There is quite a weekend in store with two massive FA Cup semi-finals to be played at Wembley with the prize of battling it out for domestic football’s crown jewel.
Everton vs. Manchester United (17:15- Saturday 23rd April)
Manchester United have had a mini-revival of late and are favourites at 2.2 (6/5) to progress on Saturday.
However, Everton should certainly not be counted out and have all the provisions to pose United a real problem. If the likes of Lukaku, Barkley and Deulofeu play to their full capacity, Man United could be blown away.
Unfortunately, as the Premier League table suggests, Everton are frustratingly inconsistent. 38 points from 31 games is fairly embarrassing from a team of such talent. They have the same amount of points as the other semi-finalist, Watford, who have been in an awful run of form and were only promoted last year.
Manchester United won this fixture 1-0 just over two weeks ago and look likely to have a repeat performance in the FA Cup.
In all likelihood the game will be a tight and cagey affair which will suit Van Gaal and United more. Unless Everton score early, they threaten to be snuffed out by United’s defensive style.
The rapid progress and pace of Marcus Rashford, the most exciting player to come out of the famous Manchester United academy in years, has been a proven match winner and would be a good bet to score at anytime.
Bet now here.
Watford vs. Crystal Palace (16:00- Sunday 24th April)
The last time these two met at Wembley in 2013 the game ended 1:0 to Crystal Palace from a penalty despatched by the former Watford hero, Kevin Phillips, in the 105th minute of the game. Expect the game on Sunday to be equally as tight.
Betting on a 1-0, 0-1 or 0-0 scoreline has good odds with a high likelihood of a return. Especially as both teams have struggled to score goals or get results as of late.
Crystal Palace are slight favourites in this game at 2.4 (7/5) but do not count Watford out of this game who have looked good in recent games.
The pace of Zaha will pose an issue for Watford, as it has done on several occasions before. Zaha has won a penalty in three out of the last five games played against Watford.
However, if they can nullify the threat posed by him, and Palace’s other flying winger, Yannick Bolasie, Watford have a fair chance of progressing as they lack a prolific striker.
From the opposite perspective, Watford are over reliant on Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo to score goals. As most teams seemed to have learned- stop Ighalo and Watford do not score. Watford have not scored in seven of their last fourteen games.
However, if Watford do score, it will be likely to be Ighalo that gets it. He has looked out of form but it would not be surprising if he comes up with the goods here, as he did against Arsenal in the last round.
Who is your FA Cup pick? Bet here.
Pictures from The FA and Metro.