Arsenal are bidding to reach the FA Cup semifinals at the expense of Watford, but will the upcoming Champions League tie with Barcelona prove a distraction? We analyse this game and offer soccer picks.
Arsenal FA Cup Favorites
With the Premier League season going tits up – well, sort of – and Champions League grandeur looking like a mere pipedream Arsenal’s best hope for silverware this season comes in the form of FA Cup once again.
Two-time defending champions Arsenal will bid for a spot in the semi-finals on Sunday at the expense of Watford at the Emirates. Predictably, Arsene Wenger’s side is matched as the short-odds favorites to win outright across sports betting platforms, with soccer odds trading anywhere from -175 to -185, or thereabouts depending on your choice sports betting platform.
Based on current form though those soccer odds don’t quite hold up. Arsenal have just one win in their last six fixtures across several competitions – a 4-0 win over Hull City in the last lap of FA Cup, but not after settling on a scoreless draw at the Emirates to the second-tier Tigers. Indeed, following that draw the Gunners slipped to a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League tie, and then they went on to lose to Manchester United and Swansea City in back-to-back Premier League fixtures. They finally stopped the rot when they drew with Spurs 2-2 at White Hart Lane, building on that modicum of success with the 4-0 win over Hull City in the reverse leg of their FA Cup tie. Still, even the most ardent Arsenal fan must appreciate that’s not the sort of form to instil fear and dread in any opponent.
Consider the Gunners are looking ahead to the reverse of their Champions League tie with Barcelona at Camp Nou this coming Wednesday too, and one wonders whether the combination of modest form and distraction of European grandeur might conspire against them. Certainly, nothing is impossible particularly where the Gunners are concerned. Don’t they constantly fail to live up to expectations and hype?
The Hornets must be feeling somewhat optimistic about this date, even if the soccer odds are stacked heavily against them on the FA Cup odds board. Granted they are trading as the whopping +525 bet at Bet365 – some books are going as high as +550 or more – and there’s good reason for it too. Despite punching above their weight class – preseason markets had Watford amongst the favorites for relegation but after going 10-7-12 on the season for 37 points they are 12 points clear of the relegation zone with every chance of surviving another season in top-flight – the truth of the matter is the Hornets have come up short against the top clubs in the league. Against the current top four – Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal and Man City – they’ve been pointless.
Of course, this is an entirely different competition, which might render their league accounts a moot point. After all, the last two finalists Arsenal faced in the FA Cup final were Hull City (now demoted) and Aston Villa (headed for demotion this season).
Would it really be so shocking if Watford were to in fact upset the soccer odds on Sunday and traipse into the semis? To some extent, yes. It would mean they’d upset the two-time defending champions, doing it without anything having done anything previously of similar magnitude to suggest they had it in them all along. On the other hand, where the Gunners are concerned, haven’t they wilted in the face of pressure all too often this season and in season’s past?
Most likely, Arsenal will win and come through for their backers as the home favorites. That said, we concede, at the very least, there might be some soupcon of value in betting on Watford in this game, but we’d recommend a play on your soccer picks that covers both the draw or win in double chance betting – Watford to win or draw at +140 at bet365 – for those upset mongers amongst you.
Soccer Pick: Arsenal to win at -175
Best Line Offered: at bet365