This week saw the Champions League come screaming back into our lives, but this weekend arguably the only club cup competition more famous than that returns as the likes of Everton, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal attempt to make it through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
But don’t worry, fans of league football, only two of our four Saturday selections come from the cup, with games from two very similar towns – Yeovil and Malaga – completing our coupon.
Last week we were thwarted by some very odd results, but don’t fret. If the FA Cup has taught me anything, it’s that you can always rely on the favourites winning (I think).
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Arsenal to beat Blackburn @ 7/25
This one shouldn’t take much explaining. The Gunners welcome Blackburn Rovers, and whoever their manager will be by the time Saturday rolls around, to the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger’s side have negotiated wins over Swansea City (after a replay) and Brighton & Hove Albion to get this far, while Rovers beat fellow Championship teams Bristol City and Derby County.
With 20-goal hitman Jordan Rhodes up front, the Lancashire outfit will fancy their chances of scoring, but as Arsenal are the third top scorers in the Premier League this season with 50 in 26 outings, Wenger will be confident of guiding his side through safely.
The last thing that convinced me of a home win in this clash is their previous meeting in the Premier League last February, where Arsenal triumphed by a mere seven goals to one.
Barnsley to beat MK Dons @ 19/10
This is the crucial one, the clincher, the big cheese, the mac daddy, the big mac… I’m hungry all of a sudden. What was I talking about?
Oh yes, to beef this acca up (or horse it up, depending on where you shop) I have decided to go for the slightly unfancied Barnsley to emerge victorious at MK Dons.
Despite being a division above, the Tykes are 2/1 outsiders to knock Karl Robinson’s side out of the FA Cup, but it is not just their placings in the football ladder that has me backing Barnsley.
The Yorkshire side are in good form, unbeaten in seven games in all competitions, and have taken 13 points from a possible 18 in their last six league outings.
By contrast, the artists formerly known as Wimbledon have not won a League One game since New Year’s Day and have lost three of their last four at stadium:mk.
Yeovil to beat Scunthorpe @ Evens
At this moment in time, Yeovil may be the best team in the world.
Okay, that may be pushing it, but the Glovers have been on an incredible run of form recently, losing only one league game since November and even more incredibly, winning their last seven matches.
That run has included five straight triumphs at Huish Park, though their visitors on Saturday are no strangers to victories of late.
The Iron came back from a goal down to beat Crawley Town last weekend and followed that up with a home win against Carlisle United in midweek.
The fact is, though, that Scunthorpe United have conceded as many goals as bottom-placed Hartlepool United this season (52) and Yeovilona (that’s right, I said it) should have too much for them.
Malaga to beat Athletic Bilbao @ 87/100
We end the evening in Spain, with fourth-placed Malaga entertaining out-of-form Athletic Bilbao.
Marcelo Bielsa’s charges wowed the world last season with their imperious performances against the likes of Manchester United and Schalke in the Europa League, and superstars like Markel Susaeta, Ander Herrera, Oscar De Marcos and Iker Muniain were sprung into the limelight.
However, this season has not delivered the expected progression. In fact, the Basque outfit have fallen drastically, which was exemplified emphatically by a crushing 4-0 defeat at home to Espanyol last week.
Manuel Pellegrini’s Malaga have had the odd hiccup of late, but overall have done what many expected Bilbao do this season and challenge for the top four slots, just as they did in the last campaign.
With their own emerging superstar in the shape of Isco, Malaga are capable of carving up the meanest of rearguards and can also boast the best defensive record in La Liga.
Follow David on Twitter @whichdave