Can Crawley cause the biggest FA Cup shock ever?
The romance of the FA Cup is alive this weekend with the Premier League leaders Manchester United taking on a Crawley Town side who are 94 places below them in the league ladder.
Crawley Town, nicknamed the Red Devils, could not have picked a better draw for this fifth round tie playing the more famous Red Devils at Old Trafford. Not only does it bring national attention, the game live on ITV1, and prestige to the club it will also bring finances from gate receipts and TV money which help in their quest for League Football.
Crawley are no mugs as they have proved by disposing of Swindon, Derby and Torquay already in this competition. They are 2nd in the Conference and have high hopes of becoming a league club at the end of the season. They are unbeaten in 2011 so come into the game full of confidence.
Manager Chris Evans believes his side can get a result "I think that we are genuinely one of the teams that could possibly get a positive result there. The fact that United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and assistant Mike Phelan came to our match on Tuesday against Wrexham maybe tells us they are treating it a bit more seriously than many people thought."
If Crawley do cause a shock they will be the first non-league since the war to reach the quarter-finals. They have sold their full allocation of tickets for the match and the more realistic amongst those fans may just be hoping for their team to score on the big day. As part of our 'Match Winner' special we've enhanced the price on them to do just that to 3/1.
For the ambitious amongst the Crawley faithful they are 25/1 to get a win that would shock the footballing world, they are 16/1 to qualify. Man United, understandably are short priced favourites a 1/12 and 1/100 to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Something to give hope to Crawley fans is the fact that the last three times Man United have met non-league opposition in the Cup have led to replays. If you fancy history to repeat itself you can back the draw in this one at 9/1.
Matt Tubbs has been a hero for Crawley this season scoring three goals in five games FA Cup matches. He is a massive 20/1 to score first at Old Trafford and 250/1 to hit a hat-trick.
Man United on still on course for the treble (25/1) and will be keen to avoid a banana skin whilst still resting players ahead of their Champions League fixture in Marseille on Wednesday. Some of the fringe player are likely get a start so if you're looking for a first goalscorer it may be prudent to look at some of the bigger prices.
I would expect Darron Gibson (13/2 to score first) and Gabriel Obertan (7/2) to play so they could be of interest.
I expect Crawley to put up a good fight and hopefully they will score at the 'Match Winner' odds of 3/1. United will surely be too strong though and I would go for 4-1 to the Premier League side at odds of 12/1. If you're looking for a decent punt on United to win well then the 8/13 on them to win by three goals or more looks good value.
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