Martinez’s Everton to lead a ruthless Premier League charge in FA Cup
Aston Villa, Everton, Newcastle and Southampton all face teams outside of the Premier League in the FA Cup this weekend and all four can win.
The enhanced 5/1 price about all four progressing to Round Four is worth backing.
Aston Villa are at home to Sheffield United, who may have improved under new boss Nigel Clough but still don’t score enough goals.
Only once in their last five games have they score more than one goal and they have been comfortably beaten on their last three visits to Villa Park.
Those three games were when the side were in the Premier League and, after a rapid fall of grace, there is no real reason to expect an upset today for the League One side.
Villa have been struggling in the league but this match will present a welcome relief from the relegation battle and the home side should have more confidence after a crucial 1-0 win at Sunderland.
Despite Paul Lambert’s comments about the competition, their fans expect a win.
Aston Villa last won the FA Cup in 1957
Everton suffered a surprise defeat to Gus Poyet’s side recently, but Championship side QPR are up against it as they try to emulate that result this afternoon.
Harry Redknapp’s team are third in the league due to a fantastic home record (9-2-1) but their form on their travels has been mediocre; they have taken just 17 from 36 points available.
They have only won one of their last five games north of Watford and have been struggling for goals, scoring just 26 in 24 matches.
Compare that to Everton’s miserly home record – they have only conceded 9 goals in 10 games – and the hosts are worth backing.
They have a seven day gap before their next Premier League match so a strong team is expected, with Tim Howard set to return from his suspension.
The Toffees boss Roberto Martinez won the FA Cup with Wigan last year and he is refusing to prioritise the league over the cup.
The Spaniard said this week: “It’s like asking who you prefer, mum or dad.”
Roberto Martinez is unbeaten in his last six FA Cup matches
Everton should comfortably progress, as should Newcastle who are fifth in the Premier League home form table.
Alan Pardew’s team may have lost their last two but the first defeat was against Arsenal, whilst they had key defender Mathieu Debuchy sent off at West Brom on New Year’s Day.
They managed to hold out for nearly half an hour but succumbed to a late penalty for their seventh defeat of the season, just one more than Manchester United.
Pardew is set to play a slightly changed side but he will see the FA Cup as a fine opportunity to win some more brownie points with the “Toon Army”.
Cardiff’s last four trips to Tyneside have all resulted in defeat and, despite the boost of new manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in, there is still unrest in South Wales.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won two FA Cups as a Man Utd player
Southampton, after a flying start to the season, have stuttered somewhat, but will find the visit of Burnley much easier than that of Chelsea who visited St Mary’s last time.
The Saints missed several good opportunities in the first half against the Londoners and were made to pay with three clinical finishes in the second period.
However their home record this season suggests that they have no problem with beating the lesser teams; Crystal Palace, Hull, Swansea and Bristol City (Capital One Cup) have all been comfortably dispatched.
Burnley are flying high under Sean Dyche, but have won none of their last three away games, as well as just three of their last 12 in all competitions.