Black Cats face Championship’s Cottagers in FA Cup clash
It’s set to be another wonderful weekend full of fantastic FA Cup action as Sunderland, odds-on 4/6 favourites, host Championship side Fulham at the Stadium of Light in their fourth round tie.
Elsewhere, Welsh outfit Cardiff will be aiming to overcome Steve Clarke’s Reading, while Aston Villa fight for a place in the fifth round in battle with Bournemouth.
Sunderland v Fulham
Fulham, 4/1 to win, will go into their showdown with Gus Poyet’s side as huge underdogs having had an incredibly inconsistent Championship campaign, sliding down to 14th in the domestic league table.
However, Kit Symons’ side have won their last two games, including a 3-2 victory over Nottingham Forest thanks to a hat-trick from former Leeds United attacker Ross McCormack. The in-form Scottish international is 2/1 to net anytime again having bagged 10 goals this season in 31 outings.
The Cottagers’ Premier League opposition have been on a poor run of form from the start of the year, with the Black Cats’ only victory of 2015 coming against Fulham’s Championship rivals Leeds in the previous round.
Poyet’s men have conceded 33 league goals this term, scoring only 19, and are 10/1 to lose to nil at the Stadium of Light. The top-flight strugglers will be without Lee cattermole, Adam Johnson and Wes Brown for the cup clash, while Fulham confirmed captain Scott Parker is set to miss out through injury.
Sebastian Larsson was on target in his side’s defeat to Tottenham last time out and is 4/1 to get on the scoresheet anytime this weekend.
Cardiff v Reading
Russell Slade’s men, 11/8 to win, will be confident of toppling the Royals in the Welsh capital, having lost just once in their previous 12 meetings in all competitions.
These two sides have played each other on four other occasions in the FA Cup, with the spoils equally shared at two victories each. The Bluebirds secured a 2-0 cup triumph in 2009 and are available at 12/1 to win by the same margin this time out.
Despite the home side’s poor form, they will be hoping for a lift against a Reading outfit who have earned just one win in seven league games.
Reading defender Jordon Obita is the great, great nephew of former Cardiff forward Derek Tapscott, who scored 79 goals in 194 outings for the club. Obita is 7/1 to score anytime at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Aston Villa v Bournemouth
Incredibly, Bournemouth have scored more league goals in Birmingham this season than Villa, having thrashed the Villans’ bitter rivals 8-0 earlier in the season.
This is more than Paul Lambert’s struggling outfit have registered throughout their entire Premier League campaign at Villa Park.
The two teams have only ever met four times, but it could soon become a regular top-flight fixture, with the Championship side sitting at the summit of England’s second tier, having gone 14 league games unbeaten last year.
Lambert’s men, 13/10 to win, are without a victory in seven league outings and have scored just once in those fixtures. Eddie Howe’s team are 17/4 to win to nil and topscorer Callum Wilson is 6/1 to open proceedings after netting 14 times this term.