There is no doubt that Arsenal have a special affinity with the FA Cup given that they have won it a record number of 14 times. They are also the holders of the cup having triumphed against Chelsea 2-1 in last year’s final. However, retaining the trophy is going to be far from easy for the North London club.
In fact, if you looked at the team’s form just a few weeks ago, you would not have given them any chance of success. Things have changed since then, as you can see from the Premier League where Arsenal have won four of their last five games. Given this change in form, how likely is it that Arsenal will achieve FA Cup success for the second year running?
Man City favourites in the betting
If you look at the current FA Cup betting odds, you will see that Manchester City are favourites with odds of around 5/2. It’s not that simple though. The Manchester club has their sights set on the Premier League and Europe again. This could make it easier for others in the betting to be the eventual winners.
This does not mean the path is clear for Arsenal. Other teams that are highly favoured to progress to the final, and win, are Chelsea, Spurs, Manchester Utd and Liverpool. Right now, Utd are the form team but there are still likely to be inconsistencies from them this season. Arguably, this could mean that they are more likely to succeed in a cup competition than in the Premier League.
Conversely, Premier League Champions Liverpool are less likely to win the FA Cup this time out given their form struggles and injury-hit squad. Jürgen Klopp is likely to address the situation by fielding his strongest side in the league where the team needs to secure a European place for next season, leaving the FA Cup as a good to have rather than a must-have.
Chelsea promised much this season but have failed to deliver so far. Spurs seem to have a stronger belief right now. Given their previous reputation for trailing off in the Premier League, their strengths are more likely to give good value at 7-1 odds for the FA Cup.
What about Arsenal?
It’s clear that there is plenty of competition out there for the current holders. However, when the draws for the 4th and 5th round were made things did not seem too bad for Arsenal. Drawn against Southampton and then Chorley or Wolves, they seemed to have a good chance of progression.
If the Gunners do manage to get past the 5th round, then the Quarter Finals await. Then, the team that is currently 12/1 in the betting have the opportunity to take full advantage of their experience and success in the competition.
It remains to be seen how far the current cup holders will progress this year but, in a season when no-one is taking the world by storm, another triumph would not be a surprise.