FA Cup: Is Tottenham’s name on the trophy or can Arsenal end their trophy drought?
While the FA Cup holders Manchester City and Premier League champions Manchester United have been knocked out of the world’s most-loved cup competition, Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham Hotspur have breezed through to the fifth round of the FA Cup. They saw off Cheltenham 3-0 at the Lane before just edging past Watford 1-0 at Vicarage Road. Next weekend they visit League One play-off hopefuls Stevenage Borough, so is Tottenham’s name on the trophy?
Spurs traditionally do well in this competition when the year ends in a one – their last success in this trophy was 1991 - but 2012 could be their year according to the bookies. They’ve made Spurs joint favourites to lift the FA Cup alongside Liverpool and Chelsea at best priced 7/2.
Tottenham have had a fabulous season so far and look like clinching a Champions League spot, but a top four finish won’t be enough for Harry Redknapp. He won the competition with Portsmouth in 2008 and he’d love to bring some silverware back to the Lane. But if you think Stevenage could create their own piece of cup history by knocking out the north London outfit, BetVictor is the place for you. They are offering odds of 700/1 for the Boro to win the FA Cup.
However, the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton all have their eyes on Wembley too.
Liverpool, who are already going to Wembley to face Cardiff in the Carling Cup, host Championship outfit Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield. Dalglish’s men haven’t had a lot of joy in front of the Kop this season – Monday night’s draw with Spurs was their eighth in the league – but surely the seven-time cup winners will be too strong for Gus Poyet’s men, won’t they? If you think the Seagulls can cause the shock of the competition then Stan James and Coral are the places for you, both offering odds of 150/1 to go on and lift the trophy.
Chelsea have got their hands on the trophy six times, five of those coming in the past 15 years, and AVB needs to win something to convince Roman Abramovich that he is the right man for the job at the Bridge. They take on last season’s Carling Cup winners Birmingham City at home and again the smart money would be on a home win. However, if you think Chris Hughton can mastermind a cup upset and win the trophy then Stan James should be your next port of call, with the bookie offering odds of 150/1.
Everton, who were last in the final in 2009 against Chelsea, take Blackpool, who disposed of Sheffield Wednesday last night. David Moyes has always treated the competition with the utmost respect and victory this season would mean so much for the club and their fans. BlueSquare and Ladbrokes have the Toffees at 14/1. The price for Blackpool to win the cup before last night was 200/1.
Arsenal haven’t won anything since lifting the trophy in 2005 and Arsene Wenger would love to get that monkey off his back. However, the Gunners face a tricky clash against either Middlesbrough or Martin O’Neill’s rejuvenated Sunderland away. The odds this morning for the Gunners to end their trophy drought by winning this competition is 11/2, Sunderland are 22/1 at Stan James with Middlesbrough at 150/1 with SkyBet.
League Two title contenders Crawley Town could cause the shock of the round as they host last season’s beaten finalists Stoke City. Steve Evans has been in charge of their meteoric rise through the leagues but victory over Tony Pulis’ men will surpass last season’s day out at Old Trafford by a mile. The home side’s chances of winning the tournament is slim. They are best priced 300/1 at Stan James, while the Potters are 18/1 at Paddy Power and Bet365.
Norwich City and Leicester City will be keen to book their place in the next round when they lock horns at Carrow Road. The Canaries have never reached the final of the FA Cup while Leicester are the tournament’s unluckiest sides. They’ve reached the final four times but have lost on each occasion. Paul Lambert’s men are 28/1 at Bet365 to lift the trophy for the first time, while the Foxes are 80/1 with the same firm.
The last clash in the fifth round involves Millwall hosting last season’s demoralised semi-finalists Bolton Wanderers. The Wanderers are 44/1 with Bet365 to win their fifth FA Cup. Millwall, who faced Manchester United in the final in 2004, were 300/1 before last night's epic win at St Mary's.
If you think Everton and Liverpool will progress and make it a repeat of the 1989 all-Merseyside final, Ladbrokes is the place for you as they are offering odds of 18/1.
But who is your money on to win the 2012 FA Cup?
Stoke City 18/1
Leicester City 80/1
Birmingham City 150/1