Matches are coming thick and fast for English clubs as we switch our attention to the oldest national football competition in the world this weekend.
Image Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Manchester United and Liverpool headline this round of matches, with many of the Premier League’s heavy-hitters seeking to gain entry into the next stage to prevent reigning champions Arsenal from defending their title and claiming a record 15th FA Cup.
Friday 22 January
16/1 Chorley | Draw 7/1 | Wolves 1/8 (21:45)
Chorley are the lowest ranking team left in the competition after slaying Championship outfit Derby County (2-0), in the third round and now play host to Wolves in the opening clash on Friday night. Wolves won’t want to become victims of a FA Cup giant-killing.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were knocked out by Manchester United last season and will look to take advantage of an easier path this time around. Take the Away Win to Nil market at 15/20 as the Wolf Pack seek to claim silverware and an avenue to qualify for European football.
Saturday 23 January
3/10 West Ham United | 39/10 | Doncaster Rovers 8/1 (17:00)
West Ham have welcomed back Michail Antonio from a continuous thigh injury issue, an influential member of the team who always leaves everything on the pitch for manager David Moyes. The Hammers will be hoping Antonio can stay fit until the end of the season with the London club aiming to challenge the likes of Wolves, Everton and Leicester to qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
Doncaster Rovers have already bettered their performance from the previous campaign, unfortunately, the League One club don’t have enough quality to penetrate a Moyes’ team that have been difficult to break down in 2021. Clean Sheet Home Team (Yes) is the play at 15/20 odds.
11/10 Millwall | 22/10 | Bristol City 26/10 (17:00)
Millwall and Bristol City lock horns at The Den. The Lions have been toothless on home soil, going winless in eight games with three defeats and five draws, in that form, it’s no surprise that Gary Rowett’s side are hovering precariously above the relegation zone.
Bristol City have been woeful on their travels as the Robins lost four of the last five matches on the road that has dashed their hopes for promotion into a very outside chance. I’m expecting these sides to settle for a share of the spoils after 90 minutes of cagey football.
5/10 Bournemouth | 32/10 | Crawley Town 47/10 (17:00)
Bournemouth welcome League Two club Crawley Town to the Vitality Stadium. The Cherries will be counting on the likes of Dominic Solanke, Junior Stanislas and David Brooks to take the lead in an attacking sense. Crawley Town were the name on everyone’s lips after humbling highly-regarded Leeds United in a convincing 3-0 victory, with the Red Devils needing another stellar performance to continue their fairy tale cup journey. My money is on Bournemouth.
19/10 Barnsley | 43/20 | Norwich City 29/20 (17:00)
Barnsley and Norwich City come into the clash with respective 2-0 wins over Coventry City and Tranmere Rovers. The hosts have won four of the last five matches at the Oakwell Stadium, while Norwich have been victorious in three of the past four away ties.
These sides met at Carrow Road three weeks ago with the Canaries edging out a 1-0 victory thanks to an Emiliano Buendia strike. If I had to pick a winner, I’d sway towards Norwich, however, I suggest backing Under 2.5 Goals at 7/10 which seems the smartest option.
9/20 Brighton | 36/10 | Blackpool 11/2 (17:00)
Brighton’s task was a difficult one against Newport County after playing 30 minutes of extra-time and claiming victory in a nail-biting penalty shootout that also marked Percy Tau’s debut for the Seagulls. Since that match, Graeme Potter’s men have played quality football in a 1-0 defeat to Man City before earning maximum points over Leeds United in the Premier League.
Blackpool, under the guidance of former Liverpool coach Neil Critchley, will be hoping to break their five-game winless streak on their travels when the Tangerines make the trip to the Amex Arena. The Premier League side are tipped confidently on home soil.
11/10 Swansea City | 24/10 | Nottingham Forest 23/10 (17:00)
Swansea City have been formidable at the Liberty Stadium, going unbeaten in nine matches while only conceding twice in that period. Jamal Lowe and Andre Ayew will have the responsibility of leading the line for Steve Cooper’s Swans with both forwards in decent goal scoring form. Nottingham Forest under the tutelage of Chris Hughton will prove a difficult task. Forest are enjoying an upturn in form in the league that is slowly lifting them out of the dreaded drop zone. Under 2.5 Goals is my play at 7/10 odds.
4/10 Sheffield United | 36/10 | Plymouth Argyle 57/10 (17:00)
Sheffield United play host to League One outfit, Plymouth Argyle, at Bramall Lane in the last of Saturday’s lunchtime fixtures. The Blades come into the clash with two wins in three matches beating Bristol Rovers in the previous round, before edging out a 1-0 Premier League win over Newcastle. Plymouth Argyle have only won twice on their travels in 15 games with both victories coming in this competition. The home win is the way to go.
15/1 Cheltenham | 7/1 | Manchester City 1/8 (19:30)
Cheltenham close out Saturday’s action as Pep Guardiola’s Man City visit League Two opposition at Jonny-Rocks Stadium. The Robins stand very little chance as suggested by the betting. My money is on Both Halves Over 1.5 Goals at 33/20 odds.
Sunday 24 January
2/11 Chelsea | 57/10 | Luton Town 11/1 (14:00)
Chelsea welcome Luton Town to Stamford Bridge in Sunday’s early kick-off with Frank Lampard’s army hoping to finish off the season in strong fashion. The visiting League Two opponents nicknamed the Hatters stand very little chance if any, due to their woeful away form. Home to Score in Both Halves is the best market to explore at 13/20.
12/10 Fulham | 9/4 | Burnley 22/10 (16:30)
Fulham and Burnley do battle at Craven Cottage for a spot in the fifth round. The Cottagers have improved significantly in the last four weeks as the likes of Liverpool, Southampton and Tottenham have all failed to beat Scott Parker’s men.
Burnley find it very difficult to score in away matches with the Clarets facing a very real possibility of getting dragged into a fight against relegation because of their lack of a cutting edge. When these sides met previously, we were entertained with goal-filled encounters as the evenly matched opponents both had a proper go at each other. Go against picking a winner here and take Over 2.5 Goals at even money.
26/10 Brentford | 22/10 | Leicester City 1/1 (16:30)
Brentford host Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City who are flying high in the Premier League and are likely to ring a few changes. The Bees have been impressive under Danish tutor Thomas Frank, who’s side have only suffered a single defeat all season, when they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Tottenham in the semi-final. The Foxes were victorious last season when they beat Brentford 1-0, thanks to an early Kelechi Iheanacho strike, in last season’s fourth round. The away win is tipped.
31/20 Manchester United | 5/2 | Liverpool 15/10 (19:00)
3/10 Everton | 9/2 | Sheffield Wednesday 8/1 (22:00)
Everton look to go one better than last season’s FA Cup run, where the Toffees were edged out 1-0 at Anfield by Liverpool. Carlo Ancelotti’s men are notoriously difficult to break down and will surely make it a tough evening at Goodison Park. Sheffield Wednesday missed out on a quarter-final berth after facing Man City in last season’s FA Cup. The Owls will come into clash with confidence thanks to an upturn in form which includes four wins from five matches. Everton will surely make home advantage count and secure the win.
Monday 25 January
14/1 Wycombe Wanderers | 6/1 | Tottenham Hotspur 1/6 (21:45)
Bottom of the barrel Championship outfit, Wycombe Wanderers, close out the round on Monday night against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham. Spurs fielded a very strong line-up against non-league opponents Marine FC in the previous round, so expect the Lilywhites to not take any unnecessary risks again. Away Win to Nil is the way to go.
TREBLE @ 9/2
West Ham Clean Sheet 15/20
Fulham vs Burnley Over 2,5 Goals 1/1
Chelsea Score in Both Halves 13/20
Written by Bryan Naicker