FA Cup Betting Guide & Tips
The FA Cup or perhaps better known as the greatest club competition in the world. A competition that is rich in football folklore and one that pairs together the giants of the Premier League with clubs further down the pyramid.
A competition that has been in operation for more than 150 years and one that has created plenty of heroes and legends since the first final took place at the Kennington Oval, as the Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers in 1871.
While it is this competition that has not only grabbed the attention of fans within England but also around the globe and with giant killings taking place in every year of the its lengthy existence, many clubs and players have written themselves into the FA Cup history books.
History that comes courtesy of Ronnie Radford scoring from 35-yards, as lowly Hereford dumped out Newcastle or Ricky Villa’s sensational goal for Tottenham in the 1981 final replay – a goal that been voted as the greatest ever in the competition.
Not only that, but it is about lower league or even non-league teams getting their day in the sun and although they will never make it all the way to Wembley, there is still the chance to face Manchester City or Liverpool in one of the early rounds.
Because that is where the romance of the FA Cup truly comes from, it is those teams that have the chance to dream and create their own chapter of history - while also earning some important prize money for themselves.
Not to forget that the FA Cup has also been home to Finnish stars past and present and with both Teemu Pukki and Sami Hyppia having experience of this competition, it just highlights the global appeal that is generated on the road to Wembley.
FA Cup schedule
As there are over 700 clubs that enter the FA Cup each season, the competition starts with several preliminary rounds. The first of these take place August and the final qualifying round is held three months later.
Once the non-league teams are whittled down to 32, they join the 48 clubs that operate in League One and Two to make up a field of 80 – a field that will compete in the First Round of the annual FA Cup.
From here 40 clubs still in the competition become 20 by the end of the Second Round and at this point, the remaining 20 Premier League and 24 EFL Championship outfits enter proceedings at the Third Round.
At this stage it is a pure knockout format of 64 teams being whittled down to two, with both the semi-finals and the finals being held at Wembley. While this season’s final will take place in June rather than May, as the slight delay comes courtesy of the 2022 World Cup at the end of this year.
When it comes to the top FA Cup teams, it is a competition that usually mirrors the Premier League and when you consider that the big six of English’s top division usually share Wembley outings between themselves it is hard for the rest to get a look in.
Because in the past couple of decades, the FA Cup has become the plaything of five clubs in particular – Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and the current holders, Liverpool.
In the 23 finals since the turn of the millennium, it is only Portsmouth, Wigan and Leicester who have won the FA Cup outside the esteemed group above and although some will say that the best teams in the land do not take the competition seriously, this is the evidence that suggests that they do.
Although the FA Cup has been dwarfed in popularity by the Champions League in the past couple of decades, it is still a competition that the best managers will want to win, and this piece of silverware always looks good in any trophy cabinet.
While it is a trophy that Tottenham used to have a huge affinity with and although they have not managed to get their hands on the FA Cup since their 1991 success over Nottingham Forest, they do have a rich history in this competition.
Not only that but the winners of the FA Cup are also handed the additional prize of Europa League entry the following season – although in recent years this has not be taken due to the winners already earning Champions League qualification instead.
Top players and managers
When it comes to top players and managers within the English FA Cup, there is certainly no shortage of talent on show and with Erling Haaland making the switch from Borussia Dortmund, he will soon get to grips with this famous competition.
Then again, manager Pep Guardiola already has plenty of attacking options on offer and with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish already installed at the Etihad, the trio will have a keen eye on winning this competition at the end of the season.
Of course, one cannot overlook the current holders and although Sadio Mane has moved on to Bayern Munich, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp can still call upon the services of Mohamed Salah in attack.
While with Antonio Conte now firmly at the Tottenham helm, he will be eyeing up silverware this season and although the Premier League might just be out of reach, a crack at winning a first FA Cup for Spurs in 32 years is not.
Especially when you consider the form that Harry Kane found himself in at the tail end of last season and if he and Hueng-min Son can hit the ground running in the winter of this year, 2023 could be the time in which they and their teammates finally celebrate.
Not to forget Chelsea either and with new signing Raheem Sterling now at the club, the former Manchester City and Liverpool forward will be tasked with delivering the FA Cup back to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
Not to leave Manchester United out either and with Erik ten Hag now installed as the Red Devils’ new manager, a perfect way to end his first season in charge would be by winning the 2023 edition of the FA Cup.
Who will win …
When it comes to FA Cup predictions, a lot will depend on the draw of each of the rounds and if the biggest clubs can avoid each other early on, then the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool will have to be considered favourites to win outright.
While they will not be the only two teams who have a genuine chance of success and with the London trio of Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal in the group of contenders, they and Manchester United will also fancy their chances of making it all the way to Wembley.
Add the Premier League’s next layer of clubs and the likes of Wolves, West Ham and Newcastle would love nothing more then a piece of silverware, while Leicester will be keen to win the competition for the second time in three seasons.