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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

FA Cup: Spurs remain the bookies’ favourites for cup success


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Harry Redknapp’s men may have been held by Stevenage Borough in the FA Cup on Sunday but they remain the bookies’ favourites to lift the trophy for the ninth time in their history. Spurs are as short as 12/5 at Sky Bet but if you think Redknapp will sign off from the club with a top four place and the FA Cup in the bag, get down to Bet Victor or Coral, as they are offering odds of 5/2.

Tottenham, if they see off the threat of Stevenage, will face Premier League strugglers Bolton Wanderers at home in the next round. White Hart Lane has been something of a fortress for Spurs this season and you’d have to be a Bolton or a crazed Arsenal fan to bet against them sealing a place in the semi-final.

Owen Coyle’s men reached the semi-finals last season, although nobody at the Reebok needs to be reminded about what happens there, but if you think they can go one better this year and actually win it then get down to Bet365, as they are offering odds of 33/1.

But if you think Stevenage could produce the shock of the competition and go on to lift the trophy, Bet Victor is the place for you. They are offering odds of 700/1.

Liverpool are the bookies’ second favourites and their 6-1 thrashing of Brighton will have boosted their confidence, although the visit of Stoke City will be a tough one, especially as the Reds have failed to beat them in the league this season. They did kick Stoke out of the Carling Cup though at the Britannia but Liverpool’s home form needs to improve if they are to reach Wembley and finish in the top four. Kenny Dalglish’s men are 11/4 at Bet Victor and Stan James to win their eighth cup while Stoke are 20/1 at most bookies to win their first FA Cup.

Struggling Chelsea, who were held at home by Birmingham City, are 9/2 at Bet Victor for cup success, although they need to overcome a tricky trip to St Andrews first. Chris Hughton’s Blues, who have put a tremendous run together in the Championship recently are 50/1 at SkyBet to emulate their Carling Cup success of last season in this tournament. The winners of this replay will fancy their chances of making it to the semi-final as Leicester City will be their opponents. Nigel Pearson masterminded Norwich City’s exit. Could he do the same to the Blues? If you think he can land City’s first ever FA Cup after four final appearances Bet Fred is your man with odds of 50/1.

The final tie of the round sees Everton hosting Arsenal’s conquerors Sunderland at Goodison Park. Now this should be a cracker of a game. Both sides have found form over the past few months although Sunderland’s recent record on Merseyside has been poor. However, Martin O’Neill can do no wrong in the eyes of the Sunderland fans and who would bet against him capping a fabulous start to life on Wearside with a trophy? David Moyes’s men are 7/1 to win their first FA Cup since beating Manchester Untied back in 1995, while Sunderland are 9/1 to win the FA Cup for only the second time in their history.

It’s getting down to the business end of the competition and everyone is now dreaming of Wembley, but who would you put your money on winning the FA Cup? Whatever your views, we’d love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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