Cheeky Punt: FA Cup exits for Liverpool, Arsenal

Date published: Friday 27th January 2017 2:30

Derby County v Leicester City
Big East Midlands derby on Friday night where over 5,500 Foxes fans will be making the trip to Pride Park. It’s absolutely off the scale that Claudio Ranieri’s future at Leicester is being called into question by some just a few short months after delivering the Premier League title, but results (particularly away from home) have been terrible of late and I guess that’s the fickle nature of the modern game. Derby, unbeaten at home since Steve McClaren’s return to the club, look very tempting here despite losing eight of their last nine against Leicester.

Betting: Derby to win at 19/10 (Bet Victor)


Liverpool v Wolves
After their stunning EFL Cup exit Liverpool are facing a huge week which starts against Wolves in the FA Cup and then sees them face title leaders Chelsea on Tuesday night. Put simply, Jurgen Klopp’s men have endured a wretched January, with an FA Cup third-round replay win over Plymouth their sole victory in seven matches since the start of 2017. They are suddenly looking like a tired team incapable of playing the high octane pressing game Klopp wants them to play. Daniel Sturridge is clearly not suited to Klopp’s system and came in for more criticism after missing another couple of sitters against Southampton in the week. Wolves know they have a free swing here and will head to Anfield looking to cause a shock. They are 11/1 to spring an unlikely upset and under the circumstances that might be worth tickling.

Betting: Wolves to win at 11/1 (Paddy Power)


Chelsea v Brentford
The Blues play Liverpool on Tuesday night so will surely rest players here and this means Michy Batshuayi will have the chance to show Antonio Conte he’s worth persevering with. The young Belgian has only scored four times this season, but three of those have come in the cups, including a fine effort against Peterborough in the third round.

Betting: Batshuayi to score first at 100/30 (Hills)


Crystal Palace v Manchester City
Steaming into 8/15 shots away from home will, as a rule, leave you eating out of bins and living in the doorway of a Tesco Express. However I just can’t see past Pep Guardiola’s men here given the fact that Big Sam is just not arsed about the world’s oldest knockout competition. Never has been, never will be. He would gladly trade a spanking here in favour of picking up a point or better at Bournemouth on Tuesday. If you are reading this Sam, I will also donate £50 to a charity of your choice if you break out the East 17 headgear again.

Betting: Manchester City to win 3-1 at 11/1 (Betfred/Stan James)


Middlesbrough v Accrington
Accrington stunned Boro at The Riverside in the League Cup back in 2013 as they came from behind to win 2-1. If you fancy lightning to strike twice you can back the same score at a whopping 28/1. But I don’t see the Accy going wacky on Teesside. Boro made five changes in the last round but still were plenty good enough to gub Sheffield Wednesday.

Betting: Middlesbrough (-1) to win at 19/20 (Coral)


Tottenham v Wycombe
Mauricio Pochettino claims Spurs have not made any “special” plans to stop Adebayo Akinfenwa, other than to presumably avoid any post-match arm wrestling shenanigans in the players’ lounge with the beefy Soccer AM stalwart. ‘The Beast’ is expected to lead the Chairboys as they look to spring a shock in north London. Harry Kane will miss the tie which means Vincent Janssen – who I shrewdly napped as a 50/1 outsider to win the Premier League golden boot back in August – should feature. He’s scored one in the league so far, so is going to have to get a wriggle on if I am to get Coral to part with a monkey in May.

Betting: Janssen to score first at 3/1 (Betfred)


Southampton v Arsenal
I admit I raised my eyebrows to the jauntiest of angles when I read that Claude Puel was taking over at Southampton. Yet he has whipped them into a well-drilled, defensively diligent outfit who put on a masterclass in how to defend a 1-0 lead at Anfield on Wednesday. With Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez again set to be rested, the Saints look worth nibbling here at 13/5 surely?

Betting: Southampton to win at 13/5 (Hills)


Sutton United v Leeds United
Sutton are currently available at 5000/1 to win the FA Cup, the same price as Leicester were last season to win the Premier League. And we all know what happened there. Yet while the Foxes created history, Sutton are going to have to go some just to get past Leeds here. Their 3G pitch gives them a sniff but ultimately I fancy Leeds to progress in an entertaining affair.

Betting: Leeds to win and both teams to score at 12/5 (Paddy Power)


Manchester United v Wigan
Just when they looked to be building up a real head of steam United have gone flat again. Two draws in the league were followed up with an insipid display against Hull. They lost the battle but won the war on Humberside and you can’t honestly make a case for backing them here at 2/11. Wigan have won their last three games and roared on by a decent following should be able to keep this competitive.

Betting: Manchester United to win by one goal at 100/30 (Sky Bet)


Degsy Bilton

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