Liverpool confident of more cup success following kind semi draw
The distressing scenes witnessed on Saturday evening at White Hart Lane, as frantic medics endeavoured to resuscitate Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba on the pitch, have undoubtedly overshadowed this weekend’s quarter-final ties.
A minute’s applause was held at grounds around the country on Sunday in support of 23-year-old Muamba, while presenter Jim Rosenthal also echoed those sentiments before conducting the draw for the semi-final with Bobby Gould and John Scales.
The abandoned match at Spurs, along with Sunderland’s draw at Everton, meant that 2010 winners Chelsea and Carling Cup victors Liverpool were the only two definites in the draw, though both were kept apart.
Instead, the winner between the rescheduled Spurs vs Bolton tie will face a stern challenge against a Chelsea side rejuvenated since the departure of the divisive Andre Villas Boas.
Given Chelsea’s recent upturn in form, their recent successful history in the competition (winners in 2009 and 2010) coupled with Spurs’ downturn in fortunes and Bolton’s season-long malaise, it’s no surprise to see the Blues now 9/4, in from 13/5.
Their 5-2 win over Leicester on Sunday was as entertaining and comfortable as the scoreline suggests, and with even Fernando Torres getting among the goalscorers, one can forgive Chelsea fans for believing that a torrid season could yet reap some significant rewards.
Meanwhile, Liverpool fans will also be feeling positive given that their prize for seeing off a tough Stoke challenge will be a possible Merseyside derby against Everton, or a clash against Sunderland.
Neither would be a walkover – indeed Sunderland beat the Reds 1-0 only a week ago – but few would argue that they present the least daunting of potential semi-final opponents.
And given that Kenny Dalglish’s side now have little hope of qualifying for the Champions League, they – unlike a Chelsea side still competing in Europe and a stuttering Spurs outfit unsure of Champions League qualification – could afford to dedicate their full efforts to doubling their domestic trophy haul.
It’s why they’ve come in from 14/5 third favs since yesterday and why many punters could well be tempted to back the competition’s new favourites at 11/5.
The FA Cup semi-final draw
Tottenham/Bolton v Chelsea
Liverpool v Sunderland/Everton
Ties will be played at Wembley on the weekend of 14th and 15th April.