything settles down, and what other changes are made.

“I’m not a big fan of getting rid of managers in the middle of the season anyway, and Ten Hag is clearly a very good manager, but things haven’t been good enough, have they?

“It is going to be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out. You would probably have to ask me about Ten Hag again at the end, I think.”

The Vaccines
The Vaccines are currently playing shows in Europe and start their tour of the UK in Birmingham on 5 February

As well as trying to chase down the top four, Tottenham are aiming to lift their first major trophy since winning the League Cup in 2008.

Ange Postecoglou’s side have only lost one of their past six matches in all competitions, but have to get past holders Manchester City in round four.

“The past few weeks have been pretty good although I am not particularly fond of this FA Cup draw,” Arni added.

“I love the FA Cup, and the sense of chaos around it. I am going to be bold and say that, if we can get over the City hump, we will go far – but it is very unlucky to get them at this early stage.”

Chris Sutton, Justin and Arni were speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

THURSDAY, 25 JAN
Bournemouth v Swansea 24 x-x 2-0 2-0 2-0
FRIDAY, 26 JAN
Bristol City v Nott’m Forest 17 x-x 1-0 1-1 A 1-0
Chelsea v Aston Villa 5 x-x 2-1 2-1 1-0
Sheff Wed v Coventry 16 x-x 1-1 A 0-3 1-2
Tottenham v Man City 3 x-x 2-3 0-2 1-0
SATURDAY, 27 JAN
Ipswich v Maidstone Utd 98 x-x 3-0 0-1 0-0 AP
Everton v Luton 1 x-x 1-0 1-0 2-0
Leeds v Plymouth 11 x-x 2-0 3-1 2-0
Leicester v Birmingham 19 x-x 3-1 2-0 0-0 A
Sheff Utd v Brighton 13 x-x 1-2 0-1 0-1
Fulham v Newcastle 3 x-x 2-1 1-1 A 1-0
SUNDAY, 28 JAN
West Brom v Wolves 14 x-x 1-2 0-1 0-1
Watford v Southampton 6 x-x 1-1 A 0-3 0-2
Liverpool v Norwich 27 x-x 4-0 4-0 3-0
Newport v Man Utd 74 x-x 0-3 0-2 0-2
MONDAY, 29 JAN
Blackburn v Wrexham 33 x-x 4-3 0-0 A 1-1 AP

Gap = league places between the two teams

H = Home team to win away in the replay / A = Away team to win at home in the replay / P = win on penalties

SUTTON’S FA CUP FOURTH-ROUND PREDICTIONS

PL = Premier League C = Championship
L1 = League One L2 = League Two
NL = non-league r = won after replay
H = Home A = Away

THURSDAY, 25 JANUARY

Bournemouth v Swansea

Bournemouth v Swansea (19:45)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra

Who did they beat?
3R: QPR (C) A 3R: Morecambe (L2) H

I didn’t realise Bournemouth were missing a few players when I backed them to get a draw against Liverpool at the weekend, and Andoni Iraola’s options might be limited here too.

But I hope Iraola goes for it in the FA Cup – Swansea are having a pretty average season so this is a great opportunity for the Cherries to reach the last 16, something they have only managed five times since they were founded in 1899.

The furthest they have got is the quarter-finals, in 1957 and 2021, and they have never won a major trophy, so if you’re a Bournemouth fan then you want to see them have a go at it now – especially since they look like they are good enough to stay in the Premier League.

As long as Iraola goes with a strong side, I’d expect them to get over the line.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Arni’s prediction: I’d love to go with an upset in a tie like this but Swansea are away and I don’t see a shock happening. 2-0

Justin’s prediction: I agree – Bournemouth should be too good for them. 2-0

FRIDAY, 26 JANUARY

Bristol City v Nottingham Forest

Bristol City v Nottingham Forest (19:45)

Who did they beat?
3R: West Ham (PL) Hr 3R: Blackpool (C) Ar

Nottingham Forest are another team who have been depleted by injuries and absences at the Africa Cup of Nations, and I am sure Tuesday’s Premier League game against Arsenal will be on Nuno Espirito Santo’s mind.

Forest’s situation, and position in the Premier League table, is very different to Bournemouth’s – especially with the threat of a points deduction hanging over them.

Their desperation to stay up may supersede FA Cup progress for them, and I would not be surprised if Nuno makes changes, which is why I am going for an upset here.

Bristol City were a little fortunate to beat West Ham in round three but they are at home here and they will be confident of a repeat result.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-0

Arni’s prediction: Bristol City have already caused one massive upset in round three and that is going to give them the momentum to get another result here. 1-0

Justin’s prediction: We are going to both cities on tour so I am going to go for a draw. 1-1 and Forest to win the replay

Chelsea v Aston Villa

Chelsea v Aston Villa (19:45)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra

Who did they beat?
3R: Preston (C) H 3R: Middlesbrough (C) A

The cups offer a way for Chelsea to save their season, and they are already in the final of the Carabao Cup after beating Middlesbrough.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have been getting better, it’s just not the momentous rise we expected.

Chelsea can’t afford not to go full pelt at this game but Aston Villa might be thinking about the top four, and Tuesday’s game with Newcastle.

I’d love to see Villa give it a real go in the FA Cup as well, because they have been excellent this season, but I don’t know how Unai Emery will approach it.

All of this is making me think that Chelsea will edge it, but I have been wrong about them plenty of times this season already.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Justin’s prediction: Villa have had a much better season than Chelsea but I feel like they have slightly lost their edge in the past few weeks. Given Chelsea can be really good on their day, I think they will probably win. 2-1

Arni’s prediction: Yeah, Chelsea are going to take this one. 1-0

Sheffield Wednesday v Coventry City

Sheffield Wednesday v Coventry City (19:45)

Who did they beat?
3R: Cardiff (C) H 3R: Oxford Utd (L1) H

These two sides only played each other last Saturday, when Coventry went to Hillsborough and won 2-1.

Sheffield Wednesday are in big trouble in the Championship relegation zone while Coventry, who lost in the play-off final last season, are in great form and in the top six.

It might take a replay but I am going to back the Sky Blues to go through.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1 and Coventry to win the replay

Justin’s prediction: Coventry are going to win again. 0-3

Arni’s prediction: Yeah, I am going with the same scoreline as last weekend. 1-2

Tottenham v Man City

Tottenham v Manchester City (20:00)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live

Who did they beat?
3R: Burnley (PL) H 3R: Huddersfield (C) H

City have not scored, let alone won a game, in five losing visits to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but I would be shocked if they don’t find the net this time.

I have got a bit of sympathy for Spurs, who have Son Heung-min away at the Asian Cup, while City have Kevin de Bruyne back from injury and the possibility of Erling Haaland being fit enough to play a part here too.

It is going to be a corker of a tie, but City boss Pep Guardiola always goes strong in the FA Cup and, with no Son, that gives the holders the edge.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-3

Justin’s prediction: Unfortunately for most of us, not just United fans, someone seems to have woken the dragon in its cave – as always seems to happen with City around about this time of year. One of its eyelids is slowly raising… and I guess the other one will shortly follow when Erling Haaland is back from injury. They have so much depth, and I am expecting them to have too much quality for Spurs. 0-2

Arni’s prediction: If Justin is right, that would be the first time City have scored at our new ground. I am scared of this match but I don’t agree with him about how things will go. I think we will keep them scoreless, and one goal will send us through. 1-0

SATURDAY, 27 JANUARY

Ipswich v Maidstone

Ipswich Town v Maidstone United (12:30)

Live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website, plus commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live

Who did they beat?
3R: AFC Wimbledon (L2) A 3R: Stevenage (L1) H
2R: Barrow (L2) H
1R: Chesham (NL) A
4QR: Torquay (NL) A
3QR: Winchester City (NL) A
2QR: Steyning Town (NL) A

Ipswich are back in the Championship automatic promotion spots after getting a really good draw against leaders Leicester on Monday. They needed a late equaliser to earn a point, but they played well.

Kieran McKenna is doing a brilliant job there and his Ipswich side are well-drilled and well-organised. The only way I see them slipping up here is if he tinkers with his team too much.

This is a test of his squad depth as much as anything else, but the fact it is at Portman Road is obviously a huge help.

Maidstone have had a brilliant run and have already managed a couple of big FA Cup upsets at home against teams from the top of League One and Two, but I feel this might be a step too far, and I can only see a comfortable home win.

I feel a bit sorry for Maidstone because they have come so far and missed out on the dream draw in East Anglia. Norwich were in the hat too, but unfortunately George Elokobi’s side have got to go to Ipswich instead.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-0

Justin’s prediction: A bit of FA Cup magic always feels less likely when the non-league team is away from home, but I am still going with Maidstone here. 0-1

Arni’s prediction: I am going for the same outcome, but after a replay. I’d love for that to happen. The more cracking replays we have this year, maybe the more chance there is of keeping them next year – I hope so! 0-0 and Maidstone to win the replay on penalties.

Justin on replays: They have provided some of the greatest FA Cup moments, like our semi-final replay against Arsenal in 1999 and THAT Ryan Giggs goal. That was not just one of the epic FA Cup moments, that was one of the most memorable moments of the Sir Alex Ferguson era. I still remember where I was when I watched it – I think most people do.

Everton v Luton

Everton v Luton Town (15:00)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live

Who did they beat?
3R: Crystal Palace (PL) Hr 3R: Bolton (L1) Ar

Everton’s form has fallen away, although they got over the line against Crystal Palace in their third-round replay.

We know Luton never stop fighting and they got their reward with their late equaliser against Burnley last time out.

Both of these teams are in the bottom four, so it is going to be very interesting to see how they approach this tie.

I suspect both managers will be looking to their games next Tuesday, when Everton go to Fulham and Luton host Brighton.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-0

Justin’s prediction: I am going to back Everton. Sean Dyche is doing a good job, even if their 10-point deduction means they are still in relegation trouble. 1-0

Arni’s prediction: I am a big Dyche fan too, so I am going to stick with Everton as well. 2-0

Leeds v Plymouth

Leeds v Plymouth (15:00)

Who did they beat?
3R: Peterborough (L1) A 3R: Sutton (L2) H

It’s pretty clear who are the favourites here – Leeds haven’t lost at home all season, while Plymouth haven’t won away.

Leeds needed an added-time penalty to beat Preston on Sunday but it was the right decision. I am a big fan of their manager Daniel Farke, who did really good things at Norwich, and they are right in the mix now for automatic promotion.

That is obviously their main aim this season but it would be great to see them have a real go at the FA Cup too.

They beat Plymouth at Elland Road in November and, if they can repeat that result on Saturday, no-one will want to go there in round five.

Argyle will carry a threat – they have got Morgan Whittaker, who is a really talented attacker – but I am going to say Leeds will get the job done.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Arni’s prediction: How both teams have been doing home and away makes this one appear pretty straightforward. 2-0

Justin’s prediction: I don’t think anyone will want Leeds in the next round. 3-1

Leicester v Birmingham

Leicester City v Birmingham City (15:00)

Who did they beat?
3R: Millwall (C) A 3R: Hull (C) Hr

Leicester are top of the Championship but have dropped points in their last two games, which is a reminder that there is still work to do, but I’d like to see them have a go at the FA Cup too.

It won’t be easy for them against Birmingham, who are unbeaten in three games since Tony Mowbray took charge, but they should be too strong for the Blues.

Sutton’s prediction: 3-1

Justin’s prediction: Leicester, all day. 2-0

Arni’s prediction: I’m going for an upset here – there will be some shocks, somewhere. We are playing Birmingham on our tour and not going to Leicester, so I am going to back Birmingham. 0-0 and Birmingham to win the replay.

Sheff Utd v Brighton

Sheff Utd v Brighton (15:00)

Who did they beat?
3R: Gillingham (L2) A 3R: Stoke (C) A

Chris Wilder is getting a tune out of Sheffield United. They were fortunate to draw against West Ham, but they did play well and created plenty of chances.

The outcome here depends on Wilder, and whether he is looking to build a bit of momentum and thinks the FA Cup could provide that. They need a spark from somewhere but, again, they are in action in the league on Tuesday when they go to Crystal Palace, so that is going to affect his thinking.

As for Brighton, they are firing blanks – I am not sure what has happened to the great entertainers, because they have failed to score in their past two league matches.

I have a feeling the Seagulls will find the net this time, though – and find a way to get through.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Justin’s prediction: Brighton to edge it. 0-1

Arni’s prediction: Yeah, it’s going to be close. 0-1

Fulham v Newcastle

Fulham v Newcastle United (19:00)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live

Who did they beat?
3R: Rotherham (C) H 3R: Sunderland (C) A

What on earth is happening at Newcastle? I keep reading reports that they are about to sell half their team.

I feel sorry for Magpies boss Eddie Howe because of the uncertainty over the future of some of his key players, but I don’t see things going well for him at Craven Cottage either.

Fulham are the kind of team who can turn it on at times, and they are going to throw everything they’ve got at Newcastle.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Justin’s prediction: Newcastle might need a second go at this. 0-0 and Newcastle to win the replay

Arni’s prediction: My gut tells me Fulham take this one. 1-0

SUNDAY, 28 JANUARY

West Brom v Wolves

West Brom v Wolves (11:45)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live

Who did they beat?
3R: Millwall (C) A 3R: Brentford (PL) Hr

This local derby is always a big occasion and it should be a great game too. I watched West Brom lose at Norwich at the weekend, but they were a bit unlucky actually because they dominated possession.

Wolves are on a nice run of form in the league, and I think their manager Gary O’Neil will fancy a bit of a cup run. I can see the scoreline being close, but I am pretty confident they will beat the Baggies.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-2

Justin’s prediction: Wolves are on a good run. 0-1

Arni’s prediction: 0-1

Watford v Southampton

Watford v Southampton (14:00)

Who did they beat?
3R: Chesterfield (NL) H 3R: Walsall (L2) H

Southampton are on the longest unbeaten run in their history – 21 games, going back to the end of September.

Saints boss Russell Martin came on 5 Live’s Monday Night Club this week and talked about what is behind their run. What came across is they are a brave team, who are fearless under Martin.

I don’t think this game will be straightforward for them, because Watford are still in the play-off race, and the two teams drew at Vicarage Road in the league in December.

There might be another draw this time, but Saints will take it in the end.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1 and Southampton to win the replay

Justin’s prediction: Growing up, Southampton were my local team. I used to go to The Dell to watch United and they beat us 3-1, 6-3 and 1-0 three seasons running in the 1990s, when I was starting to worry if I was cursing them. Saints are on this amazing run at the moment and it’s great to see them doing so well. There are probably fans of several Championship teams or lower who think that they belong in the Premier League, but Southampton supporters have got more justification than most for believing that. 0-3

Arni’s prediction: I am a sort of Saints fan by proxy after being in the band with Justin, so I am going to back them too. 0-2

Liverpool v Norwich

Liverpool v Norwich (14:30)

Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live

Who did they beat?
3R: Arsenal (PL) A 3R: Bristol Rovers (L1) Ar

If you look through the history books, it is 30 years since Norwich won at Anfield – in the last game played in front of the Kop when it was still terracing.

I played in that game and it won’t surprise you when I say I ran Liverpool ragged that day. Jeremy Goss got our winner, with another of those spectacular efforts he scored so many of around that time – the ball bounced just outside the box and he lashed it past David James.

As much as I’d love to see another Canaries win, it is hard to see a repeat of that result on Sunday. Norwich play counter-attacking football home and away these days, so they will just be looking to hang on in there.

The problem with that is, whichever team Liverpool put out, they will have too much attacking quality.

Still, Norwich will have their chances and watch out for their young winger, Jonny Rowe. He’s a wide player, but he finishes like a centre-forward and he could nick them a goal.

Sutton’s prediction: 4-0

Justin’s prediction: This is one-sided on paper, and I have a feeling it will be the same on the pitch. Liverpool seem to be getting a lot of goals, so this is the first big scoreline I am going for. 4-0

Arni’s prediction: A similar score from me, too. 3-0

Newport County v Man Utd

Newport County v Man Utd (16:30)

Live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.

Who did they beat?
3R: Eastleigh (NL) Ar 3R: Wigan (L1) A
2R: Barnet (NL) Ar
1R: Oldham (NL) H

I remember Newport knocking a Premier League team, Leicester, out of the FA Cup in 2019, and they have got the better of a few big clubs in recent years.

I don’t think they will knock Manchester United out, though. This is a tricky away tie to negotiate, but let’s get it right, if Erik ten Hag’s side were to lose to a League Two team then it would be one of the most embarrassing results in the club’s history.

So, I am going to be positive about United, they will have too much for Newport – it should be comfortable, and I even think they will keep a clean sheet.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-3

Justin’s prediction: This should be an absolute walk in the park for United but I guarantee you that I will be pulling my hair out for the first 40 minutes or so, wondering why we are playing so appallingly. I am expecting us to win, but I am not convinced it will be pretty. 0-2

Arni’s prediction: It would be one of the FA Cup’s biggest upsets if Newport win this, but I don’t think I can go there without looking like an idiot. 0-2

MONDAY, 29 JANUARY

Blackburn v Wrexham

Blackburn v Wrexham (19:30)

Live on BBC One Wales, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website,

Who did they beat?
3R: Cambridge (L1) H 3R: Shrewsbury (L1) A
2R: Yeovil (NL) H
1R: Mansfield (L2) A

Another of my old teams are in action here and, although Blackburn are not having a great time of it in the Championship, I am a big fan of Rovers boss Jon Dahl Tomasson, who has done well with what he has had to work with.

Rovers’ ambition at the start of the season was to stay up, not go for promotion – which shows how far the club has fallen – but I like the brand of football they play.

The thing that gives Wrexham hope is that Blackburn have a soft centre and concede too many goals.

Wrexham will carry a threat too, with Paul Mullin and Steven Fletcher up front. At 36, Fletcher is nearly as old as me and I remember playing against him when he was a youngster at Hibs. He has gone on to have a really good career and is a wily old striker.

It is safe to say there will be a few goals in this one, and it should be an FA Cup tie to remember.

Sutton’s prediction: 4-3

Arni’s prediction: You know what, let’s go for a replay at Wrexham with all the Hollywood stars in the crowd… and another upset at the end of it. 1-1 and Wrexham to win the replay.

Justin’s prediction: That almost feels like it is written in the stars! Wrexham would love one of the big boys in round five, but they have got to get there first. 0-0 and Wrexham to win the replay.

How did Sutton do in round three?

Sutton correctly picked the winner in 22 of the 32 third-round ties, a success rate of 69%.

He was beaten by singer-songwriter and Liverpool fan Banners, who got 27 right, giving him 84%.

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