A totally uninspiring FA Cup fourth round but 32 teams must advance and I’ve tried to find the value.
It begins on Friday night when Aston Villa look to put Capital One Cup disappointment behind them in south-east London.
The highlights come later in the weekend and the best spectacle should be at Old Trafford where Manchester United host Fulham. That said, there’s not much romance in an all-Premier League tie, with the hosts around 1.25 favourites, and for that we have to wait until Sunday.
Chelsea’s trip to Brentford is the game for me and not only is it a West London derby but the Bees look too big at 13.0 to claim a famous win. That means they can be backed at odds against receiving a 1.5 goal head start on the Asians and that will do nicely.
Chelsea, much like Villa, were denied a Wembley appearance in midweek by Swansea and Rafa Benitiez’s approach to the second leg was baffling.
Trailing 2-0 from the first match, the Spanish interim manager was overly conservative in a match he had to try and win and I wouldn’t be going anywhere near the 1.30 Chelsea this weekend.
Curiously the Blues have actually been better on their travels under Benitez and they were fortunate to hold on against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in their latest top flight outing.
Chelsea’s overall profile is just not one that convinces and while, quite clearly, they are superior in every department to their hosts I’m not sure they can be totally trusted.
Beaten at home by QPR and surrendering a two-goal lead against Southampton in last month are not easily forgotten and Brentford will be more than hopeful of ruffling the feathers of their illustrious opponents.
Defeat at home to Tranmere on Saturday, Brentford’s first in 15 matches at Griffin Park, was surely due to having one eye on the upcoming clash and I don’t see them rolling over.
Still very much in with a chance of promotion to The Championship, Uwe Rossler’s side remain in excellent heart and were unlucky to be held at home against Leyton Orient in midweek in a game they dominated.
2pts Back Brentford +1.5 (vs. Chelsea) @ 2.05 (Betfred)