Chelsea accounted for Manchester City’s 100 per cent Premier League home record less than two weeks ago.
But Blues boss Jose Mourinho, who has engaged in a war of words with City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini, has still been keen to emphasise that the big-spending Eastlands oufit remain title favourites and he’ll no doubt insist his team are also outsiders as the teams prepare to renew hostilities in the FA Cup this weekend.
Bookies agree with him, Skybet making City 23/20 to gain revenge for their league reverse by eliminating Chelsea from the cup at the first attempt while bet365 post 12/5 against lightning striking twice at the Etihad Stadium and it’s 5/2 with Ladbrokes for the tie to require a replay.
The latter will undoubtedly attract cash given the fact that Mourinho’s tactics were spot on when the teams met earlier this month and BetVictor chalk the clash up at a potentially popular 7/2 to be a score draw.
Nevertheless, as it’s a cup tie it could be a more open affair, which will play into the hands of the hosts and bet365 rate City at 3/1 to shade it by a one-goal margin.
Elsewhere, BetVictor price a 2-1 home triumph at 17/2, it’s 9/2 courtesy of Stan James for Pellegrini’s side to nick a tight encounter after a level first half and Alvaro Negredo, who has struck nine times in his last five domestic cup outings, is 13/8 (BetVictor) to find the net at any time.
Also locking horns soon after a Premier League battle are Arsenal and Liverpool.
The Reds hammered the Gunners 5-1 on Saturday but as this cup battle takes place at the Etihad Stadium, bookies give Arsene Wenger’s troops the nod.
Stan James go 11/8 about an Arsenal success, the Reds are 2/1 with Winner.com but arguably the best bet in north London is William Hill’s 5/2 for the duo to play out an entertaining stalemate.
Ambitious punters can tackle Stan James’s 11/1, marked against a 2-2 scoreline, it’s 7/4 via Skybet for the fixture to produce four or more goals and in-form Liverpool front man Daniel Sturridge is a generous 6/1 (Paddy Power) to break the deadlock.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez comes face-to-face with former club Swansea in another all-Premier League scrap on Sunday and his team are odds-on favourites to triumph at 13/20 (betway).
The Toffees defeated the Welsh outfit 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium back in December, a result they’re 15/2 with Stan James to replicate on Sunday.
Bet365 meanwhile offer odds of 7/5 about the Blues leading at the end of each half and loan signing Lacina Traore, who could be given some game time in the cup, is 19/4 (BetVictor) to notch first.
Sunderland have already reached one cup final but with top flight survival heading their priority list, the Black Cats are set to see their path to Wembley in this competition blocked by Ladbrokes’s 6/4 chances Southampton at the Stadium of Light and Hull can also pick up an away win at a huge-looking 5/2 (Stan James) as they visit Championship Brighton.
In the remaining three match-ups, Winner.com quote Cardiff at 11/10 as they prepare to host Wigan, Sheffield Wednesday are also 11/10, this time with Skybet, ahead of their Hillsborough showdown with Charlton and the Owls’ neighbours Sheffield United are 9/4 (BetVictor) to continue their outstanding cup run at the expense of Nottingham Forest.
The Six Nations Championship takes a rest this week, giving bookies a chance to take stock in terms of the outright betting.
And with two wins from two, it’s the French that are now favourites at 15/8 courtesy of BetVictor.
They’re closely followed by Stan James’s 2/1 shots Ireland, who have also carded two successes including the hammering of defending champions Wales in Dublin last time out while Ladbrokes rate England’s chances at 11/4 in the wake of the 20-0 triumph over the Scots.
The Welsh have drifted to 11/1 (bet365) to retain their title but they have plenty to do now. Indeed, a better bet is Skybet’s 5/4 for England to defeat both them and Ireland to land the Triple Crown.
Bet of the week: Hull to beat Brighton – 5/2 (Stan James).
Odds supplied by www.betrescue.com