Another cup, another poor defeat for Aston Villa? It is certainly a possibility, with the bookies placing Millwall as favourites against the struggling Premier League team
|By PAUL GOUGH
Aston Villa look set to suffer more cup heartache at the hands of lower-league opposition when they journey to Championship side Millwall, as the fourth round of the English FA Cup gets underway on Friday.
Villa are enduring the season from hell and currently sit just one place above the relegation zone as they face the possibility of being relegated from the top flight for the first time since 1987.
They will have had just three days to recover from their humiliating semi-final defeat to fourth tier Bradford in the semi-finals of the League Cup.
Another loss on Friday at Championship side Millwall could well cost manager Paul Lambert his job and it is a sign of just how far Villa - seven-times winners of the FA Cup - have fallen that they are set to start the game as underdogs.
Millwall are the $2.40 favourites to win the fourth round tie at both Centrebet and sportsbet.com.au and $2.46 at Betfair, while Villa are paying $2.80 at Centrebet, $2.87 at sportsbet.com.au and $3.05 at Betfair.
|Man City, Man Utd and Arsenal to win their FA Cup fixtures at Betfair
||Millwall to win v Aston Villa in their FA Cup tie at $2.40 at Betfair|
The fourth round continues with another 12 matches on Saturday in England, but most of the big guns should be able to progress to the last 16 without few problems.
The stand-out game of the round is the early kick-off on Saturday between fellow English Premier League clubs Stoke and Manchester City, in a repeat of the 2011 final won 1-0 by the latter.
But while the game is at Stoke, the defending Premier League champions should win at odds of $1.78 at Betfair, with the Potters at $5.20.
The latter have lost their past three league games, including a 3-0 loss to City away from home in early January.
City are the equal $6.20 second favourites to win the competition this season at Betfair, along with defending champions Chelsea. Premier League leaders Manchester United the $5.90 favourites.
And United should have few problems getting through at home to league rivals Fulham, with the Red Devils priced at $1.32 at Betfair and the London club at $13.
Everton and Arsenal should also be able to survive testing away trips to Championship sides Bolton and Brighton respectively.
Everton, the equal sixth favourites to lift the trophy at $10 at sportsbet.com.au and $11 with Betfair, are paying $1.69 at Betfair to win away at Bolton, who are at $5.70.
If there is to be an upset on Saturday it is likely to come at the expense of one of the struggling Premier league clubs in Wigan, Queen Park Rangers or Reading, who fill the three relegation positions in the top flight.
Wigan are away to non-league team Macclesfield, who sensationally knocked out Championship leaders Cardiff in the previous round. Wigan are priced at $1.61 at Betfair and Macclesfield pose real value at $7.
* Note prices subject to change