Our resident betting expert is expecting United to be winning at half-time and full-time – although his long shot is Dimitar Berbatov to score against his former employers.
In the early kick-off, our man-in-the-know is tipping Peter Crouch to score yet again against Manchester City, but expects the fourth-round tie to ultimately end in a stalemate.
Rooney made his return to the United starting line-up from a Christmas Day injury in their last FA Cup outing against West Ham United. The England international scored the winner – and also missed a spot-kick – against the Hammers at Old Trafford in the third-round replay. It’s been an indifferent season for Rooney, who has scored nine goals in 20 appearances. Sir Alex Ferguson will want Rooney to get more playing time to regain his fitness, and the Tipster’s opening bet is the striker to score any time at 4/6.
Ferguson’s men have been impressive in recent weeks and have put their defensive woes behind them. United have won nine of their last 11 league matches – and were ahead at half-time in seven of those victories. Martin Jol was critical of his side for conceding a killer early goal in a 2-0 loss to City in their last outing. With United seemingly in imperious form, the Red Devils to be winning at half-time and full-time is a good shout at odds of 8/11.
City face a difficult trip to the Britannia Stadium as they bid to reach the fourth round. Tony Pulis’ side have only lost once at home this season – a 4-0 defeat by Chelsea. The defending Premier League champions don’t have an overly impressive record away to Stoke, having succumbed to successive 1-1 draws on their last two visits. As a result, the Tipster reckons a Stoke and City to draw is a great bet at 11/4.
Stoke’s target man Crouch has admittedly struggled in recent months, with the England international’s last goal coming against Swansea at the end of September. However, the 31-year-old has been something of a thorn in the side of the Citizens in recent seasons. The former Liverpool man has scored in Stoke’s last two clashes against City at the Britannia Stadium. Therefore, the Tipster is backing Crouch to make it a hat-trick of goals against City by scoring in Saturday’s FA Cup tie – and at generous odds of 5/2.
Dimitar Berbatov has a point to prove to Ferguson after spending a large part of his final season on the bench at Old Trafford before the Scot let the striker leave in the summer. The 31-year-old has scored nine goals in 17 appearances for Jol’s men since arriving from the 19-time English champions. United have a habit of falling behind early this season, and the Tipster fancies Berbatov to exact revenge against his old club by scoring first on Saturday at brilliant odds of 8/1.
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