FA Cup semi-finals 2018 preview
The FA Cup takes centre stage this weekend with four sides hoping to book their place in the final at Wembley on May 19.
Tottenham Hotspur go head-to-head with Manchester United on Saturday, while Chelsea and Southampton meet the following day and the quartet will be desperate to keep their hopes of winning silverware alive.
Chelsea are currently 13/8 favourites to win the FA Cup, with Spurs (15/8) and United (5/2) next in the betting. Southampton are 12/1 outsiders.
Read on as we preview both semi-final matches.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United (Saturday, 5.15pm)
Spurs won the FA Cup for the eighth time in the history against Nottingham Forest in 1991, but they have lost seven semi-finals since then.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are priced at 23/20 to win in 90 minutes, with United available at 23/10 and the draw available at 12/5, but check out these free bet no deposit offers before wagering on the game.
Ben Davies is likely to continue at left-back for Spurs with Danny Rose still struggling with a calf strain, but Kyle Walker-Peters and Harry Winks are still on the sidelines.
Defender Jan Vertonghen should be fit enough to play despite tweaking his back against Manchester City last weekend.
United boss José Mourinho is expected to make changes to his line-up following last Sunday’s shock 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.
Paul Pogba, Alexis Sánchez, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera are amongst the players in danger of being axed as the Red Devils chase their only remaining chance of a trophy this season.
The Red Devils had a largely untroubled passage to the semi-finals, defeating Derby County, Yeovil Town, Huddersfield Town and Brighton & Hove Albion without conceding a goal.
Spurs have knocked out AFC Wimbledon, Newport County, Rochdale and Swansea City to progress to the last four, although they needed a replay against both Newport and Rochdale in the fourth and fifth rounds.
United, who have lost just five of their last 38 matches against Spurs, are aiming to win the FA Cup for the 13th time in their history.
Chelsea vs Southampton (Sunday, 3.00pm)
Chelsea and Southampton will clash for the second time in eight days in Sunday’s semi-final and the Blues will hope to avoid last week’s roller-coaster ride.
Dušan Tadić and Jan Bednarek put Saints 2-0 ahead, but substitute Olivier Giroud (2) and Eden Hazard hit back to keep Chelsea’s hopes of a top four finish in the Premier League alive.
David Luiz and Danny Drinkwater are still unavailable for Chelsea, but Giroud’s impressive performance off the bench means the Frenchman should replace Álvaro Morata up front.
Marcos Alonso is facing a three-match ban after being charged by the Football Association for his vicious stamp on Shane Long last weekend.
Referee Mike Dean failed to book Alonso, but having reviewed video evidence FA chiefs have decided to retrospectively charge the 27-year-old.
Saints’ boss Mark Hughes is likely have a virtually a full squad to choose from, with Steven Davis and Sam McQueen the only expected absentees.
Chelsea required a replay to see off Norwich City in the third round, but they have beaten Newcastle United, Hull City and Leicester City at the first time of asking in the subsequent rounds.
Southampton have defeated Fulham, Watford, West Brom and Wigan Athletic on their way to the semi-final.
Chelsea can be backed at 4/9 to win in normal time, with Southampton on offer at 6/1 and the draw available at 10/3.
The Blues are chasing an eighth FA Cup success, with their most recent victory coming against Liverpool in the 2012 final.
Saints have won the trophy just once, when Bobby Stokes’ goal gave them a famous shock victory over United back in 1976.
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