One of the highlights of the season in the NFL jerseys English calendar this weekend and Chelsea start the defence of their FA Cup with a seemingly straightforward tie at home to Watford on Sunday in the third round.
The Blues have struggled in recent weeks in the Premier League but they should have no trouble in dispatching the Championship outfit with ease and are priced, around the 1.15 mark, accordingly.
There are bound to be upsets elsewhere, however, and Fratton Park may just be the place.
The signs were encouraging for Portsmouth a few weeks back following a wretched start to the 2009/10 season in the top flight, losing their first seven matches, but the dismissal of Paul Hart, the former boss has since been replaced by Avram Grant, and fresh financial concerns have once again plunged Pompey into the mire.
Portsmouth are currently four points adrift of safety and while there was no disgrace in getting thumped 4-1 by Arsenal on Wednesday that came on the back of a defeat at relegation rivals West Ham and the FA Cup is surely well down the list of priorities.
Grant, who enjoyed such success in a limited period with Chelsea two seasons ago, will be eager for his men to receive a much needed confidence boost on Saturday but with a number of key men now on African Nations Cup duty his options are becoming increasingly limited.
The south coast club have won just four matches all season and with vital league points at stake in the coming weeks the Israeli boss could all but write-off any chance of an unwanted cup run by making wholesale changes to his starting line up.
Grant is without the services of the Angolan bound quartet of Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda Nwankwo Kanu and Aruna Dindane and Saturday’s opponents Coventry City certainly won’t be fazed by what personnel they are likely to face.
Coventry, who put together a recent run of three consecutive victories over Peterborough, Doncaster and Plymouth to seemingly pull clear of the relegation zone, were not disgraced in defeat at high-flying Nottingham Forest last time out and Chris Coleman, their Welsh manger, will fancy his chances of causing an upset. They’ve faired OK on their travels this term and Fratton Park, unlike seasons past, is far from anything resembling a fortress these days.
One thing Coventry shouldn’t lack on the weekend is firepower and with Coleman able to call upon the likes of Clinton Morrison and Leon Best in attack I can certainly see the Sky Blues scoring. Winners of this competition in 1987, Coventry will be eyeing at least a replay and the odds compilers have surely got it wrong by installing a depleted Portsmouth as odds on favourites.
I’m very tempted by the 6.00 on offer about the visitors but with the safety net of a reply on home soil looming large the play has to be a lay of the Premier League side. Portsmouth can be opposed at 1.85 and this has to be one of the bets of the season to date