FA Cup winner tips: Aston Villa and West Ham 25/1 dark horses for 2021 glory

Our trader has taken a peek into his crystal ball to predict this year's winner.

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

The unique nature of the 2020/21 football season means this year’s FA Cup has a more open look than usual and a repeat of Wigan’s 2012/13 triumph cannot be ruled out. A condensed domestic and European schedule means we could see the market principals putting the grand old trophy at bottom of their season priorities.

Manchester City and Liverpool will be desperate to achieve either Champions League or Premier League glory and Jurgen Klopp’s side in particular don’t look to have the depth of squad to compete on three fronts especially with their current injury problems. Manchester United and Tottenham will both be taking the Europa League seriously given neither are guaranteed top 4 in the Premier League and both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho will want a European trophy as proof of a successful season.

  • PLEASE NOTE: This content was published before Aston Villa closed their training ground on Thursday afternoon due to a COVID outbreak and the announcement they will field an Under-23 side against Liverpool on Friday.

That leaves Chelsea out of the rest of the Premier League heavyweights and ordinarily they would make some appeal given their strength in depth. Frank Lampard will also be desperate to secure a trophy to give his managerial credentials a much-needed boost. However, Chelsea’s form is just too poor at the moment and the pressure is ramping up Frank Lampard. Holders Arsenal make no appeal at 11/1 given their mediocre form and Leicester’s Europa League commitments will stretch a relatively thin squad.

So we’re looking for a Premier League club with no European commitments who have the ability to beat bigger club on their day and are a backable price. The two that have caught my eye that fit that profile are Aston Villa and West Ham. Villa’s price is somewhat inflated given their seemingly tough draw at home to Liverpool in the third round. However, it would be no surprise to see Klopp play the kids at Villa Park and sacrifice a Cup exit for bigger prizes down the road.

The FA Cup Trophy

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While Villa sit 8th in the Premier League table, their expected goals statistics are that of a top 4 Premier League side and were unfortunate to be beaten at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day. We’ve already seen Villa beat Liverpool 7-2, win away at Leicester and draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge so we know that Villa on their day can reach a level high enough to challenge the Premier League elite and their current price make plenty of appeal.

It would also be fitting for Jack Grealish to mark his brilliant Villa career with a trophy at Wembley to cement his club legend status.

500/1
Aston Villa Winner 2020/21

 

Jack Grealish Aston Villa Sheffield United Premier League September 21, 2020

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The next team on my list are West Ham who look a worthy bet at a similar price. Like Villa, West Ham have no chance of being relegated or of challenging for the Champions League places so they can make this competition a priority.

This looks David Moyes and West Ham’s strongest team in many years with power and guile in midfield from Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek and genuine cutting edge in attack with Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and the mercurial Said Benrahma. The former Brentford star has yet to score for the Hammers but Benrahama is a player of real talent and if he establishes himself in the West Ham first team, then he could remind West Ham fans of their brief but emotional love affair with Dimitri Payet.

West Ham should breeze past Stockport in the third round and, if they can keep Antonio fit in the latter stages of the competition, have the capability of troubling the Premier League big guns.

275/1
West Ham Winner 2020/21

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

FA Cup outright bet summary

Selected prices ahead of 3rd round weekend

Aston Villa – 25/1
Southampton – 25/1
West Ham United – 25/1
Wolverhampton Wanderers – 25/1
Everton – 20/1
Leicester City – 20/1
Arsenal – 11/1
Manchester United – 9/1
Liverpool – 8/1
Chelsea – 7/1
Tottenham Hotspur – 7/1
Manchester City – 3/1

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