She stood there laughing......at Bolton
When Tony Pulis took over at Stoke City the club were languishing in the lower reaches of the Championship but on Sunday he has the chance to make history by leading the club to their first ever FA Cup final.
It's somewhat surprising given the club's 148 year history and some of the prestigious names that have played for the Potters that they've never made an FA Cup Final. They've made the semi-finals three times before with the first appearance as far back as 1899 and Pulis will become a hero in the potteries if his side can see off Bolton.
The game has to be finished on the day and we can't split them on the to qualify for the final market - both sides are 5/6. Despite that Bolton are clear favourites on the 90 minute market at 6/4, the draw is 11/5 and Stoke is 15/8.
Pulis has transformed the fortunes of both himself and Stoke since taking over at the Britannia Stadium back in 2006. He was seen as a journeyman long ball manager but at Stoke his methods have worked a dream to lead them to become an established Premier League team on the brink of a cup final.
Bolton have won the cup four times but the last one was back in 1958. They beat Man United 2-0 in '58 with Nat Lofthouse scoring twice. The Bolton legend passed away earlier this year and a cup win would be a fitting tribute to the Lion of Vienna.
There is a good chance Bolton could meet United once again in the final, it's 17/10 that both sides get through this weekend and 12/1 that they repeat their 1958 win over the Old Trafford side.
Bolton warmed up for this game with a comprehensive 3-0 win over West Ham last weekend. Daniel Sturridge scored twice on the day but won't be available for this one as part of his loan agreement with Chelsea. That will leave the goalscoring pressure on Johan Elmander (11/2 to score first) and Kevin Davies (6/1).
Stoke were a little unlucky to lose at Spurs, Kenwyne Jones scoring in a 3-2 defeat. Jones is 13/2 to score first and 40/1 to score a hat-trick. Jones is more of a natural goal scorer than his counterpart Kevin Davies and the 16/5 that he outscores him in this one looks too good to miss.
The Manchester derby is obviously the glamour tie of the weekend so if you're a neutral who is not particularly enthused by this game there are certainly ways to make it more interesting by betting on some of our lesser known markets.
Both sides will be fired up and it will be no holds barred early on in the game. You can back a card to be shown in the first fifteen minutes at 4/1.
We have man of the match betting for the game and former Liverpool winger Jermain Pennant looks like a decent bet at 11/1. You can also back either side to win on penalties at 10/1. We have 185 markets in total for the game so you should be able to find something to interest you.
I fancy Stoke to overpower Bolton and I think they will win well. I'm going for them on the half-time/full-time market at odds of 4/1. I also like the handicap odds of 12/1 for Stoke minus a goal. On the correct score market 25/1 looks a good price for a 3-1 win for the Potters.
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