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FA Cup 3rd Round Preview: January 9 – 11

Soccer Preview

Watford v Newcastle United

Saturday January 9, 11pm, Vicarage Road

The FA Cup third round kicks off with Watford hosting Newcastle in the first of five all Premier League ties.

After being promoted from the Championship, Watford are having an exceptional Premier League season and sit in ninth. Spearheaded by forwards Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo the pair has helped shape Watford into a pacy and powerful unit. Watford’s cup runs over the last four seasons have seen them knocked out in the fourth round twice and the third round in the other two.

It has been 61 years since Newcastle last lifted the FA Cup. The Tyneside club have failed to progress past the fourth round of the competition since 2006, where they made it to the sixth round, and for a club of this size and supporter base it is not acceptable. Newcastle’s league form has been woeful as they lie in 18th place and are winless in four matches.

Prediction

In their last meeting in September Watford defeated Newcastle 2-1 at St James’ Park. Presently, Newcastle’s injury concerns run quite deep which has stretched the squad and a cup run will distract from a relegation fight. Look for Watford to win at $1.82.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Watford

Under 2.5 Goals


Arsenal v Sunderland

Saturday January 9, 11pm, Emirates Stadium

Arsenal begin their FA Cup title defence at home to Sunderland.

All appears well at Arsenal, they are the two-time reigning FA Cup winners and are leading the Premier League. Manager Arsene Wenger will experiment with his lineup giving starts to the likes of fringe players David Ospina, Calum Chambers, Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide. Chilean star Alexis Sanchez is expected to be fit and will be given a run out for the first time since injuring his hamstring in November.

Sunderland were bounced out of the cup in the fifth round last year against lower league Bradford City. The club’s priority this season is the league and avoiding the drop. With a crucial relegation game against Swansea City coming up just four days after this tie, Black Cats manager Sam Allardyce will ring the changes as he cannot afford to risk his first-team players in this match.

Prediction

Sunderland have not beaten Arsenal since winning their fifth round clash in February 2012. Expect an easy Arsenal victory over a struggling Sunderland who are going to prioritise league survival.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Arsenal

Over 2.5 Goals


Southampton v Crystal Palace

Saturday January 9, 11pm, St Mary’s Stadium

Southampton and Crystal Palace meet in the FA Cup for the seventh time.

The Saints have hit a rocky patch since the start of December, winning just once out of their last six league matches. A poor 1-0 loss on the weekend away at Norwich was overshadowed by Victor Wanyama’s silly sending off which will see the Kenyan ace miss this Cup tie.

In Crystal Palace’s last outing they were handed a 3-0 mauling at home to Chelsea. The club’s form has derailed, three games without a win or a goal has seen them slip back into mid table and it should force manager Alan Pardew into the January transfer market.

Prediction

Out of their seven Cup clashes, Palace are currently up four wins to two, including a fourth round 3-2 triumph last season. Their last league meeting was less than a month ago and Palace got up 1-0 at home. Since then injuries have decimated Palace’s front line and Pardew’s squad is losing a bit of steam. This match is going to be too much of a challenge for them to overcome.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Southampton

Under 2.5 Goals


Norwich City v Manchester City

Saturday January 9, 11pm, Carrow Road

Norwich welcomes 2011 Cup winners Manchester City to Carrow Road.

Focussing on their opponents, Norwich have won just one of their last 11 encounters with City, winning 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium on the final day of the 2012-13 season. When both sides last met in late October in the league, Alex Neil’s side narrowly lost away to City, when a late Yaya Toure penalty snatched a 2-1 victory.

Manchester City have had a very good festive period with two wins and a draw. In their last league match, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero dragged City back from the dead as Manuel Pellegrini’s team completed a late 2-1 comeback triumph at Watford. The same issue with City still persists, they are missing the composure and leadership of captain Vincent Kompany who is still out injured.

Prediction

In recent times, the Canaries have been poor in the Cup, losing in the third round in each of the last two seasons. City have been an exceptional cup club over the last five seasons, apart from their 2011 triumph, they reached the 2013 FA Cup Final and secured a League Cup in 2014, they cannot be accused of taking any competition lightly. Manchester City to edge this tie.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Manchester City

Under 2.5 Goals


Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City

Monday January 11, Midnight, White Hart Lane

Tottenham takes on Leicester in the first of two meetings in a week.

Spurs have lost just once in their last 14 games in all competitions. They are energetic, high pressing and hard working. They have married free scoring with a defence that used to be porous but have now been drilled into the stingiest in the league. Tottenham’s form has gotten even better through the difficult festive period with three wins and a draw.

While Leicester will look to make it two Cup victories in a row at Spurs following Jeff Schlupp’s late winner in the fourth round last year. But high-flying Claudio Ranieri’s team has entered something of a slump, having failed to score in its past three league matches, including last weekend’s 0-0 draw against 10-man Bournemouth that saw the club slip two points adrift of league leader Arsenal.

Prediction

The Foxes will be without striker Jamie Vardy, though, who is set to undergo a minor operation on a groin problem while Ranieri is expected to rest many of his key players as the promise of a title challenge will take precedence. Spurs have the depth and the form to take this one.

Suggested Bets

Match Result – Tottenham Hotspur

Over 2.5 Goals

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