Kevin Palmer's FA Cup flutter - Paddy Madden to make scoring visit to Stamford Bridge
Predicting Premier League matches this season has proved to be a tricky mission, yet that is nothing compared to the task the punters face as they look to find some winners in the FA Cup third round this weekend.
With the big guns all set to play weakened sides against opposition that will sniff the chance of a giant-killing, the headline makers in a long weekend of FA Cup final may not be familiar names to us yet.
We have been handed a €50 bet from Paddy Power for this weekend and our punt detailed at the bottom of this page, with all winnings set to go to Temple Street Children’s hospital in Dublin.
Here are four of the games that could throw up an upset this weekend:
WYCOMBE v ASTON VILLA
Aston Villa’s players must have forgotten what it feels like to win a match, with their last victory coming in a Capital One Cup tie against Birmingham on September 22nd, when Tim Sherwood was still their manager.
His successor Remi Garde has failed to inject any life in a team that are simply not good enough for the Premier League and their drained confidence has to give a Wycombe side pushing for promotion in League Two a real chance of knocking out last season’s beaten finalists.
Wycombe to win 1-0 – 10/1
Jordan Ayew to score any time for Villa – 8/5
Penalty missed by either side – 13/1
DONCASTER v STOKE
Doncaster manager Darren Ferguson will relish the chance to lock horns with a manager who used to work under his father Alex, with Mark Hughes taking his Stoke side to the Keepmoat Stadium for a tricky third round clash.
Stoke might well be a little fatigued and frustrated following their Capital One Cup semi-final defeat against Liverpool on Tuesday night and they are running into opponents who have found some form since Ferguson was appointed as manager in October.
Doncaster to earn a replay at the Britannia Stadium – 5/2
Republic of Ireland forward Jonathan Walters to score first – 11/2
Doncaster’s Nathan Tyson to score two or more goals – 33/1
MANCHESTER UNITED v SHEFFIELD UNITED
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal navigated his way through troubled waters last month to hang on to his job and unless another shock result hits him in the next few weeks, the Dutchman should now survive until the end of the season.
However, the tide of popular opinion is still in the balance on Van Gaal when the subject is raised with United supporters and it remains to be seen how they would react if Nigel Adkins and his Blades cut down a less than full-strength United side at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. Sheffield United are a fine cup side, so an upset could be on the cards here.
Sheffield United to win or a draw – 5/2
Man Utd’s Anthony Martial to score a hat-trick – 10/1
Billy Sharp to score for Sheffield United – 16/5
CHELSEA v SCUNTHORPE
Republic of Ireland striker Paddy Madden will be leading the Scunthorpe line at Stamford Bridge and he is relishing the chance to create a name for himself at the scene of a recent FA Cup triumph.
Bradford were given no hope of upsetting Chelsea when they travelled to Stamford Bridge in January of last year, but Irishman Mark Yeates was among the heroes who pulled off the shock that afternoon. How about another on Sunday?
Scunthorpe’s Paddy Madden to score any time – 4/1
Chelsea’s Diego Costa to score a hat-trick – 7/1
Scunthorpe to pull off the upset win – 14/1
We are supporting one of our own this week in our Independent.ie bet, in association with Paddy Power:
€50 on Paddy Madden to score any time against Chelsea at 4/1 (possible returns €250.00)