Also in today’s FA Cup special, find out why you’d be wise to back Sunderland to heap more misery on Arsenal in Saturday’s evening kick-off, and why Ian Holloway’s Blackpool could spring a surprise on Everton at Goodison Park.
Chelsea’s Spanish midfield maestro has been one of the shining lights for André Villas-Boas’s side during what has been a disappointing campaign for the Blues thus far. The 23-year-old – who joined the west Londoners from Valencia in the summer – has been in the goals of late too, hitting three in seven outings since the turn of the year, including that stunning volley against Manchester United. Mata already has nine goals to his name in his first season at the Bridge and 7/4 for him to score against Chelsea’s Championship opposition on Saturday is excellent value.
Our resident betting expert is not expecting Chris Hughton’s side to trouble the Blues when they visit Stamford Bridge on Saturday. True, Chelsea have struggled to string together a series of positive run of results all season, and their 2-0 defeat at Everton last weekend was their “worst” display of the campaign, according to Villas-Boas. But our man-in-the-know reckons the Blues will book their place in the quarter-finals fairly comfortably, with Chelsea to win by two or more definitely worth a punt in this one at 5/6.
Blackpool were a real breath of fresh air in the Premier League last season, with Ian Holloway’s men refusing to be fazed by any of their top-flight opposition throughout the campaign. Blackpool only managed a point against David Moyes’ men in their two meetings last term, but the Tangerines still found the net five times against the Goodison Park side. The Tipster is expecting the Championship side to battle hard on Merseyside and earn a replay at a very tempting 16/5.
Arsène Wenger’s side are still reeling from their disastrous Champions League demolition at the hands of AC Milan on Wednesday. Sadly for Gunners fans, this stage of the campaign has too often seen their season unravel – and following their almost certain elimination from Europe, it looks like the north Londoners could lose their last remaining chance of silverware with defeat at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland battled hard in the league meeting last weekend but tired late on after having played extra-time in midweek. But after Martin O’Neill’s men have enjoyed a well-earned rest this time around, it is hard to see past a Sunderland victory at 15/8.
The Northern Irish winger has been given his chance to shine by Martin O’Neill since the manager replaced Steve Bruce at the Stadium of Light and the 22-year-old has seized his opportunity. He has netted four goals in 13 appearances since December, including the opener against the Gunners last weekend. So, with all that in mind, the Tipster’s audacious dipping volley is for McClean to score at any time at 3/1.
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