Who Are The Favourites To Progress To The FA Cup Semi-Finals?

Posted: February 20, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, The FA Cup, Tottenham Hotspur
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Three of the Premier League’s top six remain in this year’s competition as we reach the quarter final stage.

In what can only be described as a crazily premature draw, as it was made before the fifth round was complete, the big three were kept apart with Manchester United given a home draw whilst the two London clubs received away ties, although Spurs are yet to overcome Rochdale to officially book their place.

Sheffield Wednesday and Rochdale will still feel as though they have a chance of progressing but that chance is now very remote. Having both managed to draw their home games they are now favourites to exit the competition in the replays away from home.

So here’s the draw:

Leicester City v Chelsea

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Claude Puel has a chance at home

Had Chelsea been drawn out of the bowl first on this one then they would have been clear favourites at Stamford Bridge.

As it is Leicester have a decent chance of progressing to the semi-finals.

The feeling is, however, that they have to win the tie at the King Power Stadium as a draw would probably lead to defeat in a replay.

Chelsea are currently blowing hot and cold, looking very good when beating West Brom and Hull City with ease but, previously, looking decidedly dodgy when losing to Bournemouth and Watford.

Leicester are reasonably consistent for what they now are, which is a top ten team, and will fancy their chances in this one.

They may just do it!

Wigan v Southampton

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Another chance for Paul Cook to beat a Premier League team

Having produced the result of the season Wigan now need to do it all over again.

Southampton will make the long trip north in the belief that their opponents have now had their wonder performance and will hope that they are not capable of repeating it.

Wigan just have to continue approaching these games as they have done throughout the competition as they have now knocked out three Premier League teams.

It’s a tough one to call but Wigan should just edge it.

Manchester United v Brighton

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Mourinho will be hoping to avoid a replay

This is a competition José Mourinho will have marked as “winnable” in his season planner.

In a repeat of the 1983 final which saw United come very close to losing and needing a replay to win the cup, this game should see a rather more convincing performance.

Another one who will want to avoid a replay, Mourinho is likely to “go for it” at home and, if all goes according to plan, should come through this one unscathed.

Brighton, like Southampton, are another team making the long trek to the frozen wasteland that is the north. Despite decent results lately this one will be too much for them and they will bow out giving them time to concentrate all their efforts on staying in the Premier League.

Swansea City or Sheffield Wednesday v Tottenham Hotspur or Rochdale

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Pochettino will be hoping that this is the game in the semi-final

Tottenham, providing they can beat Rochdale at White Hart Wembley, will probably be hoping that Swansea win the other replay. They seem to play a lot better against fellow Premier League teams than against sides from the lower divisions.

Having struggled, needing a replay, to get past Newport County who currently sit 12th in division two they are struggling again, this time against Rochdale who are bottom of division one. Providing they can come through this test they will gladly take Swansea in the semi-final!

Swansea, of course, must overcome Sheffield Wednesday in their replay but, having just about managed a draw in the game at Hillsborough, should be considered favourites to win the replay.

So Tottenham versus Swansea in the semi and Tottenham to go through particularly if they are the only club of the four semi-finalists allowed to play the game at home. How unfair would that be?

And finally…..

Klopp and Wenger on realising they will (probably) now have to play less games than the other big six teams

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, thanks to previous dismal performances in games they were expected to win, are able to sit out the remainder of the FA Cup.

So we don’t expect any of the managers to complain about too many fixtures or players being tired. Some hope of that!

Liverpool, in particular, seem to have taken a leaf out of Manchester United’s Carabao Cup book and rewarded their player’s lack of success in the competition with an all-inclusive break in Marbella. The price of failure ain’t what it used to be!

Still, Jordan Henderson was honest enough to admit that he would rather be back in freezing cold Liverpool and still in the FA Cup than lounging around a sun-drenched swimming pool sipping his banana daiquiri.

The sacrifices some players make are sometimes way above and beyond the call of duty!

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