Posted on 10 Mar 2011 at 19:37 PM by Formex
Beaten at Wembley in the Carling Cup final and humbled in midweek by Barcelona in their Champions League exit Arsenal has the perfect opportunity to silence their doubters when they play Man United at Old Trafford in Saturday’s FA Cup sixth-round match.
A push for four trophies has quickly become a double chase and unless Wenger and his team can get the better of Alex Ferguson and his table toppers the league will be their only hope this season. Arsenal play United at a good time with the home side having suffered successive league defeats and facing a tricky Champions League clash with Marseille next week.
Ferguson has rested key players in each of the previous rounds of the FA Cup and if he follows a similar approach here Arsenal could have the edge. However United boast a fantastic home record and have come out best in most of their recent encounters with the Gunners which makes it difficult to enthuse too much for the visitors even though from a betting perspective this seems to be where the value lies.
A fascinating betting clash and one in which watching may be the best bet but for those keen to punt a replay is probably the best option, with 1-1 the favoured score..
Local rivals Man City host Championship side Reading on Sunday and although the Royals have already taken the scalp of Everton in the last round and are on a good run in their own division this looks nailed on for Mancini’s side. Unless the Citizens boss rests some of his big names they should go through to the semi-finals with the minimum of fuss.
West Ham have been nothing short of a revelation in recent weeks and have netted at least three goals in each of their last four games and pulled themselves out of the Premier League relegation zone. A trip to Stoke on Sunday shouldn’t unduly concern Avram Grant’s side as they thumped the Potters 3-0 at Upton Park last weekend and with Scott Parker and Thomas Hitzlsperger running the show for the Hammers the worries are certainly with Stoke boss Tony Pulis.
That isn’t to say that West Ham will have an easy ride but it does point the way to a decent bet on the visitors who are available at a fair price and we can expect to see Grant ready another team for a trip to Wembley.
The other quarter final tie sees Carling Cup winners Birmingham play Bolton at St Andrews. The home side managed a good draw at Goodison Park on Wednesday and will go into this match brimming with confidence. Bolton have their new star Daniel Sturridge, on-loan from Chelsea, cup-tied here but they may have enough fight to take this to a replay which is the recommended bet.