And then there were four. The FA Cup continued to throw up some shocks and surprises in the quarter finals as Manchester United were knocked out by Wolves. Not the biggest of cup upsets – given that both United and Wolves are Premier Leagues sides – but with the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned around the Old Trafford team many (myself included) thought that we would see both Manchester clubs in the final four.
Elsewhere Manchester City needed to come back from two goals down to break Swansea hearts – and Pep Guardiola’s men will face Brighton in the semi final after the south coast club staged a very late comeback at Millwall and eventually won on penalties.
With most of the big boys now out it would seem that Manchester City should win another leg of its potential quadruple – but there are three other teams who will want to have a major say in that.
I’m going to take a look at the semi final draw and the latest 2019 FA Cup odds to see where the interest lies from a betting perspective.
The FA Cup Semi Final Draw
Brighton pulled the short straw this time around and will face Manchester City on Saturday 6th April, with Wolves battling Watford the day after. Both games will be staged at Wembley.
- Manchester City vs Brighton and Hove Albion
- Watford vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Brighton is facing Premier League opposition for the first time since the third round and will be hoping that Manchester City has its mind on other competitions. Chris Hughton’s side is not quite clear of relegation trouble so might be concentrating on other games itself.
Wolves continues its remarkable first season back in the Premier League and will now have its sights on a first FA Cup triumph since 1960.
Latest FA Cup Odds
With the semi final draw now settled, let’s take a look at the latest outright winner prices at Betway.
The immediate take from these odds is that Manchester City is absolutely expected to lift the FA Cup in May. Brighton is, perhaps understandably, given no chance to reach its first final since 1983 and the bookies don’t seem to like Watford’s chances of making the main event either.
The price for Wolves is interesting, as Nuno Espirito Santo has done wonders at the Black Country club since taking over at the start of last season. It would seem likely that if anyone is able to stop Manchester City it would be Wolves – but I don’t think Watford can be discounted completely from getting through to the final either.
My Pick: Manchester City to Win the FA Cup 1.36
I just can’t see past Manchester winning its sixth FA Cup with the form that Pep Guardiola’s side has been showing in all competitions this season. My only reservation is that the odds are so short now that there is not the promise of much in the way of winning returns. The price for Watford is more attractive but I don’t believe that it can beat both Wolves and Manchester City to win the cup.
FA Cup Semi Final Ties
I’m now going to take a look at the two semi finals in closer detail and see if there is any value attached to the odds in both games.
Manchester City vs Brighton and Hove Albion
Manchester City to Win
Brighton to Win
Manchester City is overwhelming favorites to beat Brighton and the bookies obviously consider Brighton a mere formality for the current Premier League champions.
With Sergio Aguero showing the kind of form he has this season it is not difficult to see why that would be the case. The Argentina forward has been incredible this campaign and is the top goal scorer in the Premier League with 18 – and has 28 in all competitions. Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane are all in double figures as well and it would seem as though Brighton’s defense is in for a busy afternoon.
But Chris Hughton’s side’s confidence will be sky high after coming back from 2-0 down with two minutes to go to win at Millwall. The victory was even sweeter considering the fact that if VAR was available at The New Den for the quarter final it would have disallowed a Millwall goal as well as giving the Seagulls one of its own.
Jürgen Locadia scored in the victory over Millwall and will be hoping that his form in the cup will sway Chris Hughton to play the Dutch striker instead of Florin Andone who is struggling with a thigh injury. Veteran forward Glenn Murray is the obvious first choice for any goals for Brighton but I have a feeling that this game will be played mostly down the other end of the pitch.
Manchester City should be able to make it through to the final without too much trouble – but a price of 1.13 for the win is not anything to get excited about.
Watford vs Wolves
Watford to Win
Wolves to Win
Wolves is favorite to be Manchester City’s opponents in the final and the victory over Manchester United in the previous round has only cemented that belief in the minds of the bookmakers.
United just couldn’t cope with the Wolves midfield in that game and Watford head coach Javi Gracia will need to get his tactics right to ensure that his side don’t get overrun in the same way. Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota are the main danger men for Wolves but Nuno Espirito Santo has his team playing with such organization that it is hard to break down at the same time as showing a wonderful attacking flair.
But I think Watford is being dismissed far too quickly. Its win over Crystal Palace was a perfect example of how the Hornets methodically break down their opponents without the need for extravagance. There is steel and strength in the middle with Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure – with Gerard Deulofeu providing the inspiration going forward.
The talismanic Troy Deeney is incredibly hard to shrug off the ball and comes up with more than enough goals to worry the Wolves defense – and then Watford always has Andre Gray to help out if it is need of a goal as was the case against Palace in the quarter final.
With the pressure on at Wembley this could be a tight affair and the draw after 90 minutes should not be discounted. But to buck what seems to be the conventional thinking with this tie, I’m going to go with Watford to make its first FA Cup final since 1984. The one thing that might soften the blow for Wolves is that if Manchester City does win the cup there could be an extra European place opened up in the league.
My Semi Final Pick
With the odds for a Manchester City victory far too short to garner much interest I’m going with the other semi final as the one to offer more opportunities for bettors.
Wolves is favourite to go through but I fancy Watford to upset the odds here.
My Pick: Watford to beat Wolves 3.25
With just four teams left in this season’s competition it would seem as though it is now Manchester City’s cup to lose. The devastating form Pep Guardiola’s men have shown all season – and the incredible depth of squad – shouldn’t really give any of the other remaining three clubs a chance.
But there is something called ‘the magic of the cup’ – and Watford, Wolves and especially Brighton will be hoping that it still exists when these FA Cup semi finals come around.