Blades Can Shine with the Pressure Off

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Speculation over his future continues but Chris Wilder can ease the pressure by guiding Sheffield United into the FA Cup fourth round.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder

Sheffield United have endured a miserable time of it this season, with Chris Wilder’s men still without a win in the Premier League.

The Blades have just two points from their last 17 matches, and they are the overwhelming favourites to drop down into the Championship at the end of the campaign.

Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Bristol Rovers looks a tricky one on paper, but Wilder’s side can use the fixture to boost their confidence for the rest of the year.

United travel to the Memorial Stadium with just one point from their last five league fixtures, even though some of their performances have improved.

On the other hand, the Gas have won three of their last four in League One to move away from the relegation zone.

While that form is impressive, there should still be a gulf in class between the two squads.

Wilder is likely to make changes, but his squad is full of players with Football League experience so they should know what to expect when they make the trip to Bristol.

With the Blades having conceded eight goals in five, there is no reason why Rovers cannot trouble their opponents, but both teams to score and a Sheffield United win looks a strong bet at odds of 9/4.

Exeter Primed to Take Full Advantage

Exeter City play host to Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of the competition and according to their manager, Matt Taylor, they will “never get a better chance” to reach the fourth round.

Wednesday’s team is set to be weakened by several positive Covid-19 cases, while caretaker boss Neil Thompson is set to miss the contest while self-isolating.

The Owls’ priority is Championship survival, and with games coming thick and fast they are likely to welcome one less cup match after this weekend.

Exeter’s form has become patchy of late, but they should have enough to sneak past a weakened Owls team at odds of 10/13.

Arsenal to Maintain Recent Resurgence

An all-Premier League affair takes place at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal host Newcastle at 17:30.

The Magpies fanbase would savour an FA Cup run, but that is easier said than done at this stage of the season.

Newcastle are without a win in six, and they lack confidence as they travel to north London.

Steve Bruce’s side has failed to score in three of their last five away games, which is not ideal as they prepare to battle with an improving Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta’s men have won three in a row to silence talk of relegation, and the Gunners have kept clean sheets against West Brom and Brighton.

Defending champions Arsenal have a superb record in the competition, particularly recently having won it four times in the last seven years, and lifting the trophy again could be their best way into Europe.

There’s no doubt that Arsenal’s second string is stronger than Newcastle’s squad and a home win to nil is tempting at odds of 11/10.

*All odds correct at time of writing

Tom is a fantasy football fanatic who brings years of experience to bear when it comes to picking the best FPL players every week. Back in the real world of sports, Tom offers a strong insight into football and rugby league, whilst also having a good knowledge of several other sports including boxing, horse racing and American Football.

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