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Can Anyone Stop 1/3 FA Cup Favourites Manchester City?

Updated on 1:38pm GMT 18 March 2019
Can Anyone Stop 1/3 FA Cup Favourites Manchester City?

Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.

Manchester City’s relentless pursuit of glory on all fronts continued at the weekend with the Citizen’s 3-2 comeback win over Swansea City in Wales – a result that secured their place among the quartet of FA Cup semi-finalists this season.

City profited from a blend of good luck and poor officiating to see off a determined Swansea outfit on Saturday, maintaining their three-pronged assault on club football’s biggest prizes in the process.

With City’s Manchester rivals United convincingly beaten and dumped out of the FA Cup by Wolves just hours after the Citizen’s triumph at the Liberty Stadium, the path to Wembley glory now looks considerably less tricky than it did.

At 1/3, Man City have understandably been made clear favourites to go on and win their first FA Cup since 2011, however, the competition’s other Semi Finalists will be determined to ensure that the competition doesn’t descend into another City cakewalk.

Can Brighton, Watford or Wolves stop Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering juggernaut?

Read all of the latest FA Cup news, match previews, betting tips and special offers here.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton Glenn Murray

To Reach The Final: 8/1

To win the FA Cup: 16/1

Brighton drew the shortest straw in Sunday’s FA Cup Semi Final Draw when they were paired with favourites Manchester City.

Being ranked as the competition’s biggest outsider comes with its own benefits however, and the Seagulls will be able to play with a certain degree of freedom at Wembley in their Semi Final, shorn of any pressure or weight of expectation.

However, to secure an unlikely triumph, Brighton will have to do something they haven’t been able to do since their promotion to the Premier League – beat Manchester City.

The Citizens have a 100% record in games against Albion since their Premier League arrival in 2017, and City recorded a comfortable 2-0 win over Brighton when the teams met at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the current season.

Both City and Brighton have pressing league engagements to address alongside their Cup commitments, but while the Citizens preoccupations are silver tinged, survival is the name of the game for the Seagulls.

Brighton should take heart from Swansea’s close-run thing against City on Saturday, and if Chris Hughton can go one better than the Swans and mastermind a Semi Final win next month, it would  go down as one of the shocks of the season.

Watford

Premier League Watford Hughes Deeney Gray

To Reach The Final: 5/4

To win the FA Cup: 10/1

Watford, runners-up in 1984, will play four-time FA Cup winners Wolves in the competition’s other Semi Final in a clash between two clubs tipped as tournament dark horses earlier in the season.

The Hornets edged out Crystal Palace by the odd goal in 3 at Vicarage Road on Saturday, capping what’s been a relatively smooth run to the penultimate round of the competition that was aided by some kind draws against Woking, Newcastle and QPR.

At 10/1, the bookmakers have priced Watford as the 3rd favourite out of 4 teams to lift the Cup itself, though Javi Gracia’s charges look much better value at 5/4 to reach the Final.

After Wolves impressive elimination of Manchester United in the Quarter Final, Wanderers have understandably been tipped as the team most likely to run City the closest in May.

However, it’s worth remembering that Watford have already had the beating of Wolves this season. When the teams vying to be the “best of the rest” in the Premier League met back in October, Watford battled their way to 3 points at Molineux after a 2-0 win.

Integral to their success that day were the performances of Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucouré who as a pair, dominated and physically overwhelmed their midfield counterparts Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves.

It could be that Watford’s midfield duo and the rest of the Hornets squad will still hold a psychological edge over Wolves when the teams renew acquaintances at Wembley next month.

Read our special FST Premier League & FA Cup Team of the Week here.

Wolves

Wolves Wolverhampton Ruben Neves

To Reach The Final: 4/7

To win the FA Cup: 4/1

Having negotiated tough fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United in their run to the Semi Finals, Wolves have certainly made the last four of the FA Cup the hard way.

In truth however, bloodying the noses of the country’s biggest names and reputations is something Wolves have excelled at this season.

Wanderers have already proved their penchant for high-level performance in the league this season by taking points from Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham and Manchester City, though double defeats to Huddersfield Town, and setbacks against Cardiff and Brighton hint at underlying dichotomous characteristics in the team.

Wolves big-game record suggests that they are the biggest threat City have left in the FA Cup this season, though setting up a Final date with the Citizens won’t be easy.

After the euphoria of beating Man Utd in the Quarter Finals, any excitement about possible cup glory will have to be tempered by Nuno Espirito Santo ahead of his team’s Semi Final clash with Watford.

Ironically, Wolves’ manager and many of their supporters would probably be more confident of their team putting in a performance against City in the Final than Watford in the Semis.

However, if Wolves can drag themselves into the competition’s showpiece finale, a 4/1 FA Cup winning upset isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.

Read all of our latest match previews for more predictions and 100% FREE expert betting tips here.

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