English Cup Semi-finals Preview

Read up on this weekend’s cup semi-finals from England!

As the season nears its conclusion we start to look forward to the showpiece event of the English football season, the FA Cup final. This season it will be held on the 25th May, at Wembley as usual and could well be a repeat of last season’s final between the two Manchester giants. The semi-finals will be held this weekend with Manchester City taking on Chelsea and Manchester United up against Championship side Coventry.

Manchester City vs Chelsea

It’s a short turnaround for Manchester City who were taken to extra time and penalties in their CL tie against Real Madrid on Wednesday evening. The fact that they ended up losing the tie makes preparation for this match even trickier for manager Pep Guardiola as their dream of winning back to back CL titles is now gone, as is their hope of winning two trebles in a row. There is still much to play for though as they hold the advantage in the PL title race and are very close to another cup final. This is the sixth season in a row that Manchester City have reached the last four of the FA Cup, making them the first ever team to achieve that. They don’t have the best record at this stage though as they have only won two of the previous five ties and one of the losses being against Chelsea. On the positive side, they have a very good overall record against Chelsea and are unbeaten in the last eight head to heads but they face a Chelsea side who will be looking to reach their second domestic cup final this season. 

Chelsea’s season has been an up and down one, they really struggled at the start of the season but they have managed to reach one cup final, eventually losing to Liverpool in the EFL Cup in February. They are now one step away from another day out at Wembley and have hit a good run of form which has seen them move up the league table, if they win their game in hand they will go above West Ham and Manchester United into seventh spot. They are unbeaten since that EFL Cup final in February and haven’t lost a league game since the 4th of February against Wolves and they warmed up for this match with a 6-0 thrashing of Everton last weekend. Chelsea’s expensively assembled squad is starting to look more like a team now and Mauricio Pochettino will be pleased that progress is being made after their poor start. Chelsea have won five consecutive semi-finals and they have one of the most in-form players in England at their disposal in Cole Palmer, who they signed from Manchester City last summer so he will certainly want to prove a point to his former employers.

Coventry vs Manchester United

Coventry are certainly the surprise package of this season’s FA Cup as they have made it all the way to the semi-finals courtesy of a last minute win over PL side Wolves. The midlands club will certainly be underdogs going up against one of the giants of English football but they have nothing to lose and their league season has fizzled out as two defeats in a row has meant they are now highly unlikely to make it into the playoff places in the Championship as they are eight points behind with four matches to play. Their minds might have been on this match but their poor performance in their 0-3 defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Birmingham City last weekend will have worried their manager ahead of a trip to Wembley. It is a free hit as such, as not many give them much hope against Manchester United, but the unpredictability of performance levels of their opponent will make them believe that they might be able to get the better of the Mancunian giants. This is only their second ever FA Cup semi-final so their fans will surely enjoy their day out no matter the result. Another interesting connection between the two is the fact that manager Mark Robins used to play for Manchester United and scored the winning goal in their FA Cup semi-final in 1990.

Manchester United’s struggles are well documented, an early elimination from European Football, a poor EFL Cup defence and some very poor recent performances that have left them a long way off European qualification for next season. A horrendous injury list certainly hasn’t helped matters for manager Erik Ten Hag, as well as various off-field issues but there is no doubt that his job on the line and surely only winning the FA Cup will mean he stands a chance of being in the hot seat next season. It has been almost impossible for United to keep any clean sheets as they struggle to get four fit defenders onto the pitch so we will have to wait to see what the team news will be for this weekend. As ever though, they will have to look to outscore their opponents as keeping a clean sheet is almost an impossible task considering the amount of shots they concede per match. 

Last updated: 19.04.2024