Monday, February 26, 2007

FA Cup preview
The first piece of domestic silverware was settled on Sunday but not before the heavyweight battle had provoked a mass brawl. Many critics had suggested the League Cup was meaningless, but the huge dust-up in Cardiff said otherwise. The FA Cup - the oldest domestic knock-out tournament in the world - now takes centre-stage, with three midweek replays all expected to produce just as much passion, as the chance of a place in the first final at the new Wembley gets that bit closer. With each of the ties equally difficult to call, the margins of success are likely to be slim, but at PinnacleSports bettors can find themselves up to 60% better off.

Ferguson Facing Tough Team Decisions
All good things must come to an end, and Reading fans would rather that a nine game unbeaten run ended at the Riverside on Saturday, than on Tuesday in their mouth-watering FA Cup replay at home to Manchester United. At least the Royals maintained an excellent scoring record, finding the net for the twelfth consecutive game in the 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough, which would suggest that United will have to be at the top of their game to progress in normal time.

Alex Ferguson was visibly delighted that his side came through against Fulham on Saturday in what he considered to be United's hardest test of the Premiership season so far. Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney proved once more just how critical they are to the club's success. Ronney set-up Ryan Giggs for the equaliser, while Ronaldo's 88th minute goal was enough to give the Red Devils a nine-point advantage at the top of the table. Fergie must now decide whether to risk his prize assets in this FA Cup replay, given the critical game at Anfield on Saturday, and Champions League second leg next week. PinnacleSports have Reading 1.935 (+0.5 & +1) and United 1.990 (-0.5 & -1).

Mowbray Looking to Knock-out his Hometown Team

West Brom manager, Tony Mowbray, will be looking to put one over his home-town team, who he represented 345 times as a player. Since taking over as coach of the Midlands club in October, the Baggies have rocketed up the Championship table, and could be facing Boro next season in the Premiership, which is a greater priority than the FA Cup. West Brom should still turn out a full strength side of experienced players, and will have tremendous support at the Hawthorns. PinnacleSports rate them 1.862 (0/scratch).

Boro have enjoyed more success in cup competitions than the league, making it to the last four of this competition last season, as well as the final of the UEFA Cup. The Teessiders normally guarantee excitement - beating another Championship side, Hull, 4-3 in Round three, while needing a replay, extra-time and penalties to finally shake off Division One side, Bristol City in the previous round. Forwards Yakubu and Mark Viduka have been in sparkling form, and should be expected to contribute again here. Pinnacle Sports have Boro 2.07 (0/scratch).

Arsenal Expecting Another Scrap at Ewood Park
Arsenal's defeat in the Carling Cup ended in disgrace with a 14 man brawl and two red cards. The punishments for that fracas are pending, but Arsene Wenger will be expecting another bruising encounter away to Ewood Park. The Gunners were held to a frustrating goalless draw in the original encounter at the Emirates Stadium but should enjoy more freedom as the away side. The Londoners faced a similar scenario in the previous round, having been held by Bolton at home, they played some exhilarating counter-attacking football to progress in extra-time at the Reebok.

Blackburn bounced back from a demoralising UEFA Cup exit by thrashing Portsmouth 3-0 at Ewood Park on Sunday. Rovers were boosted by the return of Morten Gamst Pedersen, and should be fired up for this clash. Arsenal have however, won on three of the last four visits, so Mark Hughes side will have to raise their game to a new level to get a positive result. On that basis PinnacleSports have Arsenal marginal favourites on a split-ball handicap 1.917 (0/scratch & -0.5), with Blackburn 2.01 (0/scratch & +0.5).

60% better odds at PinnacleSports !


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