FA Cup and Premier League betting previews: Sun 18 March 2012

Only one team from outside the Premier League remains in the FA Cup and Leicester City could be going to Stamford Bridge at a good time on Sunday

Chelsea v Leicester City latest odds and free bets

Only one team from outside the Premier League remains in the FA Cup and Leicester City could be going to Stamford Bridge at a good time on Sunday.

The Foxes have already pulled off an upset of sorts by winning at Carrow Road in the previous round of the competition and this could certainly be a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show for Chelsea after beating Napoli on Wednesday night.

The Blues produced arguably their best performance of the season to book their place in the Champions League quarter finals, although it’s inconceivable that the same eleven players will line up at the weekend considering Premier League challenges lie ahead.

It hasn’t stopped Chelsea being priced at odds of 2/7 (bet365 £200 free bets) although you only have to look at their stuttering home draw with Birmingham City in the past round to see what a dangerous ploy lumping on the home team could be.

Perhaps it will take a second string side a little while to get into their stride and the Blues are 7/2 with Ladbrokes to win the match after being level at half-time, with City boss Nigel Pearson sure to set up his team defensively for this contest.

Leicester have got an outside chance of the play-offs following a mixed campaign in the Championship which saw the club’s Thai owners dispense with Sven-Goran Eriksson although results continue to be erratic.

Tuesday’s win against Birmingham was richly deserved and the Foxes can be backed at 11/1 (Boylesports) to stun Stamford Bridge by winning this game, even if you feel that Roberto Di Matteo would love to strengthen his claims of the manager’s job permanently by winning some silverware.

Fernando Torres will get a run-out on Sunday and can be backed at 9/2 (Bet Victor) to score the first goal, while Florent Malouda is probably overpriced at 10/1.

Liverpool v Stoke City latest odds, news and free bets

Liverpool are not having a great season, although supporters will be happy that they have won a cup this year and there’s another potential trip to Wembley in the offing.

After the Reds’ narrow Carling Cup final victory against Cardiff City, they have a chance to return to the English national stadium by beating Stoke City on Sunday, with the bookies making Kenny Dalglish’s team hot favourites to claim victory.

There was certainly a lot to like about Liverpool’s 3-0 Merseyside derby victory on Tuesday night where Steven Gerrard provided a much-needed cutting-edge by scoring a hat-trick to keep alive his team’s slim hopes of Champions League football next term.

The best odds about a home win at Anfield can be found at Bet Victor who offer odds of 4/9 and Gerrard might well be rested for the contest, or at least kept on the bench where he can be summoned if required.

After all, the team are at Loftus Road next week and Dalglish will want to keep his captain injury-free between now and the end of the campaign.

These sides met in the Carling Cup earlier this season where Luis Suarez scored an excellent brace to help Liverpool reach the final and the Uruguayan looked sharp against Everton, with the bookies offering 5/1 (Coral free bets) that he scores the first goal of the game.

As for Stoke, well they have held Liverpool to a goalless draw at Anfield already this season and have played reasonably well in recent matches, with Ricardo Fuller’s red card at Chelsea giving them practically no chance of a result last weekend.

However, they are obviously good enough to earn a replay this weekend and odds of 7/2 (Paddy Power free bets) are available about that happening, while the away win is an 8/1 shot.

The worst team in the Premier League face the best side in the division at Molineux and it’s tough to see anything other than an away win on Sunday.

Wolverhampton Wanderers are heading towards the Championship after winning just one of their last twelve matches and that was away to a QPR team who were reduced to ten men early in the game.

Last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Blackburn means they are sitting 19th in the table and the bookmakers are prepared to offer 9/1 (Bet Victor £50 free bets) about Terry Connor’s team somehow pulling a rabbit out of the hat and beating the champions.

One thing in Wolves’ favour is the fact that United are heading back from Spain with their tail between their legs after Athletic Bilbao beat the Red Devils 2-1 on Thursday night to send Sir Alex Ferguson’s team crashing out of Europe for the second time this season.

However, some would argue that this result will simply intensify Manchester United’s desire to stay top of the Premier League and there will be lots of Paddy Power customers taking the 1/3 about the visitors becoming the 10th team to win at Molineux.

There is no stopping Wayne Rooney at the moment, with the striker having scored ten goals in his last seven games to suggest that he could yet push Robin Van Persie close at the top of the goal charts. He can be backed at 7/2 (Coral bookmaker) to score first and 10/11 with the same firm to find the net during the game.

Wolves will view this match as one in which they have nothing to lose, although Stan James offer a tempting 10/11 that the Premier League leaders are top at half-time and full-time.

Newcastle United v Norwich City latest odds, news and free bets

Many were expecting Newcastle and Norwich to be scrapping away at the foot of the Premier League come this stage of the season, although both sides have already amassed enough points to stay in the division with 10 games of the season remaining.

The Magpies have been occupying a top six spot all campaign and Liverpool’s Carling Cup win means the north-east side are pretty likely to be playing Europa League football next season.

Alan Pardew’s team can stretch five points clear of Liverpool with a win in this game and they are naturally strong favourites to win the game at odds of 17/20 (William Hill £25 free bet).

It looks a pretty tasty price at first glance, although United come into this match having failed to win any of their last four games and that is partly down to their leaky defence which has conceded in the last five.

The flip side of that argument is that Newcastle usuallly score and they were desperately close to landing a point at Arsenal on Monday before conceding in injury time. Hatem Ben Arfa found the net and the Frenchman could be a good shout at 10/1 (bet365 free bets) to score the first goal of this game.

Norwich City have rarely looked out of their depth in the Premier League this season and the Canaries have only tasted defeat in 6 of their 14 away matches this season.

Paul Lambert saw his team end their three match losing run with a draw at home to Wigan last weekend and the east Anglian side are 7/2 (Bet Victor) to become the third team to win at St James’ Park this season.

However, Demba Ba generally doesn’t go more than four games without a goal and the Senegal star can be backed at 9/2 to score the first of this game.

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