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The FA Cup third round proved to football fans the world over that anything can happen in the world of English football. There were shocks aplenty, with a number of Premier League big boys finding themselves in trouble. The magic of the cup is a commonly used phrase, but on third round weekend, that magic dust was been sprinkled once again.
The shock of the round was saved for the weekend’s final game. League Two Stevenage travelled to Premier League Aston Villa without much hope. Those hopes were dashed further when Morgan Sanson gave the hosts a first-half lead.
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the years, its to never write off manager Steve Evans and his teams’ fighting spirit. The larger-than-life Scotsman inspired his side to drag themselves back into the game and they were rewarded for their efforts late in the second half when they were awarded a late penalty. James Reid duly converted, before midfielder Dean Campbell smashed home a 91st-minute winner to spark jubilation in the away end at Villa Park.
There was also a shock in South Yorkshire, as sleeping giants Sheffield Wednesday hosted Newcastle United. The Owls find themselves languishing in the third tier of English football these days, while The Magpies have returned to former glories and are riding high in the Premier League. But it was the hosts who came out on top at Hillsborough, with the Josh Windass’ brace continuing his hot streak and consigning the visitors to an early exit.
Finally, Ryan Reynolds’ Wrexham enjoyed the greatest day in their Hollywood owners’ brief tenure. They beat second-tier Coventry City away from home much to the delight of their 4,000 travelling fans.
When it comes to the FA Cup, Thunderpick, which provides sports betting and online casino bitcoin, have made Manchester City the favorites for the trophy this season. But elsewhere throughout English football, there is plenty of value to be found. Here are our two outright tips for the rest of the English football league season.
Rotherham United To Finish Bottom of The Championship
Being a Rotherham United fan this season must be an excruciating experience. In recent years, the Millers have yo-yo’d between English football’s second and third tiers. Last season, they secured promotion back to the Championship on the final day of the season courtesy of Irish striker Georgie Kelly’s last-gasp winner.
And this season, it looked like it represented the South Yorkshire club’s best chance of staying up in years. Long-time manager Paul Warne led the club as high as eighth place in the early weeks of the season, and the club were dreaming of the playoffs rather than the drop zone. What a difference a few months make.
Warne left the club for League One Derby County back in October, and new manager Matt Taylor has picked up just one win in his first 13 games. To make matters worse, no less than four of their key players – namely Chiedozie Ogbene, Daniel Barlaser, Ben Wiles, and Wes Harding – are all out of contract in the summer. And at least three of those stars simply don’t seem interested in life at the New York Stadium anymore.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t bode well for the Millers, and we can’t see them avoiding the drop. Their only real contestant for 24th place in the table this season seems to be Wigan Athletic, but we feel the Latics have enough about them to at least avoid the bottom spot. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same for Rotherham.
Derby County to achieve promotion from League One
To compound the Millers’ misery, we feel that the club that their manager left them for – Derby County – will be the ones to replace them in the second tier. When Paul Warne took over the Rams, the Pride Park club were languishing in midtable. But they are now unbeaten in their last 11 League One games, picking up five wins along the way.
County are safely in the top six, and they will be the favourites in the playoffs, regardless of who misses out on automatic promotion. Currently, there are three teams battling for the top two automatic spots, with Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday occupying first and second, with Ipswich Town two points behind The Owls in third.
If you’re feeling really brave, we think that Derby to achieve automatic promotion from the division wouldn’t be the wildest of bets. They’re currently 11 points behind the second place Wednesday with a game in hand. Should they win that, the gap will come down to eight points. Paul Warne has won on his last two trips to Hillsborough and if he can make it three in a row this season, that will narrow the gap to just five points.
Stranger things have happened, and Derby have the strongest team in the division without a doubt. Don’t be surprised to see them make a charge throughout the second half of the season. Promotion will be achieved at a minimum, and we wouldn’t write them off for that promotion to be achieved automatically.