Football predictions for the FA Cup

The FA Cup is the flagship cup competition in the English football league and while often throwing up surprise results the trophy tends to end up in the hands of the top teams more often than not.

The FA Cup is one of the most keenly-followed sporting events in the world and while it has lost some of its lacklustre due to the magnitude of the European Champions League and Europa League, the tournament is still regarded as a major honour.

Many of the leading teams across the professional ranks in the country often go full title for this trophy as it forms part of an historic treble or quadruple, which shows complete dominance by one team over the course of a respective season.

The title is also often seen as a lifeline to many under-fire managers over the years, with supporters especially keen on a romp at Wembley Stadium.

Due to European commitments in recent years the competition has lost some of its famed allure and often the leading clubs play under-strength squads in the earlier rounds.

That all changes from the quarter-final stage, where winning the title is a tangible feat. Sports betting tends to reflect this trend and the bookmaker’s favourites every season may see odds shorten or lengthen based on the squads put out each round.

The FA Cup is unique in that it comprises of all 92 professional teams in England, as well as hundreds of amateur clubs. These non-pro teams have to play many qualifiers to even reach the first round.

The premier league teams come into the equation from the third round and the draws after each round are almost as exciting as match days, with many famous sides competing in the lower leagues matching up against former rivals. A Leeds United versus Manchester United clash or a Millwall v Spurs game are two examples of intense rivalry going back more than 50 years.

The bookies often place the shortest odds on the big six teams in the EPL and as the season commences the prices will reflect this competitiveness.

There are always fairy-tale stories though, and while the lower-league teams often come up short, there is never a drama-free round of action.

The 2017/18 champions are Chelsea, who defeated bitter foes Manchester United 1-0, while the team with the most titles is Arsenal. The London side boast 13 trophies, one more than Man United.

The last three winners have all been members of the ‘top four’ with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United tasting success in the past three editions respectively. Of the top six teams only Arsenal and Spurs have won in consecutive years on more than one occasion, so Chelsea will be out to do a back-to-back title defence and equal their London neighbour’s record.

 

Leading bookmakers have already announced the odds for the new season, with Manchester City the favourites, offered at 7/2, while Chelsea are 11/2 and Man United at 13/2.

Tottenham Hotspurs are a decent punt at 9/1, especially with the form of key England players at the 2018 World Cup. Spurs boast the likes of Deli Ali, Harry Kane and Eric Dier and all are proving to have the mettle for cup competitions. Spurs haver eight tiles in their trophy cabinet and seem likely for another good run.

Liverpool, at 7/1, are also well-priced and with a host of World Cup stars in their ranks, could go on to lift their eighth title.

Arsenal and Manchester United have been losing finalists on a combined 15 occasions, meaning one of these sides have reached the top two for 40 years since the tournament’s inception in 1871.

The 147-year old completion has seen its fair share of surprise results and in cup football, any result is possible.

Milwall, 2014 finalists, have a strong history in the competition and often put all their energy into the FA Cup and at 150/1 are a good outside punt. They may never have won the trophy but are known as a tough opponent. Newcastle United are on the up and with six previous titles could be an outside bet.

This season’s edition will see plenty of thrills and spills, but one of the top six should walk off with the prestigious trophy.