Burnley welcome (currently) managerless Bournemouth to Turf Moor in Tuesday’s early FA Cup game, with the Clarets looking to take advantage of a favourable draw to book their place in the quarter-finals for the first time since 2003.
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Sean Dyche’s side were ‘rewarded’ for their 3-0 drubbing of Fulham at Craven Cottage with a game against one of only four non-Premier League sides remaining in the competition.
That fourth round victory was sandwiched between victories over Liverpool and Aston Villa, in what was an exceptional week for the Clarets.
They haven’t won since then (scoring once in three games) and will once again be without talisman Chris Wood, who has missed the last two games after suffering a hamstring injury in his side’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.
It remains to be seen how much Dyche will value cup progression, having declared after the weekend’s 1-1 draw with Brighton that he wanted to avoid the recurring problems – caused by rushing players back – that have affected both Wood and defender Charlie Taylor.
This is as good an opportunity as any for them to progress into the latter stages of the prestigious competition, especially given the turmoil Bournemouth have suffered over the last few weeks.
The South Coast outfit saw a different manager take charge for the third time in the last seven months, last weekend, with caretaker boss Jonathan Woodgate guiding them to a 3-2 victory over Birmingham at the Vitality Stadium.
It was a much needed win for the Cherries, who had lost four league games in a row prior to the sacking of club legend Jason Tindall.
It’s not all been bad news for Bournemouth though, who on Monday added Harry Redknapp to the managerial search committee – hello Frank Lampard?
The resigning of Jack Wilshere in the January window to bolster their midfield has breathed new life into them, with the former-England international notching two goals and an assist in 235 minutes of football.
As far as betting is concerned though, considering the uncertainty around each side, I’ll be avoiding results and looking elsewhere.
With that in mind, I started to look at cards and spotted a really interesting trend that ticks the boxes for Burnley, Bournemouth AND referee Darren England.
England may average 3 yellows per game in the Premier League; but in the five domestic cup games he has refereed so far this season, he has given just three yellow cards.
It’s a trend that goes back to last season too, giving just six cards in six games and never giving out more than two in a single match.
As far as Burnley are concerned, they don’t get as many cards as you’d expect given their style of play. The Clarets have only seen two or more cards in four of their last 14 Premier League games.
On the other side, Bournemouth have seen less than two bookings in 10 of their last 11 Championship games – including their last five in a row away from home.
With the low intensity of FA Cup games this season (the fourth round saw just 2.0 cards per game), I’ll be taking Under 30 Total Booking Points at 11/10 with SkyBet.
Interestingly, Bournemouth have seen Exactly 10 Booking Points in all ten of their aforementioned matches, so I’ll be taking a dip on that at 15/8 with bet365.