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Toffees in crunch Chelsea clash, Man Utd may be in for a Hammering

| 13.03.2016

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | March 11, 2016

The FA Cup quarter-finals are upon us and should make for some fascinating matches. Holders Arsenal hammered Hull City in a replay to keep their participation in the competition up, and Coral make the Gunners 5/2 favourites to lift the trophy for a third successive season.

Chelsea bowed out of Europe in midweek, and the FA Cup is the only thing they can now win with interim boss Guus Hiddink having never lost a tie. The Blues are 3/1 second-favourites for another Wembley triumph in May, yet face Everton at Goodison Park.

Manchester United (7/2) have the dubious honour of hosting West Ham on Sunday once Arsenal have played Watford, and Louis van Gaal has reasons to be fearful. The Hammers, who are tasty 10/1 FA Cup outsiders, are unbeaten in six (W4, D2) trips to the Northwest this term.

All the FA Cup quarter-final action gets underway on Friday with Crystal Palace playing the last Championship club standing, Reading, away.

Reading v Crystal Palace

  • FA Cup quarter-final/sixth round
  • Friday, March 11th
  • Kick-off: 19:55 GMT
  • Madejski Stadium, Reading
  • Live on BBC1

Eagles need cup lift

Britain Soccer FA Cup

Palace have only won FA Cup matches in 2016, and all those by the odd goal, so they start as 13/10 favourites for victory despite their recent Premier League slump.

That wretched form means the more tempting price is to take hosts Reading at 23/10, however, as the Royals have only lost one of their last seven coming into the tie. The last three meetings between these two have been draws, however, and such a result here (also 23/10) would mean a replay.

Current Reading boss Brian McDermott once worked under opposite number Alan Pardew when he was in charge of the Royals, but their friendship shall be cast aside as the winning coach gets to lead his side out at Wembley in the semi-finals.

Robson-Kanu could be a Royal pain

Reading v Fulham - Sky Bet Championship - Madejski Stadium

Wales winger Hal Robson-Kanu has scored three times in his last two home outings for Berkshire outfit Reading, so he represents awesome anytime value at 11/4 and a player for Eagles defenders to watch now he’s proved fit.

Czech Republic forward Matej Vydra has been rampant in the Royals’ FA Cup run, however, scoring five times already in this competition. Although long at 11/1 for two goals or more, his anytime price of 2/1 is also tempting, if he overcomes a hamstring problem.

Netherlands cap Ola John is an alternative attacking threat open to McDermott here, and his pace could well cause problems for Palace. Brother Collins famously played for Fulham, so the younger John sibling is a 7/2 anytime shout after two in his last three.

Adebayor to focus on club career

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace - Emirates FA Cup - Fifth Round - White Hart Lane

With previously in-form Connor Wickham still sidelined by a thigh problem, the Eagles’ scoring burden falls on Emmanuel Adebayor, who has rejected recent overtures to represent Togo again in favour of concentrating on club football.

As luck would have it for Palace, they are fortunate to have Adebayor here because he has a 100 per cent win record against Reading and three in four career appearances when previously paired.

It’s 15/8 anytime for Adebayor to strike here, or 13/2 to break the deadlock. Wilfried Zaha, meanwhile, has netted twice for Pardew during their wins by the odd goal, and he is worth considering at 7/2 to be on target again here.

Everton v Chelsea

  • FA Cup quarter-final/sixth round
  • Saturday, March 12th
  • Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
  • Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Live on BBC1

Defences don’t deliver

Chelsea v Paris Saint Germain - UEFA Champions League - Round of Sixteen - Second Leg - Stamford Bridge

Chelsea are winless against Everton from two Premier League outings this term, conceding three goals on both occasions, yet their hosts shipped just as many last time out to throw away a two-goal advantage over West Ham.

All signs point to an open game, then, with the match total for over 3.5 goals at a tempting 2/1. Hiddink’s team start as 9/5 outsiders for victory on Merseyside, while the Toffees a sweet 6/4 to send their visitors out of the FA Cup.

Odds of 40/1 say there will be a repeat of the 3-3 Stamford Bridge draw, while this tie is 5/2 to go to a replay whatever the scoreline.

Lukaku can land a blow on old club

Aston Villa v Everton - Barclays Premier League - Villa Park

Although ex-Blues striker Romelu Lukaku has never scored against his his former club, Chelsea have kept no clean sheets in their last eight and the big Belgian has netted in three consecutive matches coming into this clash.

Lukaku is a nifty 9/2 to break the deadlock and features in a fantastic 4/1 matchday special wincast (max stake £20), while compatriot Kevin Mirallas would also be an Everton threat in this fixture were it not for his suspension.

Ross Barkley has netted in his last three domestic cup ties for the Toffees, so is a tempting 2/1 chance to do so again ahead of rejuvenated winger Aaorn Lennon in the anytime market at 10/3.

Costa is Hiddink’s hero

Chelsea v Paris Saint Germain - UEFA Champions League - Round of Sixteen - Second Leg - Stamford Bridge

Speaking of recently revived players, what a remarkable transformation has occurred with Diego Costa since Jose Mourinho left the Bridge. In 15 games under Hiddink, the Brazil-born Spain striker has an incredible return of 11 strikes.

Costa, who has four in as many matches against Everton, is thus a credible first scorer alternative to Lukaku at the same price of 9/2, and also available in a price boost 4/1 wincast.

Nemanja Matic may be a surprise source of goals for Chelsea, scoring in both his last two trips to Goodison, and that makes superb anytime odds of 7/1 surely worth a cheeky punt.

Arsenal v Watford

  • FA Cup quarter-final/sixth round
  • Sunday, March 13th
  • Kick-off: 13:30 GMT
  • Emirates Stadium, north London
  • Live on BT Sport 2

Depleted Gunners to take sting out of Hornets

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Watford v Arsenal - Vicarage Road

Arsenal won to nil handsomely when travelling to Vicarage Road in Premier League action earlier this season so, now given home advantage, punters can enhance their odds-on 8/13 match status to 17/10 if you take the Gunners for victory without conceding again.

Watford will fancy their chances because of Arsene Wenger’s injury crisis, though, and are not without merit at an alluring 5/1 to cause an FA Cup upset, and 3/1 to qualify from the tie. The visitors have won all their FA Cup games 1-0 so far this term, and are 16/1 shots to record that precise scoreline once more.

With a draw also 3/1, it remains to be seen who proves their fitness for Arsenal and if Hornets striking duo Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo get back among the goals after the Hertfordshire side have drawn a blank in their last three outings.

Giroud and Walcott hurt Hull

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Aston Villa - Emirates Stadium

Braces from Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott saw the Gunners overwhelm the Tigers to set up this encounter, and there is only value in investing in the duo to repeat or better those midweek feats here.

Odds-on and evens respectively in the anytime market, Giroud and Walcott are 7/2 and 5/1 to grab doubles or better when hosting Watford.

Quique Sanchez Flores continues to rely on Deeney (11/4 anytime) and Ighalo (2/1) to produce, but the Hornets have it all do to here as they’ve only scored one goal against Arsenal since 2002.

Manchester United v West Ham United

  • FA Cup quarter-final/sixth round
  • Sunday, March 13th
  • Kick-off: 16:00 GMT
  • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Live on BT Sport 2

Heroic Hammers can grab another away day delight

Liverpool v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League - Round of Sixteen - First Leg - Anfield

With Man Utd coming into this tie off the back of their first-ever European meeting with Northwest rivals Liverpool and two straight losses, there is absolutely no hesitation in pointing out what splendid value West Ham are to win at Old Trafford at 3/1 or 13/8 to reach the FA Cup semis.

Slaven Bilic has masterminded victories at Anfield, the Etihad and Goodison Park, so the Red Devils’ ground is the only one left on his list to tick off. If the Hammers are to humble Man Utd, then it may be wise to back an away win and both teams to score at a terrific 13/2.

Van Gaal’s Red Devils remain even-money favourites to dump West Ham out of this competition, though, but have played twice since their London opponents came from 2-0 down at Everton to win.

Backing in-form Antonio and Payet could pay off

West Ham United v Aston Villa - Barclays Premier League - Upton Park

Hammers winger Michail Antonio is really tearing it up after scoring in three successive games coming into this one, so his direct threat from the flank must be considered at a tasty 10/3 anytime.

You can also get the same price on fellow Bilic summer signing Dimitri Payet, who is also producing after four in his last five. While his claims for a spot on hosts France’s roster for Euro 2016 are being ignored, punters can cash in on him.

Diafra Sakho has an Old Trafford goal on his CV and was the other West Ham player to net at Goodison last time out. The Senegal striker is shorter at 2/1 anytime, but also worthy of consideration.

Young Red Devils must make Juan absence no Mata

West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United - Barclays Premier League - The Hawthorns

That silly sending off for Juan Mata at West Bromwich Albion means Memphis Depay, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford must belie their tender years and once again step up in attack for Man Utd.

Youngest forward Rashford has four goals in three Old Trafford outings, so is a superb 7/4 to net against the Hammers anytime, with Memphis at 15/8 in that market.

Basque box-to-box player Ander Herrera, meanwhile, also enjoys playing at home and is a 7/2 chance to follow up two strikes in his last three at the Theatre of Dreams.


For more FA Cup stuff, check out our dedicated page.

Coral’s top tips

Friday: Robson-Kanu 11/4 to score anytime against Palace.
Saturday: Over 3.5 goals in Everton v Chelsea at 2/1.
Sunday: West Ham beat Man Utd and both teams score at 13/2.

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Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.