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Arsenal still team to beat in FA Cup, but best value bet is against them

Arsenal are odds-on favourites to lift the FA Cup at 4/9 ahead of their semi-final meeting with holders Wigan Athletic on April 12th.

Punters that fancy Arsene Wenger’s misfiring Gunners to become the latest name on the list of teams to suffer a Latics giant-killing should place their bets with Coral.

A special market is open on Arsenal failing to win the cup and missing out a top-four finish, and odds of 5/1 say this combination of outcomes will occur.

Conversely, if punters fancy the Gunners to have a spot in next season’s Champions League and to end their nine-year wait for silverware, then take a less enticing price of 6/4.

Wigan start as 5/1 outsiders to win the first semi in 90 minutes, and 7/2 shots to reach the final. Uwe Rosler lost his unbeaten home record in midweek. Punters who have taken 8/1 on him helping the Latics retain the FA Cup will be hoping he fares better at Wembley.

A draw in 90 minutes is priced at 11/4, while Arsenal are odds-on to end Wigan’s sensational second successive run in this competition at 4/9 in normal time, and 1/6 to advance.

Motivation, as if it were needed, for Latics players who were at the DW Stadium last season, comes in that FA Cup ecstasy was swiftly followed by the agony of Premier League relegation at the hands of the Gunners.

Bouncing straight back looks a distinct possibility via the Championship play-offs, however. Wigan are 11/4 for promotion, and heavily odds-on at 1/20 for a top-six finish.

In the other semi, Hull City face a Yorkshire derby against third-tier team Sheffield United, but these sides have contrasting memories of Wembley’s hallowed turf. Since a memorable Dean Windass goal sealed the Tigers’ first ever promotion to the Premier League, the Blades have endured double play-off pain.

Nigel Clough will be ignoring that history, but the fact remains that the Steel City side are 16/1 outsiders to lift their first FA Cup since 1925. United are 12/5 chances to reach the final, a 3/1 shot to beat Hull in 90 minutes.

The match is 12/5 to go to extra time on April 13th, and naturally Steve Bruce’s Tigers are odds-on favourites for victory before it comes to that at 8/11, and to advance from the tie at 3/10. Both Hull and the Blades warmed up for this encounter with 1-0 wins.

Arsenal are without victory in four ahead of their clash with Wigan, and it is that fact, plus Everton’s Premier League game in hand over them, which makes that 5/1 price so enticing. Punters really can be rewarded by Gunners failure, so back them to miss out on glory and the top four.