FA Cup 3rd Round Sunday 6th January 2013
Swansea vs. Arsenal
This is one of four all-Premier League clashes in the Cup this weekend as Swansea host the Gunners in the early game on Sunday. Arsenal last won a trophy, this one as it happens, back in 2005, and desperately need to put something back in the cabinet as their silverware polisher is getting bored with the same 'old' trinkets week in week out. So are their fans! They have won this competition 10 times, a record only Man Utd can better with 11 but much like their North London rivals Spurs, who's tie at home to Coventry I have previewed here in these pages also, their name has not been on the cup of late, not even close, and they are 10/1 like Tottenham to lift it this year, along with Liverpool as third favourites.
Swansea are 50/1 to do so which in light of their exploits in the League Cup here they have a first leg semi-final against Chelsea to play next Wednesday, seems a little disingenuous but does represent great value at this stage of the competition if you fancy them to go all the way and with so many loyalty bets in this competition, it makes sense to get on it early for the best odds if you want to follow a team all the way.
In recent games between the two Swansea have the upper hand winning 2-0 at the Emirates in December and 3-2 at home in January 2012 and are 18/1 and 28/1 respectively to repeat one of those scores with bet365. They are 13/5 to win this game or 6/4 to qualify for the next round even if a replay is needed. Arsenal are 11/10 and 1/2 to do the same in their favour.
Arsenal have looked a different proposition of late and have been scoring for fun but do still have that bad game in them which stops them challenging for honours and has them, like I said, without a trophy since 2005. Their 1-1 draw at Southampton last time out a case in point and being knocked out by Bradford City in the League Cup the best recent example, when most will say they should really be playing a semi-final next week too!
As for goalscoring, we have a lot of talent on display in this one, with Michu the 6/1 favourite to get the first for Swansea and Danny Graham at 7/1 to do the same. Michu is top goal scorer in the Premier League with 14 so far this season and Graham has five also, as does Wayne Routledge who is great value at 16/1 to get the first in this game.
You can get the same price for either of these three to score the last goal too, all with bet365.
Theo Walcott is 9/2 odds favourite to score first or last in this game for Arsenal and Olivier Giroud is 11/2 to do the same thing, both at William Hill. I like the look of Lukas Podolski at 13/2 to match that feat as he has four goals and four assists his last nine games and is also 7/4 to score anytime and is where my money will be going. Arsenal scored seven against Newcastle with Walcott grabbing a hat-trick and the post denying Giroud the same as he had to settle for a brace. Theo is 25/1 to hit three more in this one but 5/1 to hit two represents more sense and more value to me. Giroud is 40/1 to make it three this time and 7/1 to grab another brace.
Michu is 40/1 and Graham 50/1 to net three but 9/1 and 12/1 respectively to nab two seems crazy good value to me, especially for Michu with the form he has been in and Graham has just started scoring again after some time out and I really think there could be a few goals in this one as both clubs look to remember there are no points at stake here and win this one, get a good draw and the Cup could start to look like it has your name on it.
I think Swansea have the beating of Arsenal again, both teams had negative results last time out, Villa drawing 2-2 in Swansea and the Gunners draw at the Saints halting their recent good run of three wins since the Bradford defeat. But home advantage, Swansea without the worry of points to lose or win and another 'complacent' performance from the Gunners is how I see this one going.
The Cup has only left England for Wales once in it's history, to bitter Swansea rivals Cardiff back in 1927 with a 1-0 win against, you guessed it, Arsenal. The Romance of the Cup strikes again!More 3rd Round action - Hammers vs. Red Devils - Get the tip here