Reading v Crystal Palace
Palace are as short as 13/2 in places to actually win the FA Cup. What the f*ck? I’d genuinely rather go paint-balling with ISIS than back the Eagles at that price. They might have enough to get past a very ordinary Reading side here though.
Betting: Crystal Palace to win at 7/5 (Hills)
Everton v Chelsea
Other clubs may be distancing themselves from the famous old trophy but both Everton and Chelsea know if they want silverware this season it will have to come in the FA Cup. It’s game over for the loser and I’m slightly surprised to see the Toffeemen chalked up as slight (13/8) favourites for this. Goals should be nailed on as both teams have had their onion bag interfered with on countless occasions so far this season. And if it’s goals you want look no further than Romelu Lukaku. He’s scored 23 goals this season and also scored in each of his last three games. The former Chelsea man – who was never given a chance at the Bridge – will also be desperate to show his former employers just what they are missing.
Betting: Lukaku to score first at 5/1 (Paddy Power)
Arsenal v Watford
All eyes will be on Arsene Wenger’s team selection here. And he’s got a proper headache. Does he put a strong side out and attempt to become the first boss since the 19th Century to win a hat-trick of FA Cups? Or does he rest key players in the hope of somehow reversing a 2-0 first leg deficit against Barcelona in the Champions League next week at the Nou Camp? That’ll be the same Barcelona who are unbeaten in 36 matches and who have scored 111 goals during that run. Lordy lordy it’s going to be a big balls call either way. I know what I’d do. But then the highlight of my own managerial career was guiding Torino to an unlikely Scudetto on Championship Manager Italia back in 1993.
Betting: Both teams to score at 5/6 (Bet Victor)
Manchester United v West Ham
West Ham are absolutely flying and still have a chance of finishing in the top four. Which is mental. I’m not sure whether Slaven will shuffle his pack here having won four on the bounce but for the Red Devils this one is a game-changer. Their Europa League hopes hang by a thread after their 2-0 loss to bitter rivals Liverpool on Thursday while a top-four finish now looks a tough ask (they’re three points behind Man City – who have played a game less). Yet despite what is known I still have a gut feeling they’ll win this and actually go on to lift the FA Cup. And after a season that fans would label odd at best (and f*cking sh*te at worst), United fans would probably take that.
Betting: Depay to score – Manchester United to win at 100/30 (Ladbrokes)
Norwich v Manchester City
Dropping into the bottom three in March is not ideal but that’s where the Canaries find themselves and one wonders whether they have the necessary firepower to haul themselves to safety from here? Winning football matches has become a real problem for Norwich and I fancy Pellegrini’s mob to do a job on them here.
Betting: Manchester City (-2) to win at 4/1 (Sky Bet)
Bournemouth v Swansea
Both of these teams have really stepped it up in recent weeks meaning top-flight football is almost assured for both next season. Indeed the Cherries are now as big as 100/1 to go down and they’ve adjusted so well to life with the big boys despite a string of injuries to key men. So with the threat of a sh*tty Tuesday night trip to Huddersfield averted hopefully we’ll see a decent game here and both teams to score is stood up here and begging to be spanked.
Betting: Both teams to score at 11/10 (Coral)
Stoke v Southampton
There’s always goals when these two square off and I was surprised to see Stoke as big as 7/4 for the win here. They followed three wins with a battling 1-1 draw at Chelsea and are on course to record their best-ever points return in a Premier League season. The Saints are no joke themselves but can be a bit flaky in the road. Home win.
Betting: Stoke to win and both teams to score at 21/4 (Stan James)
Aston Villa v Tottenham
It’s three games without a win now for Spurs but the camel coats still make them red hot 8/15 favourites to beat Villa here. What can you say about Villa? Relegation has yet to be confirmed but they are 1/1000 to go down now, which I’m told is the same price as Sir Alex Ferguson to win Strictly Come Dancing. Or Kanye West to name his next child Fred.
Betting: Tottenham to win to nil at 7/5 (Paddy Power)