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Stuart Dalgleish 7th Jan 2011 - 22:35

Fringe player’s hell-Bendt on putting on a show

Arsenal v Leeds betting preview - FA Cup third round 12:45 Saturday live on ITV1.

Over the last few seasons it could be argued that Arsenal's 'fringe' players have looked more likely to pick up silverware than the first team have.

Since their FA Cup win in 2005 they haven't finished in the top two in the league but their supposed back-up players have helped the Gunners on their way to a Carling Cup final, two semi-finals and a last four spot in the FA Cup.

Changes are guaranteed for this cup tie with Leeds and some of the second string will once again hope to make an impression on Arsene Wenger, so they can become more regular names in the Premier League.

One player in particular that thinks he should be playing week-in week-out is Nicklas Bendtner; the big Dane is not short on confidence and after starting his first league game of the season at Wigan, and scoring, he'll want to stake his claim as Arsenal's number one striker.

I would've thought he will start the game as Van Persie and Nasri are being rested, he's a 7/2 chance to open the scoring, Carlos Vela could get some minutes too and he's a bit more tempting at 5/1 to score first.

The Gunners are understandably big favourites to win the match at 4/11, and if they do play some of the big names then it could be painful watching for the hordes of Leeds (8/1, the draw 7/2) fans making the trip down south. However, many of these supporters will have been in attendance at Old Trafford last season thinking the same and they had a day they'll never forget as they beat Manchester United in last year's FA Cup third round.

Their goalscorer from that day Jermaine Beckford has since departed the club, but the goals certainly haven't dried up in his absence, the Whites are absolutely banging them in in the Championship since getting promotion from League 1 and Luciano Becchio has stepped up as United's main man.

The Argentine hitman has 13 goals to his name this campaign and you won't see him bigger than 8/1 all season, but with the likes of Max Gradel (11/1), Robert Snodgrass (12/1) and Jonny Howson (14/1) all amongst the goals recently he isn't their only threat and Arsenal can't afford to take this test lightly.

The big problem for Simon Grayson's men has been keeping the ball out at the other end; they've only kept two clean sheets since September and aren't helped with the doubt over centre-back Andy O'Brien and also the end of left-back George McCartney's loan period from Sunderland.

This makes both teams to score a very tempting bet at 4/5, and with our special blockbuster coupon if you pick one match from each section you'll get a 20% bonus on your winnings and a 30% bonus if you're daring enough to pick two from each section.

The fact that both teams will attack also draws me towards over 3.5 goals at 5/4 and I'd be looking at correct score markets such as 3-1 and 4-1 to Arsenal at 10/1 and 14/1 respectively, however if you think that United can breach the Gunners defence more than once then there are some massive prices available on the correct score options for Leeds, 25/1 is huge on a 2-1 away win.



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