WE’RE halfway through the FA Cup quarter-finals and there is another on Sunday and one more on Monday.
I’m a bit of a football traditionalist and it would be great to return to the days when all ties were played at the same time – or maybe even the same day. Nowadays you’re lucky if they’re in the same week.
Anyway on Sunday I’ll be on Liverpool to win well against Blackburn while in the tie of the round I don’t expect Arsenal to lose at Man United on Monday.
Here’s some team news that may help you with your picks.
Liverpool v Blackburn (Sun)
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will be assessed hours before a decision is made on whether he is fit enough to play against Rovers. The Reds midfielder has missed the last six matches with a hamstring injury but returned to training last week. Defender Mamadou Sakho is edging closer to a return after four matches out with a hip problem.
Doneil Henry’s whistlestop start to life as a Blackburn player could well continue with a place in the starting line-up at Anfield. The Canadian was signed on loan from West Ham on Wednesday, travelled to Sheffield to meet up with his new team-mates and produced a terrific display a few hours later against Wednesday. Rovers are short in defence with Shane Duffy, Jason Lowe and Alex Baptiste all certain to miss the game while Grant Hanley (leg) is a major doubt. Striker Josh King, who scored a hat-trick in the fifth-round win over Stoke, is also unlikely to have recovered from a hamstring injury.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).
Man Utd v Arsenal (Mon)
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will miss the quarter-final against his old club due to his ankle injury. Jonny Evans will also miss the game after being found guilty of spitting at Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse. He is banned for six games with no right to appeald. Left-back Luke Shaw (hamstring) is a doubt.
Arsenal defender Gabriel has been ruled out with a hamstring injury which is expected to sideline him for up to three weeks. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny faces a fitness test following illness after missing the midweek Barclays Premier League win at QPR, as does defender Nacho Monreal (back) and Mathieu Flamini (hamstring). Midfielders Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mikel Arteta (ankle) and Abou Diaby (calf) plus full-back Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder) all continue their recovery.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).