FA Cup round up, January 9th 2017

Liverpool draw a blank at home amongst FA Cup mixed bag

Arsenal leave it late yet again

Undoubtedly, the standout result of the weekend’s FA Cup matches was Liverpool’s failure to beat lowly Plymouth Argyle at Anfield on Sunday, with the pair playing out a 0-0 draw that sent ripples throughout English football, and left punters cursing The Reds.

Jurgen Klopp raised a few eyebrows by sending out what was the youngest Liverpool starting line-up in history, but the gaffer was quietly confident that giving his usual names a much-needed rest wouldn’t have a major impact. Give youth a chance, it’s what fans want to see – or at least they say they do until your team’s struggling to beat a side that was built for £1m.

Liverpool finished the day with an incredible 77 per cent possession, but forced just four shots on target all afternoon, and that’s where experience comes in. On the plus side, the stars of the future got a useful run-out and didn’t lose, but their employers must do it again and now go to Plymouth for a straight shoot-out in the replay. I’d be surprised if many of the starting 11 on Sunday were back out again next time.

Klopp positive despite stalemate

Klopp spoke to the press afterwards and chose to pick up on the positives, speaking of the benefits of giving the younger players experience and he thought that it was possible that a more mature side wouldn’t have got the win either, due to the way their opponents set up. I’d say that was clutching at straws somewhat. Liverpool are 7/1 with most firms to go on and lift the FA Cup. It would be a brave man who had that in their betting tips however.

Have Man Utd finally clicked?

In game of the day on Saturday we saw Manchester United tear a confident Reading side to shreds at Old Trafford. The Royals, led by former United favourite Jaap Stam, promised much as they rolled up to the Theatre of Dreams, but they failed to live up to their own hype, being battered from pillar to post before eventually losing 4-0.

Wayne Rooney got the ball rolling with just seven-minutes on the clock and that was enhanced by goals from Martial and a Rashford double. It was the first scorer who saw his name plastered over news board everywhere however, grabbing his 249th goal for the club to equal all-time leading scorer Sir Bobby Charlton. That was a moment to savour for the England attacker and he will surely go on and better it in the coming weeks. Rooney has been given a hard time of late, but his talent can’t be brought into question.

On the same day we witnessed history being made, we also watched a glimpse of the future with Rashford continuing his progression, scoring a quick-fire second-half double, bulging the net on 75 and 79-minutes. United fans will be hoping they can hold onto their favourite and he will, eventually, pick up where Wayne Rooney leaves off. United to lift the trophy is 6/1 at Ladbrokes.

Man City take a stroll round the Olympic Stadium, West Ham nowhere to be seen

Stepping back to Friday, which gave us the complete destruction of West Ham at their new home, with Man City leaving with a 5-0 win. Much has been made of The Hammers’ move to Stratford, and they seem to be struggling to find their feet in the new surroundings, leaking goals and looking like an away side, nervy and out of place.

Man City didn’t have to be asked twice and they piled on the pressure thanks to goals from Toure, Nordtveit own-goal, Silva, Aguero and Stones. That puts them into the next round of the competition, but they’ll win few better than that and it would have done wonders for their confidence. Everyone at the Etihad will be eager to bring the feel-good factor into their league campaign.

Man City are joint-favourites with Premier League leaders Chelsea to win the FA Cup this year and backers who have saw enough to convince them that’s where the smart money goes, will be delighted to see the 5/1 going at Betfair.