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FA Cup Saturday betting preview and tips: Including Manchester United v Reading and Chelsea v Nottingham Forest

Our best bets for the latest FA Cup round
Our best bets for the latest FA Cup round

George Pitts selects some best bets from Saturday's FA Cup third round fixtures...


Recommended bets

1pt Derby to score two or more goals v Southampton at 13/8

1pt Over 12.5 total corners in Chelsea v Nottingham Forest at 13/5

1pt Barnsley to beat Burnley in a draw no bet at 13/5

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record


Manchester United v Reading

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has four wins from four as Manchester United manager
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has four wins from four as Manchester United manager

A month ago you may have looked at this fixture as another potential banana skin for Manchester United, who lost to Sky Bet Championship side Derby in the Carabao Cup in September, but not anymore.

Both sides have made recent management changes. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to drop points after four games in charge of the Red Devils, Jose Gomes is yet to win with the Royals.

The atmosphere at Old Trafford since Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho has been totally different, a breath of fresh air, and it is hard to see United letting him down here. The question is where to find value, with the hosts even odds-on to score three or more.

The competition could be seen as a good opportunity for the Norwegian to secure silverware before the end of the season, going one better than last term after reaching the final.

Alexis Sanchez scores the winner for Man Utd against Newcastle
Alexis Sanchez scores the winner for Man Utd against Newcastle earlier in the campaign

Alexis Sanchez has arguably improved since Solskjaer's arrival, in both better body language and on-field performances, and the Chilean could take his chance here - he is nearly evens to score anytime but 17/4 to score two or more - an option worth considering with United expected to win comfortably.

He had a shot and assist in his 27-minute cameo at Newcastle in midweek and will look to build his confidence here, though it may be best to wait until the team sheets are released though to make sure he starts.

Best bet: Alexis Sanchez to score two or more goals at 17/4

Opta statistics

Celebrations for Reading's Marc McNulty
Celebrations for Reading's Marc McNulty earlier in the season
  • Manchester United have lost just one of their 14 FA Cup matches against Reading (W8 D5) and are unbeaten against them in the competition since a 1-2 defeat in a second round three replay back in January 1927 (W7 D2).
  • Manchester United are unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions against Reading (W12 D4), winning each of the last five – a run that started in the FA Cup back in January 1936.
  • Since a 1-2 defeat against Swansea in round three of the 2013-14 FA Cup, Manchester United have won each of their four such games at this stage without conceding a single goal.
  • This will be the seventh consecutive season Reading will be starting their FA Cup campaign away from home, winning two, drawing two and losing two of their previous six third round games.

Derby v Southampton

Mason Mount celebrates scoring for Derby County
Mason Mount celebrates scoring for Derby County

A home win would be no surprise at all for this Pride Park clash.

Frank Lampard has already beaten a Premier League team as Derby manager - winning at Manchester United in the Carabao Cup in September - and will fancy their chances again after losing just one of their last seven Sky Bet Championship fixtures.

It will be interesting to see how Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl approaches this clash - does he make mass changes in order to concentrate on their relegation fight, or does he field a strong side in order to get a win and some momentum?

The Rams could be well up for this and it is worth adding to your BTTS acca at just under evens. With Derby fancied for the win, though, backing the hosts to score 2+ goals at 13/8 is a good option with added insurance in the event of a high-scoring draw.

When they win, they usually score at least a couple - six of their last seven league wins have seen them score two or more.

Best bet: Derby to score two or more goals v Southampton at 13/8

Opta statistics

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates on the touchline
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl celebrates on the touchline
  • This is the fourth time Derby have been drawn against Southampton in the FA Cup, progressing on each of the three previous occasions, most recently in round three in 1997-98 (2-0).
  • Southampton are unbeaten in their last five meetings with Derby in all competitions (W3 D2), with this their first meeting since February 2012.
  • Derby have made it through to round four of the FA Cup in three of the previous four seasons, only failing to do so last campaign following their 0-2 defeat against Manchester United.
  • Last season’s semi-finalists Southampton won all three of their away FA Cup games in 2017-18 – in fact, Saints have lost just one of their last 10 away FA Cup games (W7 D2), a 0-1 defeat against Sunderland in 2013-14.

Chelsea v Nottingham Forest

Ben Brereton and Nottingham Forest celebrate
Ben Brereton and Nottingham Forest celebrate during their win over Arsenal at this stage last season

Holders Chelsea were taken to a replay and penalties by Norwich at this stage last year and Maurizio Sarri will know about the potential of slipping up - especially against a Nottingham Forest side who beat Arsenal in round three in 2017/18.

The Chelsea boss is expected to be short of options in attack, with Willian, Pedro and Olivier Giroud all injured, and Alvaro Morata could lead the line. The Spaniard has been linked with a January move and this is a perfect chance for him to gain confidence and prove why he should be kept until the summer at least.

The former Real Madrid and Juventus forward is worth backing anytime at a general price of evens given his role and likeliness to play from the start.

Alvaro Morata celebrates after scoring against Crystal Palace
Alvaro Morata celebrates after scoring against Crystal Palace

Do not be surprised to see a high corner count here, either. Over 10.5 total corners in the game at 11/10 is a great price due to the fact the Blues' set piece count in the cups has been so high at Stamford Bridge.

They could field a similar side to their Europa League campaign - and in their three home games, the Blues took a staggering 37 corners in total.

They are expected to dominate possession here, with Forest getting chances at the other end on the counter, and being slightly more ambitious by backing over 12.5 corners at nearly 3/1 is too good to turn down.

Best bet: Over 12.5 total corners in Chelsea v Nottingham Forest at 13/5

Opta statistics

  • Chelsea have progressed from all three of their FA Cup ties against Nottingham Forest, with all previous meetings being in round four (1933-34, 1999-00 and 2006-07).
  • Nottingham Forest have eliminated the FA Cup holders on five of the six previous occasions they’ve faced them, including Arsenal at this stage last season.
  • Chelsea – who have reached the FA Cup final in the last two seasons – haven’t been eliminated at the third round stage since the 1997-98 campaign.
  • Nottingham Forest have alternated between defeat and victory in their last six FA Cup third round ties, beating Arsenal 4-2 last season.

Burnley v Barnsley

Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel
Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel

After the highs of last season, finishing best of the rest (seventh) in the Premier League and qualifying for Europe, this term has been difficult for Burnley to say the least.

Sean Dyche's side initially struggled to cope with the amount of games at the start of the season with Europa League qualifying sandwiched between their weekly Premier League fixtures and they have found themselves firmly in a relegation fight.

They come up against Sky Bet League One outfit Barnsley, currently fourth and targeting promotion under German manager Daniel Stendel. The Tykes will travel to Turf Moor with nothing to lose, hoping to pull off a shock, while Dyche has to manage a squad that has injuries and suspensions to contend with after a busy festive period.

An FA Cup run would be a welcome distraction for Burnley, but it is not at all ideal at this moment and they need to prioritise Premier League survival, which is why Barnsley can get a result.

They are available at a best price of 19/5 for the victory, but backing them in a draw no bet at 13/5 is a good option and offers insurance for only a fraction less.

Best bet: Barnsley to beat Burnley in a draw no bet at 13/5

Opta statistics

Burnley celebrate scoring a goal against West Ham
Burnley celebrate scoring a goal against West Ham
  • This will be the third meeting between Burnley and Barnsley in the FA Cup, with Barnsley winning the most recent meeting 1-0 in the 2012-13 third round at Oakwell.
  • Barnsley have won just one of their last 10 visits to face Burnley at Turf Moor in all competitions (D2 L7), winning 2-1 in the Championship in December 2008.
  • Burnley have lost just one of their last eight home FA Cup games (W6 D1), though it was their most recent such match at Turf Moor (0-1 vs Lincoln in February 2017).
  • Since beating Chelsea in the 2007-08 quarter-final, Barnsley have lost their last four FA Cup matches against Premier League opposition by an aggregate score of 2-14.

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Vote in our interactive FA Cup Shockometer
Vote in our interactive FA Cup Shockometer

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Our best bets for the 2018/19 FA Cup
Our best bets for the 2018/19 FA Cup

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The latest transfer news


Odds correct as of 1700 GMT on 04/01/19

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Most Read Football

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages1

Paper Talk: Rashford's big pay day

Marcus Rashford is set to see his wages double with a new Manchester United deal as Gonzalo Higuain jets in for Chelsea move.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package2

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each game.

The latest done deals and transfer rumours with Sporting Life
3

The Transfer Market: Live

Keep up with all the latest transfer news reports and rumours along with the details of all the done deals and latest betting odds.

Marko Arnautovic has been linked with a move away from West Ham4

Arnautovic can go at right price

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini says he is willing to sell Marko Arnautovic to China in the January transfer window, but only if the price is right.

Our best bets for Norwich v Birmingham5

Friday night shots at Carrow Road

With 6/1, 9/1 and 11/1 winners among others in 2019 already, Tom Carnduff picks out three best bets for Friday night's game.

Football Tips

Check out this weekend's Sporting Life Accumulator

Sporting Life Accumulator

Our Sporting Life Accumulator for Saturday's football involves four EFL teams, enhanced to 18/1 with Sky Bet.

Our best bets for Norwich v Birmingham

Friday night shots at Carrow Road

With 6/1, 9/1 and 11/1 winners among others in 2019 already, Tom Carnduff picks out three best bets for Friday night's game.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package

Saturday's Premier League tips

Mark your card for Saturday's 3pm kick-offs in the Premier League with the best bets, Super 6 predictions and top stats for each game.