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Arsenal v Aston Villa
FA Cup Final
Back Both Teams to Score at 2.02
I expect Arsenal to win on Saturday but there is no way Tim Sherwood will let his team go down without a fight and I’m banking on them at least getting on the scoresheet with my selection.
While they ended the season with a damp squib of a 0-1 defeat to already relegated Burnley, Villa have found the net in 12 of Sherwood’s 14 games in charge – even when taking a pounding at Southampton – and they will surely enjoy returning to Wembley, scene of perhaps their best performance of the season, in the semi-final.
Arsenal have been defensively decent this season but it’s only two clean sheets in the last six – both in goalless games – and if the likes of QPR, Newcastle and Hull can find their way through the Gunners rearguard I’m sure Benteke and co can as well.
Dan Thomas 2014-15 P/L: -£4.55
Back Theo Walcott to score at 3.70
I need a 2/1 or longer bet to give myself a chance of finishing the season in profit, and in the shape of this Theo Walcott to score at any time bet, I reckon I’ve found a good one.
Walcott hit a hat-trick last week, and has the pace to terrify a pretty porous Aston Villa defence, who will be praying that Arsene Wenger doesn’t give him the nod to start. But with Olivier Giroud in a pretty barren run, and Danny Welbeck injured, it looks as if the ex-Southampton man will be in the game from the start and I fancy him to hit the back of the net.
I find cup finals pretty hard to call overall, and as a result I’m not hugely interested in trying to pick a result or an Overs/Unders bet. This’ll do me nicely, and I hope it sees me finish on top of the table come Saturday night.
Luke Moore 2014-15 P/L: -£18.10
Back Christian Benteke to score at 3.70
Here we are then, the final round of the battle, and a big swing against me last time out means I’m suddenly behind both Dan and Luke
In truth I don’t think I deserve to win the competition after blowing a mid-season £90 profit, but I have one last chance so here goes…
The final week is a tough proposition with just one match to bet on, and a gap of more than £20 to bridge to our leader Dan.
But if both men chuck in a losing bet – and given what we see most weeks in this competition that’s a distinct possibility – I have a chance of taking the top spot.
There is a temptation, too, to try to finish the season in profit, which means digging out a winner at just shy of 4.00. Well, my selection this week won’t quite take me into positive territory, but I wouldn’t be far off.
Christian Benteke is a striker reborn under Tim Sherwood, scoring 12 goals across 14 appearances since the former Spurs manager took over at Villa Park. I think his price of 3.70 to score is pretty fair given the Belgian’s ability to wreak havoc against the best defences.
I respect the Arsenal back four but this is a one-off game and I think Benteke can be the destructive force Villa need to at least make it competitive.
Joe Dyer 2014-15 P/L -£27.90
Back Arsenal win and Both Teams to Score @ 5/2 ( Sportsbook)
Following 8.20 and [7.5] winners in the last four weeks I’ve given myself a fighting chance of retaining the Betting Battle title that I won last season. The only problem is, hand on heart, I’ve been quite poor this term and my big price winners were because my hand was forced; I needed to salvage some pride.
Now that I’ve done that and given myself a chance of victory I feel slightly embarrassed, hence why I’m going for a wager in the cup final that, should it land, will move me just ahead of the other guys though just a winner for them will see me back out of contention.
I’m expecting a cracking game, FA Cup finals rarely go the exact way current form and league positions suggest, just take Arsenal’s hard fought victory over Hull last year as a perfect example.
So while I fancy the Gunners to retain the trophy I can see it being closer than the odds suggest, and it won’t be the biggest surprise in the world should Tim Sherwood’s men get on the scoresheet.
Recent defeats for Villa have been disappointing but you sense that they’ve been saving themselves for this game ever since their Premier League status was secured. Christian Benteke was in stunning form for a four-week spell and I expect him and Villa to cause Arsenal many problems, though ultimately Arsene Wenger’s should get across the line.
Mike Norman 2014-15 P/L: -£38.80