Let’s look at the two participants and offer up a pick for this unique London Derby which finds both sides healthy—and maybe a little more preoccupied with staying healthy and the remaining league fixtures than in going soccer balls-to-the-wall in trying to advance.
Historic Wembley Stadium in London is the site of the weekend’s first FA Cup Semi-final match on Saturday—Arsenal and Manchester City play here on Sunday—between two clubs fighting for the EPL title this Spring, first-place Chelsea and second-place Tottenham in a London Derby showdown which would actually have more luster if it were a league game right now. Offshore sportsbook Intertops currently has Eden Hazard and Chelsea as the slightest +160 favorites over Harry Kane and Spurs (+165) with the Draw priced at +215 (Intertops)—almost as low as you’ll ever see a Draw odds. The Total is at 2½u -143 (Over +100, Intertops).
If the two sides are tied after 90 minutes and Extra Time, a Penalty Kick Shootout will be employed to determine the winner. Up until 1999, the FA Cup would have Replay matches for such tied-games in this round and Replays are still used in earlier rounds of this oldest football tournament in the world. If you like a Side here and want to avoid a potential Draw, back your club in the “To Qualify” market (Chelsea -161, Tottenham +115, Intertops).
Chelsea (+200 to win FA Cup, Intertops) and Manager Antonio Conte may be a little preoccupied with the tightening English Premier League race more than this chase for historic silverware with Spurs (71 points) now breathing down the Blues (75 points) neck with six matches remaining. In its 1-0 Quarterfinal victory of Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea had a Starting XI of: GK Courtois; Cahill, Luiz, Azpilicueta; Alonso, Matic, Kanté, Moses; Hazard, Costa, Willian with the electric Kanté notching the game’s only tally. Conte won’t want to see anyone hurt here for the coming Premier League homestretch. Thibaut Courtois (Ankle) and Marcos Alonso (Illness) both missed Sunday’s Loss to the Red Devils but should be ready for this affair.
Tottenham (+333 to win EPL, Intertops) and Manager Mauricio Pochettino may come into this match a little looser than Chelsea which was blanked 2-0 by Manchester United at Old Trafford in EPL Matchweek 31, slowing its royal blue flow and Spurs have scored a prolific 14 goals against opponents in FA Cup play with Son Heung-Min (6 goals), Dell Alli (2 goals) and Vincent Janssen (2 goals) leading the charge for the improved North London side. Spurs striker Harry Kane has only started one FA Cup contest as he’s nursed an Ankle injury he has now recovered from. In their 5-0 romp over Millwall—the Lions came in with a 17-game unbeaten streak—at White Hart Lane in the Quarterfinals, Tottenham had a Starting XI of: Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Dier, Vertonghen; Davies, Wanyama, Winks; Son, Kane, Alli, so it will be interesting to see if FA Cup-keeper Vorm gets the start here over first-stringer Hugo Lloris.
London Weather Forecast, Best Approach
The Weather Channel forecast for Saturday night for the London borough of Brent and Wembley is calling for Partly Cloudy skies, a Low of 41° with ESE Winds of 5-10 mph. With an FA Cup championship possibly more important to Tottenham than to Pedro (4 FA Cup goals) and Chelsea (5-2-4 vs. TOTT in FA Cup) this year, it’s tempting to blindly back Kane, Dele and Spurs here, but they’ve had an absolutely pathetic track record playing at Wembley Stadium—their home base next year as White Hart Lane is remodeled—in UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues so this is one of those matches best approached moderately, if at all, with a Draw and Extra Time—and maybe even Penalty Kicks required—to see who advances to the May 27 Final at Wembley. The slightest of obligatory leans to Tottenham and the Under.PREDICTED FINAL SCORE: Chelsea 1 Tottenham 1FA CUP SEMIFINALS PROPS PICK: Tottenham to Qualify +115Best Line Offered: at Intertops