We have arrived at the semi-final stage of this season’s FA Cup as the four remaining sides grant their followers a day out at Wembley. The numbers will be halved at the conclusion, but at this stage we have four sets of fans who dream of coming back to the national stadium for the final game of the season and lifting the most famous trophy in world football. Here are our FA Cup semi-finals betting tips.
We have already lost some big names from the running and that has left Man City out in front as red-hot favourites. Backers looking to side with the Cityzens to add the FA Cup to the League Cup already glistening away in their trophy cabinet will find no better than 1/3 available at Bet365. That quote shows traders can’t see past Pep’s boys, and it’s difficult to argue against that stance. Man City are in with a shout of landing a domestic clean-sweep and it would be a brave punter who went against them to achieve that.
Others in the running going into the two semis that will be played to a finish on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April are second favourites Wolves, chalked up at 9/2 by Unibet, 10/1 shot Watford who stand third in the pecking order and the list is completed by Brighton at a chunky 18/1 with Unibet. Anything can happen in a tournament famous for upsets, but you’d need to work hard to make a strong case for The Seagulls swooping on the silverware.
Man City v Brighton
The first of two games takes place on Saturday evening with the play getting underway at 5.30pm. Manchester City have been thoroughly impressive this season, battling on all fronts as they push for complete dominance of English football, while all the time making progress on the continent. They secured their place in the last four thanks to a battling 3-2 win over a stubborn Swansea in Wales. The Swans raced into a 2-0 lead that day, threatening to knock their opponents out of the running but a Silva response on 69 set the wheels in motion for a comeback.
Nordfekdt knocked the ball into his own net under heavy pressure to equalise and Aguero did what he does best, winning the match with a late goal, 88 minutes on the clock. Guardiola credited his boys’ winning attitude when speaking to the press at full-time and he was pleased to see them roll up their sleeves and battle to a finish. The experienced gaffer knew they answered a few questions that day and will now be confident in their ability to go all the way to the finish. You can back Man City to beat Brighton in 90 minutes at 1/7 with Bet365. -1 goal on the handicap is a little easier to trust, 2/5 offered by Bet365 to those with a touch more confidence.
Seagulls Up Against It
Brighton were always up against it in this competition and have surprised many by making it this far, but their job was made all the more difficult when being drawn with Man City in the last four. The Seagulls find themselves stuck down at the wrong end of the table and started the week in 15th, their season stats showing nine wins, six draws and 15 defeats. They are now just five better than the relegation zone and involvement in the FA Cup will allow the teams below them in the Premier League a chance to close the gap.
Despite their troubles in the league, Brighton have enjoyed the thrill of playing knockout football and have pulled off some upsets on-route to the semis. Like their opponents, they came dangerously close to being knocked out in the quarters when needing penalties to get past a dogged Millwall on the road. That match ended 2-2 after extra time but it was the Premier League club who held their nerve from the spot, nicking through thanks to a 5-4 score. They came from two goals down and deserved to sneak through. Another draw is as big as 7/1 with Bet365, the underdogs offered at a stunning 22/1 by Unibet. Both teams to score will earn you a crack at 13/8 (888Sport).
Two Clear Goals
This will be the second meeting of the season with Man City easing to a 2-0 win over Brighton at the Etihad back in the summer. Goals came from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero that day, one either side of the interval, and although the bare result suggested a close contest, the destination of the points was never in doubt.
Man City would gladly accept a repeat performance and they go into this game knowing the trends support their chances. City has won by two clear goals in each of their last three matches vs Brighton and that does much to support our -1 handicap selection. It won’t make you rich on its own, but it will give you a run for your money and do a job in accumulators.
Watford v Wolves
Watford has won an army of new friends this season, especially on social media, after a well-known TV pundit and former footballer predicted a campaign of doom and gloom. As well as an extended run in the FA Cup they have also been seen holding their own in the Premier League and started the week sitting in 10th. They do appear to have run their race this term and will do well to hold on to a top-10 finish after losing three of their last four and each of their two most recent starts, but they have already proven their point.
They knocked Crystal Palace out of the running in the quarter-finals thanks to a 2-1 score achieved in front of their own fans and it was a match that will live long in the memory of everyone involved. Coupe smashed his employers into a lead before Batshuayi levelled things up on the hour mark to ensure the game had a real cup feel about it heading into the closing stages. There was to be one final twist in the tale, however, Gray scoring what proved to be the winner with just 11 minutes left of regulation time. Javi Gracia called it an amazing day for his men and he’ll be confident they can go and claim more of the same at Wembley. Watford is our picks at a value 9/4, top price with Unibet.
Hungry for Success
Wolves are three places higher in the Premier League at the time of checking and have one more point on the board. Their recent form is something of a mixed bag with one win, two defeats and a couple of draws in their last five Premier League starts. They lost away to Burnley last time out in what was a surprise result, an early own-goal from Coady meaning they were up against it from before the second minute of play. McNeill hit another midway through the second half and beaten manager Nuno Santo blamed the poor start for a bad afternoon at the office.
There was plenty more to cheer in the last round of the FA Cup when Wolves upset the odds to dump Man Utd out in the quarters, nicking a 2-1 home win over an opponent who went into the contest with confidence sky-high. The score tells us it was a close match but Jiminez and Jota had the victors 2-0 ahead after 76 minutes before a 95th-minute response from Rashford kept things interesting. A real shock, but the right side won on the night. Wolves are 11/8 favourites with bet365 to win, the draw 23/10 at BetFred.