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FA Cup Third Round Tips: 5th & 6th January
by the Cheeky Punter
There was a time when FA Cup Third Round weekend was not just one of the biggest games of the weekend, but one of the most important.
The money now on offer for the Premier League and Champions League in particular has meant that many teams, not just the very top sides, will now be playing what are effectively reserve teams for this fixture.
As such, I have purposely looked for games where I feel that a top side may well be in trouble against their opponent to find some value.
Check out my tips nad predictions for the FA Cup Third Round below.
Football Tips: Saturday 5th January
January 5, 2019
January 5, 2019
West Ham’s erratic form returned over the festive season, losing to Watford and Burnley but earning a solid victory at Southampton.
Their final game of the festive period against Brighton ended in a 2-2 draw leaving them 10th in the table with a total of 28 points.
Birmingham are unbeaten in their last five games (drawing three, winning two) they have just one defeat in their last eight games, keeping five clean sheets In those matches.
The Blues lie 8th in the Championship table, four points outside of the Playoff places, having amassed 39 points from their 26 games, losing just 5 times this season.
In his time at Manchester City, Manuel Pellegrini tended to rest his key men for FA Cup games, and in truth I can see him doing something similar for this game for West Ham, especially given the busy Premier League schedule of games over the festive and New Year period.
That could be a problem for West Ham as even though it could mean a game for the likes of Mark Noble or Andy Carroll, it does mean that the Hammers key men, such as Felipe Anderson or Marko Arnautovic, could well be missing and that is a real risk against a Birmingham City side that have proven themselves to be difficult to beat this season.
The Blues have picked up eight points from 12 over the festive period and have been beaten just five times in the Championship this season, a record low in that division shared with a number of other teams. However, they have tended to draw more games than they win, hence they sit in mid-table.
I truth, I can’t see Birmingham having quite the firepower to get the win against West Ham here, but by the same token, with West Ham’s form so erratic and a likely weaker side being played, I also feel that the Hammers may need a second bite of the cherry to progress, so I am backing this one to finish as a draw.
After back to back wins prior to Christmas, Southampton have since lost two in a row home but managed a 0-0 away at Chelsea on Wednesday night.
The Saints lie in 18th position in the Premier League table ahead of Fulham in the relegation places two points behind Cardiff City who have 18 points.
Derby have lost just one of their last seven games, drawing three of those games however their form has been somewhat inconsistent over the past month or so.
The Rams lie in 6th place in the Championship, four points clear of the teams chasing them in the final playoff spot.
Derby County have already sprung a surprise in the Carabao Cup this season when they outplayed Manchester United at Old Trafford to earn a draw and then victory on penalties over what was then Jose Mourinho’s team.
Frank Lampard’s men also come into this game in decent form too, losing just one of their last seven games, but they have struggled to claim wins, with defensive errors and some wasteful finishing responsible for them not picking up more points over the period than the 12 they did manage.
Southampton’s form seemed to improve under new boss Ralph Hassenhuttl, but since then they have lost their last two ahead of a game with Chelsea on Wednesday night and in truth, they will likely come into this game on the back of three straight defeats.
I also feel Hassenhuttl will be prioritising Premier League survival over an FA Cup run and as such, may well elect to rest a few key players. Even if he doesn’t though, I still fancy that Lampard’s men have enough talent in their squad to claim another Premier League scalp here and take the win.
Bristol City went through December unbeaten, winning four and drawing three of their seven games in the Championship – they’ve won their last two.
City lie in 11th position in the Championship on 38 points, five behind of Derby and Middlesbrough in 6th and 5th places in the table respectively.
Huddersfield have lost all of the seven matches that they have played in December and face a crucial relegation clash with Burnley on 2nd January.
The Terriers are now bottom of the Premier League with just 10 points from 20 games ahead of the clash with Burnley and they are now five points from safety.
This may look like one of the more benign FA Cup games and it certainly doesn’t have the glamour of some of the other matches in the Third Round, but for Bristol City, a team who famously stunned Manchester United in the Carabao Cup last season, this represents another golden opportunity to add to the four Premier League scalps they claimed last season.
City are in good form heading into the game, going through December unbeaten and they take on a Huddersfield side that have the exact opposite problem having lost all of their last seven games, all of which were played in December, that before Wednesday night’s crucial home game with Burnley in what is a true relegation six-pointer.
David Wagner isn’t a manager that I feel will want to make too many changes for this game, but I think he knows that even with a full strength team out, this is a tough ask, especially given the contrasting form of the two sides and the fact that Ashton Gate will be packed to the rafters.
If Manchester United were not good enough to earn the win over City last season, then I feel that Huddersfield are going to struggle this and as such, I am backing the home side to come away with the win.
Bristol City to win - £10 returns £24.50
January 6, 2019
January 6, 2019
Newport’s last victory was in the FA Cup, a 4-0 win over rivals Wrexham in the second round. They lie 12th in League Two with 36 points from 25 games played.
The Welsh side also faced Premier League opposition last season, earning a draw against Tottenham at home before being well beaten in the replay in London.
Leicester have won three of their last four games, beating Chelsea, Man City and Everton, but losing at home to Cardiff in that run of four games.
The Foxes are now 7th in the Premier League table with 31 points but are seven point behind Man Utd in 6th position.
Last season Newport earned a famous draw with Tottenham before being thrashed in a replay at Wembley. Leicester may not be quite as glamorous an opponent for the Welsh side this season but the Foxes will provide them with an equally stern test.
Newport’s league form heading into the game isn’t great, with their last win being in the FA Cup against Wrexham. They have dropped down to 12th in the table in League 2 although they do have a game in hand on some of their rivals.
For Leicester it has been a superb month, with one exception. Stunning wins over Chelsea, Manchester City and Everton showed what the team is capable of, however a 1-0 home defeat to Cardiff also showed how inconsistent they can be at times.
I do feel Claude Puel will rest some key men in this game, but I also feel the Foxes have a strong squad in depth and that as a result, they will have just enough to get the win here first time of asking.
The Cheeky Punter is an ex professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has worked for a number of top bookmakers including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. He's also written for a number of leading news outlets including the Guardian, i (newspaper) and Soccer Lens. More about him here.