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Will the Last 32 of the FA Cup Spring Any More Shocks?
It’s FA Cup 4th Round time, and as always Grosvenor Sport’s football betting experts have boosted odds on goalscorers in the televised ties.
Here’s Adrian Clarke’s take on six contests that will keep our interest over the weekend…
Derby County v Leicester City
Friday 27th January, 19:55.
Darren Bent (remember him?) has played in four FA Cup matches as a Derby County player, and guess what, he’s scored in every single one of them.
To make it five in a row, the experienced 32-year-old has been Price Boosted to 6/1 from 5/1 to notch on Friday night. Stranger things happened.
Pitting in-form promotion hopefuls against the struggling Premier League champions, in front of a full house under the lights, this has all the makings of a crackerjack East Midlands derby.
Steve McLaren’s men won’t have any fear. They’re unbeaten in nine matches on home turf, keeping clean sheets in EIGHT of them! To shut out Leicester City – who’ve failed to score in four of their last six – odds of 21/10 are on offer.
Claudio Ranieri won’t want to worsen his plight by exiting the FA Cup, so Leicester City will go for it, but it will be a close run thing.
Liverpool v Wolves
Saturday 28th January, 12:30.
Recent Anfield exploits by Plymouth, Swansea and Southampton will have buoyed the Wolves dressing room no end ahead of this 4th Round clash. For so long a fortress, the Reds suddenly look vulnerable on their own patch.
A horrendous start to 2017 has put them under intense pressure not to exit two cups within a week, so it looks the perfect time for Paul Lambert’s men to try their luck. The 9/1 on an away win is tempting.
I’m expecting a backlash though.
Yes, Jurgen Klopp will rest some players ahead of the six-pointer with Chelsea on Tuesday night, but there’s no way he’ll want to come into that contest with egg on their faces. Liverpool will be pumped up.
After missing two sitters in the EFL Cup semi-final I’m expecting Daniel Sturridge to enjoy a positive rebound. He’s Price Boosted to score 1st at 100/30 (from 3/1) in the 90 minutes, and I believe he’ll do so in a 2-0 win. (6/1)
Southampton v Arsenal
Saturday 28th January, 17:30.
The Saints were sensational in midweek when booking their place in the EFL Cup Final, but don’t be surprised to see an ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ type performance on Saturday night. Great highs in football are often followed by a nasty fall.
Arsenal won’t bank on it though. They’ll tread carefully.
Claude Puel’s men have already eliminated them from one competition this term, and they utterly despise trips to St Mary’s Stadium. It’s now almost 14 years since they last won at Southampton, and they were abject on their last two visits, losing 4-0 and 2-0.
The 13/5 on the hosts making it three in a row is an eye catcher in the market.
Wednesday night’s hero Shane Long is probably the man the Gunners fear most. He netted twice the last time they visited, destroying Laurent Koscielny on the night. There’s a Price Boost on the Irishman to net the first goal at 7/1 (from 6/1).
Can Southampton’s patched up rearguard (minus Virgil van Dijk) hold firm just as they did so bravely at Anfield? Lightning will be difficult to strike twice, and against an Arsenal side that’s scored nine goals in their last three away games, it may be beyond them.
I’m plumping for a Gunners win with both teams to score. At 11/4 will you join me?
Millwall v Watford
Sunday 29th January, 12:00.
The Lions got lucky when Eddie Howe chose to make 11 changes for their trip to The New Den in Round 3, and I have an inkling the Hornets may do them a favour too.
Walter Mazzarri’s Watford head for Emirates Stadium just two days after this cup tie, so the visitors’ team sheet will make interesting reading. If the Italian sends his second string into battle, another South London upset is on the cards.
With Millwall priced up at just 39/20 against top-flight opposition, I’m clearly not alone in my thinking.
Momentum is definitely with Neil Harris’ men. They’ve won four home games on the spin, strikers Steve Morrison and Lee Gregory are plundering goals for fun, and this will be the first match since the club received the welcome news that a compulsory purchase order to buy their stadium has been withdrawn.
Sutton United v Leeds United
Sunday 29th January, 14:00.
What a run it’s been for the plucky non-leaguers, but they’ll need the game of their lives to see off Garry Monk’s Leeds United. He’s constructed an impressive outfit.
The 4G playing surface at Gander Green Lane won’t necessarily be to the Yorkshiremen’s taste, but they’ll prefer that to a mud bath.
It may suit tricky wide man Kemar Roofe, who shot to fame by scoring twice against Swansea for Oxford United in the FA Cup last season. Certain players get a taste for goals in this competition, and the £3million signing is my selection to make the breakthrough.
Sorry to put a damp squib on those of you hoping for a giant killing, but I see this as a routine away success. Jump on Leeds to win without conceding, at 7/4.
Manchester United v Wigan Athletic
Sunday 29th January, 16:00.
Two of the last three winners of the FA Cup meet at Old Trafford in a match that should never have been chosen for TV.
After brushing Reading aside 4-0 in the last round, who in their right mind thinks this will be any more competitive? Not many of you I’m sure.
A victory for Latics boss Warren Joyce would however provide a fairytale story of sorts. He managed Manchester United’s reserve team between 2008 and 2016, and would revel in beating his former employers. Rated as 15/1 shots though, it seems unlikely.
Who’ll be the star of the show?
It’s all set up for Marcus Rashford, a player Joyce described as being ‘in the same category’ as Paul Pogba when coming through the ranks at Old Trafford.
The Wigan chief may know the strikers’ game inside out, but trying to stop him is a different story. Rashford to score anytime in another 4-0 triumph (8/1) is how I’m tipping this one.
Of course, you can enjoy all these televised games live at your local Grosvenor Casino!