The FA Cup Returns This Week With Four Big Quarterfinal Ties!

After the midweek Champions League and Europa League ties, we return to action this weekend with a somewhat unusual set of games. There are just three Premier League games taking place across Saturday and Sunday, but that is because we also have four FA Cup Quarter Finals set to take place on the same weekend.

Seven of the eight teams remaining in the competition play in the Premier League, so it is not surprising that so many games have been postponed this weekend. However, the attention should rightly be on the FA Cup quarterfinals anyway seeing as this is one of the most famous and much-loved cup competitions in world football.

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Let’s now take a look at the four games we have scheduled for this weekend, two on Saturday and the remaining two on Sunday. Remember, all ties in the FA Cup will be played to a conclusion on the day, which means extra time and penalties will be used to decide the winner in the event of a draw.

FA Cup Quarterfinals Preview & Tips

Saturday 20th March

Bournemouth v Southampton (12.15pm)

These two south coast rivals have not actually played each other that often, just 31 times in total, but the first two games between them came back in 1953 and were both in the FA Cup, as the teams shared a 1-1 draw before Bournemouth were 3-1 winners in the replay.

That was the only time that the two teams have met in this competition previously, but they have been regular opponents in the Premier League since November 2015 until Bournemouth were relegated last season. In the 10 games they plated over those five years, Bournemouth won four, Southampton just two and four games were draws.

After a solid start to the campaign, Bournemouth had struggled a little for form in the Championship and dropped off the pace but a run of just one defeat in their last five has seen them move back up to 7th.

In contrast, Southampton’s bright start to the season is a distant memory as the Saints have endured a run of just one win in their last 11 EPL starts, with only wins over Wolves in the FA Cup and Sheffield United to puncture that gloom.

The bookies have this as a close one and I have to say that I do agree with that assessment. Having home advantage could be big for Bournemouth here and with the Saints not in a great run of form, I can see this one being something of a surprise.

Go for the upset here and back Bournemouth to land the win at 3/1 with bet365.

Everton v Manchester City (5.30pm)

By their own standards, Everton have had a good season in the Premier League this time around and they lie 7th in the table with 46 points, but with a game in hand on most teams above them. One of those teams is Manchester City who are running away with the league title having sprinted out to a 14-point lead over second placed Man Utd over the last few months.

City are chasing an unprecedented quadruple success this season. They have their Carabao Cup Final date with Spurs in a few weeks, they should claim the Premier League title, plus they can also win the FA Cup and the Champions League this season having progressed into the quarterfinals of the latter this week.

Up until a couple of years ago, City’s record against Everton wasn’t that great, but they have won all of the last six games between the two teams, four of those by a 3-1 scoreline and they have lost just once in their last eleven games against the Toffees.

Carlo Ancelotti’s team have also struggled at home on occasion this season, and have been much more effective at picking up points on the road, which is definitely going to be a cause for concern for Evertonians, especially as City won 3-1 at Goodison back in the league in February.

Evertonians are crying out for some success and the FA Cup was their most likely source of that, but this tough draw makes that unlikely and as such, I am backing Manchester City to land the win. Backing City to win is odds on however, so I am going to go for a correct score bet on City to win 3-1 at 10/1.

Sunday 21st March

Chelsea v Sheffield United (1.30pm)

For me, this is the easiest of all four quarterfinal ties to predict in terms of the winner. Sheffield United are bottom of the Premier League, have just seen their manager walk out on the club due to a lack of backing from the board and they now face a Chelsea side who are unbeaten under new manager Thomas Tuchel.

The Blades have had some pretty favourable draws to reach this stage of the competition to be fair but I think that this is going to be as far as they go. Chelsea look a much stronger and more disciplined side defensively under Tuchel then they did under Lampard and it is this resilience which has been key for their recent improvements.

Add to that the quality in attack that Chelsea have and it is not difficult to see where I am going with this tip as this game should be an easy Chelsea win. However, the Londoners are odds on to land the win here, so I am going to back a Chelsea win by a 2-0 scoreline which is a 5/1 shot with bet365.

Leicester City v Manchester United (5.00pm)

Third takes on second in the Premier League in this final FA Cup quarterfinal tie and this does promise to be a cracker. Manchester United’s amazing away record domestically has continued even at Manchester City, so the Red Devils are not going to be fazed playing a Leicester side whose struggles have been mainly at home this season.

Leicester have also been hit by some big injuries to key players of late, notably Harvey Barnes but also Justin James. That has really impacted how they have played but Jamie Vardy’s return to fitness and the fact that Kelechi Iheanacho was amongst the goals last weekend, netting four, will be a big boost to them.

The problem Leicester have here is that their recent record against Manchester United is absolutely awful. They have won just one of the last 24 games between the teams (a 5-3 win in September 2014), They have managed just four draws over that period too, with United winning 19 including 8 of the last ten games between the two.

There’s no respite in the FA Cup either as the teams have met just twice in the competition previously and Manchester United have won on both those occasions too.

I do fancy both teams to find the net in this game, but I do feel Manchester United will eke out the win, however it may require extra time to do that. As such, I am going for the draw here at 5/2, and you can back Manchester United to win in extra time (10/1) or penalties (12/1) with bet365 if you feel either of those options looks good value.

 

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