There’s nothing that can warm you up during a cold winter quite like the FA Cup and I have selected Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal, Reading v Sheffield United and Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur to produce the magic we all know and love with games featuring three or more goals.
It’s been quite a week in the world of football, not least in the ‘other’ English cup competition.
The Capital One Cup semi-finals saw League Two Bradford City claim their third Premier League scalp of the season and book their place in the final at Wembley, while Swansea City advanced past Chelsea by throwing ball boys in the way of Eden Hazard.
Why didn’t Stoke think of that two weeks ago when they played the Blues at the Britannia Stadium?
Anyway, now it’s the turn of the FA Cup fourth round to produce the goods, although we hope it’s more in the form of goals than child-kicking Belgians and play-acting ball boys.
If you agree with these selections, then feel free to place the free £20 bet you receive for opening a bwin account today on this treble. You might just scoop an ice-shattering prize of almost £92.
Over 2.5 goals in Brighton v Arsenal @ 18/25
After knocking out Newcastle for the second season in a row, the reward for Brighton is a home clash with Arsenal in a game that promises goals.
The Seagulls’ games did not provide much in the way of goals earlier in the season, but Gus Poyet’s men have seen five of their last six games feature three or more strikes.
Arsenal are no strangers to scoring or conceding goals and routed West Ham 5-1 on Wednesday to set them up for another goalfest at the Amex.
Admittedly, only Stoke have featured in less games over 2.5 goals in the Premier League this season, but Arsenal have scored more goals than Manchester City in the league and in terms of form, the goals have been flowing at both ends for both sides, so the 18/25 is worthy of inclusion.
Over 2.5 goals in Reading v Sheffield United @ 67/100
An intriguing clash at the Madejski sees Brian McDermott’s Royals face Danny Wilson’s Blades and if their games with Arsenal and Crawley Town are anything to go by, Reading appear to enjoy both scoring and conceding in cup matches.
Their triumph at the Broadfield Stadium sent them through to face a Sheffield United side who have overcome three League Two clubs (Bristol Rovers, Port Vale and Oxford) to make it this far.
The key to goals in any cup tie is how close it remains and I can see both teams finding the net at least once in this clash.
The Yorkshire club have been faltering of late in their bid to win promotion to the Championship, while Reading are trying to keep their Premier League status alive, but both seem to have taken the cup seriously so far and that should ensure that the goals flow here.
Over 2.5 goals in Leeds v Tottenham @ 3/5
A good old-fashioned clash on Sunday sees Tottenham head to Elland Road to face Neil Warnock’s Leeds outfit.
Andre Villas-Boas has been gradually winning over the Spurs faithful and overcoming the reputation knocks he took in his short stint as Chelsea manager, with Tottenham challenging the Blues for third spot in the top flight.
As I have bored regular readers stiff by saying numerous times in the past, Tottenham’s away games always feature goals, with ten of their 11 league trips this season seeing over 2.5 goals.
Leeds will be determined to prove to the world that they are on their way back to playing the likes of Spurs in the league on a regular basis, but as they sit mid-table in the Championship, this game is likely to be their only chance to do it for a while yet, so they are sure to give it their all.
So, there you have it – a tip-top over 2.5 goals treble for FA Cup fourth-round weekend.