The FA Cup returns this weekend with two intriguing clashes at Wembley Stadium, featuring Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United and Southampton vs Chelsea. The four teams are fighting it out for a place in the FA Cup Final (19th May). The current outright odds (Bet365) are: Chelsea (7/4), Spurs (7/4), Manchester United (5/2) and Southampton (14/1).
Spurs and United will play the first semi-final on 21st April (17.15pm). Although Wembley is counted as a neutral venue for the fixtures, Spurs will effectively have home advantage as Wembley is their interim stadium. This is reflected in the odds, with Spurs favourites at 6/5. United to win and the draw are both at 9/4.
Spurs’ home record should be respected by punters
Indeed, Spurs home record is very formidable in the Premier League (P15, W10 D4 L1), so you can see the reasoning behind their lower odds. However, an FA Cup Semi Final will have a completely different emphasis, with United bringing their fair share of support to Wembley. Moreover, United will be buoyed by recent wins against Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Put simply, the 9/4 looks a good price for a team that looks to be finding its groove.
As for individual match markets, both teams are ‘second-half’ teams when it comes to scoring goals, so a draw at half-time (11/10) or 0-0 at half-time (7/4) doesn’t look bad bet. United’s last three victories against Spurs have come by 1-0 scorelines, so 1-0 United at 9/1 is also quite tempting. In addition, Paul Pogba looked a man reborn in the second half against Manchester City, scoring two goals to turn the game on its head. He is 23/5 to score anytime. However, the Frenchman is always a wildcard, so check out these online betting offers to see if you can cover yourself with a free bet.
Chelsea and Southampton fans will look forward to distraction of Cup
Looking at Chelsea and Southampton, we find two sides who – for different reasons – need this FA Cup to distract from problems in the league. Saints are fighting for their lives to avoid relegation, whereas Chelsea have made a limp defence of their title and look likely to part company with manager Antonio Conte. Understandably though, Chelsea are 2/5 favourites to win the match, with Saints at 13/2 and the draw at 7/2.
Those 7/2 odds for the draw do look a tempting bet however. Southampton have struggled in the league, but they are a better side than their position suggests. Moreover, they are the Premier League’s draw specialists – drawing 13 (40%) of games so far this season. This could also be a fixture that is low scoring, with Chelsea failing to score in over 20% of matches this season (the worst record among all members of the ‘Big 6’) and Southampton failing to hit the back of the net nearly 40% of the time. In that respect, under 2.5 goals at evens looks a good bet.
Tottenham vs Manchester United: United to win at 9/4, half-time result draw at 11/10, Paul Pogba to score anytime at 23/5.
Chelsea vs Southampton: Draw at 7/2, under 2.5 goals at 1/1.