English FA Cup Semifinals Preview

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

By Jonathan Willis
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We are down to just four teams left at this point in the battle to see who will win the FA Cup.The first semifinal will pit two of the best teams in England against each other. Both Tottenham and Manchester United seem destined to finish in the top four, and the winner of this match is likely to be the favorite in the FA Cup Final next month.

The second semifinal will see Chelsea take on Southampton. It’s been a disappointing season for the Blues, but an FA Cup win would alleviate some of the pain. Chelsea is almost certainly going to miss out on the Champions League next year, so a trophy would help matters. As for Southampton, the club is trying to hold on to its spot in the Premier League, but they are five points back of Swansea with five to play.

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Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United

Date and Time: April 21, 2018, 12:15 p.m. ET

Location: Wembley Stadium

US Television Coverage: FOX

Betting Line: Tottenham PK and -0.5, O/U 2.5

Although Manchester United have the better record in the Premier League, Tottenham is favored in this one for a few reasons. The Spurs got the better of the Red Devils the last time these teams met, and this game is being played in Tottenham’s home stadium this year.

The biggest reason that Tottenham is favored though is because of Jose Mourinho’s announcement that not all of his club’s regular starters will be in the line-up for this match. Mourinho was livid after the club’s disappointing loss to West Brom earlier in the week and has stated that only three players are assured of their starting spots. He switched out seven of his starters for the match against Bournemouth on Wednesday, keeping Romelu Lukaki, Alexis Sanchez, and Nemanja Matic on the bench.

Tottenham has no such issues. The club played well without Harry Kane in the lineup, and the offense has once again been one of the best since his return. However, there are injury concerns for the team.

Toby Alderweireld made his first Premier League start in almost six months earlier in the week, but rumors are that he is unlikely to play in this one. Spurs are hoping that Kyle Walker-Peters and Danny Rose will be able to suit up, yet both players are considered questionable heading into this match.

Chelsea vs. Southampton

Date and Time: April 22, 2018, 10 a.m. ET

Location: Wembley Stadium

US Television Coverage: FS1

Betting Line: Chelsea -1, O/U 2.5

Chelsea and Southampton squared off in Premier League action last weekend, and the Blues ripped the hearts out of the Saints. Southampton was at home and held a 2-0 lead 60 minutes into the match. A win would have brought them within two points of Swansea to save them from relegation, but the Blues scored three goals within the span of eight minutes to steal a 3-2 victory.

Olivier Giroud was the man of the hour for Chelsea in the victory over Southampton, and it seems likely that Antonio Conte will reward him for his performance with a start here. He has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and Giroud is always dangerous when the ball is in the air.

The Blues have only long-term injuries to report heading into this match, while the Saints are looking to get Sofiane Boufal and Steven Davis back in action. Chelsea will be without defender Marcos Alonso though, after a poor challenge on Shane Long last week.

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Mourinho is great at playing mind games in order to get the best out of his teams, and I think he is striking the right chords coming into United’s clash with Tottenham. United will snatch the win in regulation against Spurs.

In the other match, it’s hard to go against Chelsea. The Saints must be demoralized following the loss last week, and playing the Blues such a short time later is not a recipe for success.

English FA Cup Semifinals Picks: Take Manchester United and Chelsea

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