The only people who like an FA Cup upset are the folk creating the montages for the TV, and the lads writing the headlines in the papers. The shock exits and giant-killings are all well and good for promoting the FA Cup, but in reality they’re nothing more than an elaborate myth. Mr Eurovision Johnny Logan was number one in May 1980 – the last time a side from outside the top tier lifted the trophy.
For punters, there’s nothing worse than a short-priced favourite getting turned over by a small-town club, and managers and high-profile players coming out and blaming the state of the pitch, the aggression of the fans, or the fact that the showers were cold and smelt like piss. Of course there will be shock defeats along the way, but we’re confident these five selections can come good – and give us a return of £310 off a £10 punt.
Luckily, if we are stung in a shock twist, Paddy Power is covering our back. The boss is rolling out his Acca Insurance offer for the FA Cup, giving punters their cash back as a free bet if one leg of their fivefold or more accumulator lets them down. That’s a tidy cushion that’ll soften the blow if one of our hotly fancied tips decides to go tits up.
The teams are just 90 minutes away from a Fifth Round clash, and this 30/1 punt could help finish January on a high.
Aston Villa v Manchester City, Saturday 3.00pm
Some Aston Villa fans will approach this game attempting to shout about the fact that the Villa are unbeaten in five games in all competitions. And while yes, that is true, context is important. Adolf Hitler was Man of the Year in 1938 don’t forget – context is key.
Thus, in reality, Adolf Hitler was a twat and Aston Villa are a poor football side.
In 20 games since September 26, Villa have won just twice, losing more than half of their games. While Villa are 1/20 to get relegated (a 95.2 per cent chance according to the odds), Manchester City are favourites for both the FA Cup and the Premier League and have a record of 12 wins and two draws against bottom half league sides this season.
Villa held City to a draw at home in November, but we’re confident they won’t get anything out of this clash. With Sergio Aguero in fine form – six goals in six games during January – Manchester City look as close to bankers as you’ll see on Saturday at .
Bury v Hull, Saturday 3.00pm
Hull City are riding high on top of the Championship table and a converted place in the top flight is tantalisingly close for the Tigers. After a brief blip in December, Hull have returned to winning ways and have racked up five victories on the spin in January – keeping four clean sheets and scoring 12 goals.
35 places below Hull, and languishing in mid-table of League One are Bury. The home side went 10 games unbeaten in the division between August 22 and October 17, but since then they’ve lost nine of their 14 league games and needed penalties to get past League One mid-table side Bradford in the last round of the cup.
Confidence is high in Hull, and the Yorkshire side should be confident of picking up the victory at Gigg Lane at odds of .
Nottingham Forest v Watford, Saturday 3.00pm
Nottingham Forest fans will still have a glimmer of hope that they can reach the Championship play-offs this season, particularly with their side currently on an unbeaten run of 12 games in the league. The main concern for promotion will be turning draws into wins, as seven of those 12 games have finished all square.
In total this season, 41 per cent of Forest’s league games have finished level, and another draw could be on the cards on Saturday when Watford turn up at the City Ground.
The Hornets ended a run of four league defeats on the spin with victory at home to Newcastle last week, and are sitting comfortably in mid-table on their return to the Premier League. It’s been six games since they kept a clean sheet however, and Forest can trouble their top flight opponents enough to secure a replay via the draw at .
Shrewsbury v Sheffield Wednesday, Saturday 3.00pm
38 places separate these two clubs who are both eyeing up vital ends to their respective seasons. But for very different reasons. Wednesday are in the play-off positions in the Championship on goal difference and will be fully aware that even the smallest slip-up could cost them a top six spot. Shrewsbury on the other hand are just one point clear of the drop zone in League One, and any kind of blip could see them heading for relegation.
Sheffield Wednesday have won six of their last eight games in all competitions, while Shrewsbury have won just four of their last 13. A strike from Andy Mangan secured Shrewsbury a shock Third Round win over Cardiff earlier in the month, but the home side’s luck is due to run out against promotion-hunting Wednesday.
Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal can already boast of wins away to Newcastle and at home to Arsenal this season, and at , the away side can pick up the win and move safely on to the next round of the cup.
— Sheffield Wednesday (@swfc) January 21, 2016
West Brom v Peterborough, Saturday 3.00pm
West Brom needed a last minute goal from James Morrison and a replay to beat Bristol City in the last round of the FA Cup, but our accumulator is relying on the Baggies making far easier progress against League One side Peterborough.
West Brom have lost just one of their last seven, and although Peterborough are only two points off the promotion spots in League One they have gone three games without a win and have found the back of the net just once. Tony Pulis’ men have lost just one of the last seven matches at home under the capped wonder, and have beaten Arsenal at The Hawthorns already this season.
It might not be pretty, but West Brom at can seal our 30/1 fivefold and pocket is a cool £300.