It’s FA Cup third-round weekend, with a magical Merseyside derby heading up the action as runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool take on Everton.
Elsewhere, David Moyes will be looking to avoid an early dent to his West Ham record as the Hammers head to Gillingham, while Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds test their top-flight credentials at Arsenal.
Here are our predictions for some of this weekend’s standout games in the FA Cup…
FA Cup 3rd Round Betting Preview – Selected Highlights
ROCHDALE VS NEWCASTLE, 12:31
The lowdown: The Magpies’ cup record in recent seasons leaves a lot to be desired. It’s now over 14 years since Newcastle advanced further than the fourth round. Steve Bruce won’t welcome the headache of a trip to League One Rochdale after three Premier League defeats on the spin for his side. Dale come into this game with some momentum after ending a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 away win at Accrington in their last game.
Verdict: Shock in store at Spotland. 1-0
Best Bet: Rochdale to score in the first half at 6/4.
FULHAM VS ASTON VILLA, 15:01
The lowdown: It’s a repeat of the 2018 EFL Championship play-off final as Fulham host Aston Villa at Craven Cottage. Scott Parker’s side have struggled for consistency this season, with their automatic promotion chances hanging by a thread after falling 10 points adrift of the top two. Struggling Villa boosted their Premier League survival hopes with victory at Burnley but could have one eye on their impeding EFL Cup semi-final with Leicester in midweek.
Verdict: A draw that leaves both sides frustrated. 1-1.
Best Bet: Score draw at 33/10.
WOLVES VS MAN UTD, 17:31
The lowdown: One of the few all-Premier League ties in the third round, Wolves will be looking to knock Man Utd out of the tournament for a second year in a row. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s side have now failed to beat the West Midlanders in their last four meetings in all competitions, with the sides drawing 1-1 at Molineux back in August. Nuno’s side went on the reach the semi-finals last season, eventually losing 3-2 to Watford.
Verdict: More misery at Molineux for Utd. 2-1
Best Bet: Wolves to be leading 1-0 at half time at 16/5.
MAN CITY VS PORT VALE, 17:31
The lowdown: League Two Vale face a daunting task as they head to the current cup holders for their first meeting with Man City since 1999. Both sides were in the same division that day, with City recording a 2-1 win. Vale’s record against Premier League opposition in the cup suggests it could be a long afternoon, with the Burslem-based side failing to beat any top-flight side in their last eight attempts. Their last major giant-killing came against Everton in 1996. Man City are 3/1 in the FA Cup winner odds to retain their title.
Verdict: No surprises at the Etihad. 4-0
Best Bet: First half to have the most goals at 191/100.
CHELSEA VS NOTTINGHAM FOREST, 14:01
The lowdown: Frank Lampard will be wary as Championship side Nottingham Forest arrive at Stamford Bridge looking to prey on Chelsea’s poor recent home form. The Blues have lost three of their last four games against teams struggling at the wrong end of the Premier League table in West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton. Forest are currently on one of their best runs of the season, consolidating their place in the Championship play-offs after three wins on the bounce.
Verdict: Forest to make life uncomfortable for the Blues. 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score and Chelsea to win at 153/100.
SHEFFIELD UTD VS AFC FYLDE, 14:01
The lowdown: It’s Premier League vs non-league at Bramall Lane as these two teams meet in a competitive match for the first time. AFC Fylde are struggling in the National League, having slipped into the relegation zone in recent weeks, but will hold out hope of a shock with the Blades set to make 11 changes. Sheffield Utd came unstuck against non-league opposition at home last season, losing 0-1 to Barnet.
Verdict: Chris Wilder’s much-changed Blades to pick off the Coasters. 2-0
Best Bet: Sheffield Utd to win and under 2.5 goals at 113/50.
MIDDLESBROUGH VS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR, 14:01
The lowdown: It’s a first meeting since 1966 in the FA Cup for these two sides, with Boro currently enjoying an uplift in form under Jonathan Woodgate after a disappointing autumn. Spurs have won all three of their last matches against Boro, with a Harry Kane penalty separating the two sides back in February 2017 at White Hart Lane. Jose Mourinho will have to make do without his talisman after the England captain limped out of their defeat to Southampton with a hamstring injury. Spurs’ record against lower league sides should help calm nerves, however, with the North Londoners progressing in 38 of their last 40 FA Cup ties against non-top flight opponents.
Verdict: Spurs to get the job done. 0-2
Best Bet: Tottenham Hotspur to win to nil at 39/20.
LIVERPOOL VS EVERTON, 16:01
The lowdown: The FA Cup third round always tends to throw up a classic grudge match – and this year we all get an extra Merseyside derby to enjoy. Intriguingly, this is most played match in the history of the competition, with the two city rivals meeting 24 times. Everton are looking for a first win over the Reds since 2010 – and a first win at Anfield since the 1999/00 season. Toffees fans will be hoping to avoid the sight of Divock Origi in the Liverpool starting line-up – he’s scored in all four home matches he’s played against them.
Verdict: Makeshift Reds to find a way. 2-1
Best Bet: Liverpool to win from behind at 17/2.
GILLINGHAM VS WEST HAM, 18:16
The lowdown: David Moyes defied some of his critics on New Year’s Day with an emphatic win on his return as West Ham manager. That truce may end abruptly if the Hammers crash out against lower league opposition for a third season in a row as they travel to Kent. The Gills are moving in the right direction in League One after two wins and three draws over the festive period. Steve Evans’ side are overdue some cup joy – reaching the fourth round just once in 15 seasons.
Verdict: Pain for the Hammers at Priestfield. 2-1
Best Bet: Gillingham to win by one goal at 31/5.
ARSENAL VS LEEDS UTD, 19:56
The lowdown: The third round action is rounded off by a potential thriller at the Emirates, as high-flying Leeds Utd test out just how ‘Premier League-ready’ they are at the Emirates. A memorable goal from the returning Thierry Henry was the difference between these two sides when they last met in the competition in 2012. Leeds’ last away win in the tournament against Premier League opponents came in January 2010, when they stunned old rivals Man Utd with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
Verdict: Bielsaball to help Leeds hold their own at the Emirates. 2-1
Best Bet: Draw in the first half and Arsenal to win at 15/4.
FA Cup predictions – the rest of the fixtures
Birmingham 2-1 Blackburn Rovers
Bristol City 2-0 Shrewsbury Town
Burnley 2-1 Peterborough Utd
Millwall 1-0 Newport County
Rotherham Utd 1-0 Hull City
Brentford 2-0 Stoke City
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
Cardiff City 3-0 Carlisle Utd
Oxford Utd 3-1 Hartlepool
Preston North End 1-0 Norwich City
Reading 2-0 Blackpool
Southampton 1-1 Huddersfield Town
Watford 3-0 Tranmere Rovers
Bournemouth 4-2 Luton Town
Fleetwood Town 0-1 Portsmouth
Leicester City 4-1 Wigan Athletic
Bristol Rovers 1-2 Coventry City
Burton Albion 2-1 Northampton Town
Charlton Athletic 1-0 West Bromwich Albion
Crewe Alexandra 1-2 Barnsley
Crystal Palace 2-0 Derby County
QPR 1-1 Swansea City
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
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