Uwe Rosler’s Wigan will begin their defence of the FA Cup with a home tie against MK Dons, but it is beaten finalists Manchester City who begin as 9/2 favourites to lift the trophy they missed out on after Ben Watson’s extra-time winner at Wembley last May.
2011 winners City will travel to Blackburn Rovers in their bid to make their third cup final in four years, while Chelsea’s status as the most successful FA Cup side since Wembley’s rebuild – with four wins in seven years – sees them installed as 5/1 second favourites.
Jose Mourinho was in charge in 2007 when the Blues won the first of those, a 1-0 extra-time victory over Manchester United.
This year they begin their campaign with a potentially tricky trip to Derby County, where new boss Steve McClaren has the Rams in great form, winning five games on the bounce.
The two sides last met in the FA Cup 12 years ago, when Robert Pires scored the winner in a 2-1 semi-final victory at Old Trafford, and Arsenal will be confident of repeating the feat given that they have already enjoyed success over Andre Villas Boas’ side this season, with Olivier Giroud scoring the only goal in a 1-0 league win at the Emirates in September.
Elsewhere, David Moyes will be looking to use the cup to provide a much needed morale boost for his under-performing Manchester United side, with the 11-time winners still considered 7/1 third favourites despite their league woes.
Alternatively, it’s also plausible that their tricky home tie against a Swansea side who have already proven themselves capable of excelling in cup competitions could simply provide the Reds with another unneeded banana skin.
Fourth favourites (8/1) Liverpool, who last season suffered a shock loss to eventual winners Wigan, will face the winner of Oldham and Mansfield. As ever, the ties will be played the first weekend in January, with television slots yet to be decided.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.