English FA Cup Champions Face Keynes Test
English FA Cup holder Wigan is surprising long at odds of 1.80 with BetVictor – Ladbrokes is ducking the Latics with its short odds of 1.53 – to kick off its title defence with a home victory over Milton Keynes.
Wigan upset English Championship form side Derby on the road last time out to make it three wins and two draws in five domestic matches since Uwe Rosler, the former Manchester City cult hero whose managerial career started well in Norway and continues to impress in England, agreed to succeed Owen Coyle as boss of the DW Stadium team.
If one was guilty of underestimating Wigan against Derby then bookmakers, particularly BetVictor, are guilty of the same offence for the English FA Cup third round game between the Latics and Milton Keynes, a mid-table English League One side whose most recent away match resulted in a 1-3 loss to Rosler’s old team, Brentford.
Wigan’s underachievement in the second half of 2013 resulted in Latics owner Dave Whelan firing Coyle and hiring Rosler. Wigan’s squad is sufficiently strong for the Latics to push for a play-off berth and, even though the English FA Cup holder has not lived up to expectations for much of this season, there are 24 positions between the home side and Milton Keynes on the English football pyramid.
One was expecting to see Wigan quoted at odds of around 1.60 to defeat Milton Keynes so the Latics are the pick of the football betting options on Saturday 4 January 2014.
Running second to Wigan in the day’s football value stakes is English Championship team Charlton, which is trading at odds of 1.67 with BetVictor to knock out English League Two side Oxford at The Valley. A whopping 35 positions separate Charlton and Oxford on the English football pyramid and a gap like that should result in a warmer home favourite than the Addicks at odds of 1.67.
Furthermore, Charlton is unbeaten in its last four games – the Addicks have lost only to in-form Derby in their last six matches – whereas Oxford is reeling from back-to-back home defeats versus Plymouth and Scunthorpe that have seen the Us slide to sixth on the English League Two ladder.
Blackpool and Bolton played out one of the most memorable English FA Cup finals of all time, the 1953 decider known as the Matthews final in which Stanley Matthews inspired the Tangerines to fight back from 1-3 down to win 4-3 with the help of a Stan Mortensen hat-trick and a Bill Perry winning goal two minutes into stoppage time in the second half.
The Lancashire rivals meet in this term’s English FA Cup third round, with Bolton enjoying home advantage and being worthy of support at odds of 2.20 with Stan James. Bolton held Blackpool to a 0-0 draw by the seaside three months ago when the Tangerines were in much better form. Bolton, which has performed creditably in what has been a very tough run of recent fixtures, ought to fancy it chance of defeating a Blackpool team that has picked up only one point from its last seven English Championship games. Moreover, Blackpool has lost four away matches on the spin, succumbing to losses at Burnley, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and Yeovil.
Finally, Coventry’s travelling support is so large that the Sky Blues are possible punts at odds of 3.10 Unibet, to beat Barnsley at Oakwell. More Coventry fans are attending their side’s away games than their home ones and, while Barnsley is one division above the Sky Blues, the gap between the English FA Cup third round combatants is minimal. If one adds 10 points to Coventry’s English League One tally it rises to fifth in the third tier, effectively only five positions below Barnsley. Coventry’s away form is better than Barnsley’s home form, with the Sky Blues coming off a 3-1 win at Rotherham and the Tykes having not won in front of their long-suffering supporters since late October.