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.
With a rich, colourful history littered with upsets and against the odds victories, the English FA Cup’s reputation as one of the most unpredictable domestic knockout competitions in world football is well-earned.
When it comes to winning the competition outright however, smaller clubs have found it difficult to gate-crash the established order in recent years.
17 of the last 20 FA Cups have been won by either Chelsea (6), Arsenal (6), Manchester United (3) or Liverpool (2).
Nevertheless, a major FA Cup shock never seems far away and there have been seasons where one of football’s less illustrious clubs have hit the sweet spot between momentum and circumstance.
Wigan Athletic battled their way to an unlikely FA Cup Final victory over Manchester City in 2010/11, emulating Portsmouth’s unexpected triumph in 2007/08.
This season, a new clutch of outsiders and underdogs are dreaming of making it all the way to Wembley.
Below, we’ve listed our selection of dark horses to look out for in the 2018/19 FA Cup. If you choose to back any of our recommendations, we advise doing so as an each-way bet with bet365.
That means that bet365 will pay out at 1/2 odds if your selected team reaches the FA Final. It’s worth noting that 7 of the last 10 FA Cup Finals featured a team outside the Premier League’s traditional “big six”.
Check out the rest of our 2018/19 FA Cup outright betting tips and predictions here
Wolves – 14/1 each way
Fresh from their impressive 2-1 3rd round win over a depleted Liverpool side at Molineux this week, Wolves’ players will believe a lengthy and possibly successful run in this season’s FA Cup is within their capabilities.
Wolves have made a solid start to life in the Premier League after their promotion from the Championship last summer, and even though their form against the middle and lower ranking teams in the division has been a little patchy at times, Wanderers have shown remarkable consistency in games against the league’s bigger sides.
Earlier this season, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men took a point from each of their fixtures against the Manchester clubs and Arsenal, before taking maximum points from meetings with Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
Wanderers ability to go toe-to-toe with the heavyweights in the league suggests they will be able to hold their own when things heat up in the latter rounds of the FA Cup.
Wolves were handed a favourable draw in the 4th Round, and an away trip to either Stoke City or Shrewsbury gives them a superb opportunity to prolong their FA Cup adventure.
At 14/1 e/w with bet365, Wolves look a great value outsider bet to go all the way in the competition this season.
West Ham – 14/1 each way
West Ham are one of the Premier League’s most abstruse teams. Their performances range wildly from the exceptional to the downright dreadful, and while they lack the overall consistency to maintain a push for European places in the league, the enigmatic nature of their play makes them a potentially lethal cup side.
West Ham’s attacking ranks are swelled with mercurial talents, all of whom are a capable of turning a result in the Hammers’ favour at any given moment.
Marko Arnautovic, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko all fit that profile, while the January addition of Samir Nasri adds another game-changer to the Irons’ mix.
With Argentinean schemer Manuel Lanzini set to return from injury soon, West Ham will have an abundance of match-winning footballers at their disposal.
Admittedly, West Ham still only hit the right notes sporadically, though a series of one-off knockout games culminating in a glamourous final could suit their unique collection of flawed geniuses perfectly.
West Ham are priced at 14/1 e/w with bet365 to go all the way in May.
Watford – 33/1 each way
After a largely productive first half to their 2018/19 Premier League campaign, Watford are handily placed in 8th in the current standings.
The Hornets are in a comfortable enough position to allay any fears of being dragged into a relegation battle, though they simultaneously lack the quality and thrust to make a genuine challenge for a European qualification place.
But while that scenario seems to have locked Watford into mid-table limbo, the same set of circumstances could lend themselves just as easily to a strong FA Cup run.
Watford’s cause could be aided by their terrific FA Cup record at Vicarage Road. The Hornets haven’t lost an FA Cup tie there since their 2012 defeat to Spurs, and with a little luck in the draw, Watford could lean on that formidable home form to drag them to the semi-finals.
The Hornets will first have to come through a tricky looking away tie at either Newcastle or Blackburn in round 4 however, though Watford are certainly capable of beating either team.
Watford are understandably considered tournament long-shots, though the 33/1 each way odds made available by bet365 on the Hornets lifting the cup in May still look incredibly generous.
Keep up to date with all the latest FA Cup match previews, predictions and betting tips here.
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