After today’s FA Cup fifth round draw, bookmakers are unable to agree on which team stands the best chance of lifting the trophy come the end of the season, with Spurs, Liverpool and Chelsea all vying for favouritism.
Tottenham scraped past Watford on Friday thanks to a cracking Rafael van der Vaart strike, Liverpool beat old rivals Manchester United 2-1 courtesy of a late Dirk Kuyt effort and Chelsea controversially beat QPR 1-0 at Loftus Road, thanks to a dubious penalty converted by Juan Mata.
All three sides have been rewarded for their efforts with ties against lower league opposition. Liverpool will entertain Brighton, who knocked out Premier League Newcastle in round four, while Chelsea will host last year’s League Cup winners Birmingham, and Tottenham must travel to League One Stevenage.
As a result, bookmakers are split on who should be favourites to lift this year’s FA Cup at Wembley on May 5th 2012. BetVictor currently make all three sides co-favourites at 4.50, while William Hill prefer Chelsea and Spurs (4.33) and BoyleSports go 4.00 about Liverpool and Spurs. Stan James make Chelsea outright favourites (4.30) while Coral plump for Tottenham at 4.00.
Arsenal are now a best price of 6.50 (William Hill) after coming back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2, earning them a trip to the North East to face the winners of the replay between Sunderland and Middlesbrough, while League Two giant killers Crawley will entertain Stoke City in round five. The plucky underdogs can be backed at a massive 751.00 with BetVictor to land this year’s FA Cup, while Stoke are a more respectable price of 21.00 (Coral).
Other Premier League sides in the FA Cup round five draw were Norwich (34.00, Bet365) who will host Leicester, Bolton (41.00, BetVictor) who will travel to either Millwall or Southampton, and Everton (17.00, Ladbrokes), who will play the winner of Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool’s fourth round replay.
Here is the draw in full for the fifth round of the FA Cup:
Millwall or Southampton V Bolton
Sunderland or Middlesbrough V Arsenal
Norwich V Leicester
Stevenage V Tottenham
Crawley V Stoke
Chelsea V Birmingham
Everton V Blackpool or Sheffield Wednesday
Liverpool V Brighton