The FA Cup returns to our screens this weekend as teams battle it out to make it into the fifth round of this prestigious cup competition.
FA CUP FOURTH ROUND: BETTING TIPS
Manchester United vs Middlesbrough FC
Manchester United will still be riding on their success after their crucial fixture against West Ham – courtesy of a Marcus Rashford stoppage-time winner. Life under Ralf Ragnick has been fruitful, seeing the Reds climb up to the Champions League positions, but with the talent on offer, he will surely be aiming for more.
Chris Wilder, on the other hand, has pushed Middlesbrough’s ambitions with his 3-5-2 system, where they see themselves edging closer to the play-off places. The team has been getting great results recently, most notably against Huddersfield, which ignited a seven-game unbeaten run tallying 19 points from a possible 21. With manager Chris Wilder renowned for setting his side up with a game plan that opposes the other team, the Middlesbrough faithful will be keen to check their sides line up come Friday and see how they counter a star-studded United team
Manchester United will be aiming to make it through to the next round knowing that Middlesbrough will put up a stern opposition despite playing in a lower league. Chris Wilder will surely map out United’s weaknesses and instruct his players to make the most of their chances.
Everton vs Brentford
Everton find themselves in troubling waters occupying the 16th position in the league table with just four points above the relegation zone – something that they’ve managed to avoid for more than 70 years now. With Rafael Benitez relieved from his duties, Duncan Ferguson will lead the Toffees out. Despite considerable investments in 20/21, tallying up to £75 Million, player form has continued on a downward trajectory.
Everton fans will be quick to point out that the managerial position has been a hot seat in recent years, with seven different managers in just six years. The Merseyside Blues had a tough time when facing Hull City in the 3rd round of the competition, where they narrowly won 3-2 in extra-time, thanks to a long-range effort by Andros Townsend.
Brentford saw off League two’s Port Vale with a comfortable victory of 4-1 in the last round of the FA Cup. In their last encounter with Everton, it was Brentford that took all three points in late November, as Ivan Toney scored the sole goal from 12 yards.
The Bees have adapted well to life in the Premier League as they occupy the 14th spot on the table and proving to be a hard nut to crack when coming against the ‘top 6’ teams. Notable performances include a 1-0 hard-fought defeat against leaders Manchester City, a draw against Liverpool and a victory on the opening day against Arsenal.
Tottenham Hotspurs vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Since becoming Tottenham manager earlier in the season, Antonio Conte has made a significant impact on his side’s performance – going unbeaten (4W, 2D) in the first six games in charge in the Premier League.
The Italian is focusing on the backline and making sure they are not leaking away goals – this is evident when comparing goals conceded under Nuno Espirito Santo. Where Tottenham were shipping 1.6 goals per game they’ve now stabilised that figure to just 0.5 per match, which is the best in the League.
Spurs fans will be hoping that their newly found good defensive record creates a solid foundation on which they will be able to build on going forward. Harry Kane has also found his shooting boots under Antonio Conte’s new tenure – by scoring multiple times and building up his confidence again. With an ongoing battle raging in the Premier League, qualification to a European competition is by no means certain for Tottenham – who will be eyeing the FA Cup as a great chance to claim some silverware.
On the other hand, Brighton ranks as the team with the most draws in the league, 12. The Seagulls have found it difficult, on occasion, to make the most out of their chances and convert when they need it most.
Graham Potter’s side’s recent form when facing teams from the ‘Big Six’ has been impressive. They’ve successfully taken points off Liverpool (2-2), Chelsea, both home and away (1-1), and Arsenal (0-0). The Seagulls have also shown their resilient side, after clawing themselves back into the competition after falling behind against a 10-man West Brom.
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing.