Manchester United New FA Cup FavoritesPublished January 6, 2009 by OCR Editor
Chelsea drops to second in odds following shock draw with Southend.
Manchester United is the new FA Cup favorite, overtaking Chelsea as favorites before even kicking a ball in the tournament.
United, who won away to Championship side Southampton in the third round on Sunday - a day after Chelsea struggled to a 1-1 draw at home to Southend United - is chasing its first FA Cup since 2004, when it beat Millwall 3-0 in the final. Man U has lost two FA Cup finals since then: to Arsenal in 2005 and to Chelsea in 2007.
The Red Devils have won 11 FA Cups in their history, the most of any team, but only one ahead of Arsenal.
Manchester United is currently 4.50 at Ladbrokes. Predictably the rest of the big four of the English Premier League follow in quick succession: Chelsea is 5.00, league-leading Liverpool, 7.00, and Arsenal also 7.00. The latter two had regulation wins over lesser-fancied opposition on Saturday, while Chelsea's draw puts them in danger of an early exit from the tournament and prompted bookmakers to dump them from the top rung in favoritism.
Other teams to watch include Aston Villa, who as the best of the rest look like good value at 10.00. Last year's winner Portsmouth is a lowly 41.00, as a result of poor form in the Premier League. It isn't often that one year's surprise team repeats the feat the following year, hence the reason 2008 runner-up Cardiff City is still a distant 101.00.
Replays of third round draws take place on January 13 and 14.