Three FA Cup 5th Round ties on Wednesday and the competition is, arguably, Spurs’ only realistic chance of silverware this season following their 1-0 defeat at home to RB Leipzig in the 1st leg of their Champions League last 16 tie last month. Jose Mourinho’s side entertain Norwich for a place in the quarterfinals and the Canaries breathed new life into their prospects of maintaining their Premier League status at the end of the season with a hard-earned but, ultimately, richly deserved three points against Leicester City at Carrow Road on Friday.
Spurs have been closely linked with Norwich’s Max Aarons in recent weeks and the young full-back, who was born in January 2000, looks sure to be playing Premier League football next term – even if Norwich don’t. Spurs were fortunate to win the corresponding league game between the sides at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium back in January and the home crowd will get more and more anxious, following three straight defeats in all competitions, if they don’t find an early goal.
Spurs are 4/7 with bet365 to win in 90 minutes with the Canaries 9/2 and the draw – after 90 mins – at 10/3. Spurs to win and both teams to score is the recommendation at 15/8 with betway.
Leicester have lost six of their last 11 league games, but they are still, ahead of Manchester City’s pending UEFA appeal against their two-year ban, eight points ahead of Manchester United who currently lie in fifth place in the Premier League table. As things stand fifth place in the division will qualify for the final Champions League place next season.
The Foxes entertain Birmingham City at the King Power this evening and Brendan Rodgers’ side have not won since their 1-0 win at Brentford in the 4th Round. The Blues are unbeaten in their last 13 games in all competitions and this promises to be a terrific east v west midlands derby.
Leicester are 1/4 to make it through in 90 minutes with Blues, who will take over 5,000 supporters to the King Power, 12/1 at William Hill and the draw at 11/2. Jamie Vardy missed the defeat at Carrow Road on Friday and is likely to again be side-lined for the tie, but Rodgers’ will have Wilfred Ndidi back following his cameo in east Anglia.
Derby County entertain Manchester United at Pride Park on Thursday with United legend Wayne Rooney facing his former club for just the third time – twice with Everton – since leaving Old Trafford in 2017. Indeed, Rooney has lost all six previous games against United for Everton and I don’t think he will improve on that poor record in the east midlands.
The Rams put three past Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough at the weekend, but remain in the bottom half of the Championship and I would be surprised if United – who may have the rare spotted Paul Pogba available for the bench – did not make comfortable progress after their 1-1 draw with Everton on Sunday.
Bruno Fernandes has made a tremendous start to his Old Trafford career and the playmaker has 10 goals and nine assists in his 21 league games so far this season for Sporting Lisbon and latterly United.
United are 7/4 to win to nil at bet365 and that is the recommendation.
England women will meet India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday with a place in the final of the Women’s T20 World Cup at the MCG on Sunday morning at stake. Australia will host South Africa in the other semi-final.
With Aussie superstar Elysse Perry likely to miss the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury I feel England – 11/2 at William Hill – look overpriced. England have three players who would get in any world XI at present and the tournament’s leading scorer Nat Sciver, captain Heather Knight and slow left armer Sophie Ecclestone are at the height of their considerable powers at present.
Under normal circumstances I would suggest England are worth a wager, but the waters are muddied by the fact that rain is forecast (60% chance with 10-15mls forecast) for the SCG on Thursday and, if there is no result in the semi-finals on Thursday, group winners South Africa and India will meet in the Final on Sunday with no reserve day in the tournament planning.