Preparing for the FA Cup semifinals

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The semifinals of the FA Cup will feature Manchester United versus Tottenham and Chelsea taking on Southampton. We have three Premier League superpowers left to battle for what could be their only piece of silverware this season. The semifinals will take place on April 21st and 22nd as each team look to book their ticket to the final at Wembley Stadium.

Manchester United and Tottenham were paired together and the two Premier League giants will likely provide an entertaining semifinal at Wembley. While technically it’s United who will be the “home” club, the Spurs will be playing in the stadium they’ve called home all season, as they wait for the completion of White Hart Lane. The only difference will be when they arrive on match day and sit in the “visitors” dressing room. The North London club have not lost at Wembley in the Premier League since August and turned playing at the stadium from a weakness to a strength.

Spurs have lifted the FA Cup trophy eight times compared to United’s 12 titles. The Red Devils’ last win came under Louis van Gaal two seasons ago while Spurs have not won since 1991. Both teams will look to salvage something of this season after falling short in both the Premier League race and being knocked out of the Champions League. While Spurs have the good fortune of playing at “home,” United are a far stronger side. 

Tottenham has seen huge growth in recent years through Mauricio Pochettino, but the beloved manager has yet to deliver where it counts. The FA Cup could be a start to future silverware after falling short once again in the league despite having one of the best players in the world. Harry Kane is battling for his third straight Premier League Golden Boot but even with his best efforts, the club continues to struggle when it matters most.

Tottenham will miss out on a second straight FA Cup final as Mourinho and company march on to the final in what will likely be a highly contested match.

And to the second match: Chelsea will face Southampton in the other semifinal after an unconvincing victory on the road against Leicester City, winning 2-1 in extra time. Southampton is the only underdog team remaining after beating Wigan Athletic 2-0 on the road. Wigan’s defeat also meant this will be an all-Premier League semifinal. Although the Saints are in danger of relegation, they have their sights on lifting the FA Cup.

It won’t be easy for Southampton, whose chances of ousting the current Premier League champion are slim. Chelsea is the favorites to reach the final, and will likely meet Manchester United. Manager Antonio Conte is looking to rectify last year’s FA Cup Final loss to Arsenal and bring another trophy to Stamford Bridge.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for the Italian manager. Despite winning the Premier League in his first season with the club, Roman Abramovich is already eyeing his replacement come the end of the season. The FA Cup may be his last chance to keep his job as a top-four finish is becoming less likely for the Blues.

Many believe the competition lost its charm but these upcoming fixtures will surely prove entertaining. Beyond the honor of winning the oldest national soccer competition in the world, the winner will pocket £1,800,000, around $2.5 million.

Prediction: Manchester United and Chelsea will provide soccer fans with one more compelling fixture both on and off the pitch as Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte battle it out once again. The “Special One’s” experience will prove vital in the final as the Red Devils beat the Blues in the final.