FA Cup Fourth Round Preview: McEachran returns to the Bridge

fa cupThis weekend’s FA Cup action sees struggling Championship side Bristol City travel to Burnley, in hope of a turnaround in fortunes. Last year’s FA Cup finalists Crystal Palace host Manchester City, who hope for another successful trip to the capital. There is a shorter journey for West Londoners Brentford and midfielder Josh McEachran, who returns to Stamford Bridge.

Burnley v Bristol City

After eight straight league defeats, all by a single goal, Bristol City need any sort of win to gain some confidence. This blog believes their fortunes will change, because Expected Goals statistics would suggest they have been unlucky in recent matches – more on this here. Sean Dyche normally likes a settled side and system but, it seems, in this competition. He made seven changes for the replay against Sunderland and the Clarets have never gone beyond the Fourth Round under the ex-defender’s management. 1-2

Chelsea v Brentford

Josh McEachran was rejected by Chelsea due to his questionable attitude and lack of physicality for a deep midfield role. Contrary to a previous article in which this blog has criticized McEachran, he has linked up play well for Brentford recently and shown signs of rebuilding his career. On Saturday, McEachran could meet some of his old colleagues from Chelsea’s development squad. With Antonio Conte’s eyes set firmly on Tuesday’s trip to Anfield, the likes of Nathan Ake, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathaniel Chalobah are likely to feature. 2-0

Crystal Palace v Man City

Manchester City’s first successful trip to the capital in the FA Cup saw them defeat West Ham 5-0 in a thoroughly convincing display. Their willingness to play out from the back has been criticized at times this season but, without doing so, they would not have scored a lot of those goals. Crystal Palace needed a replay to see off League One Bolton in the Third Round, and it was an unconvincing performance against Sam Allardyce’s old club before Christian Benteke’s saving double. 0-3