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FA Cup Semi-Finals Preview 22/04/2023 – Preview, stats and suggested bets

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Selections

Manchester City will expect to book their place in the FA Cup final when they play Sheffield United at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Manchester City vs Sheffield United – Saturday, 4:45pm

Suggested bets

  • Manchester City -2.5 Asian handicap
  • Over 3.5 goals
  • Erling Haaland to score a hat-trick
  • Manchester City 5-0 Sheffield United

Key Stats

  • Sheffield United have won all four of their FA Cup meetings with Manchester City.
  • Pep Guardiola’s team have scored three or more goals in six of their last seven matches.
  • Man City have won 21 consecutive matches against EFL sides, averaging 3.7 goals per game.
  • Sheffield United beat Tottenham 1-0 earlier in the competition, but they have lost their last four FA Cup ties versus Premier League opposition away from Bramall Lane.

Manchester City vs Sheffield United – Verdict

Manchester City’s 1-1 draw in Munich was enough to secure a comfortable progression to the Champions League semi-finals. City were dominant over the two legs and never looked troubled at the Allianz Arena.

Pep Guardiola’s men have had just one day to prepare after taking the day off to rest and recover on Thursday, but their star-studded squad should be able to cope with familiar circumstances.

Sheffield United’s 1-0 victory over Bristol City was hard-fought and will have taken something out of the Blades emotionally. United’s promotion could be confirmed shortly after kick-off at Wembley. 

Paul Heckingbottom’s men have been in terrific form in the Championship, but playing Manchester City at the home of football is a different proposition.

City’s 6-0 hammering of Vincent Kompany’s Burnley highlighted just how big the gap is between the second-tier and football’s elite, and a repeat could be on the cards.

Sheffield United can take confidence from their 1-0 win over Tottenham earlier in the season, whilst their recent stint in the Premier League should give them a good idea of how to approach this game.

The Blades are expected to line up in their usual 3-5-2 with George Balock and Max Lowe likely to spend more time defending than attacking.

Their best bet may be to keep that back five within the width of the 18-yard box, whilst Sander Berge, Oliver Norwood and John Fleck will need to balance crowding wide areas and limiting Kevin de Bruyne’s space in the middle.

It’s a thankless task and even if they are successful and taking away space in behind and down the side, Erling Haaland gives Man City an aerial option they haven’t had in recent years.

Striking a balance between defence and attack will be extremely challenging. Even if the Blades keep things tight for the first 15 minutes, Oliver McBurnie and Illiman Ndiaye will cut isolated figures by that point.

City’s imperious form against some of Europe’s elite leaves their opponents with little hope on their big day, with Pep’s men scoring 15 goals against RB Leipzig, Liverpool and Bayern Munich recently.

Haaland was responsible for seven of those goals despite missing the game against Liverpool.

His relentless assault on every goal-scoring record known to man will likely continue on Saturday.

Brighton will be looking to make Manchester United’s week even more miserable as they target their first FA Cup final in 40 years.

Brighton vs Manchester United – Sunday, 4:30pm

Suggested bets

  • Brighton to win and both teams to score  
  • Brighton to score the last goal 
  • Time of the first goal – under 30 minutes 
  • Brighton 2-1 Manchester United

Key Stats

  • Brighton have won the last two meetings 
  • Brighton have lost just one of their last nine games 
  • Man United have won just two of their last six away games Man United beat Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final on their last visit to Wembley 

Brighton vs Manchester United – Verdict

Manchester United’s hopes of a treble winning season were extinguished last Thursday night after Erik ten Hag’s men capitulated against Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-final.  

United were utterly humiliated as they barely laid a glove on the Spanish outfit who powered to a 3-0 win on the night.  

The Red Devils have already won the Carabao Cup this season and they were intent on adding the Europa League and FA Cup crowns to that collection this summer.  

Instead, Ten Hag’s men are now left with the prospect of a domestic double as they prepare to take on Brighton in Sunday’s semi-final at Wembley.  

United’s defeat on Thursday was just their second loss in 10 games, though their performances have come under questioning in recent months.  

Since March, there have been a number of games in which the Red Devils fell well short of their expected standards.  

For instance, the thrashing at Liverpool, the goalless draw with Southampton, the laboured win over Fulham in the FA Cup, the defeat at Newcastle and now, the two dreadful legs against Sevilla.  

Brighton will have certainly taken a lot of encouragement from watching Thursday’s encounter as they look to bag a spot in their first FA Cup final since 1983.  

Roberto De Zerbi’s men are in good form having lost just one of their last nine games – a run which includes six victories.  

Brighton picked up a 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last weekend as they moved within seven points of the top four.  

Looking at their current trajectory, the Seagulls could make club history on two fronts as they look to secure European qualification for the first time, as well as a maiden FA Cup title.  

Brighton have out-scored United in the Premier League this season and they will fancy their chances at Wembley stadium.  

The Seagulls have won their last two meetings against the Red Devils – including a 4-0 demolition last May.  

Bearing everything in mind, our recommendation is to back Brighton in the outright market. Another bet to watch out for is a Brighton win and both teams to score.


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