Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers
F A Cup 3rd Round

Saturday 7 January 2012 3.00pm

Obviously cup matches have a tendency to be unpredictable and in recent years that has increased tenfold as we’ve gone from a situation where in the 1950s clubs looked at the FA Cup as more important than the league and would rest players for league matches.

Then you have today’s situation where unfortunately the domestic cup is seen as a poor relation to Champions League qualification, or safety from relegation, or whatever.

So before you start looking at a likely outcome you firstly have to have a best guess at what the team line-ups are likely to be.

With Blackburn I don’t have a clue but after the epic performance against Manchester United we will at very least have Ba and Tiote missing due to international commitments.

On top of that I can’t really see Shola playing two in three days plus I have a fancy Alan Pardew may well want to have a look at Best and Ben Arfa together.

They feature in our first two suggested bets with our partners BET365 as we tip Best to score the last goal of the game at 11-2 and a more speculative wager at 40-1, Ben Arfa to score first in a 3-0 win.

We are expecting an open match so goals are likely to flow, we still fancy Newcastle to keep it tight at the back though there could be a few nervous moments if the manager decides to rest a centre-back and put Perch in.

We have a feeling that the match might be settled by half-time with Blackburn’s resistance crumbling in favour of concentrating on the league, on that basis we are going for Newcastle winning both halves at 11-4.

The fifth round takes placed over the weekend of Saturday 18th February and fingers crossed that our African contingent have made it safely back and we still have the FA Cup to occupy our minds.