Ah, it’s the most glorious time of year – the FA Cup. We’re 20 years on from the infamous withdrawal of Manchester United from the competition and fast approaching your best mate’s jokes about them having less of a chance of progressing this year.
There’s some lovely dynamics at play here, as well as complete fear for certain mid-table Premier League teams who will be booed off if they don’t beat the likes of Wycombe at home. Let’s try avoid those ones when we’re working up an acca for you, yeah?
I suppose you have to make up for the few quid you lost on those ‘New Year, New Me’ t-shirts.
I know, I know – a huge punt, right?
But seriously, the good thing about this clash is that you have one team in the middle of the Premier League who can give the cup a serious go, facing a home game against a Championship team scrapping for their lives.
If Bournemouth were a side who tried to battle it out, you could see this going lopsided, but Luton have been put to the sword by a few superior teams this season and I suspect that will happen again.
They don’t even get their big day out, as Dean Court only holds about a thousand more people than Kenilworth Road.
What an underwhelming draw this is for them.
There’s about the same chance of Wolves making the Premier League top four as Manchester United – and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, despite his best smiles, knows this.
Wolves could very well rest players for this, and while the atmosphere will be red-hot, Matt Doherty’s exploits will leave them exceptionally open to the break, which appears to be the only way United are going to score against anyone with more than seven players on the pitch at once.
I fancy Mason Greenwood might have his coming-of-age game at Molineux and United will progress to the next round where they’ll be unceremoniously dumped out by Fleetwood Town.
You do, in fact, love to see it – don’t you?
You don’t often get 4/6 on a team plus-three goals on the handicap, and while I accept Wigan Athletic are far from the footballing colossus that Dave Whelan once envisaged they were (staying up on the final day thanks to a David Unsworth penalty), but Leicester City cannot feasibly field a weakened team and go on to beat Wigan by four goals – I just can’t have it.
While Wigan are themselves involved in a relegation scrap, they’ll see this as a chance to chase morale rather than actively avoiding a week of football – and an early goal all but sees you quids-in.
At the prices here, I think it’s a must for any multiple you’re crafting.