FA Cup: Tame tussle forecast for Anfield replay


JACK LAMBDEN (@_JackL_) shares his views on the best betting opportunities from Tuesday night's FA Cup 4th Round replays.

Cardiff v Reading | Tuesday 4th February 2020, 19:45

These two sides, who sit 110 miles apart from each other along the M4, face-off for the third time in 10 days with the prize of Premier League opponents Sheffield United at home in Round Five on offer.

Both previous meetings have ended in 1-1 draws and I wouldn’t expect this game to be a classic either given the way that both teams set-up. However, with both clubs safely in mid-table in the Championship, this is a great opportunity to make a mark in a competition that both clubs hold in high esteem given their recent positive FA Cup history.

Team news in these ties is always tough to predict but if the original tie is anything to go by, Cardiff – managed by former FA Cup finalist Neil Harris – should play a strong starting X1 and that brings some player markets into play.

Should he start, utility man Callum Patterson will be looking to bag his fourth goal in four games. The Scotsman has appeared in a variety of positions in his career but having scored from the number nine role against the Royals on Friday, the 10/3 available with Bet365 on him finding the net anytime during the game looks too big.

The same bet is as short as 5/4 to score with other bookies so this represents some value and the plus side of using Bet365 is that you can select ‘void if player does not start’ on your betslip and will therefore be refunded in Harris rings the changes from Friday’s stalemate.

With two goals in two games against Reading this term, Patterson clearly has the Royals’ number and will be looking to fire the Welsh side into Round Five.

Liverpool v Shrewsbury | Tuesday 4th February 2020, 19:45

With Neil Critchley set to lead out a very young Liverpool team made up of players from the Under 23 squad against the Shrews, this tie could feel more like an EFL Trophy game than the prestige of the FA Cup.

The entire first team squad have been ruled out of this match by Jurgen Klopp who is insistent that they are rewarded with a winter break, as the Premier League intended, even deciding that the game does not warrant his leadership from the touchline.

Whatever your views on that, the game will likely struggle for intensity with the two sets of players so far apart in terms of experience but given the home advantage the Reds will have, I’m not toally convinced that backing Shrewsbury is the way to go.

Instead, I’m going to look at cards or, on this occasion, the lack of them. If you look across the FA Cup ties from 4th Round weekend, 35 cards were shown in the 16 matches played which averages out at 2.18 cards per game and when clubs from different divisions play each other, there tends to be less player rivalries and generally speaking less animosity between opponents that rarely meet.

Of those 35 cards dished out, just one came at New Meadow and with referee for this replay Andy Madley only awarding two cards in his last three domestic cup matches, I like the look of Under 30 Booking Points at 11/10 with SkyBet.

Eight of the 11 tackles that Liverpool successfully recorded in the first game were from senior pros who will not feature this time out such as Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren which provides further justification for this selection. The Scouse youngsters will know that their best chance of progression is to keep their discipline and use possession wisely when they get the ball so diving into tackles needs to be limited.

Liverpool’s Under 23s rank 15th out of 24 Premier League 2 sides for cards this season with the Shrews sitting in the middle of the pile for away bookings accumulated in League One so the 11/10 shout looks a good way to go given that many of these players will be facing each other for the first time at an Anfield somewhat lacking in ‘cup fever’.

Best Bets

Cardiff v Reading – Callum Patterson to score at anytime (10/3 Bet365)

Liverpool v Shrewsbury – Under 30 Booking Points (11/10 SkyBet)

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