This coming weekend, four of the top teams in the Premier League over the last 30 years or so will meet in two semifinals at Wembley to decide which of them will progress to compete in the FA Cup Final in a couple of weeks from now. The two most decorated teams in the competition’s history, Arsenal and Manchester United, will take on two teams who have more recent success in the tournament, Chelsea and Manchester City.
In the first game, Arsenal will face Manchester City in a game which pits former Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta against his former employers. The second game will see Chelsea attempt to break the hoodoo that Manchester United seem to have over them at the moment. Depending on the outcome of the games we could have either a London derby, or a Manchester derby in the final, or neither.
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Let’s now preview both the big FA Cup semifinal clashes taking place this weekend starting with the match taking place on Saturday evening between two teams that have had very different seasons.
FA Cup Semifinals
Saturday 18th July 2020 – 7.45pm Kick Off
Arsenal v Manchester City
While Manchester City are well clear in second spot in the Premier League, Arsenal lie 9th in the table and have 22 points less than City this season. They have also scored 40 fewer goals in their 35 games, while conceding 10 more goals than City.
Furthermore, City have won all of the last seven meetings between the two teams including two 3-0 wins over Arsenal both at home and away in their Premier League meetings this season, one of which was the first game back for both teams in June.
City do have Sergio Aguero absent through injury, but Arsenal have been beset with injury issues too with the likes of Bernd Leno, Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli and Mesut Ozil all likely to miss out.
Let’s now take a closer look at how both teams navigated their way from the third round to earn their spot in the first Wembley semifinal.
The Road to Wembley
Arsenal Road to Wembley – Arsenal & Man City
- 3rd Round – v Leeds United (H) – W 1-0 (Nelson 55)
- 4th Round – v Bournemouth (A) – W 2-1 (Saka 5, Nketiah 26)
- 5th Round – v Portsmouth (A) – W 2-0 (Papasthatopoulos 45, Nketiah 51)
- Quarterfinals – v Sheff Utd (A) – W 2-1 (Pepe 25 (pen), Ceballos 90)
Manchester City Road to Wembley
- 3rd Round – v Port Vale (H) – W 4-1 (Zinchenko 19, Aguero 4, Harwood-Bellis 58, Foden 76)
- 4th Round – v Fulham (H) – W 4-0 (Gundogan 8 (pen), Silva.B 19, Jesus 72,75)
- 5th Round – v Sheff Wed (A) – W 1-0 (Aguero 53)
- Quarterfinals – v Newcastle Utd (A) – W 2-0 (De Bruyne 37, Sterling 68)
Our Tips for the Arsenal v Man City game
Full Time Result – Manchester City – 3/10
Looking at the current form for each team and the recent results between these two teams, it is abundantly clear that Manchester City are the obvious pick here and that is reflected in the odds for this game. I can’t really make a strong case for an Arsenal win of any sorts, so while the odds may be short, I have to back City here.
Correct Score – Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal – 7/1
The correct score is more problematic as I think Arsenal will have learned a little from their games with City this season and I can see this being a tighter affair. I do see the Gunners scoring a goal, but I think City will get at least a couple in reply to claim the win.
Anytime Goalscorer – Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) – 11/8
Having predicted City to win this game, picking a goalscorer is more difficult as so many City players can score. Raheem Sterling, at the same odds, is an equally good pick but I have just gone for De Bruyne instead, chiefly because he is generally on free kick and penalty duty for City.
Sunday 19th July 2020 – 6.00pm Kick Off
Manchester United v Chelsea
With just four points separating these two teams in the Premier League at the time of writing (though this could be closed to one if Man Utd win their game in hand this week) this game promises to be a very close contest.
Of the two teams, it is United who have been in the better form of late, with their draw at home to Southampton being the first time they have dropped points in the league for some time. However, they remain unbeaten since losing to Burnley back in January and they have beaten Chelsea home and away and also in the League Cup this season.
For Frank Lampard, this trophy represents their last realistic chance of silverware this season as they are 3-0 down from the home leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie with Bayern Munich. However, they are going to have to break their Manchester United hoodoo in order to do so.
Both teams have faced some tricky opponents on their way to a place in the second Wembley FA Cup Semifinal as their roads to Wembley both show.
The Road to Wembley – Man Utd & Chelsea
Manchester United Road to Wembley
- 3rd Round – v Wolves (A) – D 0-0
- 3rd Round Replay – v Wolves (H) – W 1-0 (Mata 67)
- 4th Round – v Tranmere R (A) – W 6-0 (Maguire 10, Dalot 13, Lingard 16, Jones 41, Martial 45, Greenwood 56 (pen))
- 5th Round – v Derby County (A) – W 3-0 (Shaw 33, Ighalo 41,70)
- Quarterfinals – v Norwich (A) – W 2-1 aet (Ighalo 51, Maguire 118)
Chelsea Road to Wembley
- 3rd Round – v Nottingham Forest (H) – W 2-0 (Hudson Odoi 6, Barkley 33)
- 4th Round – v Hull City (A) – W 2-1 (Batshuayi 6, Tomori 64)
- 5th Round – v Liverpool (H) – W 2-0 (William 13, Barkley 64)
- Quarterfinals – v Leicester (A) – W 1-0 (Barkley 63)
Our Tips for the Man Utd v Chelsea game
Full Time Result – Draw – 9/4
While United have had something of a hoodoo over Chelsea in recent times, I think this time Chelsea will be well up for the fight, but not quite enough to get them the win. I think this is a game that will require extra time and maybe even penalties to decide who will progress. If it does go to extra time, I think United will just shade the win as they did against Norwich in the last round but for the 90 minute result, I think the draw is the best option.
Correct Score – Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea – 11/2
Having outlined that I think the game will finish all square after 90 minutes, I think that the most likely outcome will be a 1-1 draw as both sides have such good attacks that I cannot see either defence keeping the other at bay for the 90 minutes.
Anytime Goalscorer – Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – 7/2
I was very surprised at the odds on Christian Pulisic to score at any time in this game. The Chelsea winger has been their best player since the restart of games and I think at 7/2, he is an outstanding value bet to score at any time in this contest.