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 123 matches, 354 goals and buckets of high-octane knockout football drama, the 2018/19 FA Cup is finally approaching its closing act.
This weekend, the competition’s last quartet of combatants will contest this season’s FA Cup Semi Finals at Wembley.
As always, bet365 have a range of potentially lucrative individual player specials and markets available for Saturday and Sunday’s crucial cup games, and as usual FST have been poring over the statistics to find you the best selections from each.
In the first Semi Final, Cup favourites Manchester City take on Chris Hughton’s dogged Brighton and Hove Albion side on Saturday evening. Less than 24 hours later in the other Semi Final, Wolves and Watford lock horns in a tussle between two of the tournament’s dark horses.
Check out selection of player special betting tips for the weekend’s eagerly anticipated FA Cup Semi Final clashes below:
Make sure to read all of our latest FA Cup match previews, predictions, betting tips and special offers here!
Bernardo Silva to score anytime – 9/4 (MAN CITY vs Brighton)
Portuguese schemer Bernardo Silva has made the transition from a peripheral figure last year to a key component of Pep Guardiola’s City XI this season.
The attacking midfielder has been in sparkling form for the majority of the Citizen’s campaign, though the 24-year old’s performances in front of goal have been particularly potent of late.
Silva has found the net 3 times in his last 3 appearances for City, a sequence that included a strike in the club’s 3-2 win at Swansea in the Quarter Final of the FA Cup.
The former Monaco star has hit 11 goals in total for City this season, and we think the red-hot Bernardo Silva is priced incredibly generously at 9/4 with bet365 to score again this week.
Read our detailed Man City vs Brighton match preview, predictions and betting tips here.
Glenn Murray – under 1.5 shots – 1/2 (Man City vs BRIGHTON)
Veteran centre-forward Glenn Murray has been integral to everything positive Brighton have done in attack this season.
The 35-year old has scored 11 league goals in total for the Seagulls this term even though he remains one of the most underserviced strikers in the Premier League.
Murray has averaged just 1.4 shots per game for Brighton in 2018/19, though it’s worth noting that his average drops to a paltry 0.55 shots per game in fixtures against the division’s “big 6”.
In fact, Murry failed to register a single attempt on goal in 5 of his 9 appearances against the league’s leading lights.
We think Murray will be similarly isolated and starved of service against City on Saturday, making him a cracking bet at 1/2 with bet365 to have under 1.5 shots against the Citizens.
Dale Stephens to get booked – 10/3 (Man City vs BRIGHTON)
Combative Brighton midfielder Dale Stephens has never been far from the the action for the Seagulls this season.
The 29-year old destroyer has made 2.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per game on average for Brighton this term, figures that rank him near the top for each metric at the club.
Stephens also ranks second for average fouls committed per game (1.5) however, and his multiple indiscretions have landed him in trouble with referees on more than a couple of occasions.
The former Charlton Athletic employee has been booked 5 times for Brighton this season, making him the joint most carded Albion player alongside Glenn Murray.
With Man City set to enjoy the lion’s share of possession on Saturday, Stephens is certain to make a high number of tackles and challenges to try to disrupt the Citizens’ passing patterns.
That should in turn, considerably heighten Stephens’ chances of getting booked, and he is priced brilliantly at 10/3 with bet365 to be shown yellow again.
Ruben Neves – over 2.5 tackles – 10/11 (WOLVES vs Watford)
In one of the most fascinating subplots to Wolves FA Cup Semi Final battle with Watford on Sunday is the potential tackle-fest in midfield between Wanderers central trio and the Hornets’ fearsome French double-act.
Joao Moutinho, Leander Dendoncker and Ruben Neves are among Wolves most prolific tacklers this season, while Watford’s physically dominant pair of Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure have been just as industrious for the Hornets.
One member of Wolves hard-working triumvirate, Ruben Neves, is famed for his remarkable ability to land a pass on a sixpence, though his equally consistent ball-recovery skills often go unheralded.
Neves has averaged 2.2 tackles per game for Wanderers in 2018/19, though the 22-year old has made 3 tackles or more on 11 separate occasions for Wolves.
With so much at stake on Sunday, we expect Neves to bite into his tackles with more gusto than usual against what are sure to be equally aggressive Watford counterparts.
With that considered, we think Neves looks amazing value at 10/11 with bet365 to make over 2.5 tackles against the Hornets.
Read our comprehensive Watford vs Wolves match preview for more betting tips and predictions here.
Abdoulaye Doucoure – over 54.5 passes – 5/6 (Wolves vs WATFORD)
All-action French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure’s reputation has shot through the stratosphere this season after a campaign littered with fantastic individual performances for Watford.
There are few weaknesses to Doucoure’s game and the 26-year old can tackle, run and dominate his area of the pitch as well as anyone.
Douroure’s technical attributes are just as polished as his physical ones however, and the midfielder has completed more passes on average per game (53.7) than any of his Hornets teammates this season.
The Rennes academy product has passed his way beyond his average and our tips targeted total in 12 different games for Watford already this season.
Interestingly, Doucoure hit his second highest passes per game total of 2018/19 in Watford’s 2-0 win against Wolves at Molineux last October. The Frenchman distributed the ball a whopping 87 times against Wanderers that day.
With that in mind, we believe he’s well worth backing at 5/6 with bet365 to play over 54.5 passes again on Sunday.
Raul Jimenez to score anytime – 7/4 (WOLVES vs Watford)
It’s been quite the month for Wolves centre forward Raul Jimenez. After scoring 4 times and collecting 2 assists in his last 6 games for club and country, the 27-year old became Wanderers record signing this week after making his loan move from Benfica permanent.
Wolves paid just north of £30m for the talented striker who has been involved in 22 goals (15 goals, 7 assists) for the newly promoted club since their arrival in the Premier League last summer.
Jimenez is likely to be bursting with confidence this weekend and he will be keen to start his permanent Wolves career in the perfect manner against Watford.
The Mexican international has already scored 3 times in the FA Cup this season and we’re backing him to grab his 4th goal of the tournament at 7/4 with bet365.
A 4-fold acca featuring some of our player specials above is available at 33/1 with bet365! Click the banner below to bet now! Good luck!!
Read our expert match previews, predictions and betting tips for the rest of this weekend’s football progamme here.
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