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FA Cup quarter-final tips – Big boys Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd beware

Soccer - Romelu Lukaku File Photo

The possibility of more FA Cup shocks cannot be ruled out in this year’s quarter-finals with four spots at Wembley up for grabs.

Holders Arsenal remain 5/2 outright favourites with Coral for a third consecutive successful FA Cup campaign, just ahead of Betway’s 16/5 hopes Chelsea and Manchester United, best-priced at 4/1 with bet365.

With something of an injury-crisis among Gunners ranks, the potential for the Blues to bow out of Europe in midweek, and Louis van Gaal’s Red Devils lacking consistency mean there are question marks hanging over these Premier League big boys. They must prove their FA Cup credentials.

Behind these market leaders, two teams hold top odds of 9/1 in Everton (Sky Bet) and Crystal Palace (Betfred). Fan discontent is growing at Goodison Park, however, with a feeling among supporters that the Toffees aren’t achieving as they should under Roberto Martinez and his open style of play is now detrimental.

Alan Pardew’s Eagles, meanwhile are in the midst of a real slump, with only FA Cup wins to their name in 2016. One side that look like lively outright outsiders, however, are West Ham at a tasty top-price of 12/1 with Paddy Power.

Watford are the seventh and final Premier League side still standing in the FA Cup, but are a big-price at 33/1 with BetVictor to go all the way under Quique Sanchez Flores.

Palace facing Royal flush
While Championship club Reading bring up the rear at 66/1 (best odds with Betfair), they are certainly worth a punt at 23/10 on offer at 888Sport to defeat Palace at home on Friday night.

Although the Eagles have won all three FA Cup ties they’ve played by the odd goal, there is no form to the Selhurst Park side.

The Royals, meanwhile, have lost just one of their last seven matches, including taking four points off London opposition.

All roads lead to Romelu for Blues
It’s high time Romelu Lukaku showed Chelsea what they are missing. With every passing year, selling the big Belgian frontman to Everton looks more like a mistake.

Lethal Lukaku leads the Toffees’ scoring charts this term with 23 in 35 games across all competitions, including four in his last five and three consecutive games.

As the travelling Stamford Bridge side have kept just four clean sheets in 2016 and none in the last seven before concluding their Champions League tie with PSG, Lukaku is worth a wager in the anytime market at 7/4 with Sky Bet.

Hornets sting blunt before playing patched up Gunners
Like Palace above, Watford have won all their FA Cup ties by a single goal and now face depleted Arsenal, who have a make or break European encounter with Barcelona coming up.

Arsene Wenger always has injuries worries, as Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista and Aaron Ramsey all limped off during their 4-0 replay rout of Hull City, yet manages to cope year in, year out. Francis Coquelin will be back from a ban to ease any engine room worries.

With the Arsenal attack at full-strength, however, and the Hornets without a goal in three games, snap up the 7/4 on offer with Paddy Power for a home win to nil at the Emirates.

Hammers Northwest nous could mean Red Devils raid
Although Man Utd and West Ham’s two meetings in 2015 both ended up level, punters cannot discount how well the Hammers have travelled to the Northwest this season.

Slaven Bilic’s boys are unbeaten in six when visiting this region, including league wins at Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton – where they came from 2-0 down.

Because West Ham have only shut out Northwest opposition in half of those assignments, however, the bet for this Old Trafford encounter that appeals is an away win with both teams to score at a fantastic 15/2 with bet365.

FA Cup quarter-final schedule
All kick-off times are GMT
Friday, March 11th: Reading v Crystal Palace (19:55), BBC 1
Saturday, March 12th: Everton v Chelsea (17:30), BBC 1
Sunday, March 13th: Arsenal v Watford (13:30), BT Sport 2
Sunday, March 13th: Man Utd v West Ham (16:00), BT Sport 2

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