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Nic Ladds 28th Jan 2011 - 15:37

Magic Man Utd too strong for solid Saints

Unbeaten Manchester United (4/9) travel to St Mary's Stadium to take on Southampton (13/2) in what could be a cracking FA Cup encounter.

Southampton are fallen giants, currently fourth in League One and their promotion campaign could really be boosted with a huge scalp in the shape of Man Utd.

Man Utd are flying at the moment, they are top of the Premier League and come in to this match on the back of a massive comeback away at Blackpool.

Southampton are in solid form themselves, their 2-0 loss away at Tranmere at the weekend ended a six-game unbeaten run for the Saints which has left them just two points off an automatic promotion spot.

They are hard to break down at home too; they have conceded just nine goals in 14 matches in front of their home support - a joint low in League One. They haven't lost on home soil since 11th December and have kept clean sheets in their last three.

Man Utd always do well in the FA Cup though and Sir Alex Ferguson always puts out a team he thinks can get the job done. Despite not winning it since 2004 they have been losing finalists twice since then.

Testament to this is the fact they have lost just one of their last 14 FA Cup ties away from Old Trafford and they very rarely lose to lower-league opposition. Last season's defeat to Leeds Utd ended a run of 36 matches without defeat against teams outside of the Premier League.

Sir Alex really knows how to progress in this competition and despite some big names missing (Ferdinand, Evra, van der Sar, Rafael and Carrick) you really have to expect United to get the win here and at 4/9, it is hard not to back them.

For a little more value though, I would always look towards Man Utd -1 goal at 6/5, to get odds against on the top side in English football winning away at a League One side seems like a great bet.

Man Utd have won their last three trips to St Mary's Stadium and nine of their last 10 matches against the Saints overall. These two sides also met two seasons ago in the FA Cup third round and Man Utd managed a classy 3-0 win which seems a good shout this time at 10/1.

When looking at first goalscorers, it is obviously the big names of Man Utd that have to be taken into consideration. Dimitar Berbatov could line up after his heroics at Blackpool on Tuesday and is 5/2 to score first.

If Rooney (11/4) and Berba are rested then Javier "Chicarito" Hernandez should be the outside pick at 10/3 first goal or 4/5 anytime.

For the home side, they have a few players that chip in with a goal. Rickie Lambert has nine in all competitions and is a threat from set pieces too so the 9/1 first goal and especially the 10/3 anytime could be worth a punt.

If he is fit and playing, Adam Lallana could be a great shout for an unlikely Southampton goal. The tricky attacker looks set for a big career and is surely better than the level he currently plays. At 14/1 first goalscorer or 11/2 to score anytime he is my outside bet.

Southampton are doing well in their league and could easily go up this season, despite being hard to break down at home they come up against the most in-form side in England and they could struggle to keep up.

 

 
 
 

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