FA Cup Weekend Betting Preview
The FA Cup third round weekend is one of the most exciting of the English football season, with the Premier League sides finally entering the competition. It pits lower league clubs against the elite, with the chance of giant-killings always an exciting prospect.
Perhaps the highlight of this year’s third round draw, however, is an all-Premier League clash between Liverpool and Everton. The Merseyside derby is the most red-carded in Premier League history, although there’s an even more unusual stat which the Reds will be looking to correct.
Despite the Reds’ league dominance at home – they’re on an 18-game unbeaten run against their rivals spanning almost 20 years – they have never beaten Everton in a cup tie at Anfield. The last time the Toffees lost at that ground in either the FA Cup or League Cup was in 1892, when Anfield was their home stadium and they were beaten by Burnley.
Of the last 10 head-to-heads at Anfield, there’ve been five draws, including the sides’ most recent encounter in December. That match ended 1-1 with a contentious penalty awarded to the team in blue, and Wayne Rooney converting. Sam Allardyce’s men only had one other shot on target from open play in the whole game.
Despite Allardyce having an impact at the club, things still aren’t right, with their most recent outing a subdued loss to Manchester United at home proof of that. They also lost to stugglers Bournemouth and drew with West Brom over the festive period, while Friday’s rivals are now 16 games unbeaten in all competitions and have recently thrashed Swansea and beaten Burnley. For that reason, back the Reds to finally end their cup voodoo over their neighbours at 2/5 with William Hill. There’s not great value there, so look to scorers for a better bet. Liverpool´s front four of Salah (23), Coutinho (12), Firmino (16) and Mane (8) have contributed 77% of all of Liverpool’s goal this season. With the former two out injured, back one of the others to step up. Firmino is at 13/10 with Unibet as an anytime scorer, while Mane can be backed at 17/10 with Betway.
On the same night, Manchester United welcome Derby to Old Trafford. The Rams are flying high in the Championship, currently in second place and on a seven-game unbeaten run and notching five wins in the process. United meanwhile were looking void of ideas over the Christmas period, but their New Year’s Day victory over an uninspired Everton ended their three-match winless run. United have lost consistency since their defeat to City, getting sent out of the Carabao Cup by Championship club Bristol City.
Nevertheless, the home side remain massive favourites with the bookies. There isn’t much value backing a home win therefore and it certainly doesn’t seem worth it given Derby’s impressive form of late. They’ve only conceded in three of their last 10 matches in all competitions, priding themselves on their solid base. In this clash, they’ll be keen to keep as tight as possible to try to make United return to Pride Park, where they’ll feel more confident of getting a result. For that reason, backing United not to score two or more goals is a tempting bet at 15/8 with Coral.
The holders of the competition Arsenal travel to managerless Nottingham Forest on Sunday, fresh from facing Chelsea midweek. Arsene Wenger is likely to rest a lot of his stars; something he does year on year in the FA Cup. It gives the home side a tad more hope; they’ve only won one of their last eight games in the league. They’ve failed to score in three of their last four games at home, and in their last three matches in the league.
Whilst Wenger’s resting of key players may seem like a good thing for the home side, it will likely work in their contra as some of Arsenal’s fresher players and youngsters will be motivated to put in a good showing. For that reason, we still fancy the Gunners to qualify, and a low-scoring win to nil looks likely. Back both teams to score: no at 15/8 with Bet365, or go for specifics and get a 0-2 Arsenal win at 15/2 with Bet365.
Arsenal’s heated rivals Tottenham are also in action on Sunday, with League 1 strugglers AFC Wimbledon making the trip to play at Wembley. The Wombles are just in the relegation zone in the third tier of English football, and a trip to Wembley will be a nice distraction from their league woes. Nevertheless, it would be unwise to expect them to suddenly be able to overturn a strong Spurs side; Mauricio Pochettino will likely make changes, but the likes of Erik Lamela, Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko will probably feature. For that reason, back the second string Spurs side to go for goals. Back a game with over 3.5 goals at 23/20 with William Hill.