The FA Cup is down to the final 16, and there have already been some surprises. So, will there be another unexpected champion, or will the big guns reclaim their FA Cup primacy? We give you our free picks.
Who do Bettors Favor?
The FA Cup betting at the best sportsbook sites reflects the current balance of power in the Premier League with the top three League teams leading the way.
Manchester City, the reigning Premier League holders and current league leaders, are the obvious favourites, but Liverpool is close behind, with Chelsea placed third. Tottenham Hotspur is not far behind in the betting, ahead of Everton, West Ham United, Southampton and Crystal Palace, whose manager Patrick Vieira won the FA Cup on four occasions while playing for Arsenal.
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What does FA Cup History Tell Us?
The FA Cup has been contested since 1872, so there is lots of history to ponder, but it is generally better to concentrate on the post-1992 Premier League period, since the competition’s character and how clubs approach it has changed dramatically since then.
The Cup has been claimed by nine different teams in the Premier League era, but four of those clubs: Everton, Portsmouth, Wigan, and the 2021 winners Leicester, have only won it once. Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester City have divided the other FA Cup titles, although United has only lifted it once in the past 18 years.
The FA Cup’s recent domination by major clubs is a huge shift from the competition’s traditional unpredictable character, and it’s all the more noteworthy considering it’s become customary for most Premier League sides to play lesser lineups until the tournament’s final stages. For instance, although they finished fifth in the Premier League last year and so could not be considered a minor team, Leicester’s triumph was hailed as a major upset.
Big Three Pick
Arsenal is the most successful FA Cup side in the Premier League era, having won it nine times, but the Gunners are already out of this year’s competition, while Manchester United lost on penalties to Middlesbrough.
That leaves three big clubs: Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool to dominate the futures markets. While City is the clear favourites, they haven’t ruled the FA Cup, in the same manner, they have in recent years controlled the Premier League. Liverpool is in the same boat. In the Premier League era, each has so far only won the FA Cup twice.
Chelsea has the most impressive record of the three teams. Since 1993, Chelsea has won the FA Cup seven times, more than City and Liverpool combined. One explanation for this might be Chelsea’s rapid manager turnover, which provides them with a short window to win anything, and the FA Cup is significantly easier to win than the Premier League or European titles.
Chelsea have already shown they can equal the league winners under Thomas Tuchel, so they won’t be afraid of any opponent for the remainder of the competition, and with an easy, Fifth Round draw against poor second-tier club Luton, they appear set for at least a quarter-final position.
Which Other Teams can win the FA Cup in 2022?
In addition to the Big Three, there are seven more Premier League clubs in the Fifth Round, although most of them may have other priorities. Dean Smith’s Norwich have begun to improve in the league, and Smith is an underestimated manager, especially when it comes to knockout games, but they’ve been handed a tie at Anfield, so will not be expecting to get any further.
You could make a case for West Ham or even Everton, who have ended up with the easiest tie: a home game against fifth-tier Boreham Wood, but if you’re hunting for a club outside the top three, Tottenham might be the solution at a reasonable price.
Antonio Conte is one of the top managers in the world and is almost entirely focused on winning trophies in the short term. An exacting Italian coach is a man in a hurry, and his Tottenham team is progressively improving thanks to some shrewd January purchases and Harry Kane’s return to form. Tottenham’s last prize, the FA Cup, was won in 1991, and it is their only realistic chance of winning a major trophy in the next year or so.