League One side Sheffield United can continue dream FA Cup run
Sheffield United, already conquerors of Aston Villa, Fulham and Nottingham Forest in the competition, are worthy 13/10 favourites with Coral to beat Charlton (23/10) for a place in the FA Cup semi-finals, despite being one division below their London rivals.
Charlton deprived Sheffield of a derby quarter-final when knocking Wednesday out in Round 5, but they are likely to find Nigel Clough’s United a tougher nut to crack.
Their impressive cup run aside, the Blades have been in stonking form in the League this past month, winning six games in a row (without conceding a goal) to not only take them clear of the relegation zone, but close enough to the play-off places to warrant a 7/1 quote for the top six and 20/1 for promotion.
Charlton, on the other hand, are in dire straits in the Championship, rock bottom after Saturday’s results went against them, having lost four of their last five games. They have never beaten United in an FA Cup tie and as well as they have done to get so far (three away wins), this might just be the end of the road.
Uwe Rosler spent many happy years with Manchester City and will never forget the support he had from players and fans, even after he had moved on, when he became seriously ill. But as is the way of these things, there is nothing he would enjoy more than to put one over on his old club when he brings Wigan Athletic to town this Sunday tea-time.
Wigan, of course, have previous with City in the FA Cup, very previous. But Rosler knows that the chances of lightening striking twice and the Championship side again humiliating the Premier League highflyers is pretty remote, as Coral’s odds (1/6 City, 16/1 Wigan, 7/1 the draw) suggest.
Instead, the visitors will probably be hoping to avoid the sort of 5-0 hammering they took at the Etihad in the Capital One Cup last autumn and then concentrate on the really important business in hand – getting into the Championship play-offs and back into the Premier League (7/2 for promotion).
It could be said that City have bigger fish to fry themselves, what with a Champions League tie against Barcelona on Wednesday and then a final push to see off Chelsea and Liverpool for the Premier League title.
But they took the Capital One Cup seriously enough and with that trophy safely in the bag, they will be hungry to complete the domestic treble (6/4 to win the Premier League, 4/5 the FA Cup).
It will be a surprise if City aren’t pretty much at full strength against their Lancashire neighbours, who in turn are likely to be still without their star man Nick Powell.
This fixture has had a habit of finishing 1-0 either way over the years, but City’s firepower up front should give them a clear edge and they will probably progress with something to spare, maybe 4-0 (15/2) or 4-1 (25/1).