Brighton v Newcastle United
Saturday 28 January 2012 5.15pm (live on ESPN)
Brighton achieved their dream of a new permanent home when the ‘American Express Community Stadium’ opened after years of the club being thwarted by a local council who bizarrely put every obstacle in their way over many years.
So a new ground for United fans to tick off and possibly a crucial match in our season.
A win on Saturday and a kind 5th round draw could see a potential route to glory opening up. With Manchester City out and one of Liverpool/Manchester United to follow, combine that with our returning African stars and with the quality of certain Newcastle players why shouldn’t we dream?
Saturday’s opponents fell away in the league after a great start, culminating in four successive defeats in December.
In January though they have bounced back to lie 2 points off a play-off place, while in the FA Cup they struggled past Conference team Wrexham. The league wins included turning over high flying South coast rivals Southampton 3-0.
As we all know Cup games can be a strange beast and so nothing less than 100% application will do from United’s players.
Players to watch out for? Obviously if he plays, Kazenga Lualua will be a player we hope doesn’t come back to haunt us, he looked to have ability but possibly not up to the Premier League. The player who stands out for me is striker Craig Mackail-Smith who scores goals (7 so far this season) and plays with a bit of style.
As the Premier League team though, Newcastle should be expected to come through this tie and we are confident they will, if playing to potential and ironing out that second forty five minutes at Craven Cottage.
I hope that, fitness worries aside, we keep the same team and formation that played so well in that first half against Fulham.
Two brilliant goals by two of our in-form players accounted for Blackburn in the previous round and I expect both Jonas Gutierrez and Hatem Ben Arfa to be major players this time.
In fact Ben Arfa features in our first suggested bet as we are taking him to continue his excellent recent scoring run and score the first goal in a 3-1 win, a double result which pays 50-1 with our betting partner BET365.
Newcastle created plenty of chances in that first half at Fulham and we expect the same here as United should boss the possession, so we suggest Newcastle to score at least once in each half which would pay 2-1. Finally, Davide Santon had a poor second half last Saturday like most of our team but his surging runs upfield have been a major feature in recent matches, so we are tipping a small flutter on him scoring a goal any time in the match which would give you odds of 16-1 with BET365.
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