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Stuart Dalgleish 1st Mar 2011 - 22:17

Wednesday's FA Cup previews

Man City v Aston Villa betting preview - Wednesday 19:45 live on ITV1

After drawing at home to Fulham on Sunday, Man City (4/6) have really damaged their Premier League aspirations and now need to progress in the FA Cup against Aston Villa (4/1, draw 14/5) or their season could be in danger of petering out.

City will have the Europa League to go for still, but while that would end their trophy drought they don't want to be in that competition again next season so will be determined to get in the top three, and also have a good crack at the FA Cup.

I would expect the hosts to put their strongest possible team out, and that could mean a three-pronged attack of Carlos Tevez (4/1 first goal), Edin Dzeko (9/2) and Mario Balotelli (5/1); David Silva (15/2) is struggling with an ankle injury so may not make it.

Injuries are piling up for the fatigued City squad, with Vincent Kompany, Nigel de Jong and Adam Johnson all unavailable to Roberto Mancini at the minute, Shay Given is also on the injury list but hasn't been considered for first team action for some time now anyway.

Of course, Mancini has the luxury of the biggest and most expensive squad in the country, and probably the world, so he's not exactly short of players to replace his wounded warriors!

Whatever team takes to the field though will be in for a tough game; while Villa won't have Darren Bent available - their match winner from the last time the sides met - they look like they're safe in the league now and will be able to put all their eggs in the FA Cup basket.

They have a fine cup record of late, having reached the semis last season as well as the Carling Cup final, and always seem to have a good cup run in them.

The Villans have only lost once in nine and look to be a different team to the one trounced 4-0 at Eastlands at the end of December.

I still expect City to progress, but it won't be a walk in the park, 2-1 seems a fair shout at 7/1, and if you think Edin Dzeko can continue his recent good form then our Match Winner offer sees us enhance the price on him scoring two or more goals to a rather tempting 6/1, the 'Bosnian Diamond' has scored on both his FA Cup outings so far.


Arsenal v Leyton Orient betting preview - Wednesday 19:45 live on ESPN

Poor Arsenal, just when it looked like they were going to end their wait for a trophy, Wojciech Szczesny dropped a clanger and Obafemi Martins scored the easiest goal of his career to hand Birmingham the Carling Cup final.

They fought things couldn't get much worse, but then Robin van Persie has been ruled out for three weeks, meaning he won't be heading to Barcelona for that second leg tie, and Cesc Fabregas is still a huge doubt for that match too.

The pair will obviously now not be playing in this game either, you'd have to think that Arsenal (1/5) will have too much for Leyton Orient (14/1, draw 5/1) though even without all their injured players; Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny and Alex Song are also on the treatment table.

After Szczesny's howler at Wembley, Manuel Almunia will take the gloves for this replay, and the Spaniard must be thinking now that he could have the position for the rest of the season; let's be honest, Arsenal don't exactly have outstanding candidates for their goalkeeping spot.

Why Arsene Wenger didn't try get a top class keeper in is beyond me, a rumour was that Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg was offered to the Gunners for a cut-price deal in the summer, but they were after Mark Schwarzer at the time, the Fulham player is a fine stopper, but with the age of Stekelenburg you'd think it's a no-brainer that they would've signed the Dutchman.

Perhaps they will think again about that in the summer, for now they'll try to focus on getting through the rest of this season and the possibility of a treble.

With Chelsea just beating Man Utd their Premier League chances have been helped out somewhat, but with a trip to United awaiting them if they get through this tie their overall hopes of silverware still aren't great.

The Gunners have had problems already with lower-league teams this season, so they can't afford to just turn up and expect to go through, they were fortunate to beat Leeds and Huddersfield in previous rounds and Orient got amongst them in the original tie.

The O's are on a fantastic run just now, and will harbour faint hopes of two possible trips to Old Trafford with the play-offs still a possibility (United's ground hosts the League 1 and 2 finals this season).

Orient are unbeaten in 13 league and cup games, and will arrive at the Emirates brimming with confidence after their fine comeback at Huddersfield on Saturday to force a draw with 10 men.

Harry Kane was the man shown red, shortly after scoring and he'll miss the trip across London, there are also doubts over another scorer from that game - the exciting midfield man Jimmy Smith (20/1 first goal, 7/1 any) suffered a hamstring injury in training and will be a massive loss for Orient if he doesn't pass the fitness test.

Captain Stephen Dawson (40/1 first, 16/1 any) came off at Huddersfield with a knee injury and is also to be assessed before the match, Jonathan Tehoue (16/1 first, 6/1 any) was the man that earned the replay and he is likely to recover from the illness that saw him taken off at the weekend.

Russell Slade can be delighted with his team's run this season, but here's where it will end, I'd love to see Orient go down fighting, but I'd back Arsenal -2 on the handicap at a cracking looking 11/8.

Arsenal concede in the cups and Orient have no problem scoring so something like 4-1 could appeal at 14/1.



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