by Andrew Robinson
A host of Premier League sides are facing the proverbial “banana skin” when they take on lower league opposition in this week’s FA Cup replays.
Top billing for upsets has to go to the Bournemouth-Wigan tie, with Roberto Martinez’s outfit heading to the south coast on what will be a cold and wet Tuesday night.
The League One side pushed their Premier League opponents hard in the first clash, taking the lead through Eunan O’Kane, before conceding a 70th minute Jordi Gomez equaliser.
Eddie Howe’s side are unbeaten in 18 league and cup games, form which sees them priced at 2/1 to pull off a giant killing and set up an away tie at Macclesfield, conquerors of Cardiff in the last round.
Wigan are 11/8 to shake off their poor form and put Bournemouth to the sword.
If you’re looking for surprises, then the clash between Stoke and Crystal Palace could give you some value. The Britannia has been a fortress for Tony Pulis’ side, but Chelsea laughed in the face of their record at the weekend, securing a thumping 4-0 win.
With the foundations rocked, it might just take an early goal from Ian Holloway’s side to convince the Potters to hit the self destruct button.
Palace have an inconsistent away record this season, but if Wilfried Zaha and Glenn Murray can find their form 9/2 for the win looks a great bet.
Both Sunderland and Fulham face Championship opposition on Tuesday, with a potential for both to slip up.
Sunderland welcome Bolton to the Stadium of Light on the back of a thumping 3-0 home win against West Ham. The Trotters threw away a two goal lead in the first meeting and it could be another high-scoring game.
Managerless Blackpool welcome Fulham to the seaside and with a lot of snow around they could be looking forward to getting stuck into the Fancy Dans from the Kings Road. With Tom Ince still in the side anything is possible and they are a juicy 2/1 to pull off an upset.
The remaining Premier League sides in action are Manchester United, West Ham, Arsenal and Swansea. Between them they played out two 2-2 draws in the first attempt at settling the tie, with both games going down to the last few minutes.
Swansea head to the Emirates full of confidence, after a 2-0 win there earlier this season and a recent pick up in form. They are 5/1 to pull off the upset, while the out-of-form Gunners are on offer at 8/15.
Manchester United relied once again on Robin van Persie to pull them out of the brown stuff in London after coming off the bench. He could be rested again on Wednesday night, but United could be forced to call on him once more.
Van Persie is 5/2 to be the last goalscorer on the night and knowing him and United he’ll probably bang it in from outside the box in the seventh minute of “Fergie time”.
With the Premier League hotting up at both ends, some managers may be tempted to rest key players, so you never know what might happen in the FA Cup this week.