Woohoo! January is over and the countdown to summer has officially kicked on a gear. The nights are getting ever so slightly longer, the temperatures are flirting with double digits, and your bank account is looking a touch healthier after the Christmas/New Year damage.
But it could certainly do with a helping hand right? Especially with two weeks abroad this summer screaming your name.
Whether you want to don your shutter shades and your UV paint in Magaluf, take a fishing trip out in the west of Ireland, or simply lie on a beach somewhere and let the cocktail of sun and rum ease your worries, an 90/1 FA Cup accumulator sure would help. We’ve crunched the key numbers from five of the weekend’s cup ties and picked out what look like reasonable bets to give you a decent run for your cash. A £5 wager returns £454 and puts you another step closer to the airport…
*All the below stats were taken from this season’s league games
West Brom to score first v West Ham: 10/11
West Ham’s away record in the league isn’t the worst in the world – won three, drawn five, lost four – but they have conceded the first goal in eight of those 12 games away from home. Big Sam may think he is the most sophisticated man in the Premier League, but his Hammers side have only managed to score first against Crystal Palace and Burnley on their travels. When these sides met at the Hawthorns in December, the Baggies opened the scoring, and with Tony Pulis at the helm we’re willing to take a shot on Albion breaking the deadlock again.
Derby to beat Reading and over 2.5 goals: 13/8
Derby are in some cracking league form, dropping just five points since December 26, and the Rams have also been entertaining their home fans with plenty of games featuring three or more goals. At Pride Park Derby have scored on average 2.3 goals a game, while the visitors Reading have conceded an average of two goals a game on the road this season. The stats point to a goal-fest which is great for the neutral and we’re siding with Derby to take advantage. The Rams won 3-0 away to Reading in October and a similar result in the cup wouldn’t be too surprising.
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Liverpool to score first v Crystal Palace: 8/11
Whether you love him or you hate him, Alan Pardew isn’t doing a bad job at Crystal Palace, and he’s managed to keep his s*** together which is an unlikely bonus. Palace however, have done it the hard way, conceding the first goal in nine of their 12 home games this season. In four of their last five league games home and away, the opposition has scored first, and after Liverpool’s attacking intent was on full display against Tottenham we’re more than happy to side with the Reds. Liverpool have scored the first goal in eight of their last nine games and now Daniel Sturridge is back to full fitness you’d expect that trend to continue.
Aston Villa to win to nil v Leicester: 16/5
Don’t call the men in white coats just yet. We haven’t completely lost it. This is more a reflection of just how much guff Leicester are producing in front of goal, than Aston Villa’s ability to attack. The Foxes have failed to score in almost half of their away games this season and have lost the last four league games on the spin. Villa have ditched Paul Lambert in the hope for a change of fortunes, and although they have kept a clean sheet in just 25 per cent of their games at Villa Park, that figure rises to 60 per cent if you just look at teams in the bottom half. It’s a gamble. But one we’re willing to take.
Arsenal to win to nil v Middlesbrough: 6/4
The Gunners clean sheet record at home might hardly be too eye-catching, but since Wojciech Szczesny picked up his 10 SuperKings and ended up dropping out of the team, Arsenal have kept three cleans sheets in five league games. At the Emirates, Arsene Wenger’s side have conceded just two goals from open play in the last six top flight games and Le Professor appears to have tightened everything up at the back. Boro may be top of the Championship, but they have failed to score in 40 per cent of their away games, and that figure rises to 75 per cent if you look at just the top half of the league. They’ve failed to score in three of their last five Championship away games and we’re banking on Arsenal keeping them out again and bringing home the bacon.