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Simon Barlow previews the FA Cup 4th Round - Friday 26th January 2024


I'm Simon Barlow, looking ahead to four FA Cup fourth round ties taking place on Friday evening, starting with Bristol City versus Nottingham Forest, and the prospects for an upset look good at Ashton Gate, where the Robbins sent West Ham United packing in Round 3.

Bristol City have won six of their last ten at home, while Forest have lost five of their last nine away in all competitions. Forest have also failed to win their last nine away FA Cup ties within 90 minutes and only overcame League One Blackpool after extra time in a round three replay.

Bristol City can be had at 6/4 draw no bet.

Moving on to Chelsea versus Aston Villa, the Blues being favourites are just odds against due to their strong recent home record. They're unbeaten in eight at Stamford Bridge, having won 6 and drawn 2, but did lose 1-0 at home 2 Villa back in September, Villas Cup record under Unai Emary is nothing special. They lost 2-1 at home to League 2, Stevenage in the third round last year but deservedly beat Middlesbrough in round three this past month, a tactical battle of wits between two ex Paris Saint Germain coaches could ensue and they could indeed cancel each other out.

Under 1.5 goals at 11 to 4 looks a worthy of an investment that would have landed in the last two Villa away games and the last two Chelsea games prior to Tuesday's EFL Cup semi final second leg. E

Elsewhere, Sheffield Wednesday take on Coventry on Friday evening. The Sky Blues having already done the double over the Owls in the championship this season, winning 2-1 at Hillsborough in their most recent clash last week.

Mark Robbins's side are favoured here at 5/4 to win once more. These two teams have not met in an FA Cup competition, though since 1987, a quarterfinal clash won 3-1 by Coventry, who held the cup aloft at Wembley later that season and once more, both teams to score and over 2.5 goals, looks a real decent shout at around 11/10 here. It would have landed in five in the last five Coventry games and five of the last 9 Sheffield Wednesday matches.

Finally the tie of the round also takes place on Friday night when Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester City. City will have grown just as much as Tottenham did when Gary Mabbutt drew them out to make the trip to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where they have never previously won. In fact, Spurs have won all 5 clashes against Pep Guardiola's side since they moved to their new home. And all without conceding. Still, the oddsmakers think City will come out on top here after making the treble winners around 8/13 favourite. Kevin de Bruyne is back and he's in the groove again. But there's still no Erling Harland for City, Heung Min Son and Papp Saar will be away on international duty for Spurs, James Madison and Dejan Kulusevski are touch and go to make their returns from injuries, but new signings Radu Dragusin and Timo Werner may well play.

Spurs are capable of causing an upset. But the best bet here I think is over 3 1/2 goals. It looks a much safer play over 3 1/2 goals has landed in four of the last 7 Manchester City away games and three of the last seven Spurs home. Plus, don't forget that when these two sides met in Manchester early this season, it finished 3-3 in a thriller.

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