The Premier League takes a break this coming weekend and attention turns to the FA Cup, where 16 teams – from Premier League leaders Chelsea to non-league Sutton Utd – are in with a chance of glory.
There are some interesting clashes set to take place, but what is remarkable is that all the top clubs have been kept apart in the draw. Of the eight favourites to win the cup, none are playing against each other. It is bad news for the TV companies as it lacks big matches, but there is likely to be an exceptionally strong lineup in the quarter-finals.
Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal and Tottenham all have relatively easy games and should all make it through, along with Leicester, Middlesbrough and Burnley. All eight Premiership teams left in the cup have been drawn against lower-league rivals, and all should really progress.
Betdsi has odds for the FA Cup, and shows them all to be heavy favourites. There might be one upset, but essentially we are in for our strongest quarter-final line-up in years. So let us analyse the Premiership teams and examine who is most likely to win it.
Man City (18/5)
Despite trailing Chelsea by a considerable distance in the league and facing a slightly trickier draw in the last 16 (away at Huddersfield, who are third in the Championship), City have been made favourites at 18/5 for the FA Cup. Perhaps that is because bookmakers feel Chelsea will be preoccupied with the league and City will capitalise. City are a phenomenal attacking force, and have been given a huge boost by the arrival of Gabriel Jesus, but at those odds there is not a great deal of value in them, particularly as they have defended poorly all season.
Chelsea should easily overcome Wolves to make the quarter-final and by that time they could have the league title virtually sewn up given the way they are dominating at present. They have no European commitments and a decent sized squad, so they could well afford to put a bit of a focus on the cup. A double in his first season in charge would be a very impressive achievement for Antonio Conte, and if they give it their all they will be unstoppable, so 15/4 on them looks very good.
The Gunners have the easiest draw of the lot, away at Sutton Utd, who are already in dreamland having made it this far. They are well behind in the title race and can afford to give this competition their 100% effort, as, let’s face it, they aren’t going to win the Champions League. They have had great success in the FA Cup, however, winning it in 2014 and 2015, and on their day they can beat anyone. If Wenger can win the cup, he might
Man Utd (9/2)
The holders have an away game against Championship strugglers Blackburn Rovers to negotiate but should breeze into the quarter-finals. They have hit form at just the right time and are unbeaten in 16 Premier League games. They have the defensive solidity and attacking flair to be a real threat in this competition, and that 9/2 looks the best bet of the bunch right now.
Tottenham have impressed again this season but look to be running out of steam as they play such high intensity football and their squad is a little thin. They have also struggled away from home and come up short against some big teams, notably losing 1-0 to Man Utd at Old Trafford, and would be underdogs if they came up against Jose Mourinho’s men again, meaning Man Utd and Chelsea look the best options right now.
The only other team that really stands out is Leicester (18/1), who are having a miserable league season and are just one point above the relegation zone, but who defied logic and odds of 5,000/1 to win the league last season and are therefore no strangers to springing a surprise. They have already knocked out in-form Everton and can go far. Burnley (28/1) are terrible away but amazing at home and if the luck of the draw is with them and they get home draws they could make the final, so they might be an interesting each-way option.