With the two FA Cup semi-finals set to be played at Wembley over the weekend now is a good time to take a look at the prospects of the 4 remaining teams in the competition and the chances of each of them making the Final. Saturday will see Aston Villa take on last year’s winners Chelsea and the following day Spurs and Portsmouth will play each other.
It has to be said that Martin O’Neill has had quite a lot to ponder over recently. Villa have hit a rocky patch in their league campaign – they are now down to seventh – and after the disappointment of going to Wembley for the League Cup final and losing to Manchester United in February, O’Neill and the Villa faithful must be wondering what the return to the capital will bring. In their last match in London, less than a fortnight ago they were hammered 7 – 1 by Frank Lampard and co. at Stamford Bridge – a nightmare that everyone in the Villa camp will be trying to put out of their minds.
Chelsea’s fortunes on the other hand seem to be soaring. Since their goal-fest against Villa, the Blues have beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford and are now at the top of the Premiership. Many impartial observers would look at Chelsea’s current scintillating form and contrast it with Villa’s recent woes and conclude that there can only be one winner on Saturday. Chelsea are odds-on favourites to reach the final while Villa are being quoted at 4/1.
At first glance the Sunday tie between Tottenham and Portsmouth looks pretty one-sided too. Portsmouth are already doomed to playing in the Championship next season after suffering the ignominy of going into administration and having 9 points deducted as a result. They have managed only 6 league wins all season so a trip to Wembley will at least be some consolation for their fans. However, let’s remember that Portsmouth not only got through to the Final in 2008 but they also defeated Cardiff to win the competition that year. So despite the adversity and disappointment they have suffered in the league this season Portsmouth supporters will be hoping that their team can rise to the occasion and pull off a real surprise by making the Final again.
Ex Pompey and current Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will probably be confident that Spurs will have the firepower to sink Portsmouth especially after the two sides’ recent league clash which ended with Spurs winning by two goals to nil at White Hart Lane. Spurs are currently riding high in the Premiership and chasing the fourth spot despite last Saturdays hiccup at Sunderland. For those who like a bet the online betting sites are offering odds of 3/10 on Spurs winning while odds of 9/1 are being offered on a Portsmouth victory.
One thing that you can be sure of is that all four sides will be going all out to get to the Final with the prospect of securing that highly-prized silverware for the trophy cabinet. The FA Cup is still a competition that “matters” in English Football and the semi-finals are going to provide an exciting prelude for the Final that will be played on the 15th May.