Soccer Betting: England FA Cup Final

Soccer Betting:  England FA Cup Final

The European soccer world is wrapping up with the World Cup on deck and in this preview we’ll take a look at the English FA Cup Final set for Saturday. The FA Cup is a competition between the football teams of all levels that runs throughout the year. It dates back to 1871 and it’s egalitarian format is a large component of its popularity. The previous observation that ‘teams of all levels’ compete is not hyperbole–the competition includes the Premier League powerhouses down to local amateur village teams. Obviously these ragtag local sides don’t usually fare well against juggernauts like Chelsea and Manchester United but just the prospect of an upset is enough to fuel interest in the event.

Not surprisingly, the FA Cup Final will feature two English Premier League teams though there is still something of a ‘giant killer’ storyline at play. Arsenal finished 4th in the Premiership this year and will face Hull City, a team that finished 16th and avoided relegation by a mere four points. This type of scenario isn’t unusual and the FA Cup Final doesn’t typically feature a matchup between two of the top Premier League teams. The simple reason for this is that the FA Cup is often not a priority for teams with Premier League title or Champions League ambitions meaning that these teams will often use games in this competition to rest starters in advance of games in more important/higher priority competitions. Premiership teams usually win the FA Cup due to their huge advantage in talent and resources but its probably not an overstatement to say that Arsenal’s fourth place finish in the EPL ‘means more’ to the team than would a FA Cup victory. That being said, Arsenal has won 10 FA Cups (most recently in 2005) and appeared in 17 FA Cup Finals.

This is Hull City’s first FA Cup finals appearance and a victory would be the highlight of their year. Only one of the last five ‘first time’ FA Cup finalists managed to win the championship. More significantly, Hull has won only 3 of their last 11 FA Cup games against Premier League opposition. We don’t expect Arsenal to rout Hull but they should be able to win. Note that the FA Cup Final has trended toward low scores in recent years–the last 7 games have produced only 11 goals (1.57 goals per game) and each have been decided by a single goal. We’ll look for this trend to continue.