Antonio Conte’s men too strong for second tier Hull
We’re now entering the business end of this season’s FA Cup competition. 16 teams remain but only one can go on to lift the famous trophy on the hallowed Wembley turf.
Manchester City, tipped for FA Cup glory prior to the third round, are now 2/1 with 888sport to win the competition for a sixth time and punters will be keen to back Pep Guardiola’s men ahead of Monday’s trip to Wigan Athletic.
The Premier League leaders actually feature in the final leg of this week’s televised FA Cup accumulator. But we start on Friday night with Chelsea at home against Championship side Hull City.
Antonio Conte held onto his position after Monday’s 3-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion but defeat here could prove costly. Check out our top betting advice on the televised fixtures below…
CHELSEA vs Hull City
We’re running out of superlatives to describe Eden Hazard. One of the most gifted players in world football, the Belgium winger was central to Chelsea’s win against West Brom.
At this moment in time, Conte cannot afford to crash out of the FA Cup so the Italian will probably go with a strong team and Hazard can be his difference maker yet again.
The visitors have problems of their own. Hull, currently lingering just one point above the Championship relegation zone, were tipped by some to bounce back this campaign but it hasn’t panned out that way.
The Tigers fans will be hoping for a minor miracle but this one could be one-sided if Chelsea find an early breakthrough. Punters should snap up the 3/4 on offer for a Blues win and a clean sheet.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY vs SWANSEA CITY
Currently 17th in England’s second tier, the home side may opt to prioritise survival ahead of an FA Cup run. However, you would still expect Wednesday to have a real go on home soil – Swansea are in for a difficult afternoon.
The selection, under 2.5 goals, has landed in four of the last five fixtures involving both clubs and 13/20 is a reasonable price to go in an accumulator.
Will Carlos Carvalhal receive a good reception at Hillsborough? Only time will tell. The Swans boss will be expecting to push Wednesday close, especially after their 8-1 victory over Notts County in the fourth round replay earlier this month.
Swansea are not the finished article by any means but with Carvalhal at the helm, the south Wales outfit can climb up the Premier League table and a good cup run would certainly go down well with the supporters.
TIP: Under 2.5 goals @ 13/20
Huddersfield Town vs MANCHESTER UNITED
The Terriers were outstanding against Bournemouth on Sunday and David Wagner will be demanding more of the same this weekend.
Are Huddersfield dark horses for FA Cup glory? You’d have to agree that they are right in the mix. Win here and with a bit of luck, Huddersfield could have a favourable quarter-final draw. The Wembley arch is just about on the horizon…
Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were far from assured defensively in the defeat at Newcastle and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Jose Mourinho wring the changes.
Should either player start, betting on cards may be the best option – Huddersfield are likely to put the Red Devils under pressure. But if anyone can cope with an early onslaught, it is Manchester United. I fancy the visitors to take a lead into the break.
TIP: Manchester United to win the first half @ 22/25
Rochdale vs TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
FA Cup romantics would love Rochdale to prevail here but this is going to take some effort for a home win. Currently sitting in the League One drop zone, a confidence boosting win would go some way to transforming Rochdale’s campaign.
Never say never but a home win looks very unlikely – even after taking Tottenham’s Champions League excursions into account.
For Spurs, this should be a case of business as usual. Tottenham struggled to get past Newport County in the previous round and Mauricio Pochettino will want to avoid a replay in what is already a pretty congested fixture schedule.
I fancy the visitors to nick this with a solid defensive display. 16/25 for the win to nil is worth a punt.
Wigan Athletic vs MANCHESTER CITY
Wigan’s priority is the League One title – that much is obvious. However, the Latics will be looking forward to this clash; can the third tier side defeat the mighty Manchester City?
In short, no. Not on paper, at least. Football is a funny old game but I’m expecting a dominant away win, this one could get ugly for Wigan. Having said that, most expected City to run riot in the 2013 final and look what happened there.
Talk of an unprecedented quadruple is getting louder. Pep Guardiola’s side have had to deal with their fair share of injury issues in recent weeks but City should have enough quality to advance to the next round.
With the title race all but over and a Carabao Cup final looming, this isn’t a top priority for Pep but City will still field a strong squad and the 3/5 for an away goal in both halves is very tempting indeed.