FA Cup Semi-final: Chelsea v Manchester City, Sunday 14 April 4pm Live on ITV.
Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez is not a fans’ favourite but his side find themselves in two semi-finals and so could feasibly finish the season with two trophies. You wouldn’t have guessed if you read some of the comments towards the Spaniard by Blues’ supporters.
They scraped through in the Europa League on Thursday evening against Rubin Kazan, losing the second leg 3-2 but going through 5-4 on aggregate. A long trip to Russia in midweek probably wasn’t the ideal preparation for this game but they have been in similar situations in recent years so you’d think that excuse will only be used if they lose at Wembley.
Their opponents have just the FA Cup to play for, as well as trying to finish second in the Premier League. You’d expect a 12 point differential cannot be made up on Manchester United, despite their 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Monday evening.
That win should definitely see them in a good frame of mind ahead of another big game. They dominated for large stages of the derby game and so confidence should be high in the Sky Blue camp ahead of the trip to Wembley.
City are favourites with the bookmakers at 7/5 (Paddy Power) with Chelsea at 12/5 (BetVictor) and the draw available at 5/2 (Bet365). It’s difficult to separate the two sides. City come into it in slightly better form I’d argue, and of course will be fresher having not trekked to Russia and back in midweek, so I agree to make them slight favourites but there’s not much in it. The 12/5 for the draw looks decent value.
Both have some top-class players who on their day can be game-changers. For Manchester City, they will be hoping that David Silva is passed fit as he is instrumental in the creative side of their game, while Juan Mata plays the same role superbly for Chelsea.
Both Silva and Mata can be backed to open the scoring at around 10/1, but the main goal threats will come from Demba Ba (13/2 StanJames, Coral) and Fernando Torres (15/2 William Hill) for Chelsea, and Carlos Tevez (6/1 Bet365) and Sergio Aguero (6/1 Paddy Power) for City. For me, I would say that City’s Argentine duo are decent value at that price, I can see either of the two getting that all important first goal.
It should be a close and exciting game. With some of the attacking players on show for both sides, you have to think there will be a few goals in it and both teams to score looks a good bet at 8/11 (SkyBet). Good luck and enjoy the game!