The plight of the Fantasy Football manager rolls back around this weekend as Stoke and Man City kick off the Saturday FA Cup fixtures. Us license paying folk can swap the watered down, £3 Carling at the White Horse for own refrigerated 4-pack and armchair, as Sky handover coverage duties to the hard hitting journalism of Adrian Chiles and his shaky ITV camera crew.
With bad punditry odds on, the customers may have to look to the match itself for cash. The competitions joint favourites Man City are priced at 4/5 widely to progress on the day, whilst the resolute home outfit are 21/5 with Bet Victor. The game to be replayed is best with Pinnacle at their strange odds of 23/8.
The Saturday-morning-coupon-customer tends to leave the early fixture off the longlist in fear having nothing to do come 3pm, especially with Stoke at home to a good side. But Stoke have forged a reputation as solid defensive unit at the Britannia despite not keeping a clean sheet there since mid November. The travellers look a huge price at nearly even money and should start the accumulators off nicely.
Adding to the fact Pulis's Potters needed extra time to beat Palace last week, Man City are boosted by the return of Sergio Aguero who should see an hours worth of play. Whilst rotation in the forgotten cup seems the done thing, a weaker side is ill advised for Man City. Full focus is needed as, like in 2011, this trophy could prove to be Mancini's saving grace. He misses hero from that day Yaya Toure, but with James Milner playing impressively of late and David Silva rediscovering the form he showed in his first 6 months in England, creating chances won't be an issue. Aguero is an enticing 9/2 up and down the high street to score first.
There's always very little to get excited about with Stoke. Stereotyped as a long ball, rough tackling, mid table outfit, Stoke are exactly that. The 'cold night at the Britannia' isn't as feared as it once was. For our readers in Stoke, BWin are very generous on the hosts in the anytime scorers market, offering 13/1 and 20/1 on Huth and Shawcross, the seemingly logical selections from a corner or throw in.
The phrase 'classic cup tie' will be highly over used this weekend, and in the wrong context. Those that are hoping for a scrappy, end to end, 3-2 war on a muddy pitch should probably wait for Macclesfield vs Wigan and just enjoy this one, comforted by the all too frequent reminders ITV gives that things could be worse, you could be Adrian Chiles.
Man City to win -1 @ 39/20 with SportingBet – new customers get a risk free £50 bet
Sergio Aguero to score first @ 9/2 with William Hill
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