F.A. Cup Preview – Chelsea Visit the Last Chance Saloon Against Liverpool
The F.A. Cup returns this week, but while most rounds take place at the weekend – or either side of it – this time, all the action happens midweek. Will the experiment work or will audiences turn away? They’re unlikely to be able to take their eyes off Chelsea vs. Liverpool, but there are plenty of other eye-catching ties to take in.
Chelsea vs. Liverpool (Tuesday, 7.45pm GMT kick-off)
A huge showdown at Stamford Bridge will decide whether Chelsea still have a trophy to play for in Frank Lampard’s first season or not.
With Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool coming into the game on the back of a debilitating 3-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday, they return to the London area to take on a Chelsea side who have no chance of a trophy other than the F.A. Cup, doomed as they look in the Champions League knockout phase, 3-0 down to Bayern Munich. Chelsea’s league ambitions died as everyone else’s did when Liverpool won 4-0 at Leicester on Boxing Day, but in the F.A. Cup, they have won five of their last seven matches against the Merseysiders.
With both sides desperate to win and Chris Kavanagh the referee, expect plenty of tackles flying in – and value for anyone betting on cards. Chelsea will be in more need of the win, and we think they can get the better of Klopp’s men, condemning The Reds to a second consecutive defeat.
Our tip: Chelsea to win, BTTS, 4+ corners each team and 20+ booking points each team (20/1)
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Manchester City (Wednesday, 7.45pm GMT kick-off)
If ever there was a meeting between the haves and have nots, this is it. Manchester City come into the tie on the back of their third consecutive EFL Cup victory, collecting the trophy after a gritty win against Aston Villa sealed Pep Guardiola another domestic trophy. It is the latest in a string of trophy wins for the club famously bankrolled from the middle east to the tune of billions.
While City will go into the game as clear favourites, Sheffield Wednesday are paupers by comparison. Currently under investigation for selling their own stadium to their owner, The Owls are likely to be hit by a fine and possibly the heaviest points deduction seen in English Football League history.
All that said, backing City has no value. Sheffield Wednesday have already won at Leeds this season and while they blow hot and cold in The Championship, have it in them to spring a surprise. For that reason, we’d avoid The Citizens, but whether they win or lose they have an obvious striker who will be looking to get among the goals after missing out on a Wembley appearance.
Our tip: Riyad Mahrez to score from outside the area (10/1)
Derby County vs. Manchester United (Thursday, 7.45pm GMT kick-off)
Ah, the romance of the F.A. Cup. The former United hero welcomes his old side as he walks out wearing his new colours, hoping to help Derby County to return to glories past.
Wayne Rooney may now look a little out of shape and certainly below the physical standards that the Premier League so ruthlessly enforces, but he still has plenty to offer competitions such as this, and United face a real test at Pride Park.
While United should have too much quality for their hosts, they have not blown away all before them away from Old Trafford, and Derby will provide a real test. It’s highly likely that Rooney has a barnstormer on terrestrial television and he is mouthwatering odds to score at any time.
Our tip: Wayne Rooney to score at any time (10/3)
F.A. Cup 4th Round Fixtures:
Portsmouth 0-2 Arsenal (Result)
Tuesday 3rd March
Chelsea vs. Liverpool (7.45pm GMT kick-off)
Reading vs. Sheffield United (8pm GMT kick-off)
West Brom vs. Newcastle (8pm GMT kick-off)
Wednesday 4th March
Leicester City vs. Birmingham City (7.45pm GMT kick-off)
Sheffield Wednesday vs. Manchester City (7.45pm GMT kick-off)
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Norwich City (7.45pm GMT kick-off)
Thursday 5th March
Derby County vs. Manchester United (7.45pm GMT kick-off)