Our writer previews the FA Cup quarter-finals which kicks off on Saturday afternoon.
The FA Cup is known for producing those magical moments, great goals and last but not least, giant killers. Such is the task at hand for semi-pro side Lincoln City as well as League One underdogs Millwall. The former and latter will travel to north London to take on Arsenal and Tottenham respectively.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take one small step back. New rules come into play in the FA Cup quarter-finals this season, with all ties decided on the night. Should any finish all-square after 90 minutes, then extra-time and penalties will be played to decide the outcome. Teams will also be permitted to make a fourth substitution should their match go into extra-time.
The quarter-finals will get underway at the Riverside Stadium with Middlesbrough going up against Manchester City. And the final tie and what is undoubtedly the main event will take place on Monday evening – an all English Premier League clash between heavyweights Chelsea and Manchester United. So, with four eye-catching FA Cup quarter-final ties on show, I will be looking to squeeze every bit of value out of them.
Saturday 11 March
Middlesbrough 6/1 | Draw 34/10 | Manchester City 4/10
Middlesbrough are without a win in their last 10 league games and will now turn their attention to what will certainly be a stern test against Manchester City. Boro have played all their FA Cup games this season on home soil, beating Sheffield United 3-0 in the third round, Accrington 1-0 in the fourth and a hard-earned 3-2 win over Oxford United in the last 16. The Smoggies handed Manchester City their biggest defeat (8-1) in the 2007/08 campaign and will look to that victory for confidence to take down the Citizens.
Manchester City come into this clash unbeaten in their last six matches but were disappointing last time out playing to a goalless draw on home soil against Stoke City. However, the Sky Blues have annihilated all who have stood in their way of the FA Cup thus far, thrash West Ham 5-0, Crystal Palace 3-0 and Huddersfield 5-1 on aggregate in the round of 16. That’s a total of 13 goals with just one conceded in the process. Back Man City on the (-1) Handicap at 21/20! Get on!
Arsenal 1/20 | Draw 10/1 | Lincoln City 33/1
Arsenal will welcome non-league side Lincoln City to the Emirates Stadium after being humiliated by Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening. The Gunners were hammered 10-2 on aggregate in their UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie against the Bavarians.
And with fans now calling for manager Arsène Wenger’s head, the French tactician will be desperate to bounce back to winning ways with a convincing victory over the minnows. Nonetheless, it looks to be the fans that are against Wenger and not the players, who put in a spirited first half performance against Bayern before succumbing to the superior Germans.
Lincoln City are at the summit of the National League, six points clear of their closest rivals. The minnows have been on a long and memorable FA Cup run and will shed blood, sweat and tears to keep the dream alive. They kick-started the tournament with a 2-1 victory over amateur side Altrincham before edging Oldham 3-2.
In the third round, they ground out a 1-0 victory over Ipswich and then surprised most with a 3-1 trouncing of Championship title-hopefuls Brighton & Albion before their biggest and most impressive victory yet – a hard-earned 1-0 win away to a stubborn Burnley side. However, Arsenal are a different beast and one that the Imps will need to somehow contain. Goals are expected here, so get on the Both Halves Over 1.5 Goals at 29/20.
Sunday 12 March
Tottenham 1/7 | Draw 13/2 | Millwall 16/1
Tottenham and League One side Millwall will square off in the penultimate FA Cup quarter-final match of the round. Spurs are unbeaten on their ground in the league with 12 wins and two draws from 14 games, scoring 33 goals and conceding just seven times. Tottenham thrashed London rivals Fulham 3-0 in the fifth round and will look to capitalize on home advantage here.
Millwall have been absolutely outstanding, killing giant after giant. The first English Premier League side they put to bed came about in the third round, thrashing Bournemouth 3-0 on home soil. The Lions then claimed a 1-0 victory over Watford before edging Leicester City by the same scoreline. But Millwall will need to be at their very best if they are to upset the applecart with a shock victory. I think the Lions will give it their all and really make Tottenham work their socks off and with that being said, I'm backing Tottenham on the Matchbet + Both Teams To Score (Yes) market at 23/20.
Monday 13 March
Chelsea 8/10 | Draw 49/20 | Manchester United 34/10
Chelsea and Manchester United will lock horns at Stamford Bridge in the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup on Monday. Jose Mourinho will be hoping for a better result on his second return to Stamford Bridge since being sacked last season, with United losing 4-0 in the league to the Blues last year.
Chelsea, who are looking to win a ninth FA Cup, are 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, 17 points ahead of Manchester United, having played a game more. Conte’s side have won 15 of their 16 matches at Stamford Bridge this season, including 12 on the spin. They’ve scored 47 goals in the process while conceding 11 times.
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United booked their place in the last eight of the competition with an excellent comeback victory against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park last month, before defeating Reading and Wigan by 4-0 scores. Mourinho's side are in fine form – unbeaten in nine matches with seven wins – and are on a high after claiming the EFL Cup in a 3-2 win over Southampton.
Chelsea are incredibly tough to beat at home, with Antonio Conte’s side going unbeaten at Stamford Bridge since the formation switch to 3-4-3. Hollywoodbets are offering Price Boosts and Specials for the mouth-watering clash, so get on the Diego Costa to Score Anytime and Chelsea to Win at 18/10.
QUAD TIPPED @ 18/1
Man City (-1) Handicap (21/20)
Arsenal v Lincoln City - Both Halves Over 1.5 Goals (29/20)
Tottenham Win + BTTS (23/20)
Chelsea Win (8/10)
Written by Aaron Crowie @Hollywoodbets