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.
After a captivating round of mid-week continental fixtures, attentions turn once again to domestic matters this weekend, where the Quarter Finals of the 2018/19 FA Cup take centre stage.
As always, bet365 have a range of potentially lucrative individual player specials and markets available for Saturday and Sunday’s televised games, and as usual FST have been poring over the statistics to find you the best selections from each.
The action kicks off on Saturday lunchtime at Vicarage Road where Watford take on Crystal Palace, with Swansea’s clash with Manchester City in Wales following shortly after.
Wolves meet Manchester United at Molineux in Saturday’s late kick-off in another all Premier League bout, before Millwall and Brighton contest the final Quarter Final fixture at The Den on Sunday in a fixture where sparks are certain to fly.
Read our selection of player special betting tips for the weekend’s televised FA Cup fixtures below:
Luka Milivojevic – over 2.5 tackles – 1/1 (Watford vs CRYSTAL PALACE)
Although Luka Milivojevic is out on his own at Crystal Palace’s most combative midfielder, the Serbian international trails Eagles’ full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the average tackles per game statistics.
Milivojevic’s 2.3 tackles per Premier League game average is eclipsed by Wan-Bissaka’s 4, though we expect the Palace midfielder to out-tackle his younger teammate at Vicarage Road this weekend.
Javi Gracia generally likes to deploy his Watford team in a narrow formation, meaning that much of the play on Saturday is likely to be concentrated through the middle of the pitch.
The Hornets’ central midfield pair of Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure are notoriously tenacious, and Luka Milivojevic will have to match their aggression if Palace are to succeed.
When you consider the factors at play, Milivojevic is priced brilliantly at evens with bet365 to make over 2.5 tackles against Watford this weekend.
Riyad Mahrez – over 1.5 shots – 4/7 (Swansea City vs MANCHESTER CITY)
With the Citizens’ engaged in battle on multiple fronts, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is almost certain to shuffle his pack this weekend. (Read more about the difficulties of chasing success in multiple competitions here)
Riyad Mahrez was an unused substitute for City in their sensational 7-0 Champions League Last 16 second leg win over Schalke on Tuesday, though the Algerian will expect to feature from the start in Wales on Saturday.
City plundered 24 goals in the 5 matches they played against lower league opposition in the Carabao and FA Cup already this season, and the Citizens’ will expect to maintain that eye-watering goal average at Swansea on Saturday.
Mahrez will likely be 1 of 3 players at the sharp-end of City’s attacking play and the 28-year old should have ample opportunity to add to the 11 goals he has scored already this season.
Mahrez has averaged around 2.2 shots per game for City this season, though our tip requires a much lower output from the former Leicester star this weekend.
In a game that the Citizens are sure to dominate against Swansea, we think Mahrez looks a great bet at 4/7 with bet365 to register over 1.5 attempts on the Swans goal.
Ruben Neves – over 51.5 passes – 5/6 (WOLVES vs Man Utd)
Wolves’ midfield technician Ruben Neves has enjoyed a fine individual campaign in Wanderers’ impressive overall first season back in England’s top flight.
Operating as the team’s deep lying play-maker, Neves has played more passes on average per game (54.2) this season than any of his Wolves teammates this term.
Neves distribution average climbs to a slightly healthier 55.6 when you analyse Wolves’ league games at Molineux alone, though it’s interesting to note that he played over 51.5 passes in 9 or 69% of the 13 Premier League home matches he has started.
We think Neves should pass his way past that target again on Saturday against Man Utd. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactical instruction, United have largely played on the counter attack away from Old Trafford over the past few months, often with devastating effect.
With United content to contain for large periods before exploding forward in bursts, Neves should find that he has lots of time in possession this weekend – that makes him a cracking price at 5/6 with bet365 to play over 51.5 passes.
Glenn Murray – under 2.5 shots – 10/11 (Millwall vs BRIGHTON)
Glenn Murray is one of English football’s most unique performers. As we proved last month, the veteran striker is among the most prolific serial offenders in the Premier League in terms of fouls conceded, though the 35-year old is also one of the division’s most efficient finishers.
Having scored 13 goals so far this season, Murray is Brighton’s leading scorer, though the former Bournemouth striker has collected his admirable haul from relatively few attempts on goal.
Murray has averaged just 1.4 shots per game for the Seagulls this term, though his numbers slip to just 1.1 attempts per contest in away fixtures.
It’s worth pointing out in fact, that Murray hit over 2.5 shots on goal in just 3 of his 29 Premier League appearances this season.
With the pattern in Murray’s shooting statistics firmly established, backing him at 10/11 with bet365 to have under 2.5 shots at Millwall looks a smart move.
Jake Cooper to get booked – 3/1 (MILLWALL vs Brighton)
With a place in the FA Cup Semi Finals on offer for the victorious team in Sunday’s Quarter Final clash between Millwall and Brighton, intensity levels at The Den should be through the roof.
Both sets of players will be desperate to prolong their FA Cup adventures at the other’s expense, and the determination to win should ensure that every ball is contested with vigour this weekend.
Millwall centre-half Jake Cooper is never far away from the action when the tackles are flying in. The 24-year old has been booked 6 times already this season, and on Sunday Cooper will have to engage in what will undoubtedly be a very physical battle with Brighton forward Glenn Murray.
Murray has committed more fouls (67) than any other Premier League player this season, and Cooper will be keen to give as good as he gets in front of Millwall’s passionate support.
That makes the defender a great bet at 3/1 with bet365 to be shown a yellow card during Sunday’s contest.
A 5-fold accumulator featuring the player specials selections above is priced at a huge 43/1 with bet365!! Click the banner below to bet now. Good luck!!
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