This weekend we have a full complement of FA Cup fixtures, the greatest competition in the world returns and we think we have picked three great ties where there will be plenty of goals on show as teams look to get past another round on their way to glory.
Here are my strongest 3 picks for the weekend’s both teams to score coupon. Here’s hoping we take the bookies for a ride!
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Bolton Wanderers v Cardiff City
FA Cup 4th round -3.00pm Saturday
Both teams to score odds – 4/5 with SkyBet
Premier League Cardiff travel to the North West for their Cup tie to take on Dougie Freedman’s Bolton Wanderers outfit. Cardiff surprised many when they knocked out Newcastle in Round Three at St James’ Park in what was Ole Gunner Solksjaer’s first game in charge of the club and he will want to continue a Cup run as he looks to make a good start to his managerial career in Wales. Opposition Bolton will be no pushovers and will have their sights on a cup run and some much needed cash for the coffers.
Bolton were completely and utterly embarrassed in their last outing, having lost 7-1 away to Reading. 7-1! This result is certainly not good enough and another black mark on what has been an awful season for the Trotters. The players owe the fans a big performance and after last Saturdays defeat, it needs to be done here against Cardiff. At the Reebok performances have been poor having won just twice in 13 league games this season however they have also lost just three of these. After last weeks debacle Bolton need to give their fans something to cheer about and they can start by scoring at least a goal here.
New manager Ole Gunner Solksjaer is still enjoying his “honeymoon” period where he can do no wrong however his intentions were made clear in the previous round when a strong side was fielded away at Newcastle United and I have no doubt that another strong side will be named as the Norwegian manager aims to get the fans on side early with a cup run. Even if he decides to go with three or four changes, Cardiff should have more than enough to beat a flailing Bolton outfit and I cannot see them losing this or scoring less than twice.
Port Vale v Brighton & Hove Albion
FA Cup 4th round – 3.00pm Sunday
Both teams to score odds – 5/6 with SkyBet
Port Vale of League One will be hosting their Round Four tie against Championship outfit Brighton this Saturday. Both sides will fancy their chances of a place in the hat for the next round, which should mean that once one of the teams score we should see some expansive play from the other to grab at least a replay.
Port Vale are certainly enjoying themselves in their new division after promotion from League Two in season 2012/13. The Vale are sitting just outside the Play Off spots in 8th place and Micky Adams has done a great job to get them to where they are. At home they’re strong, having won seven of the 13 ties in the League and have scored 20 along the way. This is a team with plenty of confidence and even though a place in the next round may be a step too far, i can see the Valiants getting at least a goal on home soil
Brighton have the sort of budget combined with ambition to have realistic hopes of making it into the top flight during this campaign. So far they’re just two points off a Play Off place in seventh position and will be happy that they’re amongst the promotion candidates. The Seagulls have more than enough quality to overcome League One Port Vale and I can see them winning this but not without Port Vale breaking the Brighton backlines.
Wigan Athletic v Crystal Palace
FA Cup 4th round – 3.00pm Saturday
Both teams to score odds – 5/6 with SkyBet
The FA Cup holders, Wigan Athletic are looking to defend their title and make it into Round Five but will have to beat Premier League opposition in Crystal Palace at the DW Stadium to get into the hat. The visitors are likely to have domestic duties on their mind and will deem the FA Cup as a bonus if they manage to get through, whereas the home side are defending what is theirs at present, and will be delighted if they can get past the South London side.
Quite simply Wigan now have a love affair with the FA Cup and each season everything will be done in their power to make it past each round. There will be no sign of rotated squads or lack of effort when it comes to an FA Cup game. Palace will provide a stern test no matter what XI is fielded however Wigan have a strong side too with the majority of their squad having plied their trade in the top flight last season. Having home advantage may be the difference that the Latics require to win here and take another step to where they were last May…. Wembley.
As we have already mentioned Crystal Palace will have all thoughts on the league and a number of changes are expected to be made, however unlike a lot of sides who find themselves at the foot of the Premier League table, Palace have a large squad of players all of a similar quality. Any players coming in are likely to be just as good as the players they’re replacing and these fresh legs will be looking to impress manager Tony Pulis and stake their claim for an opportunity in the league before the season is up. Plenty of incentive is on offer and I am finding it difficult to predict a result here with the safe bet being BTTS.