Expert football pundit and analyst Andy Gray has joined Paddy Power to give his insight on the best of the FA Cup third-round games as the Premier League and nPower Championship teams join in England’s famous Cup competition.
Andy Gray’s 11/1 FA Cup double
West Ham v Man United & Swansea v Arsenal to end in draws [Share this tip on Twitter]
Brighton v Newcastle United, Live Saturday, ITV1, 12.30pm
A tough game for Newcastle to start off in – particularly now that Demba Ba has left for Chelsea. The Magpies have been a little unlucky this season but that counts for nothing in the top-tier and the Seagulls beat the Magpies 1-0 in the fourth-round last season. Brighton look a bit of value at 8/5 and an upset may be on the cards again.
West Ham v Manchester United, Live Saturday, ITV1, 5.15pm
Joe Cole could start for the Hammers as he returns to his old club. I’ll be staggered if Robin Van Persie starts as Wayne Rooney is out for the Liverpool game a week later so Sir Alex Ferguson will want one of his main strikers fit for that Premier League clash.
This is an opportunity for West Ham to have a real go at United on their home turf and it will be a difficult game for the Red Devils. It wouldn’t surprise me if this game went to a replay and the draw is 14/5 with Paddy Power.
Swansea v Arsenal, Live Sunday, ESPN, 1.30pm
The Swans beat Arsenal 2-0 in the Premier League a few weeks ago but the Gunners seemed to have sorted themselves out since then.
Their 1-1 draw with Southampton was a poor performance and Swansea will fancy themselves in this knock-out competition and are already semi-finalists in the Capital One Cup and play Chelsea in it next Wednesday night. I’m not sure what team Arsene Wenger will start with and I wouldn’t be surprised if this needed a replay also.
Mansfield v Liverpool, Live Sunday, ESPN, 4pm
A big occasion for Mansfield and Brendan Rodgers has a couple of big decisions to make. Will he start new-signing Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea and rest Luis Suarez and will he given Steven Gerrard the day off or try to get the game won early?
I think Liverpool will have too much for Mansfield regardless and at 2/9 should be in the hat for the second round.
Cheltenham Town v Everton, Live Monday, ESPN, 19.45pm
I don’t think Everton will sacrifice a Cup run at the expense of finishing fourth in the Premier League. Not many people know this but I played for Cheltenham for six months before I started my TV work.
I’m very fond of the club but I don’t think David Moyes will let the Toffees slip up at this early stage in the tournament. They’ve enough in their squad to rotate and rest a few players but they’ll definitely want a result and I think they’ll get it.