This weekend sees the two FA Cup Semifinal ties taking place at Wembley and there is plenty at stake for all four of the teams involved in the competition.
The first game takes place Saturday evening and will see Liverpool face Manchester City barely a week after the two teams shared four goals in another pulsating 2-2 draw between the two Premier League title contenders.
Then on Sunday, Chelsea, fresh from their dramatic Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid on Tuesday, will face London rivals Crystal Palace with both now knowing that this competition offers them their only route to a trophy this season.
This year we have the teams placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 10th in the Premier League table contesting the semifinals, which is as strong a line up as has reached this stage of the competition in a good while.
Bet365 Sport offers a massive choice of betting across both semifinals this weekend and there will also be extensive Live In Play betting available on each game too.
Last time out in the quarterfinals, we predicted the winner of each of the four games on the money and I’m hoping I can continue that positive trend with this set of tips too.
Let’s now take a closer look at both semi-final ties starting with the huge clash on Saturday.
FA Cup Semi Finals
Both games take place at Wembley Stadium, as will the Final in May.
Saturday 16th April
Liverpool v Manchester City
- Kick Off – 3.30pm
- Live On – BBC One
- Venue – Wembley
- Full Time Result Odds – Man City – 5/4, Liverpool 23/10, Draw 11/5
- League Performance – Man City 1st in the EPL, Liverpool 2nd in the EPL.
- FA Cup Wins – Liverpool 7 (7 Runners Up), Man City 6 (5 Runners Up)
- Head To Head (All Games) – Liverpool 105 wins, Man City 58 wins, 56 Draws.
Liverpool’s Road To The Semi Finals
- 3rd Round – v Shrewsbury Town (H) W 4-1 (Gordon 34, Fabinho 44(p),90, Firmino 78)
- 4th Round – v Cardiff City (H) W 3-1 (Jota 53, Minamino 68, Elliott 76)
- 5th Round – v Norwich City (H) W 2-1 (Minamino 27,39)
- Quarter Final – v Notinghamtm Forest (A) W 1-0 (Jota 78)
Manager – Jurgen Klopp
Goalkeepers – Alisson, Caominh Kelleher, Adrian
Defenders – Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Joe Gomez, Kostas Tsimikas, Rhys Williams, Conor Bradley, Owen Beck
Midfielders – Fabinho, Thiago, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Naby Keita, Harvey Elliott, Tyler Morton
Attackers – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Kaide Gordon, Luis Diaz, Takumi Minamino
Jurgen Klopp has often rested key players for FA Cup games, Salah and Mane didn’t feature in the last round against Forest, but I can’t see the Liverpool boss doing that for this game, though I do feel he will perhaps rotate a couple of players with Tuesday’s Premier League clash against Man Utd and next weekend’s Merseyside derby in mind.
However, I’d expect the Reds manager to pick a very strong team for this clash against their title rivals.
Predicted Liverpool Team – (4-3-3) – Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Van Dijk, Konate, Fabinho, Keita, Thiago, Diaz, Salah, Jota
Manchester City’s Road To The Semi Finals
- 3rd Round – v Swindon Town (A) W 4-1 (Silva 14, Jesus 28, Gundogan 59, Palmer 82)
- 4th Round – v Fulham (H) W 4-1 (Gundogan 6, Stones 13, Mahrez 53(p), 57)
- 5th Round – v Peterborough Utd (A) W 2-0 (Mahrez 60, Grealish 67)
- Quarter Finals – v Southampton (A) W 4-1 (Sterling 12, De Bruyne 62(p), Foden 75, Mahrez 78)
Manchester City Squad
Manager – Pep Guardiola
Goalkeepers – Ederson, Zack Steffen, Scott Carson
Defenders – Joao Cancelo, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, CJ Egan-Riley, Nathan Ake, Aymeric Laporte, John Stones.
Midfielders – Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Cole Palmer, Ilkay Gundogan, James McAtee, Fernandinho
Attackers – Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Kayky, Liam Delap
After their midweek game in Madrid, City will travel to London hoping they have a Champions League semifinal to look forward to against Real Madrid. However, given this game could well be even tougher against their biggest rivals, I expect Guardiola to pick a very strong team here.
Perhaps the only big change may be in goal where Steffen may continue for City between the sticks, but otherwise, I’d expect a very strong team for this semi final.
Predicted Manchester City Team – (4-3-3) – Steffen, Walker, Cancelo, Stones, Laporte, Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, De Bruyne, Foden, Mahrez, Jesus
These two teams have drawn 2-2 twice when meeting this season in the Premier League and it is so difficult to split them. City had the better of the game a week ago at home, but Liverpool refused to be beaten. I think we may well need extra time and perhaps penalties to settle this one.
Take the draw at 90 minutes at 11/5 for this first semi final.
Sunday 17th April
Chelsea v Crystal Palace
- Kick Off – 2.30pm
- Live On – ITV
- Venue – Wembley
- Full Time Result Odds – Chelsea 4/7, Crystal Palace 5/1, Draw 3/1
- League Performance – Chelsea 3rd in the EPL, Crystal Palace 10th in the EPL
- FA Cup Wins – Chelsea 8 (7 Runners Up), Crystal Palace 0 (2 Runners Up)
- Head To Head (All Games) – Chelsea 33 wins, C.Palace 12 Wins, 15 Draws.
Chelsea’s Road To The Semi Finals
- 3rd Round – v Chesterfield (H) – W 5-1 (Werner 6, Hudson-Odoi 18, Lukaku 20, Christensen 39, Ziyech 55)
- 4th Round – v Plymouth Argyle (H) – W 2-1 AET (Azpilicueta 41, Alonso 105)
- 5th Round – v Luton Town (A) – W 3-2 (Saul 27, Werner 68, Lukaku 78)
- Quarter Finals – v Middlesbrough (A) – W 2-0 (Lukaku 15, Ziyech 31)
Manager – Thomas Tuchel
Goalkeepers – Eduoard Mendy, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcus Bettinelli
Defenders – Antonio Rudiger, Reece James, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Malang Sarr, Ben Chilwell, Trevor Chalobah, Marcus Alonso.
Midfielders – Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, Saul Niguez, Kenedy, Harvey Vale, Lewis Hall, Ross Barkley, Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Attackers – Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi
After that heart-breaking elimination to Real Madrid in the Champioins League in midweek, despite a magnificent performance, Chelsea need to bounce back here against Palace if they are to stand any chance of silverware this season.
I’d expect Kepa to continue in goal and also for Tuchel to rest a couple of players who played all of the 120 minutes at the Bernebeu in midweek. However, given this is now a key trophy for Chelsea, I can’t see Tuchel resting all of his first team here.
Predicted Chelsea Team – (5-2-3) – Kepa, Rudiger Alonso, Sarr, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, Lukaku, Pulisic, Havertz
Crystal Palace’s Road To The Semi Finals
- 3rd Round – v Millwall (A) – W 2-1 (Olise 46, Mateta 58)
- 4th Round – v Hartlepool Utd (H) – W 2-0 (Guehi 4, Olise 22)
- 5th Round – v Stoke City (H) W 2-1 (Kouyate 53, Riedewald 82)
- Quarter Finals – v Everton (H) W 4-0 (Guehi 25, Mateta 41, Zaha 79, Hughes 88)
Crystal Palace Squad
Manager – Patrick Vieira
Goalkeepers – Vicente Guaita, Jack Butland, Remi Matthews
Defenders – Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell, Joachim Anderson, Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Ward, Tayo Adaramola, James Tomkins, Martin Kelly, Reece Hannam
Midfielders – Conor Gallagher, Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, Will Hughes, Chiekhou Kouyate, Jairo Riedewald, Jeffrey Schlupp, Luka Milovojevic, Nathan Ferguson, James McArthur, Jack Campbell, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi
Attackers – Wilfried Zaha, Odsonne Eduoard, Jean-Philippe Mateta, Jordan Ayew, Christian Benteke, Scott Banks
Patrick Vieira will know that his team face their toughest test in the competition so far against Chelsea, but with his team now safely in mid-table, this is a game Palace can afford to have a swing at in the hope of causing an upset.
I can’t see Vieira making too many changes although Conor Gallagher’s absence due to him being on loan from Chelsea is a big blow to Palace with the England international being in superb form for the Eagles this season.
Predicted Crystal Palace Team – (4-3-3) – Guaita, Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell, Kouyate, Eze, Milovojevic, Olise, Zaha, Mateta
London derbies can be tricky to predict and Palace have had a knack of causing upsets in this competition in the past. However, I think Chelsea will prove to be just too strong and although this will be a close game, I am backing Tuchel’s side to land the win.
I can’t see this game being a goal-fest though, so if you want better odds than the 4/7 on a Chelsea win inside the 90 minutes, then take Chelsea to win 2-0 which is a boosted price of 7/1 at bet365 Sport at the moment.