FA Cup: Semifinal prediction

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England’s FA Cup enters the semifinal stage and four teams are left vying for the oldest knockout cup trophy in soccer. Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea and Southampton are left in the tournament, and each have the FA Cup within touching distance.

The semifinals will take place on April 21 and 22, respectively, at London’s Wembley Stadium. The winners of the semifinal encounters will return to the national stadium to play on May 19.

Manchester United vs. Tottenham

The tastiest fixture of the semifinals, Manchester United take on Tottenham as both clubs attempt to end the season with a trophy. While it looks likely that both teams will finish in the Premier League top four, it cannot be denied that neither club will fulfil their preseason objective of winning the league. The FA Cup is a nice consolation for the club that can win it.

Manchester United have not hit their expected heights despite the incredible spending the club did in the offseason. Even signing Alexis Sanchez in January hasn’t turned Manchester United into a real Premier League title contender.

Tottenham come into the fixture having beaten Manchester United in their previous match. Spurs manhandled the Red Devils for large passages of the game and Mauricio Pochettino’s side definitely has the capability to do it all again. Spurs got a massive boost in their recent April 7 match against Stoke City as star striker Harry Kane returned from injury. Kane is second in scoring in the Premier League with 25 goals, and Spurs need his scoring against Manchester United.

The Red Devils have a capable striker in their ranks, too. Romelu Lukaku has tallied 15 goals, which leads Manchester United. Unfortunately, manager Jose Mourinho’s propensity to play a defensive style has hurt the Red Devils’ attack at times. Due to the team’s defensive focus and previous loss to Tottenham, Spurs will win and advance to the FA Cup final.

Prediction: Tottenham

Chelsea vs. Southampton

Southampton will go into the FA Cup semifinal on the verge of Premier League relegation. The Saints will have one eye on their league status. The season hasn’t been kind to Southampton and when they kick off against Chelsea, they may only have the FA Cup to play for.

Chelsea look likely to miss out on a top four finish, which means next season the Blues will be playing in the Europa League. The FA Cup is Chelsea’s last opportunity to win a trophy, which the club may very well do. Chelsea were the runners-up in 2017, but that team was a far stronger side than the one currently at Antonio Conte’s disposal.

Southampton will meet Chelsea in the league eight days prior to their FA Cup semifinal match. The Blues should win the Premier League encounter, possibly dooming the Saints to relegation. Chelsea will then turn around and knock Southampton out of the FA Cup semifinal and set themselves up for a final against Tottenham.

Prediction: Chelsea

 

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