Back Martial in Tuesday treble
Manchester United v West Ham
The all Premier League FA Cup fifth round tie at Old Trafford is one of two ties on Tuesday and should be an entertaining match.
Both Manchester United and West Ham have surpassed expectations this season and should play with the kind of attacking impetus a cup tie – that must, let’s remember, be settled on the night – warrants from them.
For that reason, I’m going to back both teams to score. The way United, and in particular David de Gea and Harry Maguire, defended against Everton on Saturday showed that they remain vulnerable at the back. This is particularly true at home where they’ve conceded seven goals in their last four. Michail Antonio Said Benrahma can unsettled them.
Now that Manchester City are pulling clear in the Premier League title race, United would be wise to take this competition seriously as winning something this season would be a massive boost to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s credentials.
Back Man Utd to win, Anthony Martial to score and both teams to score @ 16.12.
Few goals in tactical battle
Everton v Tottenham
BT Sport 1
Carlo Ancelotti v Jose Mourinho in a knockout tie is an enticing prospect on paper but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will feature lots of goals. When the teams met at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the opening day of the season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the game’s only goal.
You have to go back to 19 December for the last time the Toffees scored more than two on their own ground against top flight opposition. Spurs returned to winning ways at the weekend but prior to that had notched just one in three.
Will Mourinho risk Harry Kane so soon after his return from injury? Maybe not and, without him, a low-scoring match is the way to go, with Mourinho’s cup competition nous edging it on the night.
Back Tottenham and under 2.5 goals @ 5.12.
Nuno’s men to edge clash of the enigmas
Wolves v Southampton
Wolves have been an enigma this season and Southampton, their opponents on Thursday, are becoming one. There are just two points between them in the Premier League so this should be an evenly-matched contest. Neither side is in real danger of relegation and should be looking up the table. It’s not so long since Saints were in the top six.
Wolves have tightened up at the back, conceding one in five, and in this competition they play in a more attacking style than at times this season.
Saints come here on the back of four straight defeats in the league including that 9-0 hammering at Old Trafford. They were down to 10 men inside two minutes in that one but, a few days later, they conceded three at Newcastle so there are problems for Ralph Hassenhutl to address.
The Austrian is a talented coach and should be able to restore his side’s solidity fairly soon but Wolves are improving and should come out on top here.
Back Wolves and under 2.5 goals @ 4.55