Belfast Telegraph

Steven Beacom's FA Cup predictions

The Premier League takes a break this weekend with the FA Cup coming into focus as the big boys enter the third round.

There are some intriguing ties, and as always in this famous old competition, there is sure to be a shock or two.

Sports Editor Steven Beacom picks out 13 matches over the weekend and gives his predictions with Paddy Power providing the odds.

All games kick-off at 3pm on Saturday, unless stated.

SPURS v WIGAN (Friday 8pm)

It all starts with one of the few all Premiership matches in the third round. Spurs had a poor Christmas and find themselves in a relegation fight entering 2009 while Wigan are on a real high and thinking about qualifying for Europe. It won’t happen through the FA Cup with Harry Redknapp spurring his side on to victory. Remember Harry won it with Portsmouth last year. He’ll fancy going all the way again.

Beacom Prediction: 3-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Spurs to win 5/6 Wigan to win 7/2 Draw 12/5


Back in 1984, Plymouth reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Don’t expect a repeat this time.

Beacom Prediction: 4-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Arsenal 2/9 Plymouth 12/1 Draw 5/1


In their last game, Chelsea conceded a late goal to draw 2-2 with Fulham harming their title chances. That result and the fact that they are due to face Manchester United next weekend will focus the minds which is bad news for Southend.

Beacom Prediction: 4-0

PADDY POWER ODDS: Chelsea 1/9 Southend 25/1 Draw 7/1


Potential shock here especially if Stoke players continue to fight each other. A draw would be a decent bet.

Beacom Prediction: 1-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Hartlepool 3/1 Stoke 10/11 Draw 12/5


Tasty match this one. If Newcastle defend set pieces as poorly as they did against Liverpool, they are going to be in trouble. Somehow I think Joe Kinnear will have put them right on that score and Michael Owen (pictured) might just inspire them to a dramatic victory.

Beacom Prediction: 2-3

PADDY POWER ODDS: Hull 7/5 Newcastle 15/8 Draw 23/10


If Everton get through this, they would make for a decent flutter for Wembley. Under David Moyes, the Toffees have suffered a few shock defeats over the years in cup competitions, but I fancy them to come through this time.

Beacom Prediction: 1-3

PADDY POWER ODDS: Macclesfield 9/1 Everton 1/3 Draw 15/4


How the once mighty Forest have fallen. From European Cup glory to struggling to stay in League One. City can’t afford to have any sympathy for them - and won’t.

Beacom Prediction: 5-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: City 4/11 Forest 8/1 Draw 7/2


Tony Adams could do with a win here. Defeat and his future at Pompey will come under threat. Bristol City will provide a few problems, but Portsmouth’s hold on the Cup should still be there after this fixture. Just.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Pompey 4/7 Bristol City 11/2 Draw 11/4

PRESTON v LIVERPOOL (Saturday 5.25pm)

All eyes will be on Steven Gerrard, although he may be in the stands not on the pitch. Former Reds striker Neil Mellor will be the Preston player to watch. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he netted, but Liverpool, hitting form, should have enough to edge home in what should be an entertaining fixture.

Beacom Prediction: 1-2

PADDY POWER ODDS: Preston 13/2 Liverpool 4/9 Draw 16/5


If you fancy a shock, have a look at this one. Fulham have been going well, but there is always one top flight side to go and they might be the team to be humbled this time.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Sheff Wed 11/5 Fulham 5/4 Draw 23/10


Another of the all Premiership clashes. With both involved in the relegation battle, I’ll be interested to see what teams are put out.

Beacom Prediction: 2-1

PADDY POWER ODDS: Sunderland 5/4 Bolton 9/4 Draw 9/4


Martin O’Neill at Wembley has a certain ring about it. Gillingham won’t be the team to stop that dream.

Beacom Prediction: 1-3

PADDY POWER ODDS: Gillingham 8/1 Villa 4/11 Draw 7/2


For those of you old enough, I’m sure memories will be revived of a certain FA Cup final in 1976 between these teams. For those of you not, I’m sure you will see the winning goal from Bobby Stokes a few times before the 2009 re-match kicks off. Those were heady days for the Saints under the guidance of Lawrie McMenemy, who of course went on to manage Northern Ireland, badly!

That victory at Wembley helped put Southampton on the map and they stayed there for a couple of decades. Lately though they have been on a downward spiral unlike United who have won domestic and European honours galore.

The romantic in me would love to suggest an upset, but it isn’t going to happen.

I just hope Southampton don’t get hammered too much.

Beacom Prediction: 1-3

PADDY POWER ODDS: South’mpton 10/1 United 3/10 Draw 4/1

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