The FA Cup resumes this weekend with Chelsea heavy favourites to win the cup. However with Aston Villa, Manchester City and Tottenham still in the competition, it’s not as simple as just backing Chelsea to win it all.
Chelsea v Cardiff
What you can back Chelsea on is their 5th round tie against Cardiff. The odds are ridiculously low (Chelsea are 1/7 to win) and you’d be better placed betting on the winning margin than on the outright win itself. Chelsea are 2/1 to score more 4 or more goals and 3/1 to win by 4 or more goals, reflecting the lopsided nature of the contest.
Southampton v Portsmouth
Southampton are 7/4 to win the tie and 7/2 to score in both halves – good bets that reflect Southampton’s marginal superiority over Portsmouth despite playing in a lower league.
You’d think that Portsmouth will rise to the occasion – and they do have the team spirit to do so – but the quality is sorely lacking and against a confident, determined Southampton side we’re fairly certain that Pompey will slip up a few times, beating themselves as much as the Saints will beat them.
Betting Tip – back Southampton at 7/4 to win.
Derby v Birmingham
Birmingham are expected to knock Derby out of the cup but I feel that they are in for a surprise – they haven’t found it easy to score goals all season and in a cup tie with nerves on edge, they could end up dry once again. Derby have in contrast kept three consecutive clean sheets coming into this game.
Birmingham may have Derby’s number going on past meetings between the two clubs, but recent form suggests that the home team is more likely to win.
I don’t see an early resolution to the game though.
Betting Tip – back Draw/Derby at 11/2 in the Half-Time / Full-Time stakes.
Reading v West Brom
What counts for more – head to head records or recent form? In any case, both Reading and West Brom go into this game on a decent winning streak. Reading have won four of their last five matches in all competitions, while West Brom have won their last four matches.
Reading have also won four and lost none of the Baggies’ last six visits to Berkshire, so on that alone you might peg this as a possible Reading win. This one’s almost too close to call, but at least you can expect goals.
Manchester City v Stoke
Man City have won five of the last six meetings with Stoke. The Citizens are unbeaten in 20 competitive matches at Eastlands since April 2009, winning 17 of these. Carlos Tevez has scored six goals in his last four appearances at home for City.
However, Stoke are unbeaten in seven games in 2010, and while I expect that run to come to an end on Saturday, it won’t be given up without a fight. A close result beckons.
Betting Tip: Manchester City to win 2-1 at 13/2.
Bolton v Tottenham
A match where the form is way more important than league postions. Tottenham have been below par away from home and Wolves fans must have been wishing they could play Spurs every week. Bolton will be a good match for Spurs on the day and we could see the Wanderers grabbing a home win.
Betting Tip: Back Bolton to win at 12/5.
Fulham v Notts County
The only question here for punters is – how many goals will Fulham win by? Notts County may have a new owner but that’s not going to bump up their playing form. In fact, we reckon the tie should be over by half-time.
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Aston Villa will need to put the disappointment of a draw against 10-man Manchester United behind them and focus on progressing in the FA Cup. Palace will put up a fight but there’s just too much quality available for Martin O’Neill, who will also be backing Warnock get a chance with England now that Ashley Cole is injured.
Betting Tip: Gabriel Agbonlahor to open the scoring at 9/2.