Friday, 13 April 2012

FA Cup Semi Finals: Preview

Before I get onto previewing this weekends fixtures, just a note of apology for lack of posts recently, I have been very busy with uni work and working at Peterborough United as well. I am now back and have several posts in mind that shall be published in the coming months. Thanks!

As we come to the end of what has been another terrific season, we focus our attention to the semi finals of the FA Cup this weekend. We have two cracking derbies this year that sees the two games both played at the home of football, Wembley. League Cup winners Liverpool are aiming for a second trophy of the season and they take on local rivals Everton. In the other game we see a London derby between Premier League giants Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

#1 Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur
A London derby that sees two of the Premier League big boys come head to head in a fight for a place in the FA Cup final in May. Chelsea have become revitalised under the management of Roberto Di Matteo whereas Spurs have had a tricky spell recently that sees them now fighting for a Champions League place. Harry Redknapp's men were seen as title contenders 4 months ago but a poor 2012 has seen their rivals Arsenal leap frog them in the table. A recent home defeat to Norwich City in the league has really dented Spurs chances of a top four place and a cup semi final against Chelsea is a welcome distraction for them. Winger Gareth Bale has recently seen a drop in form after a stunning start to the season for the Welshman. Striker Louis Saha is cup tied which will mean Jermain Defoe is likely to partner fellow forward Emmanuel Adebayor in attack. The Englishman has not played that much this season but has always impressed when he has been given the opportunity. Rivals Chelsea have begun to show what a good side they are after the sacking of former boss Andre Villas Boas. Caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo has guided the Blues to a Champions League semi final as well as a good chance of taking the final Champions League place in the league. Striker Fernando Torres has started to look like his old self with excellent performances in recent games.
Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Spurs
#Liverpool v Everton
With the anniversary of Hillsborough on Sunday, this weekend is massive for the red half of Liverpool. Kenny Dalglish's side have been under a lot of criticism this season with average performances from his side. Poor results have seen his side sit eighth in the league behind local rivals Everton. Striker Andy Carroll scored only his ninth goal for the reds this week in the away win at Blackburn. Carroll has also been criticised for not proving his £35 million price tag this year but with good performances recently, the striker is sure to show what he is capable of. Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard were rested in mid week meaning the pair, who have been so vital this year, will be fresh and ready for the challenge on Saturday lunchtime. Goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Doni are both suspended the game which will see third choice keeper Brad Jones called up between the sticks. The Australian made only his third appearance for the club on Wednesday saving a penalty in the process. David Moyes' Everton are the in form side at the moment having only lost none of their previous seven games. The Toffees will be without cup tied Steven Pienaar, but with striker Nikica Jelavic in good form the blue side of Merseyside will fancy their chances against an inconsistent Liverpool side. 
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Everton

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