It may be a little later in the season than usual, but this weekend is FA Cup Semifinal weekend. Until recent times, the semifinals would be played at neutral venues around the country, but recently both semifinals have been played at Wembley Stadium, with the two victors returning to the stadium a few weeks later to contest the final.

That is the case once again this year as four teams will battle it out for the two places in what will be the final game of the domestic season in England. The first semifinal will pit Manchester City against Arsenal, while the second will see Chelsea and Manchester United face off in what should be a closely fought and exciting battle.

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If you are still very much in love with the romance of the FA Cup and think this week’s Wembley semifinal weekend will be a smash hit success, then you are probably right and wit another piece of silverware to compete for, the four teams will be going all out to claim that spot in the final. If you fancy a flutter on any of the two games but need somewhere to join, then check out the current bet365 New Player Bonus offer available on the site for a great value starter bonus when you sign up.

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Let’s now preview the two big semifinals taking place this weekend at Wembley Stadium starting with the first of these games which is scheduled to take place on Saturday evening and which sees Manchester City still chasing every domestic trophy a top flight team could win, apart from the Premier League title.

FA Cup Semi Final – Saturday 18th July

Arsenal v Manchester City

The Road to Wembley

Arsenal Road to Wembley

  • 3rd Round – v Leeds United (H) – W 1-0 (Nelson 55)
  • 4th Round – v Bournemouth (A) – W 2-1 (Saka 5, Nketiah 26)
  • 5th Round – v Portsmouth (A) – W 2-0 (Papasthatopoulos 45, Nketiah 51)
  • Quarterfinals – v Sheff Utd (A) – W 2-1 (Pepe 25 (pen), Ceballos 90)

Manchester City Road to Wembley

  • 3rd Round – v Port Vale (H) – W 4-1 (Zinchenko 19, Aguero 4, Harwood-Bellis 58, Foden 76)
  • 4th Round – v Fulham (H) – W 4-0 (Gundogan 8 (pen), Silva.B 19, Jesus 72,75)
  • 5th Round – v Sheff Wed (A) – W 1-0 (Aguero 53)
  • Quarterfinals – v Newcastle Utd (A) – W 2-0 (De Bruyne 37, Sterling 68)

Both sides have made relatively comfortable progress into the semifinals, both have won all four of their games inside the 90 minutes, albeit Arsenal were just inside that mark against Sheffield United in the last round. The Gunners have defeated two Premier League sides, plus a League One and Championship side, City have defeated a League Two side plus two from the Championship and one Premier League side to get this far.

Predicted Teams

Arsenal – 4-3-3 – Martinez, Bellerin, Tierney, Luiz, Mustafi, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willock, Aubameyang, Saka, Lacazette.

Manchester City – 4-3-3- Bravo, Cancelo, Laporte, Garcia, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling.

I can see Arsenal going with a particularly strong team for this game. With their hopes of European qualification hanging by a thread, they may feel winning the FA Cup is their best route into Europe next season and as such, I expect a very strong team selection here from the Gunners.

I think City will rotate players with one eye on the Champions League in August, but even so they will still put out an incredibly strong team and will name a number of fit key players in that starting eleven and it will certainly be a team well capable of winning the game.

Prediction – Arsenal 1-3 Manchester City – 10/1 with bet365 Sport

FA Cup Semi Final – Sunday 19th July

Manchester United v Chelsea

The Road to Wembley

Manchester United Road to Wembley

  • 3rd Round – v Wolves (A) – D 0-0
  • 3rd Round Replay – v Wolves (H) – W 1-0 (Mata 67)
  • 4th Round – v Tranmere R (A) – W 6-0 (Maguire 10, Dalot 13, Lingard 16, Jones 41, Martial 45, Greenwood 56 (pen))
  • 5th Round – v Derby County (A) – W 3-0 (Shaw 33, Ighalo 41,70)
  • Quarterfinals – v Norwich (A) – W 2-1 aet (Ighalo 51, Maguire 118)

Chelsea Road to Wembley

  • 3rd Round – v Nottingham Forest (H) – W 2-0 (Hudson Odoi 6, Barkley 33)
  • 4th Round – v Hull City (A) – W 2-1 (Batshuayi 6, Tomori 64)
  • 5th Round – v Liverpool (H) – W 2-0 (William 13, Barkley 64)
  • Quarterfinals – v Leicester (A) – W 1-0 (Barkley 63)

Of the two teams Manchester United have had the more circuitous route to Wembley, needing a replay to defeat Wolves in Round 3 before easing past Tranmere 6-0 in Round 4 and then defeating Derby 3-0 in the fifth round. They were pushed hard by Norwich at Carrow Road in the quarterfinal, requiring extra time and a late Harry Maguire goal to avoid penalties.

Chelsea’s progress has been impressive with solid wins over two Championship and two Premier League top five sides. Nottingham Forest and Hull were despatched in the first two rounds before the Blues ended Liverpool’s FA Cup hopes at Stamford Bridge and followed that up with a solid win away to Leicester.

Predicted Teams

Manchester United – 4-3-3 – Romero, Wan-Bissaka,Williams, Maguire, Lindelof, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Greenwood, Martial, Rashford.

Chelsea – 4-3-3 – Caballero, Azpilicueta, Emerson, Rudiger, Tomori, Kante, Barkley, Mount, Willian, Abraham, Pulisic

Both of these teams most realistic chance of silverware this season may well be the FA Cup, so I am expecting both of them to name very strong teams for this game. I can see United keeping with the team that has seen them put together a fine run of form.

Chelsea are more problematic as their form has been a little hit and miss at times and defensively they have looked shaky. I expect Tomori to perhaps come into central defence, while Emerson and Caballero should get cup starts.

Prediction – Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea – 17/2 with bet365.

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