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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Chelsea have solid FA Cup credentials

Manchester United look overrated by the layers

Chelsea were unlucky to lose to Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek
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What's your best bet of the weekend?
Chelsea to win at Leicester in the FA Cup. I was mightily impressed with Chelsea’s approach at Barcelona in the Champions League and they only failed to spring a shock because of a lack of punch in the final third. If they take the positives out of that performance then I can see a decent end to the season for the Blues, starting with victory at the King Power.

Who are the most vulnerable favourites?
Manchester United are in turmoil and I couldn’t be backing them at 1-3 against anyone. Brighton have been good recently and Chris Hughton can give this quarter-final a real go. United may finish second but the two efforts against Sevilla plus Jose Mourinho’s style have changed the mood at Old Trafford.

Who would be your FA Cup outright punt?
I’d say Chelsea. Of the big three who are left, they’ve got arguably the trickier of the fixtures so 4-1 about the Blues is a pretty generous price. I’ve got little positive to say about Manchester United at the moment while Tottenham are a long way from their best without Harry Kane.

Is Mark Hughes a good appointment for Southampton?
In the short-term I’d have to say, yes. A Hughes team is one that is hard to beat, so I would imagine he’ll bring some resilience to a team who always were well organised but looked an absolute shambles at Newcastle last weekend. Long-term, I’m not so sure. There’s a Southampton way of playing and I’m not sure Hughes will buy into that.

Is Lionel Messi the greatest footballer of all time?
It’s very hard to say but it’s easier to come up with arguments supporting the question rather than opposing it. He is a genius – he lights up a stadium. Plenty of good forwards have an eye for goal, but he also has an eye for his teammates, too, and that makes him so hard to defend against. I never saw Pele so it’s impossible to compare eras.

Which of the new England boys has the best chance of becoming a regular?
Given the dearth of outstanding centre-backs in this country, there must be scope for Alfie Mawson or James Tarkowski to go on to become regulars. England used to be famed for the calibre of centre-back but those higher in the pecking order are all flawed and none commands an automatic spot in an England starting 11.


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Given the dearth of outstanding centre-backs in this country, there must be scope for Alfie Mawson or James Tarkowski to become regulars
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