The Emirates FA Cup could hardly have produced two more enticing ties than this year’s Semi-Finals.
Chelsea and Tottenham – currently locked in a gripping battle for the Premier League title – now do battle at Wembley, before Pep Guardiola returns to the scene of an unforgettable European triumph as Manchester City face off against Tottenham.
And not only are we seeing four of English football’s most talented and exciting outfits in action, there’s also a slew of fascinating storylines set to play out over the weekend.
Pep looks to re-create Wembley joy
The Manchester City boss enjoyed arguably his finest day as a manager – up to now – under the famous arch, as his Barcelona side tore apart Manchester United in a swashbuckling 3-1 victory in the 2011 Champions League final.
And he’ll be looking to conjure up something of that magic as the Citizens face Arsenal at Wembley. Having lifted this trophy back in 2011 – just a fortnight before Barca took centre-stage on the same pitch – City will be desperate to reach the final once again.
So, will it be joy for Guardiola in HA9, or is he set for a dose of Wembley woe?
Title rivals do battle with Blues keen on revenge
Antonio Conte’s men may have broken a club record with the 13 successive league wins they chalked up earlier this term. But the Blues’ feat was halted in some style by Tottenham Hotspur, who breezed to a 2-0 win during the pair’s last meeting, back in January.
However, the chance for Chelsea revenge is far from the only big story here. With the pair separated by just four points in the tussle for the Premier League title, the result at Wembley could swing the balance of confidence in this battle, as well – of course – as earning London bragging rights.
Will Wembley’s late cup drama trend continue?
Five of the nine goals scored over the course of last season’s Emirates FA Cup Semi-Finals and Final at Wembley came in the 75th minute or later. And Manchester United left their respective winners until injury-time – and then extra-time, en route to lifting the trophy.
With Tottenham scoring four times beyond the 87-minute mark in their last three games, and Man City building a reputation for late winners, we’d recommend you don’t nip off to put the kettle on until the final blows!
Are we set for the first North London final?
It’s one of English football’s most historic rivalries, and one of its most exciting. Arsenal and Tottenham have faced off 186 times since their inaugural league meeting in 1909. But never have the North London giants faced off in a cup final. But that soon change…
If the Gunners can continue their impressive recent record against City (W3 D3 L1) and Spurs can sweep aside Chelsea for the second time in 2017, we could be set for the biggest tussle in North London history. But will that happen?
The Emirates FA Cup Semi-Finals are as follows:
Chelsea v Tottenham – Saturday April 22, 17:15
Arsenal v Man City – Sunday April 23, 15:00
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing