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Premier League and FA Cup preview: How to fill out your weekend football accumulator

There’s eight Premier League games and two FA Cups semi-finals.

Suarez and Hart will go head to head on Sunday.
Suarez and Hart will go head to head on Sunday.
Image: Martin Rickett/PA Wire/Press Association Images

All games kick-off Saturday at 3.07pm unless otherwise stated.

Crystal Palace v Aston Villa

ASTON VILLA CAN count themselves lucky there are only six games left this season. Coming into this game on the back on three defeats on the spin, it’s difficult not to associate the words “free” and “fall” with Paul Lambert’s men.

It was all so different last month when back-to-back wins over Norwich and Arsenal looked to have secured their Premier League status but a loss this weekend, combined with results elsewhere going against them, will leave many fans nervous.

In contrast, Crystal Palace under Tony Pulis have won eight of their last 20 games, including two in a row against Chelsea and Cardiff and know a third win this weekend could see them move ten points clear of the drop zone.

Bet: Crystal Palace 23/20

Fulham v Norwich City

Norwich may have decided that the time was right to part ways with Chris Hughton following their 1-0 loss to West Brom but with just five games to go, it’s hardly ideal given that the Canaries have a five point cushion between themselves and the relegation zone.

However, the fact they play 18th placed Fulham this weekend may have had some impact on their decision, especially as the Cottagers recorded just their second win under Felix Magath last time out.

Norwich have only scored 26 times this season but they do face the worst defence in the Premier League; Fulham have conceded no fewer than 74 goals this year. Those stats lead to one conclusion.

Bet: Draw 23/10

Southampton v Cardiff City

Six points from safety and with the second worst goal difference in the league, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are running out of opportunities to save their Premier League season.

The have won just once in their last ten and losing three of their last four is hardly the sort of form that will boost your chances in a relegation scrap.

They travel to Southampton this weekend to take on a Saints’ side whose good season – six places and seven points ahead of how they finished last year — was blighted by the injury to Jay Rodriguez last weekend. However, they still have more than enough goals in them to take care of Cardiff.

Bet: Southampton 1/2

Stoke City v Newcastle United

Glenn Whelan gets his marching orders. Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

This wasn’t the best of games for the Irish duo of Marc Wilson and Glenn Whelan when the sides met in St. James’ Park; both were shown red cards and Stoke crashed to a 5-1 thumping.

However, Newcastle are a long way from that form having lost four of their last five, including the last three by a combined score of 11-0. Even more depressingly for Newcastle fans, their side have been shut out in five of their last seven away games.

Prior to last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea, Mark Hughes’ Stoke were unbeaten in five, winning four and reaching the psychologically important 40 point barrier.

Bet:  Stoke 23/20

Sunderland v Everton

Two games in hand over fellow strugglers Cardiff, Fulham and Norwich just about keep Sunderland’s hopes alive but, in truth, the abject nature of their 5-1 defeat to Spurs on Monday suggests that Gus Poyet’s players are already preparing for life in the Championship.

At the other end of the table, Roberto Martinez’s incredible season looks like it will bring Champions League football to the blue half of Merseyside and if the Spaniard has anyone to thank it’s Romelu Lukaku whose goals have won no fewer than 12 points for the Toffees this season.

A win this weekend would see Everton break their Premier League record points total (65) and they could get as many as 81 if results go their way.

Bet: Everton 4/5

West Bromwich Albion v Tottenham

He may do that stupid salute thing but there’s no doubting that Emmanuel Adebayor is one of the form strikers in the Premier League having scored 13 goals in his 19 matches under Tim Sherwood.

While Spurs are theoretically still in with a shout of the Champions League, Everton’s form and game in hand means the best they can really hope for is to pip Arsenal to the Europa League spot.

For West Brom, their own game in hand could prove crucial as they sit just five points clear of the relegation zone. Thankfully for Pepe Mel, if James Morrison passes a late fitness test, he will be able to name an unchanged side for the first time since taking over from Steve Clarke.

Bet: Draw 12/5

Liverpool v Manchester City (Sunday 1.37pm)

While we all know this isn’t a title decider, we also know it is. Simply put, whoever comes on on top at Anfield this Sunday should win the Premier League title. A draw would favour both the visitors and bring Chelsea back into the equation.

Daniel Sturridge will come face-to-face with one of his former clubs and, despite not scoring in his last two, will take heart from the fact he hasn’t gone three games without netting for Liverpool all season.

Sergio Augero will be back for City but whether or not he starts may be irrelevant given the form shown by Edin Dzeko in his absence. One thing’s for sure, this game will have plenty of goals.

Bet: Liverpool 6/4

Swansea City v Chelsea (Sunday 4.07pm)

Chelsea have lost their last two away games against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace and with a spot in the Champions League semi-final wrapped up, will once again turn their attention to the Premier League title race.

Jose Mourinho will be keen to preserve his record of having never lost three successive Premier League away games and will be thankful they face a Swansea side that has won just once in their last eight matches.

Sitting six points above the drop zone, Swansea are far from safe but will be thankful there are so many teams in and around them in the fight for survival.

Bet: Chelsea 4/5

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FA Cup

Soccer - FA Cup - Final - Wigan Athletic v Manchester City - Wembley Did you know Dave Whelan once broke his leg? Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Wigan v Arsenal (Saturday 5.07pm)

Arsenal have been terrible over the last month and have gone from looking like potential Premier League winners to struggling to hold on to fourth place. The one bright spot — and their only hope of ending a nine-year wait for a major trophy — has been the FA Cup.

However, they face a Wigan side that has lost only four of 28 games under Uwe Rosler and are unbeaten in their last 12 FA Cup matches. Bouyed by wins over Crystal Palace, Cardiff and Manchester City already in this year’s competition, the Latics could become just the seventh team to retain the FA Cup if they go all the way this year.

Bet: Wigan 6/1

Hull City v Sheffield United (Sunday 4.07pm)

Sheffield United’s run to the FA Cup semi-finals has been nothing short of remarkable, becoming the first team since Wycombe Wanderers to reach the last four while playing their league football in the third tier of English football. They also have two Premier League scalps to their name this season in Aston Villa and Fulham but Hull pose a different threat.

Steve Bruce’s side will be looking to make an FA Cup final for the first time in their history but will have to continue to make do without cup-tied strikers Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long.

Bet: Hull 8/11

Accumulator

A tenner on those results would see you lose a tenner potentially win €76,191.33.Easy.

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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