Birmingham and West Ham’s FA Cup hopes boosted by the draw
Carling Cup semi-finalists Birmingham (33/1) and West Ham(40/1) – in addition to Arsenal (7/1) if they see off Leeds at Elland Road – were the only Premier League teams handed home fixtures against lower league opposition in an underwhelming fourth round draw.
Birmingham meet midland rivals Coventry and West Ham host Championship promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest, while Arsenal will face another Yorkshire side in Huddersfield if they eliminate the Whites, enhancing the trio’s chances of going the distance in both.
The other club competing in the final four of the Carling Cup, Ipswich, won’t be winning the FA Cup this year though after their players responded to Roy Keane’s sacking with a 7-0 loss away to supposedly crisis-stricken Chelsea, who will visit Scunthorpe’s conquerors Everton.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues, winners in each of the last two seasons, are 5/1 second favourites to make in three in a row after being paired with their bogey team, who they beat 2-1 in the 2009 Final (12/1).
The favourites at 7/2 are Manchester United, who are determined to end their seven-year wait for their 12th success in the competition – with Edwin van der Sar previously going on record about his desire to claim the trophy before retiring.
The Red Devils made an impressive start in their attempts to achieve that goal by dumping out Liverpool in Kenny Dalglish’s first game back in charge but their dubious reward was a potentially tricky trip to League One title chasers Southampton.
In addition to the Chelsea match, there are three other all-Premier League ties guaranteed, as Bolton will play Wigan, Tottenham were dealt another London derby, this time at Fulham, and Aston Villa drawn against Blackburn for the fourth straight domestic cup competition. There will definitely be at least six Football League and non-league clubs in the final 16.
Spurs are 7/1 to lift the FA Cup. A £10 wager on them winning at Wembley would provide a profit of £70. New customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.