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Rochdale v Stoke: Liverpool target to down FA Cup pretenders

| 25.01.2015

There has never been an FA Cup weekend quite like the one we’re currently experiencing, and now it’s the turn of Rochdale to flip the football world upside down when Stoke head north west.

However, the Premier League Potters are in decent form, with five wins in their past nine and just two losses during that time, so Mark Hughes’ men look a tad overpriced at 4/6 in relation to the hosts’ 9/2 quote.

Stoke domination makes up part of our best bet for the Spotland fixture:

Bojan Krkic to score/Stoke to win @ 12/5

The former Barcelona prodigy, who is reportedly a January target for Liverpool, has stepped into the void left at Stoke by African Cup of Nations absentee Mame Biram Diouf with aplomb.

Bojan has posted a fine tally of four goals in his last 11 appearances, with each strike going some way to ensure a Premier League victory for the Potters.

Against a side two tiers below, the much-travelled hitman should get plenty of chances to repeat those feats.

Stephen Ireland to score at any time @ 3/1

Two goals in Stoke’s third-round win over Wrexham, having come on in the 76th minute with his side 1-0 down, ought to ensure the former Manchester City enigma gets on from the off in this fixture.

With Marko Arnautovic failing to impress against Leicester (WhoScored.com rated the winger the worst Stoke starter at the King Power) and Jon Walters without a goal in eight games, Ireland ranks as a fair bet to bag at least one more FA Cup strike.

Draw HT/Stoke FT @ 7/2

Despite Stoke’s fine recent form, they’ve not gone in at half time ahead since taking a 3-0 lead at home to Arsenal back in early December.

Four of their last five fixtures have seen the sides level at the break, and Rochdale haven’t gone behind pre-pie in five matches, so this bet looks high value.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune