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FA Cup Predictions > Jan 7th - 10th


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It is hard to see any of the non-league sides making it to the 4th round unless Covid hits as it did for Derby when they played Chorley a year ago. The strange thing is though I put up Chorley at 12/1 to beat Derby and yet Kidderminster are nowhere near that price to beat Reading. Kiddie are probably a bit better than that Chorley side, but then I suspect Reading are better than Derby so even if you thought that Kiddie could get something you are hard pushed to thing the price is much value. Bournemouth ought to be too strong for Yeovil who were probably a little fortunate to get past Stevenage in the last round. Boreham Wood have the best chance as they are very hard to beat at home and if they are up to speed after a Covid break (they looked in need of the game against Barnet on Sunday) then they can make things hard for Wimbledon.

Finally we get to the game I will actually be at. I've never seen a live FA Cup game past the 1st Round so it will be a new one for me and I've never been to Stamford Bridge either. I've got to say that the 50/1 you can get on the away side is a bit insulting because they are a very good side and I find it hard to believe that Chelsea aren't going to be resting all the big names so chances are they could make it hard for them. To be honest I am more excited about seeing Tshimanga in the flesh than I am any of the Chelsea team (mainly because I haven't actually heard of most of them), as he is the best player in the National League at the moment. He's Championship standard and it would not surprise me if he scored a goal because he is more than capable of doing so. The only problem is I have backed him at 40/1 to be top scorer this season and I don't really want anymore attention on him during this month! So I will have a few quid on him to score at anytime whilst trying to keep up to date on if any of the league clubs get a Covid issue.

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Chelsea vs Chesterfield

Kick Off: 01/08/2022 13:30

 

Chelsea

The Blues have taken runners-up medals in the last two editions of the tournament. They defeated Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final and got a well-deserved victory. For Thomas Tuchel’s side, the Premier League championship may now be far away, but they are now unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and easily defeated their London opponents in the middle of the week, which ended the worrying home draw.

Chesterfield

The visiting team have not been through the third round of this tournament since 2015. James Rowe's side have surpassed Curzon Ashton, Southend United and Salford City. They defeated King's Lynn 1-0 in the National League game at the weekend and are currently lead by two points in the National League standings.

 

Prediction

Chesterfield are unlikely to face some of the big-name players that Chelsea must provide, but the mix of fringe players and young Blues players should still do the job convincingly.

 

 

Chelsea to win in -2.5/-3 AH

 

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Bristol City vs Fulham

Kick Off: 01/08/2022 08:30

 

Bristol City 

The hosts have shown erratic performance throughout the season, even though they did rise to 15th in the championship standings after their last win against Millwall. In the process, Andreas Weimann who completed a hat-trick, scoring two goals for Bristol City to win the points and keeping the club away from the relegation zone by 11 points.

Fulham

Marco Silva is aware of the importance of this game because the West Londoners have not won since November 20th. After the last round of home game against Sheffield United, the team have only recently achieved four draws and one defeat, and Fulham are now four points behind champion leaders Bournemouth with two matches in hand.

 

Prediction

For now, it remains to be seen whether the mandatory rest is good or bad for Fulham, but it does increase the chances of being selected for the preferred team. With this in mind, we are backing the Cottagers to prevail by the odd goal in three on Saturday afternoon.

 

 

1X2 Pick: 2

Final Results: 1-2, 0-2

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Swindon vs Manchester City

The FA Cup 3rd Round action kicks off this weekend with the 8pm GMT start between League Two side Swindon and Premier League leaders Manchester City on Friday night from the County Ground. This is a true David versus Goliath affair and even though this cup competition is famous for shock results in matches like this it does feel like the likelihood of that happening here is far more remote.

Swindon are enjoying a decent season in the league with the club currently in 3rd place and occupying one of the automatic promotion spots in the table. Manager Ben Garner was tasked with getting the club back into the third tier of English football after their unceremonious relegation last season. It was a controversial appointment given his awful record at Bristol Rovers but the players at the Gas at the time spoke very highly of him and he's done a solid job with the Robins so far. Attacking prowess is one of the team's strengths with the club averaging 1.55 goals scored in the league and have only failed to score in 2 of their last 12 home matches. The festive period has seen the club's schedule disrupted by covid though with the team having 3 of their last 5 league games postponed meaning they've only won 2 matches in all competitions since 23rd November, 2021.

Manchester City will be expected to rotate a lot of their first team starters out of the line-up for this game but that still doesn't really make the task in hand for the home side any easier. Pep Guardiola's side are storming into a 10 point lead at the top of the Premier League table. OK, so the Citizens may well rest the likes of Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, and Ruben Dias but they then just bring in the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Jack Grealish, and Nathan Ake. Or whoever Pep will rotate in. Even the youngsters such as Cole Palmer, James McAtee, and Liam Delap have been delivering the goods. Interestingly, City haven't been able to keep a clean sheet in their last three meetings with League Two clubs. City have won two of their last three encounters with League Two sides in the FA Cup by a 4-1 score-line.

I do love the FA Cup and at this stage of the competition it brings back fond memories for me as a Cardiff fan after our giant-killings of Manchester City and Leeds. I can't see Swindon pulling off a shock win here though. This City team is on another planet. I can see this edging closer to one of those 4-1 score-lines but it does depend how much rotation Pep opts for in this game.

Manchester City HT/FT @ 1.61 with Coral

BTTS @ 1.97 with SBK

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Burnley vs Huddersfield

One of the less attractive games on paper in the FA Cup 3rd Round comes from Turf Moor in a 12:30pm GMT kick-off on Saturday when Premier League strugglers Burnley host Championship play-off chasing Huddersfield. Neither side is going to win any awards for their entertaining style of play this season but will a more laborious approach be enough to see either team win here?

Burnley are still paying for their slow start to the league season. Sean Dyche's men are currently in 18th place in the top flight and 2 points adrift of safety but do boast a game in hand on 17th placed Watford above them. The Clarets have only won 1 league game this season and are without a win in their last 7 league matches. The team have had 4 league fixtures postponed due to covid over the last 6 to 7 weeks and that's undoubtedly disrupted their season. It was just 1 loss from their previous 7 league games before their 3 postponed matches in December and it's been back-to-back 3-1 losses since then. Home form has remained resilient this season though with the club unbeaten in their last 4 home league games.

Huddersfield have surprised a lot of fans and pundits with their form this season. @Kenton Schweppes will offer a far better insight into his team's displays than me but from what I've seen Carlos Corberan's men have adopted a very progressive and, in the words of many rival fans, negative style of play to rise to 6th in the second tier of English football. It's now 6 league games unbeaten for the Terriers and they're proving to be a difficult opponent for anyone this season. They have only lost 3 games this season across all competitions by more than a single goal showing how tough they are to break down. The performances of Sorba Thomas, Matty Pearson, and Danny Ward have been winning praise but can they deliver against top division opposition.

There is every chance that these two teams could switch divisions next season with Burnley still in the Premier League relegation zone and Huddersfield occupying a play-off position in the Championship right now. I still feel there is some gap between these two squads in terms of quality and if Burnley want to bounce back to winning ways then this is a great opportunity to do that. I can see a narrow home win in what could ultimately be a very turgid game of football.

Burnley to Win @ 1.80 with Coral

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.90 with Bet365

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Millwall vs Crystal Palace

The FA Cup 3rd Round dishes up a single 12:45pm GMT kick-off on Saturday afternoon when two clubs separated by just 6 miles meet at The Den as Millwall play Crystal Palace. It's a battle between the Championship and the Premier League here with both teams boasting supporter numbers that have earned reputations over the years for being hostile, passionate, and unforgiving.

Millwall are having one of those seasons where they appear to just be existing. The Lions are in 11th position in the second tier with relegation unlikely to be a worry for them but promotion also looking like a tall order. Manager Gary Rowett is doing his standard solid job with a lack of consistency once again the issue. Speculation has plagued the club over recent days with star player Jed Wallace seemingly heading to the exit door despite the club denying these rumours. Besiktas, Nottingham Forest, and Middlesbrough are amongst the interested parties. I'll be honest and say Wallace's departure could be a killing blow for the club. He is key to so much good in that team. His goals, assists, and creative play have made him one of the most sought after attacking talents in the Championship. Home form could be vital for Millwall here with the team only losing 1 of their 11 matches at home this season.

Crystal Palace come into this game as a team that are also struggling for consistency. Patrick Vieira's men are also in 11th place in their table but have failed to string a run of wins together this season so far with defeats upsetting any momentum they are hoping to build. The Eagles have struggled on the road this season earning just 1 win from their 10 away matches in all competitions including losing each of their last 3 away matches without managing to score. Defensive issues have been a cause for concern for Vieira in recent matches too with the team conceding 8 goals in their last 4 matches. Palace have also lost their last three matches in the FA Cup. Will Vieira see this game as a chance to get back to winning ways or will he rotate to protect his better players for the league?

This is one of those tricky games where I am very tempted to back the home team to win. Millwall have been very hard to beat at home this season and when you put that up against Crystal Palace's shoddy away form the difference in playing level begins to balance out. I do think home advantage could swing it for Millwall here and I can see them taking at least a draw.

Millwall Draw No Bet @ 2.74 with SBK

BTTS @ 1.95 with Bet365

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Kidderminster vs Reading FC

2022-01-08T16:00+01:00

 

Kidderminster

Doubtful:

Out (injuries/other): Cliff Moyo (0/0 d)

Suspended: -

 

Reading FC

Doubtful: Danny Drinkwater (12/1 m), Dejan Tetek (8/0 m), Liam Moore (17/2 d)

Out (injuries/other): Andy Yiadom (20/0 d), Baba Rahman (18/0 d)(both national selection), Andy Rinomhota (5/0 m), Michael Morrison (8/0 d), Tom McIntyre (4/0 d), Lucas Joao (2/0 f), Yakou Meite (0/0 f)

Suspended: -

 

Daily updated injuries and suspensions information from more than 100 football leagues and competitions worldwide at: www.injuriesandsuspensions.com

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Liverpool vs Shrewsbury Town

Kick Off: 01/09/2022 10:00

 

Liverpool

Premier League giants Liverpool are third in the table with 42 points after 20 games. They drew 2-2 with Chelsea last time out. Jurgen Klopp‘s side have played well throughout the season, although they have failed to win their last three games, they can always return to form to beat their opponents. Liverpool didn't lose a game at Anfield for a winning streak in their last seven games and have scored three or more goals in five of their last ten.

Shrewsbury Town

Steve Cotterill's men have been relatively unaffected by the coronavirus cancellations so far, and they travel to Merseyside in good form, with three wins from their last four. Shrewsbury have also kept a clean sheet in their last three games, including a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in their first game of 2022 last weekend.

 

Prediction

The exact scale of Liverpool's coronavirus outbreak and which players have been affected remains uncertain. Nonetheless, even second-tier Liverpool teams should be more than capable of beating their rivals.

 

 

Liverpool to win in -1.5/-2 AH

 

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Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal

Kick Off: 01/09/2022 13:10

 

Nottingham Forest

Nottingham are hoping to stop a two-game losing streak after failing to score in their last two Championship games against Middlesbrough and Huddersfield Town. Forest can believe they have lost just one of their six home matches in the Championship since early November - conceding just three goals in the process.

Arsenal

Mikel Arteta have finally found the winning formula as his Gunners looked dangerous even against Manchester City last weekend. Speaking of that game, Arsenal unfortunately conceded a goal in stoppage time and ended up losing 2-1 to the Premier League leaders at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners were enjoying a five-game winning streak in all competitions before this defeat.

 

Prediction

It remains to be seen what kind of squad Nottingham Forest will roll out in their COVID-19 cluster, but Arsenal's young Gunners should have no problem establishing their authority on the City Ground.

 

 

Arsenal to win in -0.5/-1 AH

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20 hours ago, StevieDay1983 said:

Burnley vs Huddersfield

One of the less attractive games on paper in the FA Cup 3rd Round comes from Turf Moor in a 12:30pm GMT kick-off on Saturday when Premier League strugglers Burnley host Championship play-off chasing Huddersfield. Neither side is going to win any awards for their entertaining style of play this season but will a more laborious approach be enough to see either team win here?

Burnley are still paying for their slow start to the league season. Sean Dyche's men are currently in 18th place in the top flight and 2 points adrift of safety but do boast a game in hand on 17th placed Watford above them. The Clarets have only won 1 league game this season and are without a win in their last 7 league matches. The team have had 4 league fixtures postponed due to covid over the last 6 to 7 weeks and that's undoubtedly disrupted their season. It was just 1 loss from their previous 7 league games before their 3 postponed matches in December and it's been back-to-back 3-1 losses since then. Home form has remained resilient this season though with the club unbeaten in their last 4 home league games.

Huddersfield have surprised a lot of fans and pundits with their form this season. @Kenton Schweppes will offer a far better insight into his team's displays than me but from what I've seen Carlos Corberan's men have adopted a very progressive and, in the words of many rival fans, negative style of play to rise to 6th in the second tier of English football. It's now 6 league games unbeaten for the Terriers and they're proving to be a difficult opponent for anyone this season. They have only lost 3 games this season across all competitions by more than a single goal showing how tough they are to break down. The performances of Sorba Thomas, Matty Pearson, and Danny Ward have been winning praise but can they deliver against top division opposition.

There is every chance that these two teams could switch divisions next season with Burnley still in the Premier League relegation zone and Huddersfield occupying a play-off position in the Championship right now. I still feel there is some gap between these two squads in terms of quality and if Burnley want to bounce back to winning ways then this is a great opportunity to do that. I can see a narrow home win in what could ultimately be a very turgid game of football.

Burnley to Win @ 1.80 with Coral

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.90 with Bet365

I'm fairly confident we'll win this, Burnley seem hit by a few covid cases, are in pretty wretched form with only 2 wins all season, one of those against Rochdale in the League Cup. If we are a decent price I'd say we were worth backing today.

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Leicester vs Watford

The reigning FA Cup winners are in action at 3pm GMT on Saturday afternoon when Leicester host Watford at the King Power Stadium in this 3rd Round tie. These two Premier League clubs are both hitting below their expectations in the league so will see this game as a chance to boost morale with a win. The home team are favourites but can the away team cause an upset?

Leicester showed last season that they have what it takes to go all the way and win the greatest club cup competition in the world. Brendan Rodgers' side may well be in 9th place in the Premier League and have suffered from a lack of consistency in terms of results and performances this season but there is no denying the quality still present within their squad. The Foxes remain a team that are vulnerable defensively but also potent in attack. Both teams have scored in 9 of their last 12 matches to emphasise this. The team have also conceded in 23 of their last 26 matches so the leaking of goals has been a constant problem this season. When you look at the potential absentees for this game you can see why Leicester have had problems at the back with Caglar Soyuncu, Ricardo Pereira, Daniel Amartey, Jonny Evans, Ryan Bertrand, James Justin, and Wesley Fofana all ruled out or doubts to be involved.

Watford are loitering just outside the relegation zone in the top flight of English football and it does feel that the gamble to bring in Claudio Ranieri to save their Premier League status isn't quite paying off. The Hornets have lost 9 of their 11 matches under the Italian and the covid outbreak that hit the club back in December doesn't appear to have helped the team at all. Defence is also a problem for Watford with the team failing to keep a clean sheet in their previous 17 matches. Watford are also suffering from a number of absentees still with the likes of Ismaila Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis, William Troost-Ekong, Francisco Femenia, Adam Masina, and Nicolas Nkoulou all doubts or already unavailable.

Judging by the number of players missing on both sides this could simply be a game that tests how strong the depth of each squad is now. Leicester are severely destroyed by injuries, illness, and international call-ups. Watford are suffering slightly less on that front but don't quite have the depth in talent that Leicester boast. This is a tough one to call. Ordinarily, I'd back Leicester and with both teams missing key players I can still see the home team winning but it's going to be close.

Leicester to Win & BTTS @ 3.40 with Bet365

Total Goals Scored Over 2.5 @ 1.81 with SBK

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Newcastle vs Cambridge United

The FA Cup 3rd Round throws up another mismatch at 3pm GMT on Saturday afternoon when Premier League club Newcastle host League One side Cambridge United at St James' Park. Not only is there a huge gap in terms of where these two sides are competing in the English football pyramid but the financial health of both clubs can quite comfortably be considered worlds apart.

Newcastle have just started to flex their financial muscles with the signing of right back Kieran Trippier but it is very much still the same squad they started the season with. Eddie Howe hasn't quite managed to make a notable difference to their league form with the club down in 19th place and having lost 3 of their last 4 league matches but this is a big chance for the Magpies to start turning results around. It's just 1 loss from their last 5 games played at home and if they can make their home ground a bit of a fortress then that can provide a solid foundation to work on. One statistic that will give Newcastle players and fans confidence is that the club have not been knocked out of the FA Cup against League One opposition or lower in over 30 years.

Cambridge United will be looking forward to this game and probably fancy their chances against a Newcastle team that aren't enjoying the best of seasons in the league so far. Head coach Mark Bonner has done a cracking job so far earning the club promotion to League One and with the club currently in 16th position they are holding their own at this new level. Unfortunately, current league form isn't great with the club earning just 1 win from their last 8 league games and they haven't even scored in their most recent 3 league games. Their FA Cup trail has been frantic so far. A 2-2 draw away to Northampton in the 1st Round saw them earn a replay which they won 3-1 at home. Then their 2nd Round match was a 2-1 victory at home against Exeter.

It'll be interesting to see which side Howe puts out for this game. Newcastle are already without a number of first team players due to injury and illness. The big question will be if we see any involvement of key duo Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin. It's not looking likely and that could leave the Toon Army open to being shocked. If Cambridge United can keep the Newcastle attacks at bay then the longer the game goes on the more chance they have of sneaking a winner. I can't see Cambridge getting turned over heavily so it'll be a tense day for Newcastle fans.

Cambridge United +3 @ 1.70 with SpreadEx

Total Goals Scored Under 3.5 @ 1.73 with Sporting Index

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Port Vale vs Brentford

One of the more interesting ties in the FA Cup 3rd Round this weekend is the 3pm GMT clash on Saturday afternoon between League Two promotion-chasing Port Vale and Premier League new boys Brentford at Vale Park. These two clubs may be a number of tiers apart in the English football pyramid but they're experiencing contrasting fortunes in the league this season.

Port Vale are one of those clubs that seem to go about their football lives without drawing too much attention to themselves. They are perhaps most well known for counting pop star Robbie Williams as their most famous supporter. The thing is that Port Vale are making decent progress this season under manager Darrell Clarke. I wrote an article for Football League World a few years back tipping Clarke as one of the Football League's top young managers and he's once again showing exactly why with the club in 3rd place in League Two. Just 2 wins from their last 6 league games has seen their form take a hit recently but after navigating their way past Accrington Stanley and Burton in the previous rounds of the FA Cup they will come into this game feeling optimistic. It's also just 1 loss from their last 7 home matches in all competitions.

Brentford started their top flight campaign in stunning fashion with that shock 2-0 win at home to neighbours Arsenal but the reality of life in the top division of English football has started to hit. Thomas Frank's team are in 12th place in the league table but just 3 wins from their last 12 league matches shows that they are starting to find the victories hard to come by. The Bees have also only kept 2 clean sheets in their last 16 matches in all competitions so the defensive issues are something that Port Vale will be looking to exploit. The club have also failed to win any of their last 5 matches on the road.

You get the feeling this is one of those games where we could see a classic FA Cup giant-killing. The well-performing home team from a lower division will make it very difficult for the inconsistent Premier League visitors. What sort of team will Frank put out? Will he rest key players with a tough schedule coming up? I know it's unlikely but you know I love to back the underdog in ties like this even though Port Vale haven't played for nearly a month due to covid postponements! What can I say? I'm a day dreamer!

Port Vale Draw No Bet @ 4.80 with Betfair

BTTS @ 2.22 with SBK

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West Brom vs Brighton

One more fascinating FA Cup 3rd Round tie coming up at 3pm GMT on Saturday afternoon that I wanted to cover quickly was the game between Championship promotion chasers West Brom and Premier League side Brighton at the Hawthorns. In terms of overall quality, you could argue there's not too much separating these two teams but with both clubs experiencing patchy results recently this could be anyone's to win.

West Brom were tipped to bounce straight back up to the Premier League this season after suffering relegation last time around. It was looking good for the club after the appointment of former Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael and their decent start to the season. However, the Baggies have seen their form drop off over recent weeks with just 2 wins from their last 9 league games leaving them in 4th place and only 3 points inside the play-off positions. It's now no win from their last 3 league matches and not only have they lost their last 3 home league matches against Premier League teams but they were also knocked out of this competition at home by Brighton back in 2019.

Brighton will feel this could be a good season to really make a push at going far in the FA Cup. The Seagulls had a blistering start to their league campaign and even though form dropped off significantly they remain in 9th position, have only lost 4 league games this season, and are unbeaten in their last 3 league matches. Graham Potter's side are one of the most respected teams in terms of their overall set up and playing philosophy. One of the noteworthy achievements of the team this season is their resilience on the road having only lost 1 of their 12 matches on the road in all competitions over a 90 minute period.

The Brighton squad is looking unimpacted by covid and that could make them tough to beat here. Something doesn't quite feel right with West Brom at the moment. Cardiff had a proper ding dong battle with them last week but we are generally a very poor team right now and they couldn't beat us. Even when they had 11 men on the pitch it was an even game. I'm not sure they'll have what it takes to beat Brighton here. A draw is perhaps a decent shout depending on the line-up Potter opts for.

Draw @ 3.35 with Mansion Bet

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.76 with SBK

 

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4 hours ago, Kenton Schweppes said:

I'm fairly confident we'll win this, Burnley seem hit by a few covid cases, are in pretty wretched form with only 2 wins all season, one of those against Rochdale in the League Cup. If we are a decent price I'd say we were worth backing today.

Great call mate. Left it late but got the job done. You must be buzzing with that one.

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Chelsea vs Chesterfield

If you had to pick the most one-sided tie in the FA Cup 3rd Round then it's undoubtedly this clash between Premier League club and reigning Champions League winners Chelsea and National League leaders Chesterfield in a 5:30pm GMT kick-off at Stamford Bridge. Yes, it seems almost impossible to back anything other than a heavy home win but just how big will that win be? Or are we all writing the non-league club off too easily?

Chelsea might have been hogging the headlines recently due to Thomas Tuchel's frustrations at the covid postponement rules and having to deal with the fallout of that infamous Romelu Lukaku interview with Sky Italy. However, the Blues are unbeaten in their last 9 matches across all competitions and currently sit in 2nd place in the Premier League with the club also through to the last 16 of the Champions League and on the verge of a place in the EFL Cup Final. It's uncertain what sort of line-up Tuchel will opt for in this game but he'll certainly be keen to give fringe players some minutes. We could see the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Timo Werner, and Saul given minutes but then a number of younger players such as Xavier Simons, Harvey Vale, and Malang Sarr could be called upon again after being used in the club's earlier EFL Cup matches.

Chesterfield sadly dropped out of the Football League back in 2018 and it's been a difficult time for the club since. Fans of the FA Cup will, of course, remember their historic run to the FA Cup Semi-Finals back in 1997 when Premier League Middlesbrough needed a replay to see off the minnows. That Spireites team including a couple of famous faces in Sean Dyche and Kevin Davies. Fast forward 15 years and this Chesterfield team is top of the National League with a return to the Football League firmly in their sights. Manager James Rowe is doing a sterling job with the team unbeaten in their last 14 matches across all competitions. Curzon Ashton, Southend, and Salford City have all fallen to the sword of Chesterfield in this competition so far but Chelsea are another level completely.

I think it's obvious that the home team will cruise to victory here. I don't mean that in a disrespectful way but there is a huge gulf in quality here. Even if Chelsea fielded their entire youth team then they'd still get a result. I'm going to back Chelsea to pick up an easy clean sheet win with a victory margin of at least 3 goals. I certainly hope Chesterfield fans just enjoy their day out in the capital city.

Chelsea -3 @ 2.30 with Betfair

Timo Werner to Score 2 Goals Or More @ 4.33 with Bet365

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Hull vs Everton

The FA Cup 3rd Round games continue to come thick and fast on Saturday with a clash between Championship club Hull and a struggling Premier League team in Everton for a 5:30pm GMT kick-off at the MKM Stadium. This is one of the matches in this round that you feel there could be an upset. Despite the home team suffering a recent downturn in form and involved in a relegation battle in the second tier they face an away side that are enduring their own problems.

Hull earned promotion to the Championship last season in dominant fashion and there was hope that the team could push on and consolidate their position in English football's second tier. A slow start to their season saw them struggling in the relegation zone but a spell of decent form before Christmas lifted them up the table. Unfortunately, the Tigers have now failed to win any of their last 4 league matches leaving them in 19th position. The team remains an attacking threat having scored in each of their last 8 matches but it's now 5 matches without a clean sheet.

Everton are in complete limbo right now. The fans are on the back of Rafa Benitez with the club down in 15th place in the Premier League and 8 points above the drop zone. The Toffees have only won 1 of their last 12 league games and it's hard to see where their next win will come from. Their last win on the road came back on 28th August, 2021. Both teams have scored in 5 of the last 7 away games that Everton have played. However, history is on their side with the club only enduring 1 loss against lower league opposition in the FA Cup over the last 11 years.

There is no doubt that a lot of people will be piling on Hull to get something in this game with Everton playing like a team completely lost at sea right now. I heard Leon Osman talking about the state of things at the club earlier blaming injuries, illness, and poor tactics. It seems a perfect storm right now. If this game was played a month ago when Hull were on their winning run then I'd fancy them but I think they might have passed their peak now.

Everton to Win @ 1.83 with Novibet

BTTS @ 1.98 with SBK

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Swansea vs Southampton

The final preview from the FA Cup 3rd Round on Saturday afternoon is the 5:30pm GMT kick-off where Championship play-off chasing Swansea host mid-table Premier League club Southampton at the Liberty Stadium. No fans are allowed in the stadium at Welsh football grounds so the home side won't benefit from having a partisan crowd behind them but can they still achieve a shock win?

Swansea had been looking like a team that would be pushing on under new head coach Russell Martin this season but a downturn in results has seen the club freefall down the Championship table. It's now 3 league games lost in a row with the club down in 17th position. There are rumours of the club looking to bring in new players on loan to boost their squad but they are in competition with a lot of other clubs and don't have the financial resources to match other sides in the division. The Swans remain potent in attack at home having scored in each of their last 7 home matches.

Southampton are still that team that are unpredictable for us punters. The Saints are in 14th in the top flight of English football. The fact the team have drawn 4 of their last 6 league matches shows they are a tough side to beat but are struggling to punish teams and take all 3 points. Ralph Hasenhuttl will be looking at the FA Cup as a chance to make some real progress with the club already looking likely to avoid a relegation battle in the league. Defensive fragility is still the Achilles heel of the team though with the club keeping just 1 clean sheet in their last 9 away games.

At face value I was looking at backing Southampton to get an away win but with Swansea so dangerous in the final third at home and Southampton so weak at the back on their travels this does have the makings of a thriller. I could actually see this going all the way and being taken to extra-time if fans were present but sadly they're not. I still think Southampton could have enough to progress but it'll be a tricky one to call.

Southampton to Win @ 1.74 with Novibet

BTTS @ 2.04 with SBK

 

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Amazing performances from Boreham Wood and Kidderminster to win today and from what I could tell in the highlights both wins were fully deserved. 

I enjoyed my trip to Stamford Bridge as did the near 6000 who had come from Chesterfield especially when Asante netted the goal, so close to getting my Tshimanga to score at anytime bet up as he did all the donkey work.

I was amazed at how strong a side Chelsea put out and they meant business in the first half and they fully deserved to be 4 up at half time. 2nd half though they were the total opposite and whereas they were free flowing in the first half in the 2nd they were over thinking things. I know there was an element of game won, but if they had the attitude for the whole game then we might have seen something special. I also have to disagree with @StevieDay1983and if Chelsea had put out the youth team then there would have been only one team I would have wanted to have been backing and it wouldn't be the home team.

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Cardiff vs Preston

It might not be the biggest FA Cup 3rd Round tie of the weekend but it's the only one I'm really interested as my Cardiff host Preston in a 2pm GMT kick-off on Sunday afternoon at the Cardiff City Stadium. These two Championship sides will play in an empty stadium with Welsh Government rules still preventing fans from attending games. Even without the supporters present it should still be an intriguing watch.

Cardiff are still enduring a difficult season with the club down in 20th place and having failed to win any of their last 4 matches. The Bluebirds suffered the disappointing news that arguably our only creative outlet in Ryan Giles has been recalled from his loan spell and returned to Wolves. The winger had earned 9 assists so far this season in a struggling team and without him it's hard to see where our creativity and assists are going to come from. That's not good news for a team that has won just 1 of their last 10 home matches. Manager Steve Morison is working hard to bring in a signing or two but it's not yet known what budget he's working within. It's also tricky to see what line-up Morison is going to go for with survival this season an absolute must and with Kieffer Moore ruled out with covid there is the potential that others could follow.

Preston took the controversial decision to sack former manager Frankie McAvoy and replace him with the highly-rated Ryan Lowe. The Lilywhites have performed well since Lowe's arrival with the club winning both league games he's managed moving the team up to 14th in the table. Lowe will be keen to keep this positive start to his reign going here. Even stretching back into McAvoy's tenure, Preston have lost just 1 of their last 5 games. Interestingly, the last four games they have won have come with 2-1 score-lines and given the fragility of the Cardiff back-line you wouldn't put it past this Preston team to score at least 2 here.

I think there are a lot of Cardiff fans that fancy our chances against Preston here but I actually think we could come unstuck against a team that are enjoying a new manager bounce. Cardiff are unbeaten in their last 5 encounters with Preston including winning the last 4 but it feels that we are still suffering from too many issues at the moment. Our performances against Bournemouth and West Brom weren't bad but we're still just not getting the wins. It's almost like we've forgotten how to win matches and that's a dangerous mindset to slip into.

Preston to Qualify @ 2.20 with Betfair

BTTS @ 1.80 with William Hill

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Charlton vs Norwich

One game where we could be seeing a potential upset in the FA Cup 3rd Round this weekend is in the 2pm GMT kick-off on Sunday afternoon between League One club Charlton and Premier League bottom side Norwich at the Valley. The home side are sat in the middle of their league table but will certainly fancy their chances against an away team that are low in confidence and self belief.

Charlton come into this game in 14th place in League One and have lost their last two league games without scoring a goal but before those two defeats it had been just 1 loss in the previous 9 league matches for the Addicks. Crowd favourite Johnnie Jackson has been given the job on a permanent basis after a successful caretaker spell following the departure of Nigel Adkins back on  21st October, 2021 but maybe that's the mistake the Charlton owners made. It can often happen that results dip when a temporary gaffer becomes permanent. It's strange. On the positive side, Charlton have won 8 of their last 11 games played at this stadium so it's become a bit of a fortress. The team is also free-scoring at home having bagged 2 goals in 4 of their last 6 home matches.

Norwich are still staring an immediate return to the Championship in the face with the club rooted to the foot of the Premier League table. The Canaries took the controversial decision to sack Daniel Farke and replace him with former Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith. The team started well under the new man with 3 league games unbeaten but it's since been 5 defeats on the bounce with two postponements due to covid also thrown in to see the rot set back in. It's just 1 win from 9 away matches this season and it's really hard to see how Smith can save the team from a disastrous end to the season now. Scoring goals has once again become a problem with the team scoring just 1 goal in their last 7 games.

This game is there for the taking for Charlton in my opinion. Premier League survival is undoubtedly the priority for Norwich even though, in my opinion, relegation is looking inevitable. A cup run could boost team spirit and improve their survival chances but I think we'll see Smith field some changes. Charlton are a dangerous proposition at home and we could see them take the win here. At the odds available, you know I love an underdog!

Charlton to Win @ 3.40 with Boylesports

Total Goals Scored Over 2.5 @ 1.96 with SBK

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Liverpool vs Shrewsbury

It's another one-sided affair at 2pm GMT on Sunday in the FA Cup 3rd Round as Premier League title challengers host League One mid-table side Shrewsbury at Anfield. The home team may well be missing some of their biggest players to international duty but will they still have enough to see off the challenge of a spirited team from a couple of tiers below them in the English league pyramid.

Liverpool head into this game with a wealth of absentees. The trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Naby Keita are off at the African Cup of Nations so they have immediately left Jurgen Klopp's severely weakened for the coming month. The likes of Alisson, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Phillips, Thiago, Takumi Minamino, Roberto Firmino, and Divock Origi are also all doubts or in battles to be fit to play so we could see a very limited Reds team fielded here. Liverpool have won 6 of their last 7 home matches and remain undefeated at Anfield so far this season. Anfield has also seen a lot of goals fly in recently with over 2.5 goals scored in 8 of the last 11 games played there.

Shrewsbury entered the FA Cup history books back in 2003 when they inflicted a shock 2-1 defeat on Liverpool's arch rivals Everton. They nearly took the scalp of the Red side of Merseyside in 2020 when they held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at home before losing 1-0 away in the replay. Can they pull off a similar feat here? Manager Steve Cotterill has done a sterling job with the Salop when you take into account he also endured a terrible experience of catching covid-19. Shrewsbury are 15th in League One but have entered a purple patch of 5 games unbeaten including winning 4 of them. However, away form has held the club back with them losing 9 of their 12 away league games but they have progressed to this stage of the FA Cup winning both of their previous rounds away from home. Over 2.5 goals have been scored in 4 of the last 5 away games for Shrewsbury.

I'm interested to see what line-up Klopp goes with for this game. He's already spoken out about how his squad is suffering from covid with Klopp himself and his assistant manager Pep Lijnders both falling ill with the virus. How many first team players Liverpool will field is unknown but you'd think even with fringe players and youth players they should get the job done. It won't be as clear and concise as it should be though. Shrewsbury could well fancy their chances if they keep Liverpool at bay in the opening 20 minutes.

Liverpool to Win & Over 3.5 Goals Scored @ 2.30 with Betfair

Liverpool HT/FT @ 1.75 with Coral

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Tottenham vs Morecambe

The Premier League and League One clash once again in the FA Cup 3rd Round as Tottenham take on Morecambe in a 2pm GMT kick-off on Sunday afternoon at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Everything is pointing towards a standard win for the home team but is there anything to suggest that we could see an upset take place here? Or shall we just back the home win and determine by how many they're going to win?

Tottenham have started to turn their fortunes around under head coach Antonio Conte. We'll put the 2-0 loss away to rivals Chelsea in the EFL Cup Semi-Final first leg to one side. Generally, the team is on the up having gone unbeaten under the Italian in the league and moving up to 6th in the Premier League table just 2 points outside the Champions League qualification places with 2 games in hand. Spurs have won 6 of their last 7 matches played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It's expected that Conte will field a side that gives a few fringe players and younger players a chance to impress.

Morecambe are experiencing a torrid season. Stephen Robinson's side are down in 21st position in the third tier of English football with League Two football next season looming over their shoulders. The Shrimps managed to pull off a 4-3 win at home to bottom-placed Doncaster last week which ended a winless run of 6 league games. The team are yet to concede in the FA Cup so far this season after 1-0 wins over Newport County and Buxton. Away form is a concern though with the team losing 8 of their 11 away league games and conceding an average of 2.45 goals per game on their road trips.

It's really hard to see Morecambe getting close to anything out of this game. Tottenham are looking a lot more drilled under Conte and even if he gives a few younger players a start I expect those that play to get the job done. I can see a clean sheet win for the home team and if they score early then they should go on and win this comfortably by a 3 or 4 goal margin in the end.

Tottenham to Win @ 1.75 with Boylesports

Tottenham -2 @ 1.75 with Sporting Index

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West Ham vs Leeds

It's an all Premier League tie for my penultimate preview of the FA Cup 3rd Round games on Sunday with this 2pm GMT kick-off between West Ham and Leeds at the London Stadium. It'll be interesting to see what sides these two teams put out for this game. Both teams have a number of key absentees but will either of them risk other first team players with their league objectives still the priority?

West Ham have been a class act so far this season with the team currently sat in 5th place in the Premier League and having knocked out both Manchester United and Manchester City on their way to the EFL Cup Quarter-Finals. David Moyes knows he has to deal with a number of selection issues before even considering rotation. Angelo Ogbonna, Kurt Zouma, and Aaron Cresswell are all on the injury table with Said Benrahma off on international duty at the African Cup of Nations. The fitness of Pablo Fornals is also hanging in the balance. Will he want to risk resting the likes of Michail Antonio, Declan Rice, and Tomas Soucek on top of those already missing? Especially when the Hammers could really give the FA Cup a proper go this season. Back-to-back away wins have where the team scored 7 goals sees West Ham enter this game in fine form.

Leeds will be glad to see 2021 gone. It wasn't the best calendar year for the Whites with injuries taking their toll on the squad. The Yorkshire club are still down in 16th place in the league and despite being 8 points clear of the relegation zone have played a number of more games than the teams below them so the bums could get twitchier yet! Marcelo Bielsa's side are still likely to be without a number of first team players for this game including Liam Cooper, Diego Llorente, Pascal Struijk, Tyler Roberts, Kalvin Phillips, Jamie Shackleton, Rodrigo, and, potentially, Patrick Bamford. The 3-1 win at home to Burnley last weekend ended a winless run of 4 matches but West Ham are a completely different challenge.

The head-to-head record doesn't read well for Leeds with West Ham winning the last three meetings. West Ham have scored exactly 2 goals in the last 3 matches against Leeds and with Leeds failing to even score in 2 of their last 3 away games it's hard to find the confidence to back them to win here. I'm going to go for a West Ham win in what could be a thrilling end-to-end encounter.

West Ham HT/FT @ 2.35 with SportNation

BTTS @ 1.74 with SBK

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Wolves vs Sheffield United

The final preview from the 2pm GMT kick-offs on Sunday afternoon in the FA Cup 3rd Round comes from Molineux where Premier League club Wolves host Championship side Sheffield United. These two were battling it out in the top flight of English football last season and the season before that they were both flying high in the top division. Things are a little different now.

Wolves come into this game with the opinion that this is probably a decent season for them to have a real go at winning the FA Cup. Wanderers are 8th in the Premier League with European qualification still a tall order and relegation not looking a likely threat. Bruno Lage has done a great job evolving the team ever so slightly from the Nuno Espirito Santo era. The team may have only conceded 14 goals in their 19 league games but they have also only scored 14 goals during that time so defensive stability is superb but potency up front needs work. Lage must now weigh up how he improves the top end of the pitch performance levels without sacrificing anything at the back. The team are unbeaten in their last three league matches and have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 8 league games. However, Wolves have failed to score in their last 3 home matches.

Sheffield United were a team I thought could thrive under a revolutionary period under Slavisa Jokanovic but unfortunately the appointment didn't work out. The Blades owners then took the controversial decision to appoint Paul Heckingbottom who not only has had poor spells at a number of Football League clubs but also didn't really tear up any trees during a previous caretaker spell with the Sheffield club. As it turns out, the team has improved immensely under the former Barnsley and Leeds gaffer. The team are up to 13th in the Championship table and unbeaten in their last 5 matches including winning each of their previous 3 games. United have also only lost 1 of their last 6 away matches showing how hard they have become to beat on their travels.

Both of these teams have every reason to feel they can come away with the win here. Wolves are a very solid team and the fact they have also beaten Sheffield United with a clean sheet in the last two meetings shows they could have the psychological edge. United are looking confident at the moment though and there's every chance they could catch Wolves out. I still think Wolves will sneak this but they'll be forced to work for it.

Wolves to Win @ 1.70 with SBK

Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 1.77 with SportNation

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Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal

The last game of the day in the FA Cup 3rd Round on Sunday afternoon is a potential giant-killer affair when Championship club Nottingham Forest take on Premier League high fliers Arsenal in a 5:10pm GMT kick-off at the City Ground. It's a very odd kick-off time but it's often the games played at this time when the underdogs are at home that can deliver a shock result.

Nottingham Forest are bouncing under head coach Steve Cooper. The former Swansea gaffer has won over the Tricky Trees faithful with his blunt and honest appraisals of his team's performances. This has inspired the team to move up to 9th in the Championship table and start knocking on the door of the play-offs. Some of the names the club are being linked to in the transfer window shows the influence of Cooper's contacts within the game but also the attractiveness of the club for prospective signings. Unfortunately, back-to-back defeats in the league without managing to score ended an unbeaten run of 9 league games for the team but there is still the feeling that there is more to come from this Forest team.

Arsenal have a track record in the FA Cup under head coach Mikel Arteta having won the competition a couple of years back. The Gunners appear to perform well in the cup competitions under the Spaniard with the team also scheduled to play a two-legged EFL Cup Semi-Final against Liverpool later this month. On top of that, Arsenal have put a run of results together to move up to 4th in the Premier League so those that asked fans to "trust the process" of Arteta are now being validated. It's 5 wins from their last 6 games across all competitions and are averaging 3 goals scored in their last 4 away matches.

I do love a potential shock and I would love to see it here. It was Nottingham Forest who dumped Arsenal out of the FA Cup in the 3rd Round back in 2018 with a 4-2 win but you have to say that Arsenal are in a much better place now. You can argue that Forest are too though. Arsenal have won 4 of the last 5 meetings and the two other cup encounters between the two clubs in recent times ended in a 4-0 and 5-0 win for Arsenal with both games coming in the EFL Cup. I think Arsenal will win but I'd love to see an upset here.

Arsenal -1 @ 2.05 with Novibet

Arsenal HT/FT @ 2.06 with SBK

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Manchester United vs Aston Villa

The FA Cup 3rd Round action draws to a close on Monday night when Premier League clubs Manchester United and Aston Villa go head-to-head in a 7:55pm GMT kick-off at Old Trafford. Amidst rumours of dressing room discontent for the home team this seems like a great opportunity for the away side to sneak a win off the back of the buzz of pulling off the stunning loan signing of Philippe Coutinho.

Manchester United are a team that are, quite frankly, going through an identity crisis right now. The sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was undoubtedly necessary and the appointment of Ralf Rangnick had many feeling it was a shrewd acquisition but it's already become clear that the former RB Leipzig gaffer has rattled some cages in the United dressing room. Then again, maybe that's what is needed? The Red Devils are 7th in the league table and have won just 1 of their last 3 league games. Home form has been troubling for United this season with the club failing to win half of their home matches this season.

Aston Villa appear to be enjoying life under new head coach Steven Gerrard. The Midlands club have picked up some decent wins under the former Rangers manager and the transfer business Gerrard has been involved in so far is very impressive. Lucas Digne and Aaron Ramsey are the latest two names to be linked with the club after Coutinho's arrival. Villa will be coming into this game feeling they can get the win. The team won 1-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the campaign and Gerrard will certainly be getting his players up for this one due to his Liverpool links. However, the team haven't tasted victory since 14th December with two postponements due to covid infections mixed in with two league defeats.

I'm not sure what is going on behind the scenes at Manchester United but it definitely feels that something isn't right and that there are fractures within the hierarchy. Something at the top needs to change at the club and they need to start from scratch in terms of personnel on the pitch. Aston Villa are good value to back for a surprise result here. I wouldn't be surprised to see Gerrard lead his team to a win.

Aston Villa Double Chance @ 2.30 with SBK

Total Goals Scored Over 2.5 @ 1.79 with SBK

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