MAN UTD meet West Ham on Tuesday night at Old Trafford. Brett Curtis (@Brett_Curtis92) is on-hand to deliver his favourite fancies.
Manchester United vs West Ham | Tuesday 9th February 2021, 19:30 | BBC1
These two clubs have met each other twice in this competition in the past eight seasons, with Man Utd progressing after a replay on both occasions.
Replays had already been scrapped from this point of the FA Cup onwards even before COVID-19 played havoc with the footballing calendar, so there is no chance of a repeat of that, with the tie having to be settled one way or another on Tuesday night.
Both sides have a fair bit of rest after this match, with Man Utd travelling to West Brom on Sunday and West Ham facing Sheffield United on Monday, so there is a good chance both managers will go fairly strong with their team selections.
However, certain fringe players are still likely to receive a chance from both managers, with Man Utd clearly possessing the greater strength in depth.
Michail Antonio was substituted early by David Moyes despite the fact they were only drawing at Fulham on Saturday, so it's unlikely his tight hamstring will be risked here. If that does prove to be the case, it's tough to see exactly where West Ham's threat in transition is going to come from, having failed to replace the outgoing Sebastian Haller in the January transfer window.
United, on the other hand, have a player like Anthony Martial ready to come into the attack after resting him altogether in Saturday's draw against Everton.
West Ham have not won at Old Trafford since Carlos Tevez's goal infamously kept the Hammers up on the last day of the 2006-07 season (with the Argentine completing a switch to Sir Alex Ferguson's Red Devils later that summer). I don't see that run ending on Tuesday.
As such, to get a bit more juice on United on the match result market, I'm going to back them to win alongside Under 4.5 Goals at 21/20 (Betway).
No side has scored more than three goals against West Ham's resolute backline this season, while I find it tough to envisage West Ham scoring more than once themselves without Antonio from the start.
If Axel Tuanzebe starts for the hosts, my only other play would be backing him to be carded. There's no prices available at the time of writing, but the United defender has been carded an astonishing seven times in only 515 minutes in all competitions this season, so if there's any decent prices going he's got to be worth backing.
Cards are generally considerably less frequent in cup football, but Paul Tierney officiates this one, and he's been one of the more card happy referees in England this season (averaging 3.92 cards per game in the Premier League).
As such, it may be worth backing Tuanzebe in a double with Mark Noble or Ryan Fredericks as a fun longshot, with both players prone to a card in the recent past and likely to struggle against Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford respectively if they start.