- FA Cup Betting Preview: Wigan Athletic vs. Southampton – Fire against dire with a semi-final place at stake
FA Cup Betting Preview: Wigan Athletic vs. Southampton – Fire against dire with a semi-final place at stake
This weekend sees the FA Cup sixth round take place, with semi-final spots at Wembley up for grabs. Whilst the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea will be confident of securing their passage to the final four, the most intriguing of encounters pits League One flyers against Premier League strugglers at the DW Stadium.
Wigan Athletic have history in the FA Cup, winning the trophy in 2013 with a famous win over Manchester City. They’ve beaten the same opponents twice in the competition since, but the recent win last time out is up there with their triumph at Wembley. We all know how good this current City team are, so for a League One outfit to outdo Pep Guardiola’s team is one of the standout results of the season.
But it’s not an isolated result for the Latics. Paul Cook’s team have also defeated West Ham and Bournemouth during this cup run and will be confident of getting one over the manager-less Saints. The 4th round win against the Hammers and the toppling of City came down to the goal-scoring form of one man, Will Grigg. The striker has been on fire for a while now and bagged both goals against West Ham and the only strike of the encounter when City travelled to the DW.
If Wigan are to do it again, all eyes will be on Grigg. It’s no surprise he’s 5/1 to score first and 23/10 to score anytime in this one with Paddy Power.
The job of feeding Grigg in goal scoring positions will likely fall on former Manchester United man Nick Powell. He has the same odds as Grigg with Paddy Power, but it’s his ability to play between the lines and feed his teammate, rather than his form in front of goal that could hurt the Saints.
The job of stopping Grigg will fall on a defence that’s conceded 44 goals in 30 Premier League matches this season. The centre half partnership of Jack Stephens and Wesley Hoedt has had a torrid time of late culminating in the 3-0 away loss at Newcastle last weekend and conceding eight goals in their last five Premier League encounters.
That result in the North East was the straw that broke the camel’s back and spelt the end of the manager Mauricio Pellegrino, meaning the Saints go into this one without anyone at the helm and in dire straits. It’s not just the conceding of goals that’s been the problem for Southampton this season, it’s the profligacy in front of goal and ponderous nature of their football that put pay to the manager.
In front of goal they’ve been nothing short of woeful, averaging less than a goal a game in the league. None of their players are in double figures with Charlie Austin leading the way with six league goals, followed by Manolo Gabbiadini on four. Another forward, Shane Long went nearly a year without scoring, finally breaking his duck at the beginning of January.
Put simply the Saints have forgotten how to score. Despite this, you can still get odds of 5/1 on Gabbiadini opening the scoring with Paddy Power.
Whilst Southampton have been dire of late, Wigan’s form has dropped slightly since their epic win over City, having lost their last two League One games, at home to Blackpool and away to Southend. In fact, they only have one win in their last five league matches.
That’s often the way when a lower league side gets their head turned by a run in the cup. However the league form book will likely go out the window when they take the field on Sunday. It’s for that reason we’re ignoring Wigan’s league form and focussing on their cup results when hedging our bets for this one.
We’re going for the Latics flying out the blocks and going straight for the Saint’s jugular. In the midst of their current crisis we think the Saints will fold under the pressure and succumb to an early Grigg opener.
But with a new manager likely waiting in the wings, and the Pellegrini shackles removed there’s a chance they might rediscover their touch in front of goal and the Italian Gabbiadini may start to regain the form he showed when first arriving on the south coast last January. We’re backing the former Napoli man to hit an equaliser before half time, setting up a grand stand finish in the second half.
But for us it’s that man Grigg to do the damage again with the winner, sending Latics fans into ecstasy and planning for another trip to Wembley.
To find out where you can place your bets on Wigan continuing their FA Cup run, head to our list of the best free bets from online betting sites.
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