FA Cup: Spurs are favourites – but only just

Published by on April 19, 2017

Whichever team wins the FA Cup this year will have had to mount a mammoth effort to do so.

Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Manchester City may not have had the most difficult runs to the semi-finals, but as the occupants of the last four places, they find themselves in an elite chase for silverware.

First up – much to the irritation of the travelling City fans, who have to get back to Manchester on Sunday evening – come Chelsea and Tottenham.

Spurs are ever so slight favourites at 8/5, with Chelsea at 13/8. This has no relation to the last time they met at this stage, when the Blues won 5-1. That was courtesy of some questionable refereeing by Martin Atkinson; incidentally, guess who’s in charge on Saturday?

With the form Heung-Min Son has been in, he should be one of the obvious choices to score first at 13/2. The Korean has five in his last four games, but Mauricio Pochettino may yet throw a spanner – or more specifically, Victor Wanyama – in the works and drop Son to the bench. That has nothing to do with Son’s form, but everything to do with how Chelsea are going to line up and where the midfield battles will be won and lost.

As for Chelsea, their supposed cruise to the title has been interrupted somewhat by two defeats in four games. They could also be without Thibaut Courtois and Marcos Alonso again, forcing Antonio Conte to shuffle his defence once more.

On the Sunday, it’s Arsenal and City’s turn to go head-to-head.

The Gunners are at 3/1, and rightly so. They’ve been in awful form. They weren’t exactly convincing against Middlesbrough, and they’ve now conceded 13 in their last five away league games.

One of the more interesting doubles is Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero both to score, which is at 4/1. Whatever has been happening at Arsenal, they should raise their game and Sanchez should be able to make the most of City’s own erratic defence.

As for Aguero, he’s scored in each of the Sky Blues’ last five games, so he’ll fancy his chances of getting on the scoresheet.