The Norwegian was at the Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day to watch City narrowly lose against Arsenal and the bookmakers have suspended the betting on the next manager of Cardiff as Vincent Tan looks to get his man.
Meanwhile, Sheffield United will be looking to cause an upset at Villa Park when the League One outfit face a Villans side who are struggling badly in front of their own supporters, while Harry Redknapp famously won this competition with Portsmouth and heads to Goodison Park with his QPR team.
Middlesbrough will be looking to claim a scalp of Hull when the two northern teams meet at the Riverside, while Norwich are favourites to get the better of the Cottagers in one of three all-Premier League encounters, with West Brom facing Crystal Palace.
Finally, Jay Rodriguez comes up against his former club when Southampton meet Burnley at St Mary’s, with both teams performing above expectation levels in their respective divisions this term.
Aston Villa v Sheffield United, 3pm
Nigel Clough is more preoccupied with steering the Blades clear of the League One drop zone than embarking on an FA Cup run, although Sheffield United’s 2-1 defeat at Walsall on New Year’s Day was their first loss in eight games.
Clough is starting to make his new club hard to beat and they can be backed at 7/1 with Boylesports bookmaker to claim victory at Villa Park, with Paul Lambert’s side looking devoid of confidence in front of their own supporters this season.
Villa have lost six of their ten home games this term, scoring just seven goals in the process although a 1-0 win at Sunderland on New Year’s Day eases the pressure on this young team and Lambert is sure to name his strongest team considering there is a nine-day gap after this encounter before the Midlands side face Arsenal.
BetVictor go 1/2 about a home win and perhaps that’s a spot of value considering two divisions and many places separate these two teams, with bet365 offering 5/1 that Gabriel Agbonlahor scores the first goal of the encounter.
Everton v QPR, 3pm
Roberto Martinez steered Wigan Athletic to FA Cup glory last season and how the Everton faithful would love to see their team triumph at Wembley in May, with the Toffees not without a chance of having a big run in this competition.
One positive about backing the Merseyside outfit is that they have made themselves hard to beat this term, having scored a late penalty at the Britannia Stadium to claim a point against Stoke City on Wednesday.
The fact that Everton aren’t in Europe is another reason why they will be treating this competition seriously and the 4/11 about them beating QPR is set to be a popular accumulator filler considering that the Championship side don’t need the distraction of this competition.
Rangers sit just a point outside the automatic promotion places after 24 games played and Harry Redknapp will desperately want to avoid the lottery of the play-offs come May, with a reserve team likely to line up at Goodison Park.
Martinez is also likely to give several players the afternoon off, although Nikica Jelavic will have a chance to put himself in the shop window and bet365 go 5/1 that the Croatian scores the first goal of this particular game.
Meanwhile, Seamus Coleman has been mustard in front of his own supporters this season and gets among the goals to boot. The Republic of Ireland international is an attractive 22/1 to score first in this game and is sure to get forward on plenty of occasions to support his team-mates.
Middlesbrough v Hull City, 3pm
Aitor Karanka has his first taste of the FA Cup on Saturday, with the Spaniard starting to weave his magic at the Riverside with three wins and a draw from Middlesbrough’s last four games which represents a successful festive period.
Boro have been especially impressive from a defensive point-of-view, keeping three clean sheets over Christmas although Karanka will have been frustrated that his team relinquished a two-goal lead at the Reebok Stadium to draw 2-2 with Bolton.
Ben Gibson and Daniel Ayala have forged a strong partnership in central defence and the Championship side are a best price 7/4 with Sky Bet to beat their Premier League opponents, with Steve Bruce one of those managers who doesn’t treat this competition with a great deal of reverence.
Hull have managed a satisfactory 23 points from their first 20 top flight games which keeps them on course for survival, although it has been the Tigers’ form at the KC Stadium that has been impressive as opposed to just one win on the road.
Therefore, City aren’t too attractive a bet even at odds of 15/8, with Middlesbrough set to capitalise on a match against Hull reserves and Albert Adomah could be the man to break the deadlock at odds of 8/1.
Newcastle United v Cardiff City, 3pm
Will Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be attracted to the challenge of managing Cardiff City, with Vincent Tan apparently waving a £25million transfer kitty in the direction of the Norwegian?
There is sure to be an attractive bonus on the table for anyone who manages to keep the Welsh club in the Premier League this season, although Saturday’s game at St James’ Park is probably less important than next weekend’s home match against fellow strugglers West Ham.
Indeed, the 8/11 with Ladbrokes about a Newcastle win in this game looks pretty attractive considering that Alan Pardew will want to have a proper crack at the FA Cup this season in an attempt to land some silverware for the success-starved fans on Tyneside.
The Magpies have already won 2-1 at Cardiff this season and will be looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats against Arsenal and West Brom which represents a setback when it comes to the team’s hopes of a top six finish this term.
Loic Remy has hinted that he would like to be playing Champions League football next season although the Frenchman is with Newcastle until the end of the season on loan and William Hill go 9/2 that he breaks the deadlock in this match.
Remy bagged a brace at the Cardiff City Stadium, with Hatem Ben Arfa likely to return to the starting line-up for this match after being left on the bench for the last two defeats.
As for the Bluebirds, they treated the Capital One Cup with scant regard and if Solskjaer is to take charge for this particular match, he might use the encounter to assess several of his fringe players before taking some plunges into the January transfer market.
The plain truth is that Cardiff have just one win from their last ten encounters and that explains why the bookies are prepared to lay 19/4 about an away win on Saturday, while you can get 14/5 about the contest ending all square and a replay being earned.
Norwich City v Fulham, 3pm
Chris Hughton and Rene Meulensteen will have mixed feelings about Saturday’s game considering that their respective teams are facing a scrap to stay in the Premier League this season.
Both Norwich and Fulham hover precariously above the drop zone after 20 games played, although it was the Cottagers who came out on top when the sides recently met at Carrow Road and you can get odds of 14/5 about a repeat happening this weekend.
It’s hard to make head or tail of the London side considering they were thrashed 6-0 at Hull City last Saturday, although Meulensteen saw his team bounce back when beating West Ham 2-1 on New Year’s Day which elevated them out of the drop zone.
Fulham came from behind to beat the Hammers although they were assisted by Kevin Nolan’s idiotic red card in that match, while there is speculation over the future of Dimitar Berbatov as the January transfer window opens for business.
Norwich have won just three of their ten Premier League games at home this season although it hasn’t stopped the bookies going odds-on about a Canaries win on Saturday, with Paddy Power one of the few firms to offer a touch of odds-against.
This is despite the fact that City are without a win in their last five games, although the East Anglian side scrapped their way to a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park on New Year’s Day and will hope to use this match as a confidence-booster ahead of a trip to Goodison Park the following weekend.
Neither manager will want a draw although perhaps that is the most likely outcome at odds of 13/5 considering each team can’t be backed with confidence and the previous game was heading for a 1-1 draw before Scott Parker’s special winner.
Southampton v Burnley, 3pm
The Saints have won plenty of admirers this season for their attacking brand of football, although a noticeable dip in recent firm has seen Southampton drop towards mid-table in the Premier League, with this game coming at the right time for the Hampshire club.
It represents an opportunity for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to return to winning ways at St Mary’s after four matches without a victory, with Aston Villa, Tottenham and Chelsea having recently claimed three points on the South Coast.
The home side are pretty backable at odds of 4/7 to win this game with Sky Bet, with Pochettino likely to treat the FA Cup with plenty of respect, even if recent form isn’t exactly inspiring when you consider Southampton have lost six of their past nine matches.
It was level pegging against Chelsea for an hour of the match before the visitors took control, although James Ward-Prowse and Rickie Lambert are both likely to return to the starting line-up for this game and the latter can be backed at 9/2 with Paddy Power to score the first goal of this encounter.
Jay Rodriguez may line up against his former club, having completed a £6million move from Turf Moor in June 2012 and the forward has been in excellent recent form, although the Clarets could yet be joining their opponents in the top flight next August.
Sean Dyche has done tremendously well with the Lancashire outfit and few would have predicted Burnley would sit in the automatic promotion places after 24 games played, with a 3-2 win against Huddersfield on New Year’s Day keeping the ball rolling.
Nevertheless, the visitors have failed to win any of their past six matches on the road and that explains the odds of 6/1 about an away victory in this game, while the draw is a 3/1 chance.
West Brom v Crystal Palace, 3pm
Keith Downing continues to take caretaker charge of the Baggies and a New Year’s Day win against Newcastle has given West Brom a touch of breathing space in their scrap against relegation this season.
It remains to be seen whether Downing will get the job for the rest of the season, with Malky Mackay and Jose Luis Mendilibar the two favourites for the permanent position, although some progress in the FA Cup would be welcome by the supporters and odds of 4/5 are available that the Midlands side claim victory in this match.
Wednesday’s win against the Magpies was the team’s first triumph in ten matches, although Albion are unbeaten in four games and we are likely to see Saido Berahino return to the starting line-up for this match, with the England hopeful having scored in his past two matches.
As for Crystal Palace, this competition will not be a priority for Tony Pulis whose ultimate remit is to keep the Eagles in the Premier League this season, with Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Norwich dragging them back into the relegation zone ahead of matches against Tottenham and his former club Stoke.
The visitors are a 4/1 chance to win at The Hawthorns and we’re likely to see Barry Bannan and Dwight Gayle back in the team for this match, with the latter taking his chances when given game time and the former Peterborough man is a 9/1 chance to score the first goal of this encounter.