FA Cup – Previews and best bets – Friday 4th and Saturday 5th February

Although the best bets in this write up are backed up by statistics they are not certainties and still could lose. I will use the statistics to point out likely events in these games, and the best bets are the types of bets that I believe stand a good chance of coming in. The best bets will vary in price as this is a case of taking what the stats give us, rather than trying to force bets for the sake of it. I will be as transparent as possible in each write up about why I feel each bet is best bet material. All bets are rated on a 1-3 points system of how strong we believe the chance of it happening is, with 3 being the strongest. This is just an indication of my confidence and should not be taken as advice on what amount to place on a bet, you should only bet what you can afford to lose.

 

Man United vs Middlesborough

Safe to say it has been a rough time for Man United in the past week or so with the allegations and uncertainty surrounding Mason Greenwood who has been suspended from all club activity until the results of the investigation have been released. In some ways it may be nice for them to get back to playing football now. Transfer deadline day saw Donny Van De Beek leave for Everton on loan and United also had to be busy to stop a last minute bid from West Ham to take Jesse Lingard on loan, a move that was met with some harsh press as there was a feeling of if he is not playing United why would they not let him leave to go somewhere else, but the truth is West Ham are a rival for United this season in terms of securing Champions League or Europa League football, so it is understandable that they would not want to make that rival stronger by giving them Lingard who flourished there last season. There has been a few pundits coming out and saying they feel Boro could cause a big upset here, they have won 5 of their last 6 league games and sit in 6th spot in The Championship, so they are right in the mix in terms of securing a play off spot. I personally don’t see an upset happening here. United will no doubt rotate their squad, but their last home game saw them grab a last gasp winner against West Ham and I feel their players will be desperate to get out on the pitch and let the clubs football do the talking. I see a pretty routine win for United as they run out 3 or 4 nil winners, as Boro will have one eye on what could be a crucial mid week game coming up against fellow playoff hopefuls QPR

Man United to score 3+ goals – 6/4 Skybet (2 points)

 

Everton vs Brentford

A new Everton side with Frank Lampard as manager and new signings like Dony Van De Beek and Dele Alli face a Brentford side in what everton fans hope will be the start of a bright new future for their club. Brentford sit in 14th in The Premier League with Everton 4 points behind them in 16th. Brentford’s premier league situation is very much going to depend on the teams below them who have games in hand, as Everton and Watford both have 3 games in hand on them and Burnley have 5, with Newcastle and Leeds having 2. Now if a couple of those teams can pick up some wins in their games in hand then Brentford could easily be dragged right into the relegation picture, and they will be aware that sides below them like Everton and Newcastle have strengthened greatly for the second half of the season. At this point I don’t think Everton fans will be too concerned about relegation, as many football fans, myself included, expect them to start to gradually climb up the table now. This is a difficult cup tie to weigh up as you have to ask yourself the question will either side want a cup run given their league positioning. I feel Everton would actually prefer it to Brentford as it will give them more games and a chance for Frank Lampard to test out different players and styles, and could help lift the mood around Goodison Park. I feel this should be a good  game to watch as I don’t see either team playing too defensively, and Everton players will be desperate to impress their new boss. I think both sides will score in an entertaining game as Everton do enough to make it through to the next round.

Everton to win and both teams to score – 7/2 William Hill

 

Spurs vs Brighton

I feel this could be the best game in this round of FA Cup fixtures as I am very confident that both sides will be targeting this competition this season. Spurs sit in 7th in the league and Brighton in 9th. Spurs are trying to qualify for European football, but winning any trophy would be huge for Spurs as a club so they will surely be targeting this cup. Brighton have had a good season so far, though I feel a top half finish is the best they can hope for, which would be a great achievement in itself. They to will be desperate for a cup run and their league positioning has almost given them the freedom to be able to target this competition as they have no fears of relegation and almost find themselves in the no mans land of the Premier League as they are safe from the drop but European qualification is surely out of reach with them around 10 points off the pace of sides like Arsenal, Man United and Spurs. I feel Brighton will set up to be tough to beat, they have scored their fair share of late goals this season so I can see them having a plan to stay in the game and have a go late on. I don’t see them parking the bus, as they have proven they can play football, but I feel Spurs will be on the front foot early and Brighton at times will have to sit in and defend well. I feel there is a good chance that both sies will score. Brighton beat Spurs 1-0 when the sides met on new years eve, and Spurs beat Brighton 2-1 when the sides met in November, so both have reasons to be confident. In the last 6 head to head games since 2018, Spurs have won 2-1 in three of those six games, and I feel we could get the same result here. Both sides are consistent with corners in the league and their is no reason to think we shouldn’t get a few corners here, and cards would not be a surprise as both sides will be desperate to win this game and continue their cup run.

Spurs to win 2-1 – 15/2 bet365 (1 point)

3+ corners each team and 10+ booking points each team – 10/11 Skybet (3 points)

 

Wolves vs Norwich

Whilst I feel this may not actually be an enjoyable game to watch, I feel in terms of the result and Value this is one of the standout bets of this weekend. I can keep the write up short as I feel Wolves should easily progress to the next round here. Only Manchester City have conceded less goals in the Premier League this season than Wolves, and whilst their games have sometimes been a bit boring and tough to watch, their style is effective. Norwich have only scored 13 league goals all season and they face one of the best defences here in a game where I really think they won’t want to win. Norwich have just got out of the bottom 3 of the premier  league, and now have a chance to survive this season when just 4 weeks ago they looked down and out. I feel Norwich know they are not going to win the FA Cup this season, of course they have a chance but not a realistic one, so why would they want to play any more games in this competition when it could easily have a negative impact on their survival hopes. These are professional footballers, so i’m not saying they won’t try, but I can see them rotating their squad and feel this is a game where their players may not be as motivated as they would in a Premier League game. This should give Wolves who I have no doubt will target this competition, a great chance to make it to the next round. Wolves are in 8th in the league and whilst they have a realistic chance of qualifying for the Europa League, I feel this competition will be something they are really targeting this season with their solid defence being able to at least keep them in games, and even if they don’t score they will have extra time and penalties if needed. I just think this is a real mismatch here with a bad attacking side, against a very good defensive side, in a competition where one side probably doesn’t want to go any further and one side is targeting this as a real opportunity this season. I expect a comfortable Wolves win.

Wolves to win – 4/6 Coral (3 points)

Wolves to win to nil – 13/8 bet365 (2 points)

Author: Eva Gray