FA Cup Betting: West Ham v Man United Preview


The third round draw for the FA Cup always throws out a few knockout fixtures, and this year is no exeption. Swansea v Arsenal may be the purists' choice, but few could doubt the charm of the Saturday evening fixture between West Ham and Manchester United.

Team news

The Irons will welcome back captain Kevin Nolan, who has completed his suspension. Welsh centreback James Collins should also make a return, but in-form Joey O'Brien could miss out with a hamstring problem. Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to rotate his side, with Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones among those vying for a place. Wayne Rooney is still absent, while there could be further game time for the likes of Darren Fletcher and Shinji Kagawa.

Form

West Ham's Boxing Day win over Norwich was a timely one; prior to that, the Londoners had been struggling. Still, 11th place in the Premier League is not to be sniffed with, and Sam Allardyce's men have made a habit of testing the big boys this term. Manchester United are in imperious form, with a draw against Swansea the only time they've failed to win domestically since November. Robin van Persie deserves plenty of the credit for that run, but is in line for a rest on Saturday.

Head-to-head

Manchester United have won eight of the last nine meetings between the clubs, the most recent of which was a 1-0 victory in November. The clubs' last meeting in knockout competition ended in a 4-0 West Ham win, however; the Hammers would surely be delighted to replicate that kind of performance at Upton Park.

Goalscorer betting

Danny Welbeck is good value at 6.25 to open the scoring; the England man looks set to start in attack and should relish playing against West Ham's bulky defenders. Nick Powell (4.30 anytime) has shown good shooting ability in his first months for the Red Devils, so could also be a decent pick if he starts. For Allardyce's side, Kevin Nolan looks the best bet at 4.20 to find the net. The former Newcastle man plays just off the front and is always looking to profit from knock-downs.

Verdict

Rotation on the part of Ferguson should give West Ham hope of progressing from this one, but even the Red Devils' back-up players should provide a stern test. The draw (3.75) looks the most likely result, with under 2.5 goals a tempting addition at 2.10.

Score prediction: West Ham 1-1 Man United (7.00)