Nantes v Lens
Defending Coupe de France champions Nantes are drastically underrated ahead of their home match against Lens on Wednesday.
Antoine Kombouare’s side may come into this match off the back of three successive defeats – including a 3-1 reverse against Lens 10 days before this fixture – but the visiting side are being overestimated.
In the context of Lens’ week, this is not a vital game. Indeed, Saturday’s derby match against Lille is far more important. Les Sang et Or are firmly in the race for a Champions League spot but have faded in Ligue 1, with just one win in their last six. It would be understandable if they were to rotate for this game with the weekend’s big clash in mind, and indeed they have a track record of rotating around 50% of their outfield players for the cup.
On top of this, Lens are not a side that has travelled well this season. They have won only three of 13 road games in the league, drawing eight times, and in the previous round of the competition they needed penalties to overcome Lorient.
Nantes, meanwhile, have shown a greater desire to perform well in the cup, and having opened up a healthy advantage over the teams in the drop zone can once again commit resources to the competition – even if they have to go to Paris at the weekend. They have only lost three of their 12 home matches against Ligue 1 opponents this season, suggesting that the odds of evens for them to at least push the match into extra-time are too generous.
Toulouse v Rodez
The odds of Ligue 1 side Toulouse recording a comfortable victory over Ligue 2 bottom side Rodez on Wednesday look incredibly attractive, with TFC on offer at 2.0 with a -1 handicap.
This is a game that Toulouse can afford to commit their resources to. Sitting 11th in Ligue 1, they are well clear of the relegation zone and have no prospect of winning a European place via Le Championnat. Instead, the Coupe de France represents a realistic goal for Philippe Montanier’s side.
Certainly, that is how they have treated the competition in previous rounds. A strong team was deployed to see off Reims 3-1 in their previous match in the tournament, while they have also recorded a comfortable success over Ligue 1 rivals Ajaccio. TFC may have lost three of their last four in the league, but these defeats have come against PSG and Marseille – the leading two teams – and in-form Reims.
Rodez, on the other hand, are bottom of Ligue 2 and have played their reserve team in the competition in previous rounds. Admittedly, this has borne them some success, including the scalp of Monaco away from home. They also defeated Auxerre on penalties in the previous round.
But there are complications for them heading into this match. For a start, there are doubts over their goalkeepers’ fitness. In Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Bastia, they had to resort to playing their third-choice shot-stopper. Moreover, there are problems in the heart of their defence, too. Aymen Abdennour, a former Toulouse player and their most experienced figure, is an injury doubt while another of their regular centre-backs Loris Mouyokolo is also missing.
Toulouse are a side that score goals, and given the invitation, they will do so. Look for them to be comfortably too strong for the giant killers in this game.
Southampton v Grimsby Town
There is no better word to describe Nathan Jones’ tenure as Southampton’s manager than “disaster”. The Welsh manager was at the St. Mary’s post for just over four months, which includes a five-week break without any matches due to the FIFA World Cup. Jones would win a single league game and lose the rest, his only real joy coming from cup fixtures; against Lincoln City and Manchester City in the League Cup, and against Crystal Palace and Blackpool in the FA Cup. The Saints, now led by promoted assistant Rubén Sellés, sit rock bottom of the Premier League with just 18 points and four points ahead of safety. Southampton fans will take confidence though in knowing their stronger record in cups this season; the Saints have not been beaten by opposition below the top flight at any point this season. Against Blackpool in the Fourth Round, Southampton’s frontline contained the likes of Mislav Oršić, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Samuel Edozie and Sékou Mara, with Che Adams, Adam Armstrong, and Theo Walcott among those in reserve. Left-back Romain Perraud scored both goals in the 2-1 win over Blackpool last month, James Ward-Prowse and Adam Armstrong were the goal scorers against Crystal Palace in the Third Round.
Grimsby Town are the lowest-ranked side left in the FA Cup this season. The Mariners long-awaited return to the Fifth Round has seen them consistently overcome higher-league opposition. The League One trio of Plymouth Argyle, Cambridge United, and Burton Albion were seen off in Rounds One to Three, Championship Luton Town were beaten in a home replay in Round Four. This run has been almost the sole source of excitement this season for a Grimsby side who have been greatly inconsistent in League Two, currently sitting in 16th place with neither relegation nor promotion looking likely. Influential attacking midfielder John McAtee will be back available having been ineligible against parent club Luton Town in the previous round. Homegrown talent Harry Clifton is seeing his importance and influence grow season on the season at Blundell Park, the 24-year-old is capable in midfield, out wide, or up top in a 3-5-2. Bryn Morris and Kieran Green provide midfield balance and discipline, allowing wing-backs Michee Efete, Danny Amos and Anthony Driscoll-Glennon to impact the game from wide areas. Focal point forward Ryan Taylor has made a welcome return from injury recently, and when fully fit is the main forward ahead of Danilo Orsi.
A Premier League against League Two cup tie gives the sense of a fundamental mismatch. Rock bottom Southampton however will be seen as another potential scalp for a Grimsby Town side who have fared far better against higher league opposition this season than they have against teams from their same division. Grimsby will enter this game with a lack of fear or expectation, backed further by a bumper crowd of fans and their “Harry the Haddock” inflatable mascots. They will enjoy the occasion no matter the outcome, and might well fancy their chances of scoring past the top flight’s basement outfit.
Burnley v Fleetwood Town
What plaudits are left to describe Burnley this season? Vincent Kompany’s side have been as close to second-tier perfection as you can get. The top-scoring side with 68 goals, the best defensive record with just 28 conceded, and averaging an incredible 2.35 points a game across the season so far. Burnley have lost just three matches in 2022-23; league matches against Watford and Sheffield United, and a League Cup Third Round tie at Manchester United. FA Cup Third Round victory at AFC Bournemouth was followed by a replay win over Ipswich Town, a game in which Nathan Tella scored right at the start and right at the end of the game. The Southampton loanee is among Burnley’s top scorers this season, up there with Jay Rodriguez, Anass Zaroury, Manuel Benson, and Josh Brownhill.
This is the first time ever that Fleetwood Town have been in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup. Scott Brown’s side secured their place in the final 16 with a Fourth Round replay win over Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury Stadium, a result which started an unbeaten run that contained five wins and a draw at second-place Plymouth Argyle. Luton Town loanee Carlos Mendes Gomes is among the stars in the Fleetwood team, a constant threat with his creativity from wide and central areas. The Scottish right-back is in turn becoming a key figure on the right flank, Fleetwood’s joint top league scorer this season alongside Mendes Gomes. The Cod Army are unable to play their new strikers Jayden Stockley and Jack Marriott due to them being cup-tied. What that does allow is the likes of Cian Hayes, Phoenix Patterson, Harvey Macadam and Promise Omochere to feature as starters instead. Irish forward Omochere scored in Fleetwood’s previous cup games against Queens Park Rangers at Highbury and Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
Burnley are rightly heavy favourites for this game, and a team unlikely to settle for just a one-goal margin of victory. The Clarets have been averaging two goals scored a game across their league campaign, with Fleetwood averaging 1.1 goals scored a game and yet to be blanked in an FA Cup this season. The hosts will be confident. The visitors will be fearless. The goals could be flowing at Turf Moor.
Huracan v Boston River
The Argentine’s controlled the first leg but left Uruguay feeling frustrated after failing to find the back of the net.
Huracan had 20 shots, seven corners, the most possession but were unable to break a stubborn Boston River defence. However, back on home soil, where they have won their last seven home matches, Huracan can rectify their draw and qualify comfortably for the next round.
Huracan don’t just collect the three points at home, they put on a show for their fans. In their last seven wins, they’ve scored 18 goals and have kept three clean sheets in the process.
Boston River have only scored one goal in their last four matches, and that was in the previous round against Venezuelan club Zamora, who have lost 20 out of their last 21 Copa Libertadores matches.
With 18-year-old star Juan Gauto leading the line, I’m recommending backing Huracan to win to nil and get through to the next round.
*Bet links only appear when accessing from mobile.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
18+ please gamble responsibly.
Haven’t got a Betfair account? You’re in luck…
Sign up to Betfair and get £30 in free football bet builders when you place a £10 football bet on the Betfair Sportsbook. Here are the two possible outcomes: