The magic of the F.A Cup is one thing that continues to give hope to teams and fans-a-like during their dark periods of supporting their club.
There’s nothing more that excites neutrals than the possibility of a big upset, and their looks set to be a few potential candidates this weekend.
Leicester City have been in fantastic form this season, mounting a serious title challenge in the Championship, and they travel to Mark Hughes’ Stoke this weekend.
Following on from a solid start to 2013, with a 3-1 win away at Millwall, Nigel Pearson’s men will be in great form and travel to the Potteries in buoyant mood.
Whereas Hughes’ men, have struggled of late, winning only one of their last six in all competitions. They come into the game having conceded a last minute penalty against Everton, throwing away a potential three points.
Their isn’t a massive difference in squad strengths between the two sides, and the pricing structure is based solely on the fact that the game is being played at the Britannia. Pearson will have prepped his players in dealing with the intense atmosphere, and the 27/10 on offer for Leicester looks too big to ignore, albeit not being too much of a ‘potential upset’.
The other team to go into the ‘Upset double’ is struggling Cardiff to beat in-form Newcastle. Yes, I know that’s not exactly what you want to hear going into the bet, but there is method in the madness.
Newcastle have been exceedingly strong in recent weeks, constantly surprising whilst racking up wins and shooting up the table. This is in a stark contrast to Cardiff’s dip in form, which ultimately (along with other things) cost Malky Mackay his job.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks set to be appointed the new Cardiff boss, and his wealth of experience on the pitch will come in very handy with the current squad at his disposal. Vincent Tan is sure to be offering hefty bonuses for impressive performances in cup competitions, and with the pressure of a league struggle put on the back-burner for a weekend, the freedom that Cardiff can play with will surely suit their expansive team.
The fairy-tale of the F.A Cup looks fitting to thrust Tan and his wild antics back into the limelight, and the stage looks set for a big game after Newcastle struggled to a defeat at the hands of West Brom, whilst Cardiff managed to keep Arsenal at bay for 88 minutes at the Emirates before conceding two late goals. The 9/2 for Cardiff looks generous, and the double pays 19.35/1.
Any-time scorer treble;
There are often selection issues from the so called ‘big sides’ in the competition, with many players being rested, with the league deemed more important. So it will pay to side with Championship sides and lower, who are guaranteed to put out their strongest eleven, as-well as paying attention to sides who are likely to play potential fringe players.
The first player to add to our treble, is Britt Asombalonga who has scored four times in only two appearances in the F.A Cup so far in his blossoming career. The 21 year-old has been in good form for Peterborough, and looks set to lead the line as Posh travel to Kidderminster hoping to avoid a potential upset. He is odds-on to net any-time in many places, with Bet365 going a stand-out 6/5, which becomes the first leg of the treble.
The second leg is a fringe player, who may potentially be sent out on loan this January, with the game acting as a potential shop window. The man is Nikica Jelavic at Everton, and although he is not guaranteed to start, the 6/4 on offer for him to net any-time looks too good to miss if he is to be given the nod.
The Croatian hasn’t been given much of a chance due to the emergence of loan signing Romelu Lukaku, and he will be looking to take advantage of any chance he is to be given. He is sure to get the service from a great footballing Everton side, who have began to thrive under Roberto Martinez. QPR are not great defensively, and Everton should be able to control the game, meaning Jelavic will be inundated with chances. The 6/4 with Bet365 is another best price, and is the second leg.
The final leg of the treble comes in the late kick-off on Saturday evening, and is Danny Welbeck who is currently 6/4. David Moyes will be taking no chances with team selection, knowing an early exit from the competition could be very cost to both him and his team. Welbeck is likely to start, and after netting twice away at the Swans on the opening day of the season, he will be confident of finding the net once more.
This means the treble pays 12.75/1 and looks a decent proposition to kick-start the new year in style.
Leicester & Cardiff double @ 19.35/1
Assombalonga, Jelavic & Welbeck any-time treble @ 12.75/1