Sunday brings us two cracking FA Cup games, and we’ve got tips for both to take you through the afternoon. First up it’s Fulham, who thrashed Hull 4-1 in the fourth round, up against London rivals Spurs. The Premier League high-flyers arrive off the back of a surprise Europa League loss away at Gent – their second defeat in a row after losing 2-0 at Liverpool.
Sunday’s other match features former Premier League champions Blackburn up against old rivals Manchester United. There was a time when this was a top-of-the-table clash, but Rovers are languishing in the Championship relegation zone having dropped out of the Premier League back in 2012. United fans bemoaning the lack of progress since Alex Ferguson’s retirement should spare a thought for fans of their local rivals. Such sympathy rarely travels far in football though, and followers of the Red Devils will expect a comfortable win.
Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he will not ‘throw’ the match at Blackburn, despite facing St Etienne in the Europa League next Wednesday and Southampton in the final of the EFL Cup next Sunday. He said that he has learned from his mistakes in the past, when as manager of Chelsea his team lost at Newcastle in the FA Cup in the same week as beating Barcelona and Liverpool in Champions League and League Cup.
Mauricio Pochettino may also be tempted to rest players, with his side back in action against Gent on Thursday and Stoke in the Premier League next Sunday.
Fulham v Spurs
The bet that stands out here is over 2.5 goals at -143 with Marathonbet.
Fulham’s 31 Championship games have yielded 89 goals at an average of almost 3 per game. The Cottagers are regularly involved in high-scoring matches, with three of their last five games featuring five goals – including the midweek 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest.
Spurs’ 25 league games have had 64 goals between them – just above an average of 2.5 per game. Their fourth round tie with Wycombe resulted in a 4-3 victory at White Hart Lane, and although they’ve failed to score in the last two matches at Gent and Liverpool, this is a step down in terms of quality.
History also suggest plenty of goals, with fixtures between the two London sides generally very entertaining. Fulham dropped out of the Premier League in 2014, but three of the prior four meetings with Spurs exceeded the 2.5 goal line, and Sunday’s game can go the same way.
Blackburn v Manchester United
After Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hat-trick in the Europa league against St Etienne on Thursday, there will be plenty of punters rushing to back Manchester United to win here. We wouldn’t put anyone off doing so, but the odds are nothing to shout about. A fair bet at a very decent price is for the game to be a draw at half-time and Manchester United to win at full-time. Odds of +325 with 188Bet are worth a punt.
Blackburn may be struggling in the Championship relegation zone, but they are at least putting up a fight. Rovers have only lost two of their last six games, and both of those by just a single goal. Admittedly they haven’t faced teams of United’s quality, but with Jose Mourinho preparing to rest a few players, the Red Devils may not be at their free-flowing best. This is a perfect distraction for Blackburn from the woes of league football, and in a game that they are roundly expected to lose, they can play with the freedom of no pressure.
There’s little to knock United’s recent form – they’ve won four of the last five without conceding a goal, the only blip a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford with Hull. They’ve thumped Wigan and Reading by 4-0 scorelines in the previous two rounds, although both were in front of their own fans. An away trip to a fired up Blackburn side is a different proposition, and Rovers are fancied to keep it all square at the break, before United’s class tells in the second half.
Fulham v Spurs – Over 2.5 Goals
Sunday 19th February, 14:00 GMT
Draw HT/Manchester United FT
Sunday 19th February, 16:30 GMT