FA Cup betting tips 22/01/10
Stoke City vs Arsenal preview
With the FA cup swinging back into action this weekend, Sunday will see attention switch to the Britannia Stadium and the all Premier League tie between Stoke and Arsenal. An immediate reaction may be to write off Stoke in favour of league leaders Arsenal, and this is reflected in William Hill’s odds of 5/6 on the Gunners to progress. However, Arsene Wenger’s tendency to field his youngsters in the early stages of the cup may give Stoke a glimmer of hope, making them seem a fair bet at 10/3.
Given a boost by in form ‘keeper Thomas Sorensen’s pledge to remain at the club despite interest from Bayern Munich, Stoke can be buoyed by strong recent performances against Liverpool and Fulham. The fact that the potters hold the home advantage could be a pivotal factor, as seen when the two sides met last season; with Stoke running out 2-1 winners. On the score sheet that day was Ricardo Fuller, a man hoping to make an impression this time around. The Jamaican stands at 8/1 to be the first goal scorer on Sunday, though goal scoring defender Ryan Shawcross may be tempting to many at 20/1 given Arsenal’s vulnerability when defending set pieces. Semi Finalists in this competition over a decade ago, City will not have wanted such a tough draw in the pursuit to reward their faithful home fans with a trophy. Stoke’s home record speaks for itself though, and with a roaring home crowd and potentially dreary winter conditions, this may be the best chance for a mid-table Stoke side to overcome Arsenal’s cultured brilliance. Make sure you check out the free bets available for the FA Cup.
Wednesday’s impressive come back to beat Owen Coyle’s Bolton underlined just how good Arsenal have been this season. Averaging over two and a half goals each game in the Barclays Premier League, even despite the absence of the talismanic Robin van Persie, the Londoners have surprised many critics so far this campaign. Their potent strike force, along with Thomas Vermaelen’s addition to tighten up the defence, had lead to Arsenal being the team nobody wanted to face in the fourth round of this year’s competition. Captain Cesc Fabregas has been in scintillating form of late, netting fourteen goals in all competitions and playing a major part in a run of nine games unbeaten; their last loss coming in a meaningless Champions League match at Olympiakos early in December. The Spaniard is at 10/1 to score two goals or more, whilst headline maker Sol Campbell’s potential second debut for the club has him at 33/1 to score first.
Without a trophy since their last FA cup victory in 2005, Arsenal fans and players will be desperate to gain some silverware this season, and with Manchester United already falling to lower league opposition, this may be their best opportunity. Wenger’s young side could certainly do without a replay, making the draw, at 12/5, a prospect they could well do without. It will certainly be an intriguing encounter, and you can bet that Tony Pulis will do his upmost to see his club into the next round of the competition. The odds may favour Arsenal’s talented kids, but the magic of the cup never ceases to throw up an upset, and Stoke will be certain to give everything in search of a place in the fifth round draw.
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