The Premier League joins its European counterparts in taking a break this weekend. There is no rest for the players though as it is the 3rd round of the FA Cup in England, which is when traditionally the “big clubs” join in the competition.
The FA Cup is well-known for “cup upsets”, where a lower league team takes on a team in a much higher position and beats them. The question is who will do it this weekend – and where is there football betting value.
West Bromwich Albion v Derby County Tips and Analysis
West Bromwich Albion have been playing well recently and sit eighth in the Premier League table having picked wins against Southampton and Hull City in the last couple of weeks. Derby County on the other hand have only won one of their previous four games in the Championship. Looking at recent form this would appear to be a home banker.
That would be a dangerous assumption to make though. Prior to those four games Derby had won seven games consecutively – and there is no doubting that under manager Steve McClaren they have developed a good attacking game. Tony Pulis has made his WBA team strong defensively and they don’t often concede many goals. They have also scored an inordinate proportion of their goals from set pieces which would suggest that they may struggle to take the game to Derby at The Hawthorns.
Then there is the question of whether Pulis will put out his strongest team – which is not a given bearing in mind the effect a prolonged cup run could have on their league ambitions. At 4.46 Derby are rank outsiders to win – but it’s not beyond the realms of probability.
Bolton Wanderers v Crystal Palace Tips and Analysis
Relegation-threatened Crystal Palace might have more serious things on their mind than a run for the FA Cup. The south London side sacked Alan Pardew as they slid down the table, and new manager Sam Allardyce is still looking for his first win as Palace manager having drawn with Watford and lost to Swansea City thanks to a late Angel Rangel goal.
They face a Bolton Wanderers side that is looking to bounce back at the first attempt from relegation to League One. They’re doing a good job at it too, lying second in the table having notched ten consecutive home wins in all competitions, scoring 21 goals and conceding just five. Allardyce will also know the Macron Stadium well – he was manager at Bolton for eight years between 1999 and 2007.
Once again the question is how much Allardyce will rotate his squad. While a win against Bolton could help raise Palace morale it’s also dangerous to risk player injury with so much at stake in the Premier League. Bolton’s home form is recognised by the bookies with the Trotters at just 3.46 to secure the upset.
Wycombe Wanders v Stourbridge Town Tips and Analysis
It might not be the glamour tie of the round but this match between Chairboys and the Glassboys is one of the most intriguing.
Stourbridge Town play in the seventh tier of English football and have already had to play six games to get even this far. Having beaten Peterborough Sports, Mickleover Sports, Ilkeston Town and Nantwich Town in the qualifying rounds, they then needed a replay to get past Whitehawk in the first round proper before overcoming League One outfit Northampton Town in a famous 1-0 win at the War Memorial Athletic Ground.
They face League Two high-fliers Wycombe Wanderers at Adams Park. The Chairboys are unbeaten in their last 11 games in all competitions as they seek promotion to League One. Again, the big question will be if Wycombe will go all out to win this game as promotion may be seen as a higher priority. Stourbridge are at a huge 10.95 to win this game and extend their FA Cup fairytale.