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FA Cup: Tottenham best-backed team ahead of Aston Villa and Newcastle

Tottenham are the best-backed side to win the 2023/24 FA Cup with bet365, ahead of Aston Villa and Newcastle.

bet365’s Steve Freeth said: “They haven’t won the FA Cup since 1991, 1957 and 1955 respectively, but our customers fancy either Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa or Newcastle United to end their FA Cup drought this year with the trio being the most backed in our ante-post market.

"Spurs may have a number of key absentees due to injury or mid-season tournaments, but if they can navigate the next two rounds then they could have a full squad to choose from by the time the fifth round comes along at the end of February and they’re strongly fancied to see off struggling Burnley and qualify for the next round.

"Ange Postecoglou has breathed new life into this Spurs side and has already won over the locals, - it looks like he’s won over the punters too.

"Another manager to impress has been Unai Emery, a man who knows how to win a trophy and it’s not a shock to see Aston Villa backed after a sparkling 2023 under the Spaniard. 

"Eddie Howe has also won many admirers, but Newcastle have had a sticky end to the year and he’ll be hoping the short trip to Wearside will give the Toon a springboard to get back on track with the pressure starting to build."

The appointment of Ange Postecoglou was met with plenty of scepticism as well as intrigue, with fans curious to see how his attacking brand of football would transfer from Celtic to Tottenham – even more so following the departure of Harry Kane.

There have been vulnerabilities to Spurs this season; their ultra-aggressive high line has been their undoing on occasion, most notably against Chelsea when they defended with eight men on the halfway line as Chelsea went through on goal time and time again, but the Aussie’s steadfast refusal to compromise his values earned plenty of admirers.

With no European football and the loss of Kane, Spurs fans may have hoped for a nice cup run in lieu of a top-four finish, recognising the strength of their rivals. 

As it’s happened, Postecoglou’s men have taken to his philosophy impressively, and even with injuries to Micky van de Ven and James Maddison, Spurs have kept themselves on the fringes of Champions League football.

That may change in the next few weeks, however, with midfield duo Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr on AFCON duty, not to mention Son Heung-min competing at the Asian Cup.

Tottenham have shown they can give anyone a game, beating Manchester United, Newcastle and Liverpool (with more than a slice of luck…) at home, as well as taking points off Arsenal and Manchester City away.

Their opponents on Friday, Burnley, have been dragged deep into the relegation mire, with Vincent Kompany unable to do what his opposite number has in applying his style of football to a different standard of competition, and it may be that the Belgian has his priorities elsewhere.

Neither Manchester United nor Chelsea have pulled up any trees this season, while one of Arsenal or Liverpool will be dumped out.

Should the draws go in their favour, Spurs may well lift the FA Cup for the first time since 1991.

The next best-backed team, perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, is Aston Villa. The Premier League’s biggest over-achievers so far this season have found themselves on the fringes of a title race, and while that will likely be a bridge too far, there’s no reason they can’t win the Europa Conference League, and at 1/5 to finish in the top five, they may well be assured of a Champions League place next season.

They have a trip to Middlesbrough in the third round, and while it’s not expected to be a walkover by any means, Unai Emery can likely field a rotated side and still get through.

The old hypothetical of ‘would you rather win the FA Cup or qualify for the Champions League?’ still divides fans; for Aston Villa, they may well get both.

Newcastle have endured a hugely underwhelming season after what initially felt like a campaign filled with promise. An appearance in the group stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2002 with boundless investment to allow them to compete with the country’s big hitters has turned into an early exit from European competition having been drawn in the group of death with the Magpies miles off the pace in the hunt for the Champions League places.

Eddie Howe’s men could hardly have been given a tougher run in the EFL Cup, hosting Manchester City, visiting Manchester United and then being rewarded for those wins with a trip to Stamford Bridge. A penalty shootout exit followed, and it means the FA Cup may be the last chance to salvage the season for Howe.

Newcastle’s struggles may, however, prove to be a blessing in disguise. If Newcastle remain off the pace in the league, they could throw all their eggs in one basket and bid to win a first trophy since 1955.

Although punters have been put off the short-priced favourites in Manchester City, Liverpool have received some warmth as the next-best-backed team. 

Since his first full season back in 2016, Jurgen Klopp has shown the domestic cups very little love, prioritising the league and Champions League. Indeed, Klopp has only got to the quarter-finals in four of his 14 attempts, though in two of those Liverpool went all the way and did the cup double back in 2022. They face a testing trip to title rivals Arsenal, and we may get a good sense of how important the FA Cup is to Klopp with his team selection on Sunday.

Liverpool’s opponents Arsenal happen to be the fifth-best-backed team for this season’s FA Cup despite their tough draw.

The FA Cup was the first trophy Mikel Arteta won as Arsenal boss, just a few months into his reign, though since then the Gunners have failed to make a dent in the competition. Their run in the last three seasons has seen them beat Newcastle, lose to Southampton, lose to Nottingham Forest, beat Oxford and lose to Manchester City.

Like Liverpool, the Gunners will be expected to rotate their side, but if they can get through, they may fancy their chances of going the distance.

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