4 to Watch – FA Cup 5th Round

This entry was posted on Friday, February 17th, 2012

Much has been written about how Arsenal’s drubbing in Milan could bring their season to a halt and recent history supports this. Last season, just five days after a punishing result away in Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League, Arsenal’s FA Cup challenge ended at Old Trafford. Additionally since winning the FA Cup in 2005 Arsenal have exited the FA Cup away up north in five of the last six years (Man United twice, Stoke, Blackburn and Bolton) so Sunderland will have every confidence.

The Gunners have won just two of their last eight away games in all competitions, whilst Sunderland’s only defeat in their last seven at home came when Theirry Henry nicked a 90th minute winner last Saturday. It makes us tempted to back Sunderland at 9/5 with Ladbrokes. However, the last five meetings at Sunderland between the two have seen Arsenal goals at the death, so don’t rule out Sunderland leading at half-time but Arsenal snatching a late draw, which is 14/1 with Bet365.

Everton are traditionally stronger in the second half of the season and we think they’ll be marching into the last eight of the FA Cup come Saturday evening. They’ve seen off Chelsea and Man City recently at Goodison and with Ian Holloway suggesting he’ll continue his policy of rotating his players for the FA Cup, we think the seaside club will see their 10 match unbeaten run end. Everton have conceded just two goals in their last five matches at Goodison so the 2-0 win at 13/2 with Bet365 looks a fair price if you don’t like the 1/2 on the general win with Ladbrokes.

Liverpool are likely to join their Merseyside rivals Everton in the last eight after being handed a home draw against Brighton on Sunday. Whilst the visitors are unbeaten in ten games, Liverpool have only lost once at home since January 1st 2011 and we expect them to be too strong, with Dalglish likely to put out a near first choice line-up. The Seagulls have scored in every game they’ve played in 2012 so the best bet on this game is to back both sides to score at 2.3 on Betfair. 2-1 Liverpool at 9/1 with Ladbrokes looks about right.

Having been run ragged by Valencia on Thursday evening, the last thing last year’s finalists Stoke need at noon on Sunday, is a visit to League Two Crawley Town. The money-men of the lower leagues may have had one eye on this game as they went down 3-0 at Swindon on Tuesday, only their second defeat in 24 games, but they’re generally in terrific form as they sit one point off top spot with two games in hand. Only once this season have they not scored in a home match and given Stoke are on a run of four consecutive defeats we think they could snatch a draw, which is 3.5 on Betfair.

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