Crystal Palace looks a great bet to beat Reading in the FA Cup on Friday night.
Crystal Palace have come through three higher ranked Premier League sides to book their place in the 6th Round and their reward is a clash with the only lower league side remaining. The Eagles are currently unable to win a match in the league but, while you have to go back to pre-Christmas to find the last time they collected three points, they’ve won all three FA Cup matches this year. They still have a comfortable gap to the teams below them though and with a trip to Wembley at stake this will definitely be their main focus for now.
Palace have won their last four away matches in the Cup and while their record against Championship sides reads seven defeats in the last eight it has to be noted that they were also a Championship side for most of those while the majority were several seasons ago.
If we look at how Premier League teams have fared against Championship sides this season in the Cup we see they’ve won 10 of 13 matches, including seven of eight on the road, and while Palace’s recent league form suggests a struggling team it is not so long ago that they were challenging for a European spot. A lot of Palace’s bad run was down to a lack of goals but Yannick Bolasie’s return has helped them to score five times in their last three matches and they will now hope to get back to the impressive away form they were showing at the start of the campaign.
Reading are safely in mid-table in the Championship so this is also their centre of attention as a defeat here will effectively see their season come to an early finish. This is their fourth consecutive home fixture in the Cup this season and they’ve scored 12 times in the previous three, with wins over Huddersfield, Walsall and then most impressively West Brom in the last round. After reaching the semis last season and a few other 6th Round appearances in recent years they are certainly developing a reputation as Cup specialists but they didn’t face a Premier League side until Wembley in that run last term and Palace should represent a step up from their normal opposition.
Furthermore, since the start of the Premier League era there have been 16 6th Round ties where Championship teams have hosted top-flight opposition and the away side has won 12 times.
With Bolasie getting back to full sharpness Palace should continue their excellent Cup run here and at odds-against we are happy to be on their side.
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