The fourth round of the FA Cup kicked off in fairly one-sided style on Thursday night; Premier League side Bournemouth edging out Championship club Swansea 5-0. The magic of the Cup, etc.
So can we expect some slightly more competitive encounters over the weekend? Bristol City are carrying the majority of hopes for an upset. The Championship side squeezed out West Ham in the third round; they also have home advantage to count on against Nottingham Forest on Friday night.
Forest made heavy weather of it against League One side Blackpool earlier this month, too. The Tangerines took a 2-0 lead at the City Ground before Forest fought back for a draw.
The replay at Bloomfield Road was similarly tight, this time Blackpool fighting back after the visitors had forged a two-goal lead. In the end, Chris Wood provided a late winner for Forest in extra time.
Forest may have bigger concerns than the FA Cup; they currently sit 16th in the Premier League, but are at serious risk of suffering a points deduction before the end of the season that would jeopardise their place in the top flight. The club have reportedly breached the league’s profit and sustainability rules.
All of which suggests the Premier League side aren’t necessarily poised to overpower the Robins at Ashton Gate.
With Forest still shipping plenty of goals in recent games, we could definitely see this one ending in a draw, at 49/20; backing BTTS Yes at 10/11 seems another decent option, given Forest have both scored and conceded in each of their six games to date under new manager Nuno.
Friday’s other most notable matches include Chelsea vs Aston Villa and Spurs vs Man City. Of the former, Chelsea blew off some steam midweek as they gave Middlesbrough a bit of a shoeing at Stamford Bridge.
Villa may well offer a more obdurate defence, however – and a more penetrating attack, too. Unai Emery’s side have already beaten Chelsea at the Bridge once this season. It might be worth rolling the dice on Villa to win at 49/20.
Similarly, in the Tottenham vs Man City match, the hosts may at least be able to avoid defeat against the Manchester behemoths, with the influential James Maddison set to return for Spurs after 12 weeks out through injury.
Regardless of Maddison’s effect, Pep Guardiola is yet to earn a win at the Tottenham stadium. Backing Spurs or the draw in the double chance market could be worth a look at 23/20.
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