It’s FA Cup fourth round weekend, and we can’t think of any better way to celebrate than with a winning treble on Saturday’s football coupon – especially at odds of over 4/1.
At this stage of the season, no team wants the dreaded replay. We’re backing these three teams to avoid it by sealing their respective round five spots with wins on Saturday afternoon.
Here are our selections.
Blackburn Rovers v Blackpool
Championship strugglers Blackburn have endured a difficult season to say the least, but they have won two of their last four fixtures, including their third round trip to QPR and can be confident about securing another win as they take on League Two opposition in the form of Blackpool.
A win for Owen Coyle’s men would offer a fantastic momentum boost ahead of crucial back-to-back league games at Ewood Park while reaching round five of the cup would be a great achievement in itself. With the quality of Danny Graham and Sam Gallagher at their disposal, they shouldn’t face too many problems against inferior opposition.
Blackpool are performing better under Gary Bowyer, who would love to get one over his old employers, but they sit 13th in the basement league for a reason. Even with the re-signing of Nathan Delfouneso, it’s hard to see them causing an upset – even if Blackburn are hardly the best side in the second tier.
The Tangerines can make Rovers work hard for their victory. As long as they perform, though, it should be a fairly comfortable win for the hosts.
Burnley v Bristol City
Despite their obvious problems on the road, Sean Dyche’s men have made Turf Moor a fortress throughout 2016-17. Frankly, there’s no reason to think they’ll come under any serious threat as they turn their attentions to cup action here.
The Clarets have been particularly solid at the back when playing at home, and should be confident about keeping the struggling Robins at bay. After all, the visitors have won just twice on the road in the Championship and are unlikely to enjoy much of the game in this one.
Burnley aren’t the most frequent scorers but Andre Gray and Sam Vokes are more than capable of punishing City’s defensive frailties, which have resulted in 23 away goals in the league and could bring at least a couple more on Saturday afternoon.
Everything about this points towards a victory for the Premier League hosts, and that’s exactly where our money will be going.
Oxford United v Newcastle United
League One side Oxford United have performed quite well in recent weeks and can enter Saturday’s home clash against Newcastle with every reason for optimism. However, they’re still likely to come up short against Rafe Benitez’s flying Magpies.
The Championship club are enjoying a fantastic season and as they close in on promotion, they’d love a big cup run to double their delight. They’ve won 10 of 14 away games in their league, and the travelling Toon supporters will be looking to Dwight Gayle and co. for further inspiration in a game that they will be fully expected to win.
While Michael Appleton’s men will put up a strong resistance, it’s hard to see them keeping the visitors, who boast nine goals in their last three games at bay. At the other end, Christopher Maguire and Kane Hemmings aren’t used to facing such strong opposition, and that could be telling.
Oxford do have recent history of causing cup upsets, but this isn’t one we expect them to accomplish. Back Newcastle to seal their place in round five.