CHRIS Graham (@chrisgraham79) is on the case with views on Saturday’s FA Cup Fifth Round clashes. Do you agree with his thoughts?
Blackburn v Stoke | Saturday 15:00
Those were sensational scenes three weekends ago in the Fourth Round weren’t they? Chelsea losing at home to to a lower league side is football porn in my book. Man City also exiting the tournament has blown a hole in the top end of the betting. Yet…yet still…I’m struggling to get excited about this competition. To be fair, Blackburn v Stoke in any competition is hardly going to make one hot and sweaty, so let’s stay positive.
I’m a bit of a Stokie to be honest. It’s hard not to respect how Moany Mark Hughes has turned around his career at the Britannia. His side sit 10th in the table and the word relegation has never been uttered at the Potters HQ all season.
To make a historical dent at the club though you have to win a trophy and I think Stoke have a decent chance of that in this competition. They’ve beaten Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal and Tottenham under the tutelage of Hughes, so what’s there to fear?
The way Stoke mangled Rochdale 4-1 in the previous round was telling. Hughes is focussed on this competition.
Their opponents on Saturday are Championship side Blackburn. I think they’re a fairly average bunch to be honest. There’s no evidence to suggest they’ve kicked on from last year’s eighth place finish and they’re already 10 points adrift of the play-offs this campaign.
Rovers have lost six of their last 13 games since December and none of their league wins since September have come against sides higher than tenth in the table.
Stoke have already won at the Etihad and White Hart Lane this season and should be too strong at Ewood Park on Saturday. I’ll back them at 6/4 with William Hill.
Crystal Palace v Liverpool | Saturday 17:30 | BT Sport 1
I love researching bets and using stats to back up my picks (it should be a prerequisite for anyone doing betting previews in my opinion) but this selection is more of a hunch to be honest.
This Crystal Palace v Liverpool match looks feisty, frenetic and full of possibilities. Both sides will be aware that they’re in with a chance of winning the competition with England’s big two falling out the tournament three weeks ago so chests should be puffed out.
With five wins from his seven games in charge, Alan Pardew is proving he’s a top-class manager at Palace and the same can also be said for the often-ridiculed Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool. One 90 minute defeat in their last 21 matches is astonishing form for the Reds and they can’t be ruled out for a Top 4 berth come May.
There’s something special about this fixture isn’t there? The 9-0 Liverpool win in 1989. The 4-3 Palace win in 1990 when Handsome Pards scored the winner. The brutal collapse of Liverpool’s title hopes last April in the 3-3 draw. Goosebumps galore!
There have been 23 goals scored in the last six meetings between the sides and I’m happy to back Both Teams To Score at 5/6 with Ladbrokes. That’s paid out in five of the last six match-ups and I’m hoping that becomes six in seven.
I’m expecting a raucous affair under the Selhurst Park lights with so much at stake. Bring it on!
Blackburn v Stoke – Stoke to win (6/4 William Hill)
Crystal Palace v Liverpool – Both Teams To Score (5/6 Ladbrokes)
Worth pointing out 888 Sport are sponsoring our Football League video too so we’ll be giving away loads of free bets from them. So go figure.
Any questions? Just ask us on Twitter – @WeLoveBettingUK.
New Customer Offer
Liverpool 9/2 To Beat Palace available right here!