Skip to content
iGaming Ontario
en-ca GO TO bet365 Sports
  1. Soccer

FA Cup - Football: Four duels that could decide the semi-finals

Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Crystal Palace will all be hoping they can book their place in the final of the FA Cup in this weekend's semi-final ties.

First up on Saturday is the last-four encounter between the Citizens and the Reds, which comes just six days after the pulsating 2-2 draw between the two sides in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium.

The second semi-final, taking place on Sunday, sees Chelsea - looking to bounce back from the midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid - take on Crystal Palace and you can follow both games on our Sports Live Streaming platform.

City are currently 13/8 to lift the FA Cup, with Liverpool 2/1, Chelsea 2/1 and Palace 14/1.

With a place in the final on 14th May at stake, we delve into the key battles that could help decide who comes out on top and have picked out two for each tie.

First Semi-final - Man City vs Liverpool (Saturday, 15:30 KO)

Player Duel - Nathan Ake vs Mohamed Salah

City managed to draw 0-0 with Atletico Madrid on Wednesday evening, ensuring they progressed into the semi-finals of the Champions League 1-0 on aggregate, but Pep Guardiola said his side are in "big trouble" due to injuries and fitness concerns.

Kevin De Bruyne and Kyle Walker were both forced off and while the Belgian will undoubtedly be missed, it is the potential non-appearance of the England defender that could cause the biggest issue when it comes to team selection.

If Walker is not fit enough to play, it could mean Netherlands star Nathan Ake is brought into the left-back position, with Portuguese ace Joao Cancelo moving over to right-back.

While Ake impressed in this position in the first leg of the Champions League win over Atleti, he could face a real battle to keep Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah quiet on Saturday.

The Egyptian - 7/5 to score at any time - enjoys playing against the Citizens, having scored seven goals and registered four assists in the 14 previous meetings, and he could prove to be the difference-maker once again should he get the better of Ake.

Player Duel - Phil Foden vs Trent Alexander-Arnold

Another intriguing battle will be that of Phil Foden against Trent Alexander-Arnold, with the England team-mates ready to go at it again after the recent 2-2 draw between the two teams.

City star Foden has continued to grow and develop this season, making him an integral part of the first-team and he has seven goals and three assists to his name while he is 11/5 to score at any time on Saturday.

The 21-year-old's movement makes him difficult to track and the job of marking him will largely come down to Alexander-Arnold, who has been criticised at times for his defensive ability.

Alexander-Arnold loves to get forward and he is one of the most creative full-backs in the game, but he will need to show restraint to try and warn against City's quick counter-attacks and keep Foden quiet, something which is easier said than done.

Second semi-final - Chelsea vs Crystal Palace (Sunday, 16:30 KO)

Player Duel - N'Golo Kante vs Eberechi Eze

Eberechi Eze has been slowly working his way back to full speed after injury, but he may get a starting opportunity in Sunday's FA Cup tie, with Conor Gallagher unable to play against his parent club.

Likely to occupy the No.10 role, the 23-year-old has the skill and pace to drive forward with the ball, allowing him to either have a shot himself or attempt to play in a team-mate.

If allowed time and space on the ball, Eze can hurt any opposition and it could largely down to Kante to stop the Englishman on Sunday - with Chelsea 11/10 to keep a clean sheet.

France international Kante is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and he will need to be doing his usual busy work of breaking up attacks and putting numerous tackles in to assure the Blues' defence doesn't become an easy target.

The 31-year-old has, arguably, not been producing his highest level of performances this season and it will be interesting to see how he deals with Eze, who is one of the brightest prospects around.

Player Duel - Romelu Lukaku vs Marc Guehi

After their midweek European exit, Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel is likely to make changes to his starting XI and this could see Romelu Lukaku handed his fifth FA Cup start of the season.

The Belgium international's future at the club might be unclear at this moment in time, but he has turned up in this year's FA Cup, scoring three goals from four appearances.

At his very best Lukaku is almost unplayable, with his physicality and eye for goal second to none, and he will be eager to make a point to anyone who doubts his ability.

Palace centre-back Marc Guehi could be the player handed the responsibility of keeping the Blues striker quiet and this battle could go a long way to deciding who wins this semi-final, with the Eagles 11/4 to reach the final

The England international will be going up against his former employers, so there is the added incentive of getting one over on the Blues, and his performances this season suggest he could mark Lukaku out of the game.

Guehi has won 53 aerial duels in the Premier League this term, only Christian Benteke (77) has more to his name, while he has made 102 clearances and won 124 of his 187 duels.

Discover more from the world's favourite online betting brand

More football betting news

Latest sports betting and odds

Watch football live streaming including the FA Cup

Build a bet with bet builder

Latest football results

Head to the bet365 YouTube channel for exclusive football content

Sign up - bet365 Open Account Offer

bet365 uses cookies

We use cookies to deliver a better and more personalised service. For more information, see our Cookie Policy

New to bet365? Bet $1 & Get $100 in Bet Credits

Join Now

Deposit required. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of qualifying bet. Returns exclude Bet Credits wager. T&Cs, time limits and exclusions apply.